Galantamine is a very potent supplement, aimed at the boosting of ACh (acetylcholine) levels and through it, promoting dreaming in general and lucid dreaming in particular.
The fact that galantamine can trigger lucid dreaming is a scientific fact.
In addition to its AChE-inhibiting action, galantamine is also an ACh agonist, meaning that its boosting action upon the neurotransmitter is a double edged one.
What are galantamine’s exact effects on dreaming though and how much should you take?
Table of Contents
- What is galantamine?
- Is galantamine safe?
- How does galantamine work for dreams and lucid dreaming?
- How does galantamine affect dreaming?
- Galantamine and choline
- Does galantamine help with astral projection?
- How much galantamine should you take for lucid dreaming?
- Product Reviews
- Study Proves that MILD and Galantamine Work Best for Lucid Dream Induction
- Galantamine May Help with Lucid Dream Induction and the Resolution of PTSD/Nightmares
What is galantamine?
Available under brand names such as Reminyl, Razadyne and Nivalin, galantamine is a medication used to support the memory, when affected by conditions such as mild forms of Alzheimer’s disease and the confusion that it brings about. While galantamine is not a cure for such diseases, it can be used to manage their symptoms, by improving awareness and memory.
Extracted from the flowers and bulbs of Galanthus caucasicus (snowdrop flower) as well as from daffodils, the active substance in galantamine can be replicated artificially.
Therefore, it is safe to say that the galantamine you will be taking for your dream enhancement, will probably be of a synthetic nature.
The acetylcholinesterase-inhibiting properties of galantamine have been known since the 1950s, though it is safe to say that mankind always had a sort of a “hunch” in this regard. A flower much like snowdrop has been described in Greek mythology, provided by the god Hermes to Odysseus, to stave off the effects of drugs.
In addition to Alzheimer’s and dream enhancement, galantamine is used for the treatment of muscular dystrophy, as well as several disorders of the central nervous system.
Is galantamine safe?
The problem with galantamine is that it is rather poorly tolerated by the organism, although the side effects it produces are limited, and they subside relatively quickly.
In regards to its safety, all I really need to say though that it is FDA-approved, precisely for the treatment of mild dementia.
In regards to dream enhancement, the supplement does not come with such an official nod.
A typical approach to upping the daily dosage of the user is to gradually move from 4 mg taken twice a day, to 8 mg taken twice a day and then to 16 mg taken twice a day, for a total max of 24 mg per day.
The user needs to spend a minimum of 4 weeks on each dose, before moving to a higher one. If – for some reason – the treatment is interrupted for more than 3 days, it needs to be started over.
While most of galantamine is metabolized in the liver, it has apparently never caused liver injury in any shape or form.
Galantamine is available in several serving-types, including twice-a-day oral capsules, once-a-day capsules with delayed release and oral solutions.
While rather frequent, the side effects elicited by this supplement are mild. Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are among them, though – as said above – these problems subside as the body gets used to the supplement (or to a higher dose). Other, less frequent side effects include seizures, bladder blockage, bleeding stomach and intestines, and slow heart rate.
How does galantamine work for dreams and lucid dreaming?
Now that I’ve covered what galantamine is and how it has to be dosed, it’s time to take a look at its effects on dreams in general and on lucid dreaming in particular. Let us not forget about astral projection either, because there are indications that galantamine may indeed be effective for that too.
Galantamine works: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that, but given its potency (as said above, its ACh-boosting is a two-pronged and thus doubly effective affair), care should be exercised with its timing.
To make a long story short: galantamine should NOT be taken right before hitting the sack. You do not want it to boost your ACh levels during your first 4-5 hours of sleep. During that time, you need to keep your ACh low, and you can accomplish that by boosting your serotonin, through 5-HTP.
ACh-boosting supplements, such as galantamine, need to be taken after 4-5 hours of sleep, to properly work their magic.
To understand how much of the galantamine you take is absorbed and how quickly it reaches peak levels in your blood, you need to understand a few concepts related to the way your body handles such chemicals.
