Monday, February 2, 2009

Human Placenta Contains Hallucinogens

The Legend:  The human placenta contains the hallucinogen dimethyltriptamine (DMT).

Status:  False


What is most interesting about this particular rumor is how it most likely began. You can picture the eager high school student doing a search on DMT when he stumbles on all these articles about human placenta and DMT. Whoa!

You'll find the same thing if you do a search, hundreds of website and articles about placentas containing DMT. Imagine a young, drug-involved student skimming through these and seeing phrases like, "...DMT in the human placenta...". Could be an exciting discovery, and probably was. So exciting that the young internet surfer didn't bother to read further to find out that the DMT in these articles was not the DMT being sold by his local dealer.

The DMT being written about in relation to human placentas is divalent metal transporter-1 (DMT-1), not dimethyltriptamine. There haven't been rumors about drug users stealing, drying and smoking human placentas. At least not yet.

Again fact being more interesting than fiction - minute quantities of DMT are made by the pineal gland in the human brain. No one really knows what this is for. Perhaps it is tied to our sleep-wake cycle, or to some component of dreaming. What we do know is that it is made in quantities too small to cause hallucinations.