The street slangs for N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) include the following:
- The spirit molecule
- Businessman's trip
- Businessman’s special
- The Rogan
- Forty-five-minute psychosis
What is DMT?
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a powerful psychedelic (a substance that changes mood, perception, and thought process) and hallucinogen that usually produces auditory and visual hallucinations and causes near-death experiences (NDEs).
DMT occurs naturally and is generated from South American ayahuasca plants, but it can also be made synthetically.
DMT that is produced synthetically comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder, which can be consumed in four ways:
- Smoked through a pipe
- Snorted through nostrils
- Made into a solution and directly injected into the body
Naturally occurring DMT in plants parts, such as flowers, seeds, and stems, are brewed to tea of various strengths. The tea is taken orally to experience the psychedelic and hallucinogenic effects as a part of spiritual awakening.
The synthetic variants work faster and produce the effect within 5 to 10 minutes and the effects last for 30 to 45 minutes. However, plant-based tea takes 20 to 60 minutes to produce the effect, which lasts for two to six hours.
Is it illegal to use DMT?
The United States considers dimethyltryptamine (DMT) a schedule I drug; this drug is not permitted to be used medically due to its high potential for abuse. Possession, distribution, or manufacturing of DMT is prohibited and if caught, the offenders will be jailed.
However, under the approval of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), researchers can use DMT in their studies.
Despite the use of DMT being prohibited, it is still being used for "awakening" or gaining great spiritual understanding in some religious rites and other situations.
- DMT has been in religious practice for hundreds of years.
- People use DMT for its hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects to gain positive effects, such as spiritual insight. However, users are unclear how it works exactly, yet they continue to use it as a part of their practice.
Is DMT addictive?
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is believed to not produce the same obsessive drug-seeking behavior as cocaine, heroin, or alcohol, so it is not classified as an addictive substance. However, further studies are to be done regarding this aspect.
DMT builds higher tolerance in certain users who take the drug regularly, just like addictive narcotics. Frequent drug users of DMT may develop a psychological desire for the drug to reexperience the effects caused by it. To attain the same outcomes as in the past, these users must take higher doses.
The effect of DMT on an individual is unpredictable, this makes it very risky to practice.
What are the side effects of DMT?
The effects of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) depend on the dosage and strength of the drug.
Neurological and psychological side effects include:
- Euphoria (intense happiness)
- Altered sensorium concerning time, space, and body
- Near-death experiences (NDEs)
Physical effects caused by DMT include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Raise in blood pressure
- Loss of muscle coordination resulting in falls and injury
- Tightness and pain in the chest
- Rapid rhythmic eye movements
- Dilation of pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- In case of high doses, DMT causes
- Arrest of respiration
The experience of taking the drug can be either thrilling or terrifying depending on the individual. The "trip" might be so intense that participants may find it difficult to integrate the experience into their daily lives once it has ended.
The mental adverse effects caused by the drug can last for days or even weeks after a person has taken it.
Effects of DMT on the brain
Hallucinogens work by affecting neuronal circuits in the brain that utilize the neurotransmitter serotonin to produce psychedelic experiences. The frontal cortex, which is involved in mood, cognition, and perception, has the most noticeable effects.
The use of DMT may lead to a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome disorder. Patients who are on antidepressants are at higher risk of developing this condition.
Serotonin syndrome disorder is a condition where the body produces more serotonin and excess serotonin causes:
The use of DMT in psychologically ill patients may increase the risk of developing serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that psychedelics naturally occur in small amounts in the brain. Studies found that the release of endogenous DMT may be linked to accounts of alien abductions, random legendary encounters, and near-death experiences in some people.
How to overcome an addiction to DMT
While addiction is a frightening condition, it is also manageable. The most crucial step is to accept there is a problem and get help. If a person is not sure what that is, where it is or where to begin, they should contact a specialized therapy provider and talk privately about any issue they are having to help plan the next actions.
The American Psychological Association reported that dimethyltryptamine (DMT) may not produce withdrawal symptoms in most users, so medical monitoring is not required. However, medical monitoring during the detox phase may be necessary for some users who experience emotional and psychological side effects, such as:
- Cravings for DMT
- Mood swings
A long-term DMT treatment program may give the support and care needed to help someone overcome their DMT addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that treatment that lasts 90 days or longer provides the best outcomes and results in long-term sobriety.
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Alcohol and Drug Foundation. DMT. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/dmt/
Michigan Medicine. Mystical Psychedelic Compound Found in Normal brains. https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-report/mystical-psychedelic-compound-found-normal-brains
Barker SA. N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an Endogenous Hallucinogen: Past, Present, and Future Research to Determine Its Role and Function. Front Neurosci. 2018;12:536. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6088236/
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