Bioavailability is the amount of active substance in a supplement which actually makes it into the bloodstream and goes on to elicit the effects it is supposed to. In the case of galantamine, bioavailability is extremely good, at 80-100%, a fact that explains the relatively low doses required to elicit the said effects
Time to peak plasma levels describes the amount of time it takes for an orally taken supplement to make it into your bloodstream and reach maximum concentration there. From this point onward, the concentration of the active substance shall decrease, until it is completely eliminated from the bloodstream.
Galantamine reaches peak plasma levels very quickly, which means the body takes it up extremely swiftly after ingestion. What this also means is that if you take the supplement after 4-5 hours of sleep – as specified above – you won’t need to wait too much for it to enter your bloodstream and to begin boosting you ACh.
With that in mind, it is clear that galantamine is great for WILD (slipping into a lucid dream directly from a conscious state), and by extension, it can indeed be great for astral projection and OBEs in general.
The biological half life of an active substance describes the time it takes its concentration in the bloodstream to halve. In galantamine’s case, this period is 7 hours, which means that traces of it will be present in your blood as many as 48 hours after ingestion.
As I’ve already discussed galantamine’s mechanism of action, it’s time to take a closer look at how it acts upon dreams.
How does galantamine affect dreaming?
From my personal perspective, the effects of galantamine on dreams are unquestionable. Dreams become more vivid and easier to remember. They seem to go on and on too.
With that in mind, I would indeed recommend galantamine as one of the top supplements you can use for lucid dreaming. It works superbly in combination with 5-HTP (with the latter taken right before going to bed, and the former after 4-5 hours of sleep).
Due to the nature of galantamine, there are a few things you will have to bear in mind if you decide on taking the supplement.
Under normal circumstances, the dreams induced by galantamine are pleasant and very much enjoyable. As said above though, the active substance of the supplement takes some 48 hours to completely clear your system, which means 2 full days.
If you happen to take a second dose of galantamine before the first one is flushed out completely, a compounding effect will occur, which will distort the quality of your dreams too.
Piling up too much galantamine in your system this way will lead to some potentially nightmarish experiences, and that is something I prefer to steer well clear of. After all, as dream chasers, we are in the business of exploring an added dimension of life and not of torturing ourselves.
The way to avoid this problem is obviously to wait for more than 2 days after each galantamine use.
Another subtle problem you need to consider in regards to the prolonged use of this supplement is desensitization. Desensitization is essentially a coping mechanism on the part of your body, which adapts (gets used to) the supplement, thus decreasing its efficiency.
In early stages, desensitization can be compensated for through the upping of the dosage, but that’s a one-way street to total inefficiency. With galantamine, you can use Piracetam though, to counter desensitization. Coupled with responsible use, this approach can indeed work in the long-run.
Piracetam counters the effects of galantamine, so it should only be used after a lucid dream attempt. Using it beforehand will defeat the whole exercise.
As far as dream-related side effects go, galantamine tends to make me quite groggy in the morning – as I’ve already pointed it out in my Huperzine A piece. It definitely has a negative impact on the quality of sleep as far as I’m concerned. Whether this is a widespread side-effect, I cannot tell though.
Galantamine and choline
A supplement which works exceptionally well with galantamine is choline. Choline is an ACh booster, just like galantamine, though its effects are attained in a different way, one that actually complements the effects of galantamine, making it much more potent.
Indeed, if you are taking galantamine for dream enhancement, it is highly recommended that you take choline with it as well.
The timing on the two supplements is similar (they should both be taken after 4-5 hours of sleep).
How exactly does choline complement galantamine though?
There are three avenues through which ACh levels can be increased:
- through the inhibition of ACh antagonists (substances which break down the neurotransmitter),
- by acting as an agonist (mimicking the action of ACh)
- and through precursors (substances which – when broken down – result in ACh).
Galantamine ticks the first two of those marks, as mentioned above. Choline comes in and ticks the third one too (it is an ACh precursor).
Does galantamine help with astral projection?
Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, it makes a noticeable impact on the induction of the experience, which is the most difficult thing about it. WILD bears some similarity to the induction of OBEs, and as pointed out above, galantamine works great for WILD.
Added lucidity and control is always more than welcome in an OBE too.
How much galantamine should you take for lucid dreaming?
It all depends on how your body tolerates the supplement and on how long you’ve been taking it (if at all).
As a beginner, you should probably stick to the lowest available dose, which is 4 mg, twice a day, for a total of 8 mg. You can even go as low as 4 mg once a day.
