What Is DMT?


N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hallucinogen found in plants and animals that is a derivative of the alkaloid tryptamine. DMT is a hallucinogenic drug used as a recreational drug and occasionally for ritualistic healing.

Because it is considered a classic psychedelic drug, N,N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT produces a calming effect on the body before giving an intense trip. This DMT trip or DMT experience is often defined as an alternate sense of consciousness associated with transcendence.

N,N-dimethyltryptamine users describe the psychoactive effects of DMT as similar to out of body experiences. The effects of DMT reach a maximum peak of 15 to 20 minutes, wherein DMT users feel the psychedelic experience.

DMT is a Schedule I substance as declared by the Substances Controlled Act. This means that DMT is illegal and has a high potential for abuse.

There are limited studies regarding the other uses of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and the impact of this type of classic psychedelics. Being able to study DMT is difficult because of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) approval required to further study these psychedelic drugs.

Psychologically, repeated DMT experiences can pose threats to a person’s mental capabilities and can be unpredictable in filtering the imagination. The psychedelic experience and visual hallucinations DMT produced may confuse habitual users about what's real and what's not.

Some studies also suggest that aside from finding this substance in DMT containing plants, endogenous DMT is naturally produced in the pineal gland of the brain in human beings. DMT has also been found in rat brain, as there have been small brain concentrations of DMT in rats.

What Does DMT Look Like?

N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) comes as crystalline powder in its purest form. Pure DMT has a snowflake-like consistency when placed under a microscope. While DMT is generally clear, vaporized DMT looks like crystal.

The impure counterparts of DMT are yellow and brown with the texture of wax when placed in water. These colors indicate impurities of plant fat that are then mixed with traces of DMT.

Colored variations of the drug (purple, pink, and amber red) suggest that it is not purified and can pose harmful effects if taken. These hues hint at the presence of lye in the substance that can do damage to the lungs.

Synthetic DMT, on the other hand, may also appear as a crystalline powder that is white in color.DMTcan also come in pink or yellow depending on the DMT production process.

Scientific Names of DMT

  • 3-(2-dimethylaminoethyl)-indole
  • Desoxybufotenine
  • N,N-dimethyltryptamine

Street Names of DMT

N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is also known by street names used by dealers who trade in illegal drugs.

  • Ayahuasca
  • Business trip
  • Dimitri
  • Fantasia
  • Forty-Five-Minute-Psychosis
  • Nigerine

How Does DMT Work?

The body reacts to N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in the same hallucinogenic way as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). Like in other hallucinogenic drugs, a DMT experience can cause a user to have kaleidoscopic displays of technicolor abstract images, auditory hallucinations, changes in visual perception, and altering temperatures of heat and cold.

Once N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) enters the system, DMT acts on the serotonin receptors in the human brain and changes the way our decisions are affected by emotional memories.

DMT Drug abuse

Another part of the central nervous system that feels the impact of these psychoactive drugs is the neocortex. This part of the human brain is responsible for memory, reasoning, and decision-making.

To simplify, DMT affects parts of the human brain and once the DMT is absorbed by the body, the user encounters a psychedelic experience characterized by transient states of anxiety and euphoria that can happen either simultaneously or at the same time.

These heightened states of DMT experiences become more intense at higher doses of these psychoactive drugs. Most users claim out of body experiences and “interactions” with beings of another existence such as entities and aliens that take the form of animals and objects.

How Is DMT Used?

There are three ways of taking N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT): inhalation, injection, and orally with liquids.

Inhaling or snorting the crystalline powder is the most common form of DMT administration. Light doses of these psychoactive drugs come in 20mg of the crushed substance - with the median dose being up until 40 mg. When a DMT user reaches above 60mg, there is a risk of overdose.

DMT administration through oral intake creates the least psychedelic experience so users usually resort to either smoking or inhaling.

On its own, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) alkaloids inhibit the breakdown of its monoamine oxidase enzyme and therefore do not do anything to the body. Consequently, to be effective when taken orally, DMT must be ingested with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

The best example of this method of DMT administration is through the intake of ayahuasca, an MAOI that makes the DMT orally active. When mixed with herbs, it can be taken as a brew (ayahuasca) or as an infused cigarette. Taking ayahuasca brew was common in indigenous populations in South America as a ritualistic practice.

N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) concentrations in smoking preparations are strong, ranging from 29 to 36mg. These DMT concentrations vary differently, depending on the tolerance of the user.

When DMT is injected, the user's experience with it begins quickly. DMT's subjective effects have a rapid onset with its peak intensity happening in just 2 to 5 minutes. After that, the effects slowly weaken until they are no longer noticeable after about 30 minutes.

When DMT is injected, the subjective effects have a rapid onset, reaching peak intensity after about 2–5 min and subsiding thereafter, with negligible effects felt after about 30 min.

What Are the Side Effects of DMT?

While the intake of N,N-dimethyltryptamine does not typically cause cravings for the drug, it does, however, create extreme hallucinogenic effects that deeply affect perception and cognition. These physical, mental, and even emotional effects may cause a person to want to have the DMT experience again and again.

