by Ovidiu Brazdau

These research hypotheses are based on a paper presented at the Romanian Neuroscience Conference, 2015.[1]

“It may be that the DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamin) is enhancing the resonance-induced conductance in single microtubules, a process that would be inhibited by anesthetic gases”. Although there is no assay to measure endogenous production of DMT, it seems that 5-methoxy-DMT is likely to produce witnessing awareness experiences (also called presence in psychology). Is it possible that the witnessing awareness mode of our psyche has a physiological correlate in the production of endogenous DMT?

This is an exploration based on the Orch-OR theory created by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose.

The theory, called “orchestrated objective reduction” (‘Orch OR’), was first put forward in the mid-1990s by eminent mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, FRS, Mathematical Institute and Wadham College, University of Oxford, and prominent anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, MD, Anesthesiology, Psychology and Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson. They suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were “orchestrated” (“Orch”) by synaptic inputs and memory stored in microtubules, and terminated by Penrose “objective reduction” (‘OR’), hence “Orch OR.” Microtubules are major components of the cell structural skeleton.

Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was considered too “warm, wet, and noisy” for seemingly delicate quantum processes. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain microtubules. The recent discovery of warm temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair’s theory and suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations. In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via microtubules in brain neurons.[2]

In other words, this interdisciplinary hypothesis links these ideas: 

On one side, the neuroscience:

– the microtubules are components of the cells’ cytoskeleton (including neuron cells); recent researches has shown that these microtubules resonate and have a “wifi” communication system. As a consequence, all the microtubules in the cells of the human body are connected through a biological-electromagnetic “synchrony field”.

On the other side, transpersonal psychology and the mystics:

– We are living in a space full of interconnections, in a space of fundamental awareness, and we can connect with this awareness itself; this is a capacity called “witnessing awareness”.
– Modern theories of psychological evolution (developed by Clare Grawes and recently, by Susanne Cook-Greuter) mention that witnessing is a capacity that appears naturally in the post-autonomous stages of ego development, when people decide to expand and to become “more” than their ego; an estimate of less than 1% of the population has this capacity as a permanent skill.  Nevertheless, witnessing awareness is accessible at any stage, as a temporary experience.
– The psychedelic states induced by the amazonian “ayahuasca” mix (which contains DMT) generate sometimes kundalini awakening experiences, just as they are described in the eastern kundalini yoga.
– Rick Strassman argues that we have an endogenous production of DMT, which activates in the moments of death, or when we stay in a dark space for more than 10 days.

The hypothesis is that there is a link between ayahuasca-induced vibrational-hyper-synchrony and kundalini awakening.

But how is this happening? What is the process? I explored with ayahuasca a few times, just to observe the experience in myself. And the subjective experience was that all the cells were connected with all other cells, and with the environment, and then with space and time. This synchrony is observed also by the neuroscientists, who talk about the conscious experience in relation to the gamma synchrony in the brain. In my opinion, this gamma synchrony is just a result of a large vibrational synchrony.

 Some logical connections/hypotheses:
– we all have this “witnessing awareness” active in various degrees, it is developing naturally in humans, just as any other mutation/evolution; it seems that there is a “witnessing” property in each layer (physical, energy, cognition).
– the “microtubules” energy layer, and the subjective experience of “pure” energy awareness experienced by mystics are related somehow.
– the body vibratory layer can increase the interconnectedness of its parts, when DMT is involved, either by endogenous production or by external means (e.g. using ayahuasca).
– how is DMT influencing the microtubules? By increasing the conductance in microtubules, making them more able to “resonate” and tune into the “collective synchrony”.
– this increase in interconnectedness is subjectively experienced by mystics as oceanic pure consciousness, collective love, wisdom. Or, as spirals and fractals of energies in the eyes, by DMT psychonauts. Some people report that it is the collective Life that is increasingly becoming conscious of itself, through feedback loops (which can be cognitive, emotional or sensorial).

Some researches have already made a few steps ahead, related to this topic. E.g. a team of researchers lead by Ede Frecska in Hungary explored the idea that the naturally occurring DMT molecule has vital therapeutic and clinical qualities, and it is pivotal to the progression of brain science. Their hypothesis is that, in situations such as heart attacks, strokes and comas, DMT’s presence on emergency crash carts in ambulances and hospitals could prevent surviving patients from enduring brain damage. This may happen because the DMT is keeping an active electromagnetic connection between damaged neurons. The external DMT would create an extra time of 10-15 minutes for the medical team, while the patient is transported to a hospital.

Another research that supports this hypothesis is recently published by Jordi Riba and his team, in association with The Beckley Foundation, who discovered a connection between ayahuasca and psychological mindfulness traits.

Why is the proposal of any significance?

If the hypothesis is confirmed, that would offer a fresh air to spirituality and neuroscience debates. And it would change many paradigms about interconnectedness. In psychology, this would be a step forward on exploring how the collective mind works. Our hypothesis would produce effects also on memory studies: in Alzheimer patients, the connection between neurons starts to weaken; using DMT (microdosing perhaps) we may support the re-connection.

And if the hypothesis is not confirmed, we would know that DMT is not doing anything to microtubules, and we will have to search for another hypothesis.

Our research hypothesis is informed by Mircea Steriade’s researches on the coalescence of brain rhythms. He observed that different brain rhythms, with both low-frequency and fast-frequency, are grouped within complex wave-sequences. This concept of unified brain rhythms does not only include low-frequency sleep oscillations but also fast (beta and gamma) activities that are not exclusively confined to brain-activated states, since they also occur during slow-wave sleep.

The research team interested to explore this hypothesis: Mihai Moldovan (NerveLab, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Jack Tuzynski & Travis Craddock (Alberta University, Canada), Massimo Pregnolato (University of Pavia, Italy), Walter Menozzi (Santo Daime Movement, Italy), Rick Strassman (University of New Mexico School of Medicine – author of “DMT: The Spirit Molecule”); Anirban Bandyopadhyay (National Institute for Materials Science, Japan); Leon Zagrean (Neuroscience Society of Romania) and myself.