Remember that unlike those who take galantamine for the treatment of mild dementia, you do not need to keep your blood galantamine levels up constantly. In fact, in your case, such an approach is counterproductive. Let it be flushed out of your system completely after every use.
If you notice a gradual degeneration of your dreams towards the nightmarish, take a longer galantamine break.
Galantamine is a very potent lucid dream trigger, which can generate much longer and more vivid dreams/lucid dreams than most of the other dream-focused supplements, especially when combined with the MILD technique.
The active substance stays in your blood for about 48 hours, and it elicits its effects by blocking the breakdown of ACh via AChE, inhibiting the latter. It also acts as an ACh agonist, meaning that its boosting effect is therefore doubled.
Galantamine is suitable for the induction of OBEs (astral projection) too.
Study Proves that MILD and Galantamine Work Best for Lucid Dream Induction
The fact that the pre-sleep use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like galantamine increases the likelihood of lucid dreaming while improving a number of other dream-parameters (called Dimensions of Consciousness – DIMs) has been known for quite some time.
Indeed, we’ve known about the cholinergic stimulation elicited by these substances, but we have never quite understood how all that resulted in increased dream vividness and LD frequency. What’s more, until not so long ago, all evidence concerning the dream-related effects of compounds like galantamine, had been but anecdotal.
While we still cannot say that we understand the underlying mechanisms of action of galantamine on lucid dream frequency, a study published on August 8, 2018, by the Lucidity Institute, Pahoa, HI, United States of America and the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Madison, WI, US of A, has finally delivered proper scientific evidence regarding the impact of galantamine, as well as a technique for the induction of lucid dreaming, known as MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams), on LD-frequency and dream vividness in general.
There had been studies done before, but the small number of test subjects (sample-size) and the actual methodology used, never really lent them any scientific weight.
This time around though, the above said study was conducted on no fewer than 121 people, and it was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, well in-line with scientific standards.
The study proved once and for all, beyond the shadow of doubt, that galantamine does indeed promote lucid dreaming in a dose-dependent manner (meaning that the more active substance one ingests, the more obvious its effects will be).
In addition to proving the point they set out to prove, researchers have also worked out a LD induction protocol, which can indeed be safely called the best one in existence today.
Therefore, if you are personally interested/invested in the exploration of the dream world, this path is definitely the one you want to take.
Let us first take a look at the results of the study and at the methods used to collect the data though.
The test subjects were all volunteers, recruited by the Lucidity Institute, from a group attending one of eight LD training programs run by the organization. What that means is that the people undergoing the tests were people with an interest in LD.
Out of the 121 people, 63 were males and 58 were females. The test group as a whole reported pre-test averages of 1 dream recalled per night and 3-5 lucid dreams per year, with some people claiming never to have had such an experience in their lives.
The method used for the test was what one would call an “integrated LD induction protocol” covering all the best known LD-induction techniques, combined with two different galantamine doses and a placebo. The two doses used were 4mg and 8mg, while the placebo contained no active substance at all (0mg).
In addition to MILD and Sleep Interruption, some 94 of the participants also wore sleeping masks which provided them with visually delivered memory cues, to facilitate MILDs.
The Actual Lucid Dream Inducing Steps
The study participants were instructed to go to bed normally. After about 4.5 hrs of sleep (which covers roughly three REM cycles) there were required to wake up and to stay awake for around 30 minutes, keeping themselves busy with various low-intensity LD-related activities, such as reading about MILD etc. Upon awakening though, they were required to recall their night’s dream(s) according to the MILD procedure, and to ingest galantamine (or placebo).
After 30 minutes, they were required to go back to sleep, practicing MILD. The 30-minute timing was deemed the most beneficial for LD-induction based on previous experience, and it also fit the schedule well, given that galantamine would reach peak serum levels in 1 hour following ingestion.
Napping would follow the 30-minute interruption period, right up until awakening in the morning. Following awakening, participants were required to recall their regular/lucid dreams and to produce full reports on their dreams, as called for by the experiment.
A Word or Two About MILD
Given how significant a role MILD played in the above detailed procedure, taking a closer look at it is definitely warranted.
