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Created Jun 2019 | Updated Oct 2020


  • [DMT]

DEA CODE 7435: Schedule 1

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.

DMT is the abbreviated name for dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound. 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. Structurally similar to psilocin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, DMT is a powerful psychedelic.

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

DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic compound that naturally occurs in some plants. Trace amounts are also naturally found in the human body. It can cause instant hallucinations and the effect is short-lived. DMT is the primary hallucinogenic component of ayahuasca tea, which is made from the South American plant of the same name. In the United States, DMT is often available as a white or yellow crystalline powder. It can also be synthetically produced and goes by the street name of "Dimitri."

DMT acts on serotonin receptors in the brain. Compared to other hallucinogens, such as LSD, it acts very quickly when administered by sniffing or smoking. Some users prefer to use a vaporizer or roll the powder with tobacco, cannabis, or other herbs to be smoked. In rare cases, it may also be injected.

DMT produces hallucinations and euphoria. The fast onset can leave the user vulnerable. The specific effects include an increased heart rate, agitation, and hallucinations that can include body and spatial distortions.

Even small doses of DMT can instantly produce visual hallucinations and auditory distortions. Users can begin hallucinating within 45 seconds and the peak of the effect is felt in the first five minutes. Depending on how it is taken, the dosage, and the person, the effects typically last no more than 30 to 45 minutes. This fast onset led to its nickname as the "businessman's lunch trip." DMT has no effect if taken orally by itself as it is quickly broken down by monoamine oxidase in the digestive tract. For an oral dose to be active, it is taken with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which also produces a longer effect. This is seen in ayahuasca tea, which includes a plant-based MAOI ingredient. The effect can last for three hours with this mixture.

DMT is used for its psychoactive effects. The intense effects and short duration of action are attractive to individuals who want the psychedelic experience but do not choose to experience the mind altering perceptions over an extended period of time as occurs with other hallucinogens, like LSD. DMT is generally smoked or consumed orally in brews like Ayahuasca.

The history of human experience with DMT probably goes back several hundred years since DMT usage is associated with a number of religious practices and rituals. As a naturally occurring substance in many species of plants, DMT is present in a number of South American snuffs and brewed concoctions, like Ayahuasca. In addition, DMT can be produced synthetically. The original synthesis was conducted by a British chemist, Richard Manske, in 1931.DMT gained popularity as a drug of abuse in the 1960s. Administered alone, DMT is usually snorted, smoked or injected because the oral bioavailability of DMT is very poor.

If you haven't heard of DMT yet you might soon:
Drug researchers have found evidence that a hallucinogenic compound used in shamanic rituals in the Amazon is growing in popularity. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the active ingredient in ayahuasca, a plant-based mixture, can also be used by itself, often by smoking it. The use of ayahuasca itself has been on the rise over the last decade. The drug first came to the attention of Western scientists in 1851, but Amazonian tribes have probably used it as a medicine and religious aid for centuries. One of the plants in the brew, Psychotria viridis, contains dimethyltryptamine. By itself, though, dimethyltryptamine has no real effect. Indeed, many common plants contain DMT; so does the human body, though the body is wired to neutralize it. Thus the second plant in the brew - Banisteriopsis caapi, which knocks down the body's ability to neutralize DMT (It is neutralized in the intestines).

Do our brains produce DMT and if so why?
Among the presenters was Dr Ede Frecska, who spoke about how DMT has been found to bind to the sigma-1 receptor, which is found throughout the body. This receptor plays a key role in protecting cells from dying when oxygen is low, making room for the argument that DMT may indeed be released in large quantities during death in a last-gasp attempt to keep our cells alive. Extrapolating from this finding, one might be tempted to hypothesize that this sudden flood of DMT may provoke the mystical encounters on the border between life and death that are often reported by those who die and are revived.

Also present was Dr Jimo Borjigin, who reported on the recent discovery of DMT in the pineal gland of rats, adding weight to the claims that this small gland may well be the source of endogenous DMT. However, before the crowd could get too carried away, Dr David Nichols took to the stage to provide a dose of scientific reality. Explaining that the primary role of the pineal gland is to secrete melatonin in order to regulate our sleep cycles, he reminded the transfixed audience that we are yet to uncover any evidence of DMT actually being produced in the pineal gland of humans. Furthermore, the quantity of DMT found in our blood is nowhere near enough to actually produce any effect when binding to sigma-1 receptors, which means that any claims about the compound playing a role in keeping cells alive or providing us with a mortal psychedelic send-off are, at this stage, mere conjecture. Nichols went on to reiterate that one could just as easily theorise that endogenous DMT is nothing but metabolic waste, generated as a by-product during the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin or tryptophan.

Ultimately, it seems we still have more questions than answers when it comes to endogenous DMT, although we can at least be more certain about the effects of DMT on the brain when ingested. A recent Beckley/Sant Pau study found that regular drinkers of the DMT-containing brew ayahuasca experience a prolonged increase in many traits associated with mindfulness, leading to enhanced mood.


A popular and powerful psychedelic, typically used in two ways; either it is vapourised for a short 'breakthrough' experience, or it is taken in combination with an enzyme inhibitor for a long, intense trip (this is also known as ayahuasca or pharmahuasca).

NOTE: These figures are for 100% effective vaporization methods. Most methods are not 100% effective. Likelyhood of having a "breakthrough" experience increases with dose.

RouteOnsetDurationAfter Effects
Tripsit Factsheets
Insufflated:3-5 minutes45-60 minutes15-60 minutes
Oral_MAOI:20-45 minutes180-420 minutes15-60 minutes
/ smoked:
0-2 minutes3-10 minutes15-60 minutes
DMT Duration
10-20 minutes
immersive experience, open eye visuals, radical perspective shifting, profound life-changing spiritual experiences, powerful rushing of sensation, change in perception of time, auditory hallucinations, color shifting, hard on lungs when smoking, stomach discomfort, difficulty integrating experiences, overwhelming fear


In the 1990s:
Rick Strassman and his colleagues conducted a five-year-long DMT study at the University of New Mexico. The results provided insight about the quality of subjective psychedelic experiences.
Rick Strassman's Blog: https://www.rickstrassman.com/category/blog/


DMT has been used in South America since pre-Columbian times

  • DMT is produced in many species of plants often in conjunction with its close chemical relatives 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and bufotenin (5-OH-DMT)
  • Used as a psychedelic drug and prepared by various cultures for ritual purposes as an entheogen
  • When inhaled or injected, the effects last a short period of time: about five to 15 minutes
  • When orally ingested, the effects can last three hours or more if it is combined with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)
  • Taking a MAOI prior to vaporizing or injecting DMT prolongs and potentiates the effects
  • First synthesized in 1931
  • In terms of a scientific understanding, the hallucinogenic properties of DMT were not uncovered until 1956

DMT has a rapid onset, intense effects, and a relatively short duration of action. For those reasons, DMT was known as the "business trip" during the 1960s in the United States, as a user could access the full depth of a psychedelic experience in considerably less time than with other substances

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