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What is DMT?

DMT is the name for the hallucinogenic drug Dimethyltryptamine. It comes from plants in the Amazon which can be boiled to make a potent brew or ground to form a powder. It is also produced synthetically in the UK and comes in yellow crystals or powder.

How is DMT used?

People mostly smoke DMT, although you can drink or snort it. It’s also usually one of the leading active constituents of the drink ayahuasca.

Other means of ingestion, such as vaporizing or injecting the drug, can produce powerful hallucinations for a short time (usually less than half an hour), as the DMT reaches the brain before it is metabolized by the body’s natural monoamine oxidase. Taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) prior to vaporizing or injecting DMT prolongs and maximizes its effects.

Why do people take DMT?

DMT can produce powerful psychedelic experiences including intense visuals, euphoria and hallucinations. People who smoke dimethyltryptamine are rapidly thrust into an intense alternative reality.

Users have described seeing the face of God, visiting other worlds and having conversations with aliens. A typical experience is by attending a desert populated by large grey owls and of being able to speak to them in an unknown language. The trip doesn’t last long, but it is incredibly intense.

What are the side effects?

DMT hits you almost instantly, usually within 10–60 seconds. If you smoke it, the trip lasts around 5–20 minutes. If you snort or drink it, the effects can last longer. Lethal complications may still occur with orally augmented DMT, especially in ayahuasca as the dose of the active constituents is at best an estimate. Excessive undigested DMT may cause fatal respiratory depression.

Lingering effects and a general feeling of strangeness can last for a few hours, and some people have unsettling thoughts for several days afterward.

Other complications include:

  • Uncomfortable feelings in the stomach
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flashbacks
  • Problems returning to normalcy after an intense trip
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations frequently involving radically altered environments as well as body and spatial distortions

The experience usually ends abruptly, and some people take days to recover. They find themselves anxious, unable to sleep and can’t concentrate on a healthy life because they’re so preoccupied with what happened to them.

How addictive is it?

While it’s not physically addictive, dimethyltryptamine can become psychologically addictive, and users need to seek professional therapeutic help to overcome their addiction.

Can DMT affect your mental health?

Some people find just one experience has a lifelong impact on their mental health. Some experience flashbacks of the time they were on the drug. Others have even found it impossible to return to “normal” after such a powerful trip.

Most importantly, anyone with a predisposition to mental health problems can find that DMT agitates negative feelings.

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