Defined/developed by the father of the budding science that surrounds the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, Stephen LaBerge, the MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming) method has thus far been considered the most efficient way of inducing LDs.
MILD is based on prospective memory, or the intention to remember something in the future. When practicing MILD, oneironauts focus on remembering that they are in a dream, when a certain anomaly within the said dream (called a Dream Sign), surfaces.
Dream recall is one of the basic tenets of MILD. Only by properly recalling dreams can one recognize his/her dream signs, which he/she can later recognize in an actual, ongoing dream, thus attaining lucidity.
In addition to triggering lucidity, MILD also requires the performing of a preset action sequence upon attaining lucidity.
MILD also requires a meditative state, which sees the practitioner focused on letting go of all other thoughts and distractions and concentrating all his/her mental energy on visualizing his/her return to the dream and recognizing the dream sign.
As such, MILD isn’t just suitable for DILDs (Dream Induced Lucid Dreams) but also WILDs (Wake Induce Lucid Dreams) which have the dreamer slip straight into an LD without falling asleep first.
Just how efficient is MILD – you may wonder? According to LaBerge, it is some 800% more efficient than auto-suggestion in regards to LD-induction.
What Exactly Did This Study Find Though?
The results were clear: those going through the above detailed routine, with MILD and sleep interruption, but no galantamine (placebo), reported 3 times higher LD frequencies than normal (baseline).
Those doing the same routine, with 4mg galantamine, reported 6 times higher LD frequencies, while those on the combined protocol with 8mg of galantamine, reported 9 times higher LD frequencies.
Side effects were mild and reported only by a handful of study-participants.
Galantamine May Help with Lucid Dream Induction and the Resolution of PTSD/Nightmares
As a unique cholinesterase inhibitor, galantamine has long been used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and lucid dreaming enthusiasts have also used it as an oneirogen – a supplement meant to bring about longer and more vivid dreams, while helping with the induction of lucidity too.
New research suggests that the snowdrop lily extract (galantamine) may also provide a viable avenue for the resolution of nightmares – even of the PTSD-induced, reoccurring kind.
How exactly does galantamine work, what makes it unique as a cholinesterase inhibitor and how exactly does it exert its benefic effects on nightmares?
The Cholinergic System
It has long been known that the cholinergic system is involved in dreaming. Therefore, to manipulate dreams one way or another, one needs to somehow tinker with this system, more precisely with acetylcholine.
By raising the levels of this neurotransmitter, dream recall is radically increased, while lucidity becomes easier to attain as well.
Galantamine – an effective cholinergic agonist
As a cholinesterase inhibitor, galantamine prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, effectively creating a surplus of the neurotransmitter, thus increasing its levels.
This approach to acetylcholine promotion is – for some reason – much more efficient than supplementation with acetylcholine precursors.
While there are several cholinesterase inhibitors out there, that could be used in galantamine’s stead, the snowdrop lily extract elicits some very unusual and unique effects, and it is therefore quite possibly the best supplement to consider in this regard.
Most supplements with effects similar to galantamine’s, elicit only short-term effects, in the sense that their therapeutic benefits wane after only a few months of daily use.
With galantamine though, these effects persist even after a full year of daily use, on account of the fact that the impact of this supplement is double-pronged: besides inhibiting cholinesterase, it also stimulates the nicotinic receptors in the frontal lobe and the hippocampus.
While some risks linked to the administration of galantamine do exist, these risks are minute and not of any particular concern, when compared to the potential benefits the compound may offer – not just for oneironauts.
Much more interesting than its effects on dreams and lucid dreaming though, is galantamine’s potential in the treatment/resolution of PTSD- and nightmare-related problems.
Thorough – albeit as yet limited – research has been conducted in this regard, and the results are indeed promising.
PTSD-generated nightmares are repetitive and they can grow to be quite life-disrupting for sufferers. Being able to somehow address this condition is therefore extremely important and potentially rewarding.
The way such trauma-induced nightmares are treated is through re-exposure, with the goal of allowing the victim to re-process the ordeal in a different light. This way, the human psyche can indeed integrate/properly digest the trauma in question, thus effectively allowing the victim to “get over it.”
The human reaction to such trauma is always bidirectional. On one hand, the conscious self tries to shove it all away, attempting to handle the problem by forgetting it.
