DMT: What You Need to Know

When it comes to hallucinogenic drugs, people automatically think about LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote. Some with a little more knowledge of drugs may think about mescaline or ecstasy. But the fact is, there are many other psychedelic drugs out there and some of them are gaining in popularity. DMT is one of those.

What Is DMT?

DMT is the abbreviated name for dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound and Schedule I drug. First synthetically synthesized in 1931, it was isolated from natural sources for the first time in 1946. Since then, DMT has been found in at least 50 different plant species in 10 different families, and at least four animal species, one gorgonian and three mammalian.

Structurally similar to psilocin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, DMT is a powerful psychedelic. It gives users intense visuals, feelings of euphoria, and hallucinations. Often, it incites hallucinations of small, humanoid creatures, most of which are friendly, and has been coined “machine elf” for this reason.

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How Is DMT Taken?


DMT can cause intense visual hallucinations.

DMT is taken in a variety of ways.


While many people take DMT orally, it needs to be taken with a MAOI to realize the effect. When taken by mouth, DMT lasts over three hours and is often referred to as a slow and deep metaphysical experience.


Because it can’t be taken orally without another medication, DMT is used in different ways, the most common of which is inhalation. Taking it this way, the drug is short acting with effects seen within 45 seconds of use and the high lasting five to 15 minutes.

Injecting, vaping, or insufflating

DMT can be taken through injecting, vaping, or insufflating, which is blowing the smoking into another’s nose or mouth. This high is short and lasts around 30 minutes.


A brew made of different plant and leaves species, ayahuasca is used in religious ceremonies and for shamanic practices by the indigenous people of the Amazonian Peru, typically for divinatory and healing. Certain sects within the United States are allowed to use it.

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DMT Side Effects

The most important thing to remember when it comes to DMT is that it’s a psychedelic, and that means it’s unpredictable and can be extremely dangerous. Here are some of the side effects to look out for.

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia that can lead to aggression or violence
  • Seizures
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Violently ill with diarrhea and vomiting
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

DMT also interacts with different types of commonly used medications. This includes prescription SSRI antidepressants and certain over the counter medications. Mixing these medications with the drug can cause lethal reactions.

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