The mystery of the Pineal gland.
We will be diving into the mysterious and famous, pineal gland. What is it? Where is it? What in the world does it do? I will be going into detail about this tiny structure within the brain. First, what is it? It is a small gland, in the shape of a pinecone, in the center of the brain. It’s shape is where it’s name originated. Like many portions of the brain, it has a job to do. It’s main squeeze, melatonin, is it’s only product. What is melatonin? Not to be confused with melanin, which is associated with pigment, melatonin is what regulates circadian rhythm. Simply put, it helps you regulate daily rhythm such as sleep and being awake.
If I may stop for a moment and point out that the pineal gland actually does possess tissue that react to light, which is why it’s called the “third eye” and other animals have what’s known as a parietal eye. This is located in the center of the two existing eyes and is sensitive to light and dark. A parietal eye does not form images, however it has retina and lens, though crude. Though this formation is not visible when studying our pineal gland, it is more likely to be an analogous formation, similar to the tail which most do not possess, yet there is bones for it in the sacrum.
Melatonin is also known to regulate the reproductive hormones associated with arousal and proper function of reproductive organs. Outside of these facts, we know extraordinarily little about the strange little gland. A 2016 study may have linked it’s production of melatonin to be a safe guard in cardiovascular health, though it hasn’t been entirely proven.
What else can this strange gland do for humans? It’s possible that it may dictate risks for mood disorders, in that lower pineal gland volume may result in the increased chance of serious mood disorders such as schizophrenia. In addition to mood disorders, it may also indicate that the health of your pineal gland may increase or decrease chances of cellular damage and cancer. The culprit has been named. The name of the hormone that might be up to all this “protection” is Melatonin. Even being cited to inhibit tumors in cancer patients. Though promising, more research is still needed.
To dive further, one citation indicates that this tiny pinecone structure connects the endocrine system with the nervous system, in that it translates nerve signals into hormonal signals. Creating a nerves signal, into a hormonal signal to a set location in the body.
That can’t be all it does, right? Science is not entirely sure what else it is able to do. It is said, though not entirely proven, to secrete dimethyl tryptamine. If you don’t know what that is, then I will explain.
“DMT” or dimethyl tryptamine is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is produced in most living creatures. It is postulated to be created in the pineal gland, but if that is the case, we cannot observe such a secretion. It is also said to be “the spirit molecule”, though this also has not been scientifically proven either. What is DMT and what does it do? As I mentioned, it is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound, that is associated with lucid dreams, and said to be excreted at time of death.
If I may for a moment. -Deep breath-. I would like to add that knowing this, I would have to say those who “died” and came back from their “out of body experience” may not have been what it appeared. I’m not disproving their experience, but if DMT is to be produced in our brains naturally at the time of death,(as is posited by science) it is easy for me to assume that it’s most likely due to DMT, and not a spiritual experience. I am not the only person who believes this to be true. What does DMT do to the body? It is a short lived but intense high with visual hallucinations. It is interesting that most who have an “out of body experience” say they are able to see what’s happening to their body without inhabiting it. Could it be that pesky third eye at work?
This essay has been extremely difficult to gather information and citations for, because this strange gland is so misunderstood. If you think about it, so is the brain itself. The entire structure is a machine that has been taken apart and researched, yet little is still known. The links below go into more detail about the known and unknowns of the pineal gland.