Have you ever been asked “If you could have one super power, what would it be?”
Well here is your chance to put that sentiment to the test, step up dopamine. This neurotransmitter is not essential to having lucid dreams but it is essential to having confidence in the dream. Once more responsibility is paramount to this process here so read on carefully.
Let’s look at our model of lucid dreaming so far, one principle we can be sure of is that your experience in lucid dreaming is ultimately a product of your own beliefs and not necessarily your desires. You may want to fire lighting bolts from your fists (it is a dream after all), but that does not mean you believe you actually can. One might argue that by knowing it is a dream, there should be enough psychological leverage to know that the laws of physics can be abandoned here and one can do anything. On the surface this adds up but in the dream we are limited by our deep seated subconscious view of reality and it is not as easy to let go of as one might think. Neo only becomes The One when he actually comes to believe it himself.
Dopamine is just the ingredient we need in our neuro-cocktail to shift our psychological process favourably enough to let go of our deterministic view of reality. Dopamine has a number of effects on the brain of which confidence and motivation are most relevant to us as lucid dream technicians. This gives the dreaming mind the kind of faculties needed to know that this is a dream and the reality being observed can be treated accordingly. This has a profound effect on our ability to negotiate the dream as a proverbial super being. It becomes possible to fly with more certainty, walk through walls with ease, shoot fire balls, run up walls, you name it!
I myself recently wanted to rob a motorbike off a DC and just force fielded it to stop and took it (funnily enough he was quite polite about me robbing it!). Do not under estimate the power of dopamine modulation on the dream experience; it is one of the most exiting supplement techniques I have encountered.
Furthermore, the dream content can be subject to change when modulating dopamine. The dreams can have more of an adventure theme to them and one seems to assume a more authorative type personality to navigate them (at least I do). This can bring on some pretty scary type scenarios, including alien encounters and the likes which might, on the surface, seem a little intimidating but the confidence of the dreamer seems to offset this and it can make for some really fun dreams.
I have personally found my transitions are easier with this technique too. My confidence negotiating the transition peculiarities seems to fire me through quicker and I carry a more authorative mind into the dream.
Furthermore I seem to have something happen rather immediately in my bedroom rather than have to jump. I have had people appear in the bed with me quite a few times and spark up a conversation. I might speculate that this has something to do with the fact that dopamine supplements can be used as an aphrodisiac due to the effect on the libido. However not all my room mates have been quite so amicable, I’ve had a couple of hostile visits as well. I am currently looking into this rather peculiar type of transition as it has certain resonance with the details of what some people might have experienced as alien abduction. There is less of a warning before the impact of the dream and feels more like someone creeping up on me more than a lucid dream transition that I can observe gradually unfolding.
The supplement of choice here is Mucuna Pruriens. This is a naturally occurring plant that contains L-dopa. This is a dopamine precursor that can be absorbed in the stomach and pass through the blood brain barrier to increase the dopamine concentration of the brain. Dopamine itself cannot be absorbed so the precursor instead must be used.
However as L-dopa is prone to being prematurely synthesised into dopamine before crossing the blood brain barrier, it needs to be combined with another substance to prevent this form occurring.
Parkinson’s disease is condition whereby a reduction of dopamine production in the body causes a deterioration of motor function in the body leading to restricted movement. L-dopa is needed in relatively high doses to treat this condition and therefore the premature conversion needs to be counteracted. In this case a substance known as Carbidopa is used to counteract this effect. The problem with Carbidopa is that it can have pretty noticeable side effects and for our purpose as LD enthusiasts, it is best avoided. Fortunately, Mucuna Pruriens has a built-in counteracting activity in the plant that can prevent the premature synthesis without triggering any side effects. This makes it a safe and useful tool for lucid dreaming.
If Vitamin B6 is in the digestive tract, it will cause premature synthesis of L-dopa into dopamine so if one is taking any other kind of supplement in their diet that may predispose them to higher levels of B6, the effects of Mucuna Pruriens may be limited or perhaps not noticeable at all.
Mucuna Pruriens is available either as a seed from or standardised extracts. The extracts are preferable as the dosage can vary with the seeds. The extracts are available as a 10%, 30% and 50% form and I would recommend the 10%. The reason is simply that the compounds that exist naturally in the Mucuna Pruriens to mimic the Carbidopa, preventing premature synthesis of dopamine, lose their efficiency at the higher percentages.
The dose used is 100-200mg taken at WBTB time, though there are some technicians that take some before bed too to fire up the plasma concentration. As there is some evidence to suggest that REM can be suppressed by larger plasma concentrations, I remain apprehensive about this method though I am currently investigating it.
I have also recently been toying with a polyphenol called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This is available as Green Tea Extract (GTE) and it acts in a similar fashion to Galantamine. It is a re uptake inhibitor, which means it prevents the breakdown of a neurochemical to allow it to stay in the body longer. The chemical in this case is dopamine. The overall effect is to allow higher levels of dopamine to be sustained during the dream process.
The dose I am personally using is a 15% polyphenol 375 mg pill. This works out at approx 45 mg EGCG. I take one to two pills depending on whether or not I am mixing it with Mucuna Pruriens or not. I would like to take 45mg EGCG with 100mg Mucuna Pruriens or 90mg on its own.
Watch out for any caffeine content in the green tea product you use as this can trigger insomnia in some cases. I am currently investigating caffeine as a stimulant to fire up the cognitive function.
Both of these are supplements that I am very fond of but need I not remind you to take care with these as well as any other supplements and be mindful of how you approach them as we all react differently to any given substance. Even something as simple as a nut can be tasty to one consumer and potentially lethal to another. It is best as always to start with a very low dose and increase gradually to your own optimum level. The L-Dopa supplement approach is something I would normally only recommend to more experienced dreamers and I cannot stress enough that any medical concerns should be thoroughly investigated prior to the engagement of any supplement.
Side effects of either can include over stimulation, increased body temperature and insomnia. This is invariably due to using higher doses and I would suggest that the amount needed for OBE transitions should not likely trigger these effects and I have always had interesting transitions with either or both of these.
Insomnia can occur with any of the supplements used and this can be counteracted by using a little bit of melatonin. This is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland which in turn is powered by serotonin. Normally it is increased by darkness, whereby light stimulates the production of serotonin. This as outlined previously is what gives rise to our regular sleep cycle. Both serotonin and melatonin are therefore key in maintaining the sleep cycle and both suppress REM.
However a dose of 0.3 mg melatonin taken at WBTB time can help reduce the insomnia instigated by the use of any other supplements without suppressing REM. This is easily and cheaply available.