DMT is an abbreviation for N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, a chemical which develops naturally in the brain, as well as in plants indigenous to Central and South America. As a hallucinogenic drug, DMT typically takes the form of white powder. To experience its effects, people may smoke DMT with a pipe or brew it into drinks like Ayahuasca and yagé. Additionally, DMT users sometimes inject the drug, although this is less common. DMT is sometimes called “fantasia” or “dimitri,” and it is one of the least commonly-used drugs in the United States and throughout the world. Most people who try DMT have already experimented with other hallucinogens.
The Effects and Risks of DMT
DMT stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that causes feelings of happiness. DMT causes users to experience intense euphoria, hallucinations, and new perceptions of reality which people often characterize as life-changing. A DMT trip can begin instantly and generally lasts less than an hour when users smoke the drug. Users who drink DMT as a brew often begin to experience hallucinations that last for four to six hours after about thirty minutes. Some users report mild lingering effects that last for several days. On the physiological level, DMT can cause adverse side-effects.
The possible physical side-effects of DMT include:
- Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement
- Heightened body temperature
- Increased heart rate and hypertension
- Loss of muscle control
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or tightness in the chest
Although many users promote the “benefits” of DMT, the drug is not safe. In fact, DMT can substantially harm a person’s physical health and mental wellbeing. Since DMT causes the brain to release serotonin, high doses of the drug may send the body into a serotonin overdose. This condition might provoke seizures, obstruct breathing, and induce a coma. DMT can cause a person to die or greatly suffer.
While some DMT users have had positive psychological experiences with the drug, others have suffered DMT trips which they describe as confusing and terrifying. In fact, the psychological effects of DMT can be traumatizing, especially for people who are living with mental illness, especially schizophrenia.
DMT Dependence and Addiction
Unlike most hallucinogens, there is little evidence that DMT causes tolerance or any physical withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, researchers generally do not believe that DMT is addictive. Furthermore, there is no evidence that using DMT on a long-term basis significantly changes or damages a person’s brain.
However, DMT can cause psychological dependence when a person repeatedly uses it to escape reality. Some DMT users even consider the drug to be a source of therapy and take it regularly to feel better. When people use DMT in this way, they may eventually feel unable to stop using DMT and other hallucinogens. The limited studies on the topic of DMT dependence suggest that DMT users can develop cravings for the drug and experience psychological distress when they cannot use it. Someone who develops a DMT habit is more likely to suffer its effects on their health. Behaviors which indicate DMT dependence include taking higher and more frequent doses of the drug, gathering supplies of it, and spend more money on it.
DMT and the Law
DMT has been a Schedule 1 controlled substance since 1971. The United States government considers DMT to have no legitimate medical purpose and imposes heavy fines and decades in prison as punishment for the possession, manufacture, and sale of DMT. However, DMT is part of the rituals and traditions of several indigenous South American religions. In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot prevent the practitioners of religions which consider DMT to be sacred from using the drug as part of their religious expression. Nevertheless, DMT remains illegal for the vast majority of Americans. Anyone who is using DMT is risking their life and liberty.