DMT Found in Ayahuasca Tea Boosts Brain Cell Growth

Overview N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or DMT for short, is a chemical found in a traditional South American ayahuasca tea. Our research explored how DMT affects the growth of brain cells. Excitingly, we found that it promotes the growth of new neurons in a specific part of the brain tied to memory. Even better? Mice given DMT showed improved memory compared to those that weren’t.

What is DMT and Why is it Interesting? DMT is a naturally occurring compound in many plants, including the ones used to brew the hallucinogenic ayahuasca tea. This compound can affect how we perceive things and feel emotions. Interestingly, DMT isn’t just in plants – it’s also found in certain parts of our bodies, including our brain and lungs. Some studies suggest that DMT might get stored in the brain and its levels might increase when we’re stressed. Importantly for our study, DMT interacts with various receptors in our brain, one of which is called the sigma-1 receptor (S1R).

Why Brain Cell Growth Matters, Yes Your brain Can Grow New Cells

This is a huge dsicovery of regrowing brain cells. This  process is called neurogenesis. This mostly happens when we’re embryos, but there’s some evidence it continues, at a slower rate, into adulthood. Boosting this process might be a way to treat brain damage or diseases like Alzheimer’s. Our current treatments for some brain diseases might even work by encouraging neurogenesis.

Research Studies with DMT’s effects on the brains of adult mice. Here’s a simplified version of what we did and found:

  • Lab Tests with Cells: We isolated brain stem cells from mice and grew them in a dish. When we added DMT, these cells multiplied and matured faster.
  • Tests in Living Mice: We gave mice DMT and found that they had more new brain cells in a region related to memory. When we blocked the sigma-1 receptor (S1R), this growth effect went away, suggesting DMT works through this receptor.
  • Memory Tests: Mice treated with DMT were better at memory tasks than those that weren’t.
  • Safety Measures: All our experiments followed strict guidelines to ensure the animals’ well-being.

More Exciting Research With DMT

DMT, a compound in the hallucinogenic ayahuasca tea, boosts the growth of new brain cells in adult mice, particularly in the area linked to memory. This growth seems to be connected to the sigma-1 receptor in the brain. These exciting findings could pave the way for new treatments for brain diseases or injuries.

Health Benefits of DMT-Induced Neurogenesis

DMT, commonly known for its presence in the ayahuasca brew, has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects, especially concerning brain health. Our recent findings that DMT promotes the growth of new brain cells suggest various potential health benefits:

  • DMT Memory Enhancement: Our study showed that mice treated with DMT performed better in memory tasks. With the hippocampus playing a vital role in memory formation and consolidation, the growth of new neurons in this area can lead to improved memory functions. This could be particularly beneficial for the aging population, where cognitive decline and memory loss are common concerns.
  • DMT is a Potential Treatment for Neurodegenerative Diseases: Conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are characterized by the progressive loss of neurons. By promoting neurogenesis, DMT could potentially slow down the progression of such diseases or help in the development of therapeutic strategies.
  • DMT Helps Mood Regulation and Mental Health: The hippocampus is also implicated in mood regulation. Enhanced neurogenesis has been linked with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in various studies. Therefore, DMT’s effect on brain cell growth might offer potential benefits in treating mood disorders.
  • DMT for Brain Recovery Post Injury: After traumatic events like strokes or head injuries, the brain often struggles to recover due to the loss of neurons. By promoting the growth of new brain cells, DMT could potentially aid in faster and more efficient brain recovery post-injury.
  • Cognitive Enhancement: With the growth of new neurons, overall cognitive functions such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making might see improvement. This has implications not just for those with cognitive deficits, but also for the general population seeking cognitive enhancement.
  • DMT Potential Anti-Aging Effects on the Brain: Aging is associated with a natural decline in neurogenesis. By promoting the growth of new neurons, DMT might counteract some of the brain aging processes, leading to prolonged cognitive health.
  • DMT Therapeutic Potential for PTSD: Some researchers speculate that the neurogenic effects of substances like DMT might be beneficial in treating conditions like PTSD, where the brain’s ability to process traumatic memories can be enhanced by the growth of new neurons.

It’s essential to remember that while these benefits sound promising, research in this field is still in its early stages. It’s crucial to approach DMT with caution, considering its potent psychoactive effects and potential legal implications in many countries. Further studies are required to better understand its benefits, potential risks, and the mechanisms underlying its effects.

