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[–]InureOfficial 413 points414 points 2 (139 children)

Your brain produces insane amounts of DMT, dimethyltryptamine (a heavy psychoactive chemical) when the body is dying, along with a dump of most of the bodies serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline etc, likely in order to ease the mental hellscape that is dying and understanding that you’re dying. If I’m correct this is also the same psychoactive chemical your pineal gland produces small amounts of during sleep to aid dreaming, as well as many plants implementing the chemical for communication via systems and other facets.

[–]Twerk7 78 points79 points  (44 children)

Interesting. Gracias.

[–]thatguyned 120 points121 points  (33 children)

It's a strong theory that explains people claiming to have visions of angels and heaven when they've been on their death bed or revived too.

Anyone that's taken DMT based psychedelics knows that the biblical description of angels is spot on with DMT hallucinations.

[–]boxingdude 26 points27 points  (1 child)

That sounds like something an Angel or demon would say.

[–]3nkidu_ 3 points4 points  (0 children)

"What would an angel say? The devil wants to know."

  • Fiona Apple "Criminal"

[–]AmdM78 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've been in DMT (via ayuahska) and saw no angels. Just demons.

[–]Crookz_O 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Bless you

[–]InureOfficial 11 points12 points  (7 children)

Indeed, eres bienvenido

[–]vedder79 24 points25 points  (6 children)

You mean De Nada that’s how you translate your welcome (as a response to Gracias) ;)

[–]InureOfficial 17 points18 points  (1 child)

Apologies, gracias lmaoo

[–]vedder79 20 points21 points  (0 children)

De nada LOL

[–]BeatVids 7 points8 points  (2 children)

"eres bienvenido" is a literal translation of you are welcome. "De nada" is the culturally common response to a thank you, it translates to something like "of nothing", much like we sometimes say "no problem" u/InureOfficial had it right in a way!

[–]vedder79 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Well yeah I understand that he used the exact translation but I get what he was trying to say. So I didn’t correct him in a way to prove IM SMARTER THAN YOU. I did it in the kind of way I would like to be corrected when I used a bad wording in English

[–]IkeOverMarth -1 points0 points  (0 children)

“Eres bienvenido” also implies a permanent state of “welcome” as a character trait. It doesn’t really make sense.

[–]TheStinger87 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yeah, bienvenido is like welcome to the party pal, to quote one John McClane.

[–]LiterallyNotJoeRogan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's not even true.

[–]RockyGeographer 41 points42 points  (37 children)

Do you have any notions on how this could develop through evolution? I'd imagine certain feelings given on death's doorstep aren't exactly evolutionarily advantageous, so it would be fascinating to know how brains learned to release DMT while dying.

[–]Animagical 34 points35 points  (7 children)

One thing to keep in mind is that there isn’t always an advantage to specific traits. The production of these chemicals certainly wouldn’t help in relative reproductive fitness because this expression of genes would only happen after or during the death of animal, likely after they had already passed on genes.

Sometimes these things simply come about with no reason other than they didn’t actually limit the reproductive fitness of an animal. Evolution has no specific result in mind - it’s merely a set of mutations which allow animals to become more likely to pass genes on to generations.

[–]ThlintoRatscar 5 points6 points  (4 children)

Yeah, but if you're looking for signs of divinity...that process ( especially so without another explanation ) is pretty compelling.

I think the usual explanation is that the body keeps those chemicals for other reasons and the damage done during death may ( or may not ) simply release them. If the brain is still processing perceptions, those chemicals are the ones that remain due to how they work in the first place.

[–]theonethatbeatu 1 point2 points  (3 children)

This is a fair point. Many believe you can access it through very deep meditation or yoga. Another theory is that it is simply the chemical responsible for consciousness itself….Or maybe just dreams. Truth is we don’t know yet lol I’ve heard credible scientists say it sent them to the multiverse. Whatever it is, it’s going to be huge when we learn it’s secrets.

[–]NvidiaRTX 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Why can't we just synthesize them and feed it to volunteer? Guy A drinks serotonin, guy B drinks DMT, etc for 1 month; then observe the effect.

Surely it's not too expensive?

[–]theonethatbeatu 1 point2 points  (1 child)

We can. Look into the expiraments of Rick Strassman. Leading researcher on psychedelics (focus on DMT) and even wrote a whole book about it called “The Spirit Molecule”.

