DMT, a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, is known for being a relatively fast-acting drug. But how long do its effects actually last?

It varies from person to person, but you can expect the effects of DMT to last up to 30 to 45 minutes if you smoke it, and for about 4 hours if you drink ayahuasca.

Here’s a closer look at the factors that influence how long DMT lasts and how long it stays in your system.

The length of a DMT trip depends on a few things, including:

  • how you take it
  • how much you take
  • your body composition

Synthetic DMT is a white, crystalline powder that’s usually vaporized or smoked. Some people inject or snort it. Any of these methods usually produce effects that last for up to 30 to 45 minutes.

DMT is also found in certain plants, which can be combined with other plants to produce the drinkable brew called ayahuasca. When consumed this way, the effects last for about 4 hours.

When DMT is smoked or injected, you begin to feel the effects almost immediately. People report they start hallucinating within about 45 seconds.

If you consume DMT by way of ayahuasca, it has to pass through your digestive system first. This adds some time.

Typically, the effects of ayahuasca kick in within 30 to 45 minutes depending on the dosage, whether you’ve got food in your stomach, and your body composition.

Your body metabolizes and clears DMT pretty quickly. One study determined that injected DMT reaches its peak concentration in the blood within 10 to 15 minutes and is below the limit of detection within 1 hour.

DMT typically has fewer, if any, comedown effects than other hallucinogens, such as LSD. However, some people do report experiencing a pretty rough comedown.

Many people describe experiencing an abrupt comedown within 10 to 15 minutes of tripping. Sometimes a return to hallucinating and other effects follows.

Anxiety, confusion, and fear are just some of the words people use to describe the comedown. Some also report feeling shaken and unsettled for days or weeks.

Others have said their experience left them unable to sleep or focus for several days.

It depends on the type of drug test used.

Hallucinogens are difficult to detect because the body metabolizes them so quickly. A urine or hair follicle test may be able to detect trace amounts of DMT from 24 hours to a few days after use.

However, most standard drug tests don’t look for DMT.

DMT is a powerful drug that produces a range of short-lived psychological and physical side effects.

Two of the physical side effects are increased heart rate and blood pressure. These can be potentially risky if you already have high blood pressure or a heart condition.

DMT use, especially in high doses, has been associated with serious complications, including:

DMT may also worsen preexisting psychological conditions, particularly schizophrenia. Though rare, hallucinogens can also cause persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

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.

People who use DMT while taking antidepressants, especially monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), have a higher risk for developing this condition.

Seek immediate medical attention if you’ve used DMT and experience the following symptoms:

  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle rigidity
  • tremors
  • shivering
  • overactive reflexes
  • dilated pupils

If you’re planning to use DMT, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a bit safer:

  • Strength in numbers. Don’t use DMT alone. Do it in the company of people you trust.
  • Find a buddy. Make sure you have at least one sober person around who can intervene if things take a turn.
  • Consider your surroundings. Be sure to use it in a safe and comfortable place.
  • Take a seat. Sit or lie down to reduce the risk of falling or injury while you’re tripping.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t combine DMT with alcohol or other drugs.
  • Pick the right time. The effects of DMT can be pretty intense. As a result, it’s best to use it when you’re already in a positive state of mind.
  • Know when to skip it. Avoid using DMT if you’re taking antidepressants, have a heart condition, or already have high blood pressure. Use extreme caution if you have a mental health condition.

Healthline does not endorse the use of any illegal substances, and we recognize abstaining from them is always the safest approach.

However, we believe in providing accessible and accurate information to reduce the harm that can occur when using. If you or someone you know might be struggling with substance use, we recommend learning more and consulting a professional to get additional support.

As with most other drugs, DMT affects everyone a bit differently. The effects generally last for up to 45 minutes when smoked and about 4 hours when taken orally in the form of ayahuasca.

If you’re concerned about your drug use, you can access free and confidential treatment information by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-622-4357 (HELP).