Cirque Lodge > Blog > Addiction > What Is DMT?

What is DMT? In short, DMT (short for N, N-Dimethyltryptamine and occasionally referred to as Dimitri) