N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug that naturally occurs in many plant species. It can also be made in a laboratory.
DMT produces effects similar to those of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms. Some people refer to the drug by other names including Dimitri and fantasia.
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.
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Sometimes people use other names to refer to DMT. These street names include:
- businessman’s trip
- businessman’s special
- 45-minute psychosis
- spiritual molecule
DMT is the main active ingredient in ayahuasca.
Practitioners traditionally prepare ayahuasca 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. Many South American cultures use ayahuasca in religious and spiritual ceremonies and have done so for
As with most drugs, DMT can affect people in
Regarding its psychoactive effects, people have described feeling like they’re traveling at 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.
Other potential treatment applications
Despite its recreational use, there is interest in the potential therapeutic opportunities of DMT due to its effects on serotonin.
Synthetic DMT usually comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder. Sometimes the drug can have a yellowish or pinkish color.
People can smoke, vaporize, or snort DMT. They can also inject the drug, but this method has additional risks.
When used in religious ceremonies, plants and vines are boiled to create a tea-like drink of varying strengths.
The onset of DMT when inhaling or injecting the drug is rapid. People may experience the drug’s effects
The intensity and duration of a DMT trip depend on several things, including:
- how much you use
- how you use it
- whether you’ve eaten
- whether you’ve taken other drugs
Generally, the effects of inhaled, snorted, or injected DMT last for about
DMT is a powerful substance that can cause
Possible mental effects of DMT include:
- vivid hallucinations
- altered sense of time
Remember that some people experience lingering mental effects for days or weeks after use.
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
DMT carries potentially serious risks. The drug’s physical side effects of raising heart rate and blood can be problematic, especially if you have a heart condition or already have high blood pressure.
Using DMT may also cause:
- loss of muscle coordination, which increases the risk of falls and injury
It also has associations with respiratory arrest (when someone stops breathing) and coma.
Like other hallucinogenic drugs, DMT may cause persistent psychosis and hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). HPPD is more commonly known as “flashbacks.” Both are rare and may be more likely to occur in people with preexisting mental health conditions.
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 have a higher risk for developing this condition. Some other medications and supplements are also associated with serotonin syndrome.
Seek immediate medical attention if you’ve used DMT and experience the following symptoms:
- muscle spasms
- muscle rigidity
- overactive reflexes
- dilated pupils
DMT can interact with a range of other prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as other drugs.
If you’re using DMT, you should avoid mixing it with other substances such as:
- LSD, aka acid
- gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), aka liquid V and liquid G
Prescription and over-the-counter medications to avoid mixing with DMT include:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is unclear whether DMT is an addictive substance.
Small studies suggest that it is unlikely to lead to a substance use disorder, but people may develop a tolerance, leading to increased consumption in the future.
DMT is extremely powerful, even though it naturally occurs in several plant species. If you’re going to try it, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk for having a bad reaction.
Keep these tips in mind when using DMT:
- Strength in numbers: Don’t use DMT alone. Do it in the company of people you trust.
- 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.
- 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:
- are taking antidepressants or another medication associated with serotonin syndrome
- are taking a medication that interacts with DMT
- have a heart condition
- have high blood pressure
DMT is a naturally occurring chemical that’s been used for centuries in religious ceremonies in several South American cultures. Today, its synthetic form is used for its powerful hallucinogenic effects.
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 or over-the-counter medications you take won’t cause a bad reaction.
If you’re concerned about your drug use, there’s help available. If you feel comfortable, you can bring it up to a doctor. Keep in mind that patient confidentiality laws will prevent them from reporting this information to law enforcement.
You can also reach out to one of the following free and confidential resources:
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357) or online treatment locator
- SAFE Project