DMT side effects

Short-term Effects of DMT

  • Altered visual perception or visual hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Circulatory problems
  • Chest pain or tight feeling in the chest region
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • High fever
  • Anxiety
  • Sensitive to bodily sensations

Long-term Effects of DMT

  • Persistent psychosis
  • Disordered moods and thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Visual perception irregularities
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
  • Symptoms similar to brain tumors and cerebrovascular trauma
  • Issues with the cognitive processes

What Are the Dangers of DMT?

A DMT experience can be profound and powerful. Thus, there are dangers of DMT that should not be ignored. There are also subjective effects that may vary greatly and cause serious consequences.

DMT rehab

It is important to note that even small doses of N,N-dimethyltryptamine can be dangerously potent and cause an intense DMT experience, so it is important to use caution when consuming this substance.

Below are some examples of dangers DMT users should watch out for.

Near Death Sensation or Near Death Experience

When using N,N-dimethyltryptamine, some users liken a DMT experience to a feeling of suffocation or a near death experience. This sensation of having near death experiences during a DMT-induced altered state is caused by the drug's effects on respiration. This DMT experience can be extremely uncomfortable and even painful for some users.

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Irregularities

Severe DMT experiences can cause rapid changes in blood pressure and heart rate which can be dangerous to those with pre-existing conditions or other health issues. People with heart problems should avoid N,N-dimethyltryptamine entirely as the risks could be fatal.

Severe Mental Health Conditions

Regular use of DMT can lead to long-term mental health side effects such as anxiety and depression. In some cases, repeated DMT experiences may also lead to paranoia and psychosis.

Violent Behavior

Because of the intense DMT trip that may even make you feel like you're having a near death experience, seeing alien entity encounters, and other out of body sensations - these experiences could lead you to act unnaturally and even violently. Your reactions could be unpredictable and could harm yourself and other people.

How Long Does The Drug Stay In The Body?

There are no standard drug or blood tests that detect N,N-dimethyltryptamine because it is metabolized by the body quickly. Regular tests can only pick up traces of common hallucinogens that are found in most narcotics and not specifically for N,N-dimethyltryptamine. If you recently indulged in some DMT experiences, below are some estimated timelines the drug may be detected in your system.

Urine - 24 hours

N,N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT stays in the body within 24 hours after consumption. It is recommended that urine tests be conducted in the next few hours upon taking the last dose. DMT passes through the kidneys and gets flushed out of the body completely.

Hair - 3 to 7 months

The typical duration for any drug in hair tests is 90 days. A one-time user of N,N-dimethyltryptamine can have a test after three months and traces of its active substances can still be seen. For those who take DMT regularly, detection can be for at least 5 to 7 months.

Saliva - 1 to 5 days

Saliva tests can detect DMT in the system after 1 to 5 days. The method of intake responsible for these results are not determined and only traces of the drug are found.

How Does One Get Addicted to This Controlled Substance?

DMT is illegal in most countries. Frequent users of these psychoactive drugs usually develop a gradual state of psychedelic high depending on how much dosage they take in a sitting. Once they take in about 0.2 mg/kg, hallucinogenic effects start kicking in.

Trip effects of these psychoactive substances come in different time frames based on how the drug is taken. Smoking DMT through an herbal mixture gives a peak subjective experience of 2 minutes and complete relief in 15 to 20 minutes. With drinking ayahuasca brew, effects can kick in one hour after it is taken and can last another number of hours.

The main effect that this drug has on the body is psychological. While it can be consumed as a psychedelic drug, there is no record of DMT being addictive. It can, however, lead to life-threatening physiological symptoms such as seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma since the drug is acting as a serotonin receptor that causes mental distortion.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?

The National Institute of Drug Abuse has claimed that users do not develop a tolerance for the drug. Symptoms of distress and dependency, however, can disrupt daily activities, and over time, psychoactive tendencies will be seen.

Examples of these symptoms are:

  • Inability to drop the habit of taking DMT
  • Spending unnecessary or excess time and resources to use DMT
  • Neglecting personal well-being and obligations to use DMT
  • Abandoning work and relationships in exchange for using DMT
  • Increasing dosage of DMT after each use

The only time that there is a threat of an overdose is if the DMT is injected inside the body at a significantly large dose above 60 mg. Long-term use can also manifest through psychological symptoms.

Treatment for DMT Abuse and Other Psychedelic Drugs

Treatment for DMT is not FDA-approved since the drug cannot be thoroughly studied. However, for those who are dependent on it, there are effective ways of treating chronic drug use and abuse.

DMT addiction treatment

Individual and Family Counseling

Drug abuse can be a daily struggle so recovering users need all the support that they can get. Counseling is held with both DMT users and potentially their families to identify the factors leading up to taking drugs habitually.

Cognitive/Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Cognition relates to the modification of thoughts and behavior. Consuming DMT or any drug after a long time of taking it can increase mood swings and depressive behavior. Therapy can encourage a positive way of thinking. At the same time, evaluating Dialectical Behavior Therapy focuses on life goals and getting through difficult times. Therapy relating to this suggests having to identify one’s inner fears and doubts.

Recovery/Health Lifestyle

This program will help build a patient’s self-assurance and with the practical application of living this through a lifestyle of eating and exercising regularly. Patients are offered a schedule of cleansing and socialization by rehabilitation clinics to get back to the lives that they left off before drug use.