Dreams... Each and every one of us has them. They induce fear, ecstasy, and happiness. But no one knows why they occur, or for that matter, how. This summer, in a flurry of reading and new ideas, I came upon a book called DMT:The Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick J. Strassman. In the process of explaining what DMT is, what it does, and the research that Dr. Strassman conducted, The Spirit Molecule sparked an idea in my mind that I have not been able to get rid of.
Before I explain my theory, I think you should have some background information on DMT. DMT, or n,n-dimethyltryptamine, is a powerful psychoactive produced in the pineal gland of the human brain. While the brain produces generous quantities of DMT considering the nature of the chemical, enzymes called MAOs (see MAO Inhibitor) found in the fluids that surround the pineal gland destroy DMT before it can reach the proper signal-receptors in your brain. DMT is produced along with another chemical called Melatonin. Melatonin is produced in higher levels at night than during the day, with its peak hours while you are deep asleep. Because melatonin is MAO resistant, it could quite possibly pave the way for DMT, allowing it to reach it's proper receptors. This is the basis of my theory.
I believe that our dreams are actually the subconscious hallucinations created by a flux in the DMT levels of the brain. Melatonin must allow DMT to travel through the ventricles of the brain without being destroyed by MAOs. The DMT might then react with signal-receptors in the memory lobes, creating hallucinations that have much to do with what we remember from previous experiences and our most secret desires. When woken from dreams, we are often in a sort of daze that takes a minute to snap out of. This could be attributed to the after-effects of DMT. Also, psychoactives are known to cause negative states called bad trips. This might explain nightmares.
There are many things that dreams and trips have in common. Whether or not you believe you are an unwilling user of a pychedelic drug is entirely up to you. The proof to support my theory is definitely in existence. If you are interested in learning more about DMT or any other drug, I would suggest getting information at sites like erowid.org (the god of all information on drugs). DMT: The Spirit Molecule is an excellent and informative book that I would also recommend to any of you who would like to know more.
Just a note: I do not encourage nor am I trying to promote the usage of drugs, I only believe that learning more about them is more beneficial than harmful.