The natural healing mechanism of the body is triggered by the subconscious ego though, which attempts to sort out the problem through the above said technique of re-exposing and re-processing through dreams.
Unfortunately, while dreaming, the mind cannot (normally) exert the same kind of control over this re-exposure as it can in a conscious state, therefore re-processing does not happen under optimal circumstances. This is where the unsettling nature of these re-occurring nightmares originates.
This also makes it clear where and how galantamine can help with the problem.
How can galantamine help with nightmares?
By inducing lucid dreaming, it effectively hands the dreamer the sort of control over the re-processing stage of the process, he/she would have while awake.
Furthermore, due to the nature of lucid dreaming, this type of nightmare “treatment” can in fact be much more effective than conscious exposure and re-processing.
What this increased effectiveness really means is that the pace of trauma integration is increased, and this pace is indeed one of the most important variables of this equation.
As any oneironaut will tell you though, things in the realm of dreams seldom happen according to a predictable, mathematical model. Therefore, galantamine alone is not likely to be able to have a meaningful impact upon PTSD/nightmares, simply because the frequency with which it can/will induce lucid dreams remains impractical in this regard.
To compensate for this shortcoming, researchers coupled it up with meditation and dream reliving, as well as with other more or less well-known lucid dream induction methods, such as the WBTB (Wake Back to Bed) technique.
Dream reliving – which is used in lucid dream-inducing techniques such as MILD – is essentially the imaginary reliving of a distressing dream, coupled with altered responses and eventually: a different outcome.
The results – though far from 100% conclusive – were indeed quite impressive, certainly promising enough to warrant more research into galantamine, dream reliving, and meditation as PTSD-treatment avenues.
How the Experiment Was Done
What they did achieve, was to show that – despite not being able to induce LDs on a whim – galantamine was an important part of the “recipe,” perhaps more important than any of the other ingredients.
The main objectives of the study were to prove that galantamine worked against placebo and that it did have a positive impact on the meditation + dream reliving protocol as well.
Three hypotheses were explored:
- the first one compared WBTB + galantamine, to WBTB + placebo,
- the second one compared MDR (meditation + dream reliving) + galantamine to MDR + placebo,
- while the third one set out to prove that MDR + galantamine differed from WBTB + galantamine.
In addition to that, a Dream Development Scale (DDS) was used, to establish changes in role switching, interactive behavior, reflectiveness, fear/violence, and constructive behavior within dreams. These are defined as “non-lucid, desirable attributes.”
Dream lucidity was also assessed, through a Dream Lucidity Scale (DLS).
The study unfolded over 8 days, and some 35 people took part in it, representing a diverse range of demographic groups.
The galantamine dosage was set to 8 mg.
The first and last days were used as baseline.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days focused on WBTB, while the 5th, 6th, and 7th days dissected the MDR protocol (+P, +G, and by itself).
In all cases, participants were required to wake up 4 hours after going to sleep, to perform various tasks (including meditation and dream reliving for the MDR protocol) and then go back to bed immediately (on baseline days) or 40 minutes later (on WBTB and MDR days).
Results of the Study
The effort yielded some pretty interesting data.
Based on the above-described tree hypotheses, every subscale of the DDS was separately assessed. Since actually triggering full-blown lucidity is not nearly as frequent as one would like it to be, looking at this DDS scale made perfect sense.
In this regard, for Lucidity, the first two hypotheses were confirmed, while the third was not, in essence meaning that galantamine was found to be better than placebo for lucidity-induction, though MDR did not offer any lucidity-wise advantages over WBTB.
For Reflectiveness however, only the second hypothesis was confirmed, and for Interactive behavior, none of the three. The same conclusion was reached for Constructive behavior, as well as for Fear/Threat/Violence assessment.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion: while the MDR protocol did not add much to galantamine in regard to most desired outcomes, it did have a noticeable effect on Reflectiveness and Fear/Threat.
As such, it emerged as the facilitator of a dream-based context, that promotes confrontation and the reprocessing of non-integrated trauma.
In addition to the obvious benefits of lucid dreaming in this regard, research has also proved the heightening effect galantamine has on what’s defined as “non-lucid desirable attributes” in dreams.
The methods researched carry still more promise in the fact that they are indeed very accessible to the population at large.