What Is DMT?

Two people hiking

DMT is a hallucinogenic drug that produces a similar effect to LSD or mushrooms. The high produced by DMT is intense but short-lived in most cases. DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is found in several plants from South America and parts of Asia. The drug has often been used in shamanic religious ceremonies to produce more spiritual thoughts and visions.

DMT has been used for thousands of years in religious rituals, and it is unofficially known as the “spirit molecule.” Other street names for the drug include Dimitri, “businessman’s trip,” “businessman’s special,” “Fantasia,” and “45-minute psychosis.”

US Law and DMT

The United States has classified DMT as a controlled substance, and there is no approved medical use for the drug. It is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess or distribute DMT in the United States. There are no safe parameters for the use of DMT. Even so, some people use it illegally because of its religious significance or for the high that it produces.

DMT can be used in several different ways. Besides being cooked in a broth (known as ayahuasca), it can be vaporized, smoked in a pipe, snorted or, in rare cases, injected. DMT was synthesized in the 1930s and can be used in a natural or synthesized form.

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Effects of DMT

DMT typically makes a person hallucinate for about 30 to 45 minutes before its effect wears off. If it is cooked into a brew, as often happens in religious ceremonies, the user will get a lower dose of the drug but the effects can last two to six hours before wearing off. The drug works on serotonin receptors, especially the 5-ht2a receptor.

DMT hallucinations are strong and often involve distorted bodies or body parts and radically altered locations. One theory that has not been proven says that an unusual release of the body’s own naturally-occurring but tiny amounts of DMT could explain unusual phenomena like reported alien abductions or near-death experiences.

Side Effects of DMT Misuse

DMT is a bit different from other hallucinogenic drugs because it has not been shown to produce a tolerance. It still has a high risk of misuse, however. Some of the side effects of DMT misuse can persist for long after the drug was originally taken, making it dangerous to use even once.

DMT and other hallucinogenic drugs can cause a host of physical and mental symptoms, ranging from panic attacks and paranoia to seizures, dizziness, respiratory arrest and coma. Frequent use of DMT can cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) and mood disorders and can aggravate schizophrenia when it is present.

DMT and Addiction

While a person who misuses DMT might not develop a physical dependence on the drug,  psychological dependence can lead to misuse of the drug. If you are having a problem stopping the misuse of DMT,  contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake to discuss treatment options.