Everything You Need to Know About DMT, the ‘Spirit Molecule’
DMT — or N, N-dimethyltryptamine in medical talk — is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug. Sometimes referred to as Dimitri, this drug produces effects similar to those of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms.
Other names are:
- businessman’s trip
- businessman’s special
- 45-minute psychosis
- spiritual molecule
DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, which means it’s illegal to make, buy, possess, or distribute it. Some cities have recently decriminalized it, but it’s still illegal under state and federal law.
Where does this intense psychedelic come from?
DMT naturally occurs in many plant species, which have been used in religious ceremonies in some South American countries for centuries.
It can also be made in a laboratory. I heard it is the same as ayahuasca? Sort of. DMT is the main molecule in ayahuasca.
Ayahuasca is traditionally prepared using two plants called Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. The latter contains DMT while the former contains MAOIs, which prevent certain enzymes in your body from breaking down DMT.
Does it really exist endogenously inside your head? No one knows for sure.
There are experts that believe that his powerful psychedelic, DMT is produced inside the pineal gland, at it releases when we dream.
Others believe it’s released during birth and death. Some go further to say this release of DMT at death may be responsible for those mystical near-death experiences you sometimes hear about.
What does DMT feel like?
Similar to other drugs, especially psychedelics like magic mushrooms, DMT can affect people differently. Some enjoy the experience and see an expansion of the mind, more caring and in touch with a spiritual side. Others find the experience frightening, scary, and overwhelming.
As far as its psychoactive effects, people have described feeling like they’re traveling at warp speed through a tunnel of bright lights and shapes. Others describe having an out-of-body experience and feeling like they’ve changed into something else.
There are also some who report visiting other worlds and communicating with elf-like beings.
Some people also report a pretty rough comedown from DMT that leaves them feeling unsettled.
How is it consumed?
Synthetic DMT usually comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder. It can be smoked in a pipe, vaporized, injected, or snorted.
When used in religious ceremonies, plants and vines are boiled to create a tea-like drink of varying strengths.
How long does it take to feel DMT take effect?
Usually just a couple of minutes, to no longer than 10 minutes. DMT has a quick effect.
Plant brews can begin to take their effect from 20 minutes to as long as one hour.
How long does it last?
The intensity and duration of a DMT trip depends on several things, including:
- how much DMT you take
- how you take it
- if you have eaten of not
- if you have other drugs present in your system
- generally, trips though last 30-45 minutes
Drinking it in a brew like ayahuasca can leave you tripping for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.
Will DMT cause any side effects?
DMT is an incredibly powerful psychoactive, psychedelic substance. It can cause a number of mental and physical effects. Most of these are what user’s are aiming to accomplish, but some are not.
Mental effects from consuming DMT:
- powerfully vivid hallucinations
- changed sense of time perception
* some people have lingering effects for days, even weeks after consuming DMT
Physical effects of DMT can include:
- rapid heart rate
- increased blood pressure
- visual disturbances
- dilated pupils
- rapid rhythmic eye movements
- chest pain or tightness
- nausea or vomiting
- Are there any risks?
- Yes, some of them potentially serious.
DMT can be risky for psychonaut’s that have pre-existing blood pressure or heart issues.
Other rare physical issues with consuming DMT:
- loss of muscle coordination, which increases the risk of falls and injury
- It may also be associated with respiratory arrest and coma.
DMT can cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) for some psychonaut’s. This is extremely rare, and generally only happens with people who have pre-existing mental health disorders.
Serotonin syndrome warning
DMT can result in high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can lead to a potentially life threatening condition called serotonin syndrome disorder.
DMT psychonaut’s and users who are also on antidepressants, in particular MAOIs have a elevated risk for serotonin syndrome.
If you use DMT, and experience the following, seek immediate medical attention:
- muscle spasms
- muscle rigidity
- overactive reflexes
- dilated pupils
- DMT can interact with a wide range of both prescription and over the counter drugs.
If you’re using DMT, avoid mixing it with:
- muscle relaxants
- LSD, aka acid
- gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), aka liquid V and liquid G
Is it addictive?
There is much debate as to if DMT is addictive either mentally or physically still.
What about a DMT tolerance effect?
DMT according from 2013 does not appear to have any sort of tolerance effect. As a result, there is not a need for increased DMT dosing to have the same desired effect over time.
Tips for DMT harm reduction
DMT is perhaps the most psychoactive, hallucinogenic drug we know of despite occurring naturally in plants. If you are going to try it, there are steps that can be taken to minimize your chances of a bad trip.
When using DMT, keep these tips in mind:
As with any drug, there is strength in numbers. Do not use DMT alone, especially on your first use. Always use a spotter. Make sure there is someone around that is sober who can intervene at any point.
Always consider your surroundings before dosing. Be certain you are in a safe and comfortable place for you. Ideally sit, or even lie down to minimize the risk of falling and inuring yourself.
Keep it simple and do not stack with other drugs.
Do DMT at the right time. Be in a positive state of mind prior to dosing. This can really help minimize the chances of a bad trip.
Know when to pass on DMT. If you are on any sort of antidepressant, in particular MAOIs you should probably pass. This is also true if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition.
DMT occurs naturally in nature and has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries, primarily in South America. Today it’s synthetic equivalent is used for much the same for powerful hallucinogenic, psychoactive spiritual search.
If curious about trying DMT, it’s important to take certain steps to reduce your risk for serious effects. This includes making sure any prescription of over-the-counter medications you take won’t cause a bad reaction.
If you’re concerned about your drug use, get in touch with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for free and confidential help. You can also call their national helpline at 800-622-4357 (HELP).