DMT: What You Need to Know About This Powerful Psychedelic Drug

Published May 9th, 2022 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera
Updated Date: Jun 27th, 2022

DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug that has been used for centuries by various cultures for religious ceremonies and spiritual purposes.

DMT is a naturally occurring compound, and it is thought that DMT is released during moments of intense stress or during near-death experiences. DMT hallucinations are often described as being extremely intense and life-changing.

In this article, we will answer all of your questions about DMT so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to try this powerful drug.

What is DMT?

DMT is short for N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, and it is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants and animals and is related to other psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid or LSD, and psilocybin, which is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, and produces similar effects.

However, the hallucinogenic effects in DMT are much more potent than these other drugs.

It is also thought to be found naturally in the human body and to play a role in dreaming and spiritual experiences although it can also be synthetically produced in labs too.

DMT has both short-term and long-term effects, which can vary depending on how it is taken.

Shamans in the Amazon region have been using this hallucinogenic drug for centuries.


What are other names for DMT?

DMT is not the only name the drug is referred to by as it has a number of slang names including:

  • The spirit molecule
  • Dimitri
  • Fantasia
  • Business trip
  • Businessman's trip
  • Businessman's special
  • 45-minute psychosis

Is DMT similar to other psychedelic drugs?

DMT is similar to other psychedelics in that it can produce profound changes in perception, mood, and thought and can also cause hallucinations.

However, DMT is much more potent than these other drugs and its effects are usually shorter-lasting.

It is the active ingredient in ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca vine image

Do humans naturally make DMT?

In studies, DMT has been found to be produced by the pineal gland in rats.

There is also a pineal gland in the human brain and it is speculated that DMT is also produced there in humans and the mammalian brain of other species besides rats although there is no definitive evidence of it yet.

In short, it is speculated that humans produce it but we can not draw any firm conclusions until more research is conducted.

What are DMT hallucinations like?

The psychoactive effect of DMT can be both visual and auditory and are often described as being very intense and vivid.

You may experience some psychedelic effects such as a sense of euphoria, loss of self, and see geometric patterns and MC Escher-like repeating patterns. Your sense of time and space will also be distorted.

If you take DMT, it is common to believe you have gone to another planet or dimension and met other entities, which are also called "machine elves" or "DMT elves".

DMT has a rapid onset of 45 seconds to a minute and how long your experience lasts will depend on how much you take and in what form but most experiences, also called trips, last approximately 30-45 minutes although when taken in ayahuasca your experience may last up to 6 hours.

As with most psychedelics, you may be frightened or unsettled by your experience or enjoy it and find it revelatory and, due to the euphoria, it may have some antidepressant effects.

From around the web: DMT

Quora - Is DMT as intense as everyone says it is

Reddit Community - DMT information for newbies

Pinterest - Psychoactive Plants & DMT

How do you take DMT?

DMT is usually smoked, injected, vaped, or snorted but can also be taken orally.

When oral dosing a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, also called a MAOI inhibitor, is usually added as DMT is broken down by enzymes in the gut before it can be absorbed into your bloodstream which prevents the DMT from being metabolized and allows it to reach your brain where it produces its effects.

DMT can also be injected directly into your bloodstream. In traditional indigenous practices, it is usually brewed into tea from a plant that contains it.

What are the side effects of DMT?

Besides the psychoactive effects listed above for when you hallucinate, there are other physical and mental side effects that you may experience when taking DMT which are similar to other psychedelic drugs. These include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Rapid rhythmic eye movements

Although it is rare, these side effects can last for days or weeks after taking the drug.

What are the risks of taking DMT?

DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug and as with all powerful drugs, there are risks to taking it as it can cause anxiety, fear, and paranoia which can lead to an intense and negative trip.

It can also worsen pre-existing mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and it is not recommended to take it if you have any mental disorders. Do not take DMT if you have pre-existing heart conditions, as it has the cardiovascular effects of increasing your heart rate and blood pressure which can lead to cardiac arrest, also known as a heart attack.

Other adverse effects and serious conditions can also occur including:

  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

As noted above, DMT may also cause hallucinogenic persisting perception disorder, also known as HPPD, where you experience its effects days, weeks, or even months after taking it.

Are there any other drugs that DMT could negatively interact with?

When you take DMT, it releases high amounts of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps control mood, cognition, memory, and numerous other psychological processes.

Due to this, taking DMT can lead to a serotonin syndrome disorder that can be fatal. It is also not recommended to take DMT if you are taking antidepressants containing monoamine oxidase inhibitors, the aforementioned MAOIs, as you are at a greater risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Other drugs that may interact with DMT include:

  • Alcohol
  • Other psychedelics such as LSD, mushrooms, and ketamine
  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Cannabis
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opioids
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid which is also known as GHB

Do not take DMT if you are taking any of these other drugs.

Is DMT addictive?

It is not certain whether DMT is considered addictive but it is thought to be similar to other psychedelic drugs in that it does not produce the same compulsive physical craving and use that other drugs such as alcohol or opioids do; however, you can develop a psychological dependence on DMT where you feel like you need to take it to function normally in certain situations.

More research is necessary to determine if this is true. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), you do not develop a tolerance with increased use of DMT like other drugs.

Is DMT legal?

DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States which means that it has a high potential for abuse and is not considered safe for medical use.

There are some exceptions to this such as using DMT in a religious context as part of the ayahuasca ceremony which is decriminalized or legal in certain localities in the United States although it is still federally illegal.

Is there any safe way to use DMT?

DMT can be dangerous and it is important to be careful if you choose to take it. Make sure that you are in a safe environment, with people you trust, and do not have any pre-existing mental or physical health conditions.

Do your research about DMT and be sure that you understand the risks before taking it.

If you do decide to take DMT, start with a low dose and increase it gradually as you become more comfortable with its effects.

Stay hydrated and stay in a safe place where you feel comfortable.

DMT can have profound psychological effects so it is important to be prepared for that before taking it and already have a positive mindset going into the hallucinogenic experience.

Do not take DMT with any of the other drugs that can cause interactions that are listed above.


DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug that has been used for centuries in South America that can cause intense hallucinations, loss of self, and a distorted sense of time among other effects.

DMT is thought to not be addictive, but you may be able to develop a psychological dependence on it although more research is needed.

Start with a low dose and increase it gradually if you decide to take DMT.

It is important to be in a safe environment and do your research before taking DMT as it can interact with other drugs and lead to serious health conditions, so it is important to be aware of the risks before taking it.

Stay hydrated and stay in a safe place where you feel comfortable while taking DMT.

DMT can have profound psychological effects so it is important to have a positive mindset before you take it to have a positive psychedelic experience.

References and sources:

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