The presence of the potent hallucinogenic psychoactive chemical N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in the human body has puzzled scientists for decades. Endogenous DMT was investigated in the 1960s and 1970s and it was proposed that DMT was involved in psychosis and schizophrenia. This hypothesis developed from comparisons of the blood and urine of schizophrenic and control subjects. However, much of this research proved inconclusive and conventional thinking has since held that trace levels of DMT, and other endogenous psychoactive tryptamines, are insignificant metabolic byproducts. The recent discovery of a G-protein-coupled, human trace amine receptor has triggered a reappraisal of the role of compounds present in limited concentrations in biological systems. Interestingly enough, DMT and other psychoactive tryptamine hallucinogens elicit a robust response at the trace amine receptor. While it is currently accepted that serotonin 5-HT2A receptors play a pivotal role in the activity of hallucinogenic/ psychedelic compounds, we propose that the effects induced by exogenous DMT administration, especially at low doses, are due in part to activity at the trace amine receptor. Furthermore, we suggest that endogenous DMT interacts with the TA receptor to produce a calm and relaxed mental state, which may suppress, rather than promote, symptoms of psychosis. This hypothesis may help explain the inconsistency in the early analysis of endogenous DMT in humans. Finally, we propose that amphetamine action at the TA receptor may contribute to the calming effects of amphetamine and related drugs, especially at low doses.
Jacob, M. S., & Presti, D. E. (2004). Endogenous psychoactive tryptamines reconsidered: an anxiolytic role for dimethyltryptamine. Medical Hypotheses, 64(5), 930-937. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2004.11.005