Ayahuasca compound changes brainwaves to vivid 'waking-dream' stateAyahuasca compound changes brainwaves to vivid 'waking-dream' state

Very interesting article: Ayahuasca compound changes brainwaves to vivid ‘waking-dream’ state

The latest study is the first to show how the potent psychedelic changes our waking brain waves – with researchers comparing its powerful effects to ‘dreaming while awake’.

The work, led by researchers from the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and published today in the journal Scientific Reports , may help to explain why people taking DMT and ayahuasca experience intense visual imagery and immersive ‘waking-dream’ like experiences…

Analysis revealed that DMT significantly altered electrical activity in the brain, characterised by a marked drop off in alpha waves – the human brain’s dominant electrical rhythm when we are awake. They also found a short-lived increase in brainwaves typically associated with dreaming, namely, theta waves.

In addition to changes in the types of brainwaves, they also found that, overall, brain activity became more chaotic and less predictable – the opposite to what is seen in states of reduced consciousness, such as in deep sleep or under general anaesthesia.

“The changes in brain activity that accompany DMT are slightly different from what we see with other psychedelics, such as psilocybin or LSD, where we see mainly only reductions in brainwaves,” said lead author Christopher Timmermann, from the Centre for Psychedelic Research.

“Here we saw an emergent rhythm that was present during the most intense part of the experience, suggesting an emerging order amidst the otherwise chaotic patterns of brain activity. From the altered brainwaves and participants’ reports, it’s clear these people are completely immersed in their experience – it’s like daydreaming only far more vivid and immersive, it’s like dreaming but with your eyes open.”



Interesting study.

Does anyone have experiences with psychedelics and mainly there affect on the dreaming life?

From my experience, drugs like alcohol or weed worsen my dream life drastically, leading to a narcosis-like sleep with little awareness.
With ecstasy it’s the worse. Then my dream life is smashed down to the floor and needs minimum a week to slowly getting back on feet again.

I assume with psychedelic drugs it might be different, on that field however, I haven’t a lot of experience, but would trust other’s reports, if it affects the dream life too drastically, then I would rather stay away from them.

Googled a bit and found a reddit topic with the curious question of taking psychedelics in a lucid dream haha. Love it!


The idea of taking drugs in a dream to achieve specific states of consciousness is an interesting one. I wrote a short article about that a long time ago: Dream Tripping: Dream Drugs as Metaphor.

The following section of the Lucidity Institute Lucid Dreaming FAQ may be of interest:


A number of substances have been suggested to enhance the likelihood of lucid dreaming, from vitamins to prescription drugs. There are few good scientific studies to test such claims. Lucid dreaming is highly subject to the placebo effect; the belief that something will stimulate a lucid dream is very effective! This is not to say that there are not substances that do, in fact, promote lucid dreaming. We are interested in discovering such and welcome observations from fellow dreamers. At this time, however, we do not endorse any substances for inducing lucid dreams. Many prescription drugs as well as marijuana and alcohol alter the sleep cycle, usually by suppressing REM sleep. This leads to a phenomenon called “REM rebound,” in which a person experiences intense, long REM periods after the drug has worn off. This can manifest as nightmares or, possibly, as lucid dreaming, since the brain is highly active. Drugs in the LSD family, including psilocybin and tryptamines actually stimulate REM sleep (in doses small enough to allow sleep), leading to longer REM periods. We do not recommend the use of drugs without proper guidance nor do we urge the breaking of laws.

It is certainly a fascinating area for research and exploration, under legal and controlled circumstances (obviously).


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Loved your article! Especially the part, that psychedelic drugs in certain amounts may increase rem sleep. If I ever try it out, I will share my results.

I had experiences of taking drugs in a dream as well. I haven’t had the fortune yet, to intentionally take some in a lucid dream. However, I had a lot of lucid dreams, where I would drink alcohol or smoke weed and my consciousness would be very similar, when actually taking the physical substance.

Taking a drug in a lucid dream… how intriguing!


May this inspire you, WaterDemon