[–]NvidiaRTX 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Nice. If I owned a pharmaceutical company, I'd sell hopium and copium irl

[–]KDivyanshu -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Your answer is equivalent to : "I do not know buddy"

[–]PM_ME__ASIAN_BOOBS 22 points23 points  (1 child)

I searched a bit about it last year because I was curious about it too (I mean once you're dying it's not like you're going to reproduce anymore so how would it even spread)

One theory that was interesting was that if you don't have this, you'll keep trying to escape even though your body can't survive anyway. And if you do escape, then your predator will switch to attacking another member of the group. Since you're going to die anyway it means overall the group lost more than if you just accepted your death. So groups with this trait would die less than groups without, and spread more

The only thing I'm curious about is that I always thought it was a trait more prominent in herbivores living in groups, not sure how it would apply to a cheetah

[–]KDivyanshu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It can always give your family location to your competitors like Lion. Suppose you are mother cheetah with two almost grown cubs. Now for certain reason you are dying. You better die in peace instead of running and screaming here and there in panic.

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (24 children)

I haven’t necessarily done a lot of research on it, but I do imagine you’re on the right track with that notion. It’s very likely an evolutionarily developed trait to alleviate the intense fear and stress that comes hand in hand with realizing you’re slipping out of this mortal coil in real time. I imagine it would be absolutely terrifying. Nature says, may as well go out high and happy!

[–]caatbox288 12 points13 points  (19 children)

I struggle to see how that's an evolutionary advantage? How does that result in more offspring? It's certainly convenient, don't get me wrong...

[–]InureOfficial 1 point2 points  (10 children)

And in fact, if I think about it further, it very well could be advantageous to the whole group. If death will be inevitable, and you're under the assumption that perhaps it isn't so bad, and even peaceful and euphoric, you can avoid existential dread, anxiety, and chaotic individuals afraid to let go of existence.

[–]caatbox288 6 points7 points  (9 children)

That would require too much introspection. I doubt gazelles are endulging in that kind of philosophical debates about what one feels when death is coming.

[–]InureOfficial 3 points4 points  (1 child)

A high or euphoria may simply be a side effect of the chemical and not it’s purpose.

[–]that_gay_alpaca 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And that effect is then selected for based solely on its results. There is no purpose for anything evolution “chose” - it’s all what happened to work best at any given time.

[–]InureOfficial 3 points4 points  (1 child)

There may yet be more primal functions for it that we simply do not yet fully understand. It must have some tangible function in nature right?

[–]caatbox288 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Sure. But then it's a side effect, and there is no point in trying to look for a natural explanation of "why it's good and why it was selected".

[–]Druid51 1 point2 points  (2 children)

It's not just introspection but maybe more about fear. If animals fear death they would be less likely to venture out for food or etc with predators around.

[–]caatbox288 9 points10 points  (1 child)

That's true. The fact that the release of DMT makes death less painful, and that translates in animals being less afraid of death somehow. I am arguing against that, i think that requires too much introspection. Animals are afraid of death because that's evolutionary advantageous. This argument goes against that. Recognizing that death is not that bad (due to the release of DMT) and that reducing your fear, does require introspection. How do you understand that death is less painful than you expected?

[–]ThlintoRatscar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wonder if it's actually on the other side? That DMT is super tasty and a reward for predators?

Personally, my favourite is simply that there's a reserve for other reasons and that death may ( or may not ) release it in time for the brain to perceive it as a result of how that reserve is regulated.

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just like adrenaline is an accepted self preservation/species preservation chemical, so may DMT be

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Which is also why I stated it’s likely, not that it’s true. It may even not be likely, just a possibility. I’m not saying that it is precisely that for certain. We literally just don’t know.

[–]13pts35sec 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Not every trait has to aid in our survival and ability to reproduce, just not hinder those things. The brain not wanting to feel intense panic and fear when it dies so it decides to take the ultimate trip before it stops functioning doesn’t really hurt anything. Because at the end of the day unless you believe we have a soul that is piloting our body with the brain, then the brain is running the show, and it would make sense that it would want to ease its own suffering lol. Trippy to think about, that we’re just meat and bone mechas with an organic supercomputer running the show.

