History of DMT (N, N-dimethylaminoethyl)

Image retrieved from Stephen E. Szára on October 13, 2012

DMT was first synthesized in 1931 by Richard Manske in the great wave of chemical experimentation that followed the discovery of mescaline at the end of the nineteenth century. At this time neither its effect on the human consciousness nor its prescence in traditional South American indigenous admixtures were known, and so DMT was forgotten until some fifteen years later when the snuffs and potions of the South American shamans became of great curiosity to the then burgeoning field of 'psychopharmacology'. O. Goncalves first isolated DMT from Mimosa Hostilis (= M. teniflora) in 1946 (publishing his results in Spanish), and further investigations into the plants used by South American shamans resulted in DMT being later isolated from both Piptadenia macrocarpa (= Anadenanthera colubrine var Cebil) and P. Peregrina (= A. peregrina) in 1955.

Despite its presence in the South American snuffs and ayahuasca, the psychoactive effects of DMT were not discovered until first reported by Stephen Szára in 1956. A Hungarian chemist and psychiatrist operating behind the Iron Curtain, Szára could not obtain LSD or mescaline from Sandoz so he synthesized his own DMT (after reading about its presence in the plants used by South American shamans) in the hope that he would find it to be ‘psychedelic’. After repeated oral doses were of no effect, Szára intuited that something in the gastrointestinal system might be neutralizing the DMT. Szára thus became the first person to recognize the psychedelic properties of DMT when he injected it into himself, and his subsequent research would publicize DMT’s properties to the rest of the world. Szára would later escape Hungary (with his stash of DMT) and then later immigrated to the United States where he worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, for over thirty years. He served as the Director of Preclinical Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse for many years until his retirement in 1991"
- from Tryptamine Palace, retrieved October 13, 2012.

"Szára would subsequently administer DMT to volunteers at the Central State Institute for Nervous and Mental Diseases, Budapest-Lipótmezö, Hungary, and publish his findings behind the same ‘Iron Curtain’ that was denying his access to LSD. After the Hungarian Revolution Szára fled Hungary (with his stash of DMT), and emigrated to the USA. He ended up as the Chief of the Biomedical Branch of National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he continued his research on DMT (with Julius Axelrod and others) until research in psychedelics was made virtually impossible after the Drug Scheduling Act of 1971. Among other achievements, Szára and his colleagues characterized the biochemistry of the first three psychedelic cogeners of tryptamine: dimethyl-, diethyl-, and dipropyl-tryptamine (DMT, DET, and DPT), describing their pharmacokinetics and effects. In recent years, Szára has argued that psychedelic drugs should be studied in a 'heuristic' manner and that learning the mechanisms by which they affect the brain may "serve as keys to unlock the mysteries of the brain/mind relationship".

- retrieved from 1956: Stephan Szára, and the birth of the modern DMT Era on Ocobter 13, 2012

"DMT was first synthesized in 1931, and demonstrated to be hallucinogenic in 1956. It has been shown to be present in many plant genera (Acacia, Anandenanthera, Mimosa, Piptadenia, Virola) and is a major component of several hallucinogenic snuffs (cohoba, parica, yopo). It is also present in the intoxicating beverage "ayahuasca" made from Banisteriopsis caapi, and it may have oral effectiveness due to the presence of several naturally occurring inhibitors of catabolic deamination."
- text from a January 1971 journal article by Alexander T. Shulgin, as reproduced on Deoxy, retrieved on October 13, 2012

Stephen Szára, DMT, research, USSR