The DMT Drug (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a hallucinogenic drug, perhaps lesser known than LSD or psilocybin, that is found in many animals and plants. It invokes a brief but intense, psychedelic experience including auditory and visual hallucinations. For this reason, it is often referred to as the “spirit molecule.”
Per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S., meaning it has no known legitimate medical purpose. The drug is illegal to make, purchase, possess, or distribute. It also thought to have a high potential for abuse.
However, the drug can be used for research upon approval from both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the DEA. And despite its illegal status, is it sometimes used in religious ceremonies or to experience a profound spiritual awakening.
About the DMT Drug
DMT is similar chemically to the drug sumatriptan, which is a treatment for migraines. It is a non-selective agonist at many or all of the receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter that has a wide-scale impact on the majority of brain cells.
There is also some evidence that DMT is produced endogenously in the pineal gland in the brain.
It is found as a white crystalline powder culled from plants such as Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi, which can be found in plants in Mexico, South America, and some parts of Asia. It can be administered by being vaporized or smoked, consumed in a brew such as ayahuasca (a South American tea) and less frequently, snorted or injected.
If smoked, the average dose is usually somewhere between 30 to 150 milligrams, and effects can be felt almost instantaneously. Effects tend to peak for 3 minutes or so, and soon after plateau, and then begin to decrease. The entire experience typically lasts about 30-45 minutes.
If ingested as a brew, however, the dose is between 35-75 milligrams, and effects do not begin until after 30 minutes. The experience peaks in about 2-3 hours, and usually ends within 4-6 hours.
Use of the DMT Drug
DMT has been used for hundreds of years or longer, often in association with religious ceremonies and practices. The most common reason for its use is “spiritual insight” which many users consider to be a positive side effect.
Most new DMT users already have some experience with psychedelic drugs such as LSD, and obtain the drug online. Use is relatively rare, however, and in 2016, the Global Drug Survey found that just over 2% of people had used DMT in the past year.
Side Effects of the DMT Drug
Many of the adverse side effects of DMT are similar to its desired effects; it’s just a matter of the user’s perception of the experience.
Moreover, effects include intense and often very realistic hallucinations that alter the user’s state of reality, identity, space, body, time, and the world around him or her. Users may also experience a sense of euphoria.
Users often describe their experience as life-changing, or as an alternate reality or near-death experience. Sometimes these effects can be distressing or disturbing. However, when compared to top 7 hallucinogenic drugs list users often report DMT to have the fewest negative side effects.
Possible side effects of DMT include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Rapid rhythmic eye movements
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (oral use)
Moreover, depending on the user and the particular experience, effects can range from intense, exciting, and enlightening to terrifying. Mental effects may continue for days or weeks after consumption.
Risks of DMT Drug Use
Because of DMT’s close relationship to serotonin, users are at a heightened risk for serotonin syndrome, which can cause seizures and is potentially fatal. Persons taking antidepressants such as SSRIs are at the greatest risk for this complication.
Serotonin syndrome can occur when the body produces an excessive amount of serotonin, and the condition usually happens after the consumption of multiple substances.
Excess serotonin in the body can lead to effects including:
- Loss of muscle coordination
In extreme cases, the syndrome can result in seizures, coma, and respiratory arrest.
Also, the use of DMT could have serious negative consequences for those with certain psychological conditions such as schizophrenia.
DMT is not considered to cause physical dependence, tolerance or addition; however, it can be psychologically addictive, and frequent users report having cravings for the drug. It can also cause intense, frightening hallucinations and a break from reality. For these reasons, frequent users who wish to stop using DMT should undergo a medical detox to avoid complications and relapse.