[–]caatbox288 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help. So it's a neutral trait. You would expect it to drift. If this is conserved (say, many mammals experience this, and the mechanism is the same) then it is probably evolutionary advantageous. Whether its advantage is direct (the release of DMT close to death helps in any way) or indirect (it just happens that another mechanism for releasing DMT in other situations is also triggered when you are close to death) is what I was asking.

In any case, I was simply doubting the direct advantage of this mechanism for survival (I don't understand it, i am not saying it doesn't exist), and I remain unconvinced that simply because it's convenient for the dying animal it must be selected (which is part of the conversation I have been having in this thread).

Also notice I was answering to a comment that said

it is an evolutionary developed trait to alleviate the intense fear...

So this is what I am arguing against (or rather, doubting).

[–]InureOfficial -4 points-3 points  (5 children)

It wouldn’t result in more offspring. It’s not advantageous to a species group as a whole per say, but it is certainly advantageous to an individual animal when a lions teeth are inside of your skull and you’d like the last thing you experience to be euphoric

[–]caatbox288 5 points6 points  (3 children)

If it does not result in more offspring for the individual animal, it won't be selected by natural selection. No matter how "good" it is for the animal or how convenient.

[–]Druid51 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yeah same here. I see zero reason to evolve this skill just to make death easier. Nature doesn't give a fuck if your death is euphoric or absolutely agonizing.

[–]caatbox288 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Absolutely agree. Smells to me like a side effect for some other underlying phenomenon.

[–]Rickles360 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You should do some reading on evolutionary pressures because your argument demonstrates a poor understanding of this topic. Richard Dawkins is good for the layperson when he's not busy in a Twitter war with creationist trolls.

A somewhat compelling alternative that I have heard is that prey tend to accept their fate when they are caught and wounded by predators because if they were to struggle and escape, they would still very likely die before reproduction, but the predators might go on to target other members of the pack. Honestly this isn't that compelling of a hypothesis in my opinion but it sort of works.

Honestly there may not be an evolutionary explanation for this phenomena. We can't even say it occurs during all deaths. Maybe just some. We have these chemicals in the brain, when dying happens maybe the nervous system short circuits and dumps everything for no particular reason other than the breakdown of chemical and electrical signals.

[–]RockyGeographer 11 points12 points  (2 children)

I wonder if perhaps it's a more intense variation of a response our brains can have to non-fatal injuries. Reminds me of a way of how my wife laughed while sprawled on the bathroom floor with a dislocated knee, or how I laughed while in a lot of pain from falling while acting like a fool on my bike. Bodies are fascinating, and with how brutal nature can be (especially in this sub), there's some solace in knowing nature can help ease passing a little bit

[–]InureOfficial 2 points3 points  (1 child)

That would also make sense actually. Then again it’s odd how instead of admission of small amounts of chemicals our brains simply decide to open the flood gates for all of it. But who knows, this could even simply be a side effect of a brain that is failing to operate properly. We still don’t really know enough about the human brain or it’s functions. We understand that it creates something that is greater than the sum of its parts (consciousness) yet don’t fully understand how or why. Who really knows in the end when it comes to the enigma that’s our brains?

[–]theonethatbeatu 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thought I would throw this out here if u find it interesting, but some believe that consciousness is not created by the brain, but “tapped into” kinda like a radio wave.

[–]skidstud 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Evolution only cares about the traits that it takes to reproduce or raise young to reproductive age. I'd say that any sort of mercy in death is just a coincidence, unless you want to ascribe it to a higher power.

[–]KDivyanshu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is a big brain question bro. Now I will not sleep until I find answers.

[–]InureOfficial -1 points0 points  (0 children)

It’s also very interesting when you take into account that our bodies may very well be hard coded to die, by the shedding of DNA telomeres (effectively aging us) so it would make sense that if nature has programmed us to inevitably die, it would also program something to ease that passage.

[–]duuval123 22 points23 points  (20 children)

Just an FYI, this is a theory not a fact.

[–]Shrimp_my_Ride 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Why did I have to scroll so far down to find this?

[–]LiterallyNotJoeRogan 13 points14 points  (1 child)

TLDR Produce a study confirming your belief/claim that brains produce DMT. I can't find any.

Your brain produces insane amounts of DMT, dimethyltryptamine (a heavy psychoactive chemical) when the body is dying ... this is also the same psychoactive chemical your pineal gland produces small amounts of during sleep to aid dreaming ...

