DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug that occurs naturally in many plants and animals. It is also referred to as the “spirit molecule” due to the intense psychedelic experience.
Although lesser known than other psychedelics such as LSD or magic mushrooms, DMT produces a brief but intense visual and auditory hallucinogenic experience.
DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States; this means that it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute the drug. The substance has a high potential for abuse, no recognized medical use, and a lack of accepted safety parameters for the use of the drug.
DMT has no approved medical use in the United States. but can be used by researchers under a Schedule I research registration that requires approval from both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Despite its illegal status, DMT is used in some religious ceremonies and various settings for an “awakening” or to obtain deep spiritual insight.
Fast facts on DMT
Here are some key points about DMT. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- DMT has been used as a drug for thousands of years.
- Use of the drug as part of shamanic ritual is common in South America.
- Side effects include powerful hallucinations.
- Due to the nature of the drug, DMT is known as the “spirit molecule.”
DMT is a white crystalline powder that is derived from certain plants found in Mexico, South America, and parts of Asia, such as Psychotria viridis and Banisteriopsis caapi.
It is typically consumed in the following ways:
- vaporized or smoked in a pipe
- consumed orally in brews like ayahuasca
- snorted or injected on rare occasions
The chemical root structure of DMT is similar to the anti-migraine drug sumatriptan, and it acts as a non-selective agonist at most or all of the serotonin receptors, particularly at the serotonin 5-ht2a receptor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a large effect on the majority of our brain cells.
There is some evidence that DMT is also produced endogenously, in other words, it is produced naturally in the body, specifically in the pineal gland in the brain.
When smoked, the average dose of DMT is believed to be somewhere between 30 to 150 milligrams (mg), and the onset of action can be felt almost instantly. The effects peak and plateau for 3 to 5 minutes, and gradually drop off with the duration of effect totaling 30 to 45 minutes.
When consumed as a brew, the dose is between 35 to 75 mg. Effects begin after 30 to 45 minutes, peak after 2 to 3 hours and are resolved in 4 to 6 hours.
DMT street names
DMT is referred to by a number of slang terms: