N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT or N,N-DMT) is a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. Since DMT resembles the basic structure of neurotransmitters, when ingested, DMT is able to cross the human blood-brain-barrier, allowing it to act as a powerful hallucinogenic drug that dramatically affects human consciousness. Depending on the dose and method of administration, its subjective effects can range from short-lived, milder psychedelic states to powerful immersive experiences; these are often described as a total loss of connection to external reality and an experience of encountering indescribable spiritual/alien beings and realms. Indigenous Amazonian Amerindian cultures consume DMT as the primary psychoactive chemical (one that affects the mind) in ayahuasca, a shamanistic brew used for divinatory and healing purposes. In terms of pharmacology, ayahuasca combines DMT with a MAOI, an enzyme inhibitor that allows DMT to be orally active. Its presence is widespread throughout the plant kingdom. DMT occurs in trace amounts in mammals, where it functions as a neurotransmitter and putatively as a neuromodulator. DMT is also produced in humans; however, its production and purpose in the brain has yet to be proven or understood. It is originally derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan and ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT during normal metabolism. The significance of its widespread natural presence remains undetermined. DMT is structurally analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) and the hormone melatonin, and furthermore functionally analogous to other psychedelic tryptamines, such as 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenin, psilocin, and psilocybin.