Sunday, March 30, 2014

The DMT Dilemma: Part I.

"Do Not Give Up, Or At Least Not Too Easily" - C. Hitchens.

In 2011 the Federal Government of Australia proposed changing their drug policy regarding plants that contain the illegal psychedelic drug DMT. As the law stood in 2011 the drug was illegal, but plant's containing the drug were legal to own, so the Government wanted to seal up this loophole. DMT or Dimethyltryptamine had been a schedule 1 drug Internationally since most countries signed the 1971 Convention on Psyotropic Substances which prohibited DMT and many other drugs. Counter to the usual procedure of finding a drug or drug-plant and ban it, In 2012 the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) withdrew the proposed ban on owning plants containing DMT. Why would they do this?

The prohibition of DMT containing plants in Australia failed, the answer as to why the law was not passed is quite odd. Most plants that contain a psychoactive drug are made illegal in Australia (and elsewhere) whether there is empirical evidence to support the policy or not. For example, the esoteric South American plant Salvia Divinorum was banned in 2002 in Australia, not because the evidence showed this drug is overwhelmingly harmful, but because it is our traditional drug policy to ban any plant's containing psychoactive drugs. Regrettably, the evidence is not important in these cases, it is naive public opinion and political vote gathering that forms most drug policies.

DMT containing plants in Australia only stayed legal because of a strange twist of fate. To the embarrassment of the Government, they realized that the National Flower of Australia, which grows all over the country - including government parks and gardens, contains significant amounts of DMT! This National Flower is the Acacia or Golden Wattle and manufactures DMT in it's bark - after much political discomfort and humiliation over trying to ban a ubiquitous National Flower - the plant remains legal and rightly so.

Thanks, Brady. :)


  1. The sad thing about this, is that every living organism on the planet has DMT. It's ironic that our body naturally blocks the release of this molecule, using an enzyme, when ingested. However, Shaman's and Tribe members of the Amazon seemed to find just the right plant to mix with, to block that enzyme from breaking the molecule down, to use for Spiritual Guidance. Nice to know nature, always finds a way, and that people not only embrace the idea of nature's knowledge, but hold it sacred.

    1. You are quite right (and anticipate one of my blogs - about the history of Ayahuasca or oral DMT in Sth America:). DMT is found in our brains and the brains of animals, ironically, as you imply, we are all guilty of manufacturing a schedule 1 drug...DMT is usually smoked, but oral DMT (aya/pharmahuasca) has to be taken with another drug that inhibits the enzyme Monoamine Oxidase from breaking DMT apart, called a MOAI. Ingesting DMT with an MAOI. The amazonian tribes do just this, when they mix Psychotria Viridis leaves (DMT) with Caapi Vines (MOAI), the get a 4+ hour DMT trip, this seems rather lengthy... :D

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