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Entheogenic refers to drugs "which provoke ecstasy [flight of the soul from the body] and have traditionally been used as shamanic or religious inebriants."(Ott, 1996) The term (as first coined by Dr. R. Gordon Wasson, Prof. Carl Ruck and Jonathan Ott in 1979) means "realizing the divine within"
Modern science has identified some of the active components of such sacraments, which has provided for limited research opportunities. Scientific research on these substances is currently very restricted by the U.S. Government's social agendas. Further research on entheogenic compounds coupled to dream state research will offer scientific advance in the study of dreams as well as cultural advances in understanding the value of entheogenic substances for therapeutic and religious use....
The striking similarity of entheogenic experiences to dream experiences tempts us to seek answers as to whether the benefits of dreaming are potentially linked to the benefits of entheogens. The molecular action of visions produced by dreaming is quite possibly very similar to visions produced by entheogenic drugs. Carefully designed research could lend great insight into the mystery of dreaming, the potential therapeutic value of entheogens, and the potential for neurochemical advances.
Entheogenic drugs and dreams alike have a special place in the evolution of humankind and its value systems. Profound musical inspirations and scientific discoveries of the past century have even been inspired by them. Our ancestors religious views and values were influenced by their faith in visions communicated by entheogenic drugs and dreams. In an age of environmental destruction and moral erosion, the knowledge afforded by dream and entheogen induced visions could not be more valuable. Let us hope that our culture is fortunate enough to open our minds and build on the mysteries our ancestors have explored for ages.
School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco 94143.
The visions of dream sleep are suggested to occur through a dream mechanism which implicates tryptamine derivatives as endogenous psychedelics. The hallucinations that occur in some schizophrenic syndromes are also proposed to occur through a similar, though desynchronized, mechanism. These compounds occur in the human pineal gland and are regarded as neurotransmitters or neuroregulators. A protocol for experimental verification is suggested.
Experiments carried out by Professor Patrick and Dr J A Gilbert of the University of Iowa on sleep deprivation showed interesting results. Strangely though acuteness of vision actually increased in all cases. One of their subjects even began to hallucinate on the third night of deprivation. When allowed to sleep after ninety hours, the subjects did so readily and slept very deeply, showing increased time in REM sleep. If a subject is deprived of REM sleep, for example, by waking him/her every time he comes near to it, then the subject will spend more time in REM the next time they sleep. Although sleep deprivation is not as permanently injurious in humans as in young dogs, it still has serious effects.
Schizophrenic-like reactions include illusions, delusions, and hallucinations, disturbances in thinking, and unprovoked emotion, such as laughter. These types of reactions are some of the most commonly reported experience during extended periods of sleep loss. Visual hallucinations have been observed in other experiments as well. Examples of these include the perception of tile squares to be pulsating and growing darker and larger, mistaking a desk for a water fountain, and the floor of the lab “appearing to be covered by a layer of shimmering water”. The frequency of these hallucinations may increase with sleep deprivation. A number of stages of visual hallucinations have been identified. These include identifying a disturbed perception, labeling a hallucination with no doubt as to its reality (i.e., being sure the hallucination is not real) labelling a hallucination with doubt as to its reality, and labeling and believing in a misperception (which is the true definition of a hallucination).
Several speculative hypotheses suggest that endogenous '___', produced in the human brain, is involved in certain psychological and neurological states. As '___' is naturally produced in small amounts in the brains and other tissues of humans, and other mammals, some believe it plays a role in promoting the visual effects of natural dreaming, and also near-death experiences and other mystical states. A biochemical mechanism for this was proposed by the medical researcher JC Callaway, who suggested in 1988 that '___' might be connected with visual dream phenomena, where brain '___' levels are periodically elevated to induce visual dreaming and possibly other natural states of mind. 
Dr. Rick Strassman, while conducting '___' research in the 1990s at the University of New Mexico, advanced the theory that a massive release of '___' from the pineal gland prior to death or near death was the cause of the near death experience (NDE) phenomenon. Several of his test subjects reported NDE-like audio or visual hallucinations. His explanation for this was the possible lack of panic involved in the clinical setting and possible dosage differences between those administered and those encountered in actual NDE cases.
Several subjects also reported contact with 'other beings', alien like, insectoid and reptilian in nature, in technological environments where the subjects were 'probed', 'tested' and sometimes even 'manipulated' by these 'beings'
In the 1950s, the endogenous production of psychoactive agents was considered to be a potential explanation for the hallucinatory symptoms of some psychiatric diseases as the transmethylation hypothesis.
Ethical concerns do not allow for the testing of this hypothesis in humans, as the biological samples must come from the living human brain.
Writers on '___' include Terence McKenna and Jeremy Narby. McKenna believed '___' to be a tool that could be used to enhance communication and allow for communication with other-worldly entities. Other users report visitation from external intelligences attempting to impart information. From a researcher's perspective, perhaps best known is Rick Strassman's '___': The Spirit Molecule (ISBN 0-89281-927-8); Strassman speculated that '___' is made in the pineal gland, largely because the necessary constituents(see methyltransferases) needed to make '___' are found in the pineal gland. However, no one has looked for '___' in the pineal yet. It's possible Strassman thought that because '___' falls in the large class of chemicals called Tryptamines, which includes Serotonin, '___', Melatonin (a hormone the Pineal Gland does produce), and Psilocybin.