  • DMT Enhanced Creativity and Problem Solving: Neurogenesis, particularly in the hippocampus, is linked with cognitive flexibility. With the growth of new neurons, individuals might experience a boost in creativity, enhancing their ability to approach problems from unique perspectives and come up with innovative solutions.
  • DMT Potential in Addiction Therapy: Preliminary research on psychedelics suggests potential in treating addiction. DMT-induced neurogenesis might offer a pathway to “reset” certain neural circuits that contribute to addiction, helping individuals break free from drug dependencies.
  • DMT Stress Reduction: Chronic stress is known to inhibit neurogenesis, particularly in the hippocampus, leading to various negative mental health outcomes. By counteracting this effect and promoting the growth of new neurons, DMT might help in alleviating the effects of prolonged stress on the brain.
  • DMT for Sleep Improvement: While the direct link between DMT and sleep requires more research, the overall health of the brain, including balanced neurochemistry and improved neural connections resulting from neurogenesis, can contribute to better sleep patterns and quality.
  • DMT Is A Potential Treatment for Learning Disorders: Enhanced neurogenesis could lead to improved neural plasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganize and form new connections. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with learning disorders, offering them a potential avenue for better information processing.
  • DMT Helps Social and Emotional Processing: The hippocampus, along with other brain regions, plays a role in social and emotional processing. Enhanced neurogenesis might improve individuals’ abilities to process social cues, empathize with others, and regulate their emotions.
  • DMT May Be a Potential Synergy with Other Therapies: The benefits of DMT-induced neurogenesis might be amplified when combined with other therapeutic strategies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, or even certain medications. This synergistic approach could provide a more holistic treatment plan for various conditions.

Continued Resaerch and Promise of DMT: Eventhough the potential health benefits of DMT-induced neurogenesis are vast and varied. However, it’s imperative to approach this topic with a balanced perspective. While the prospects are exciting, DMT is a powerful substance with profound psychoactive effects. Proper clinical trials, comprehensive research, and careful consideration of risks versus benefits are essential before adopting it as a widespread therapeutic agent.

Summary of Research on DMT’s Effects on Neurogenesis

What’s the big idea? This research explored the effects of DMT, a compound found in the ayahuasca brew, on the development and growth of neural cells. The findings suggest that DMT promotes the birth of new neurons and can potentially help in learning and memory tasks. This could have therapeutic implications for various brain-related disorders.

Key Discoveries of DMT:

  • DMT and Brain Cells Growth
    • DMT seems to boost the growth and “stemness” (or the potential) of neural stem cells (NSCs) isolated from a specific region in the brain.
    • This compound helps these stem cells maintain their ability to become various types of brain cells.
    • Specifically, DMT helps these cells:
      • Proliferate or multiply faster.
      • Differentiate into various types of brain cells, including neurons (cells that transmit information), astrocytes (support cells), and oligodendrocytes (cells that help with neuron insulation).
  • DMT’s Role in Brain Activity in Mice
    • When mice were treated with DMT, they showed enhanced growth of new brain cells, especially in a region critical for memory and learning.
    • Notably, these mice performed better in tasks that tested their memory and learning abilities.
  • How Does DMT Do This?
    • DMT’s beneficial effects seem to be related to its interaction with a specific receptor in the brain called the Sigma-1 receptor (S1R). When this interaction was blocked, the benefits of DMT were lost.
    • Importantly, this mechanism does not seem to involve the hallucinogenic effects commonly associated with DMT. This means there’s potential for therapeutic use without causing hallucinations.

Why is this DMT Research Groundbreaking? 

This discovery is significant because it suggests DMT has the potential to enhance brain function, especially in regions associated with memory and learning. It could offer a new avenue for treating various brain disorders or injuries, including depression and neurodegenerative diseases.

In simpler terms, DMT might help the brain grow new cells and could potentially be used to boost brain health and function without the “trippy” side effects. This could revolutionize treatments for several brain-related conditions.

Exploring Further The Powers of DMT Therapy:

  • Dmt Goes Beyond Just Brain Cells Growth
  • The research showed that DMT does more than just help brain cells grow. It also seems to encourage the migration of new brain cells to the right places in the brain. This ensures that the cells not only form but also go where they are needed.
  • Comparisons with Other Substances
  • DMT’s effect is unique. While other compounds in ayahuasca, like β-carbolines, have been shown to influence brain cell growth, DMT appears to be considerably more potent. Moreover, other studies have suggested a connection between new brain cell growth and the therapeutic effects of antidepressants.
  • Future Implications
    • Given these promising results, DMT could play a pivotal role in the development of treatments for various neurological conditions. The fact that DMT can cross the blood-brain barrier when administered makes it especially interesting for potential therapeutic use in humans.
    • Importantly, the hallucinogenic effects of DMT, often a concern for therapeutic applications, might be sidestepped by targeting its interaction with the S1R.


What does this mean for the average person? Imagine a substance that can help the brain repair itself, grow new cells, and boost memory and learning, all without the risk of hallucinations or “trippy” side effects. That’s the potential DMT holds. While it’s still early days and more research is needed, the findings are exciting and point towards a revolutionary approach in treating brain disorders or injuries.

In essence, the findings suggest that DMT might be a key player in the future of neurotherapy, offering hope for millions struggling with brain-related conditions.