Psychedelic Medicine


DMT Scientific Research with Dr. Chris Timmerman


Chris Timmermann, PhD, is a researcher at Imperial College, where he conducted the first neuroimaging studies of DMT in healthy volunteers and its potential for mental health interventions. He is also conducting research concerning the effects that psychedelics have on belief systems and the ethical implications associated with the mainstreaming of these substances.

In this episode, Chris Timmerman discusses what happens neurologically when DMT is administered. He talks about his research into neuroimaging and how the brainwaves change during DMT experiences, and how those changes can help elucidate some of the mechanisms of psychedelic states. He also breaks down the concept of cortical activation and how DMT experiences lead to a pattern of cortical activation that mimics that of visual stimulation.

Dr. Timmerman also discusses how DMT experiences are often compared to what happens to the body when it has a near-death experience. He explains some of the difficulties of studying these effects and how to ethically study the phenomenon of near-death experiences. In addition to his work on DMT, Dr. Timmerman also shares some of his research on the impact of music in psychedelic therapy, and how it can help comfort people facing trauma.

In This Episode

• How DMT interacts with our physiology
• Current scientific research on DMT
• The correlation between DMT and near-death experiences
• How alpha, delta and theta brain waves are affected by DMT
• Why people think DMT use can lead to tolerance
• The role of music in psychedelic therapy
• What psychedelic apprenticeships are and how they can help with healing


“DMT is incredibly unique because it is able to generate simulations of sorts. The level of immersion is radical, complete. People with their eyes closed, they feel kind of detached from their environment, but they are experiencing a world of experience.” [5:52]

“We developed a map of this DMT story for each participant. We found three main components: one there was a visual component in the experience, we found a bodily component [a somatic effect], and an emotional effect. And we found that these different parts of the DMT story – the visual, the bodily, and the emotional – had different brain signatures.” [18:55]

“There have been some animal studies, or very promising ones, in which not only DMT but also LSD and ketamine has been shown to have important properties associated with neurogenesis.” [35:09]

“The use of psychedelics by western populations is fairly new. We don’t have that know-how or that expertise like some indigenous cultures, has for generations.” [46:49]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.