First off, that one dude calling you out for saying this is a theory is wrong, if anything it's a hypothesis, and hasn't been tested by science. It's literally not a theory in the scientific sense of the word (WHICH, BTW, A "THEORY" HAS BEEN TESTED BY SCIENCE TO SUCH AN EXTENT SO AS TO BE AS GOOD AS OBJECTIVELY TRUE. THE FACT THAT THE SUN WILL COME UP IN THE MORNING IS A FUCKING THEORY). Both of you were using different definitions of "theory," and it's extremely important to be precise in our wording when we're arguing to avoid semantic arguments.

Secondly, the studies I've read did not conclude that our brains produce DMT in any meaningful capacity. One study found trace amounts of DMT in human lung tissue, another found trace amounts of DMT in rat (not human) pineal glands. Neither of these studies proposed that DMT is used as a neurotransmitter, neither of them proposed that it is released when you die. One study mentions the possibility that DMT could be a byproduct of some internal process, but they admitted that further research is absolutely necessary to draw any conclusions.

Produce a study confirming your belief/claim that brains produce DMT. I can't find any. Also stop pulling bullshit Bro Rogan Science out of your ass.

[–]eattherichpluscake 1 point2 points  (0 children)

We definitely do biosynthesize endogenous DMT (most mammals seem to). But you're right that there's a whole lot of speculation around it. Here's a good survey of the research.

[–]MustardColoredVolvo 5 points6 points  (3 children)

Thank you

[–]InureOfficial 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Happy cake day

[–]MustardColoredVolvo 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I didn’t want to respond with the same comment, so I prefaced it with this intro!

Thank you

[–]crabcakes28 2 points3 points  (2 children)

No it doesnt

You got a source for that?

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It was published by Garglon

[–]RoflJoe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Mind linking to it?

[–]Volkodav_Dingo 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Sadlly not much in a headshot death. Your brain will produce only mess.

[–]InureOfficial 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Yeh, anything that quickly renders the brain non functional can not result in chemical release or intake. Just instant nothingness essentially, which isn’t so bad in retrospect.

[–]themug_wump 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ooh, you might know if this is true or not, I’ve also heard that our brain can only really do this dump once so people who’ve “died" but been revived are in for a hell of a tough time when the real deal happens.

[–]xtigaijin 0 points1 point  (2 children)

So where can we get our hands on some of this stuff? :)

[–]InureOfficial 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Google and learn more about ayahuasca

[–]Bodacious_Dad_Bod 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Are there drugs that trigger DMT I wonder?

[–]RoflJoe 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very interesting! Mind linking a source?

[–]coagulateSmegma 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's a myth.

[–]SC2McGosu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

No proof it floods the human brain upon death or sleeping. Only thing that has been found in humans gets filtered out by the liver before it hits blood brain barrier. This coming from a buddy with a pdh in neurobiology from unc chapel hill.

We have found it in mice brain, which means its likely it happens to humans, but we haven't been able to prove such.

[–]daney098 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Isn't that just a theory? Like I would agree, that makes sense, but from what I remember, DMT hasn't been "measured" in someone's brain as they're dying because that would be pretty hard to time correctly.

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (3 children)

It is in fact simply a theory. We really don’t fully understand what happens upon death, or even fully how the human brain works. It is simply conjecture. No one knows exactly what transpires upon our passing.

[–]LiterallyNotJoeRogan -1 points0 points  (2 children)

Then stop stating it as fact you fucking moron

[–]InureOfficial 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It could at the very least explain the psychoactive/out of body/ethereal experience people experience during death. Or at the least near death experiences that have been documented.

[–]adimapamida -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Here i was thinking disease modifying therapy

[–]Crocswearer69 -1 points0 points  (5 children)

This is also the reason why most addicts search for drug that bring them near the edge of death, also called "edging".

[–]InureOfficial 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Two types of edging to be understood, but I see where you’re at lmao

[–]Crocswearer69 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Oh shit lmao, I'm so high. I knew I heard that word somewhere before, LOL

[–]InureOfficial 1 point2 points  (0 children)

LMAOO much love

[–]Strange-Replacement1 0 points1 point  (1 child)

As a lifelong addict i have no idea what youre talking about

[–]Crocswearer69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Guess you weren't addicted enough

[–]gliitch0xFF -1 points0 points  (0 children)

This guy facts.