Brief History of Tryptamines, Tryptamines are naturally occurring alkaloids found in a variety of plants and life forms around the world and exist in less than 1500 natural varieties. The basic element of tryptamine is the indole structure and tryptamine itself is an endogenous amine found in the human brain. Serotonin and Melatonin are two essential tryptamines present as neurotransmitters in the brain. Tryptamines can be also produced either completely synthetically or semi-synthetically.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is an active principle of various South American snuff, such as “COHOBA” and “YOPO.” It has been produced synthetically for a number of years, but its abuse has been restricted to a small number of dedicated users.
Psilocybin and psilocin are found in at least 15 species of mushrooms also called “magic mushrooms”—belonging to the genera psilocybe, panaeolus, and conocybe. If a seizure contains whole or parts of mushrooms, the examination should include a description of the shape, size, and color of the fungus, as well as information regarding the gills, spores, cap, and stalk. Identification of fungi is difficult and should be performed by experts in that field. The illicit trafficking of cacti which contain the psychoactive agent, mescaline, is also known. This drug occurs in at least three species of cacti. The most common illicit form of mescaline is produced as dried disc-shaped cuttings taken from the tops of the cacti and called “mescal buttons.”
Tryptamine use for recreational purposes requires only minimal amounts of these drugs able to produce evident psychoactive effects, thus intoxications, hospitalizations, and fatalities can easily occur. Tryptamine is known to be a broad class of drugs able to produce profound changes in sensory perception, mood, and thought. Furthermore, these molecules are not commonly detected by using general drug screening panels and for this reason, screening tests performed at the emergency rooms could lead to false-negative results, wrong diagnosis, and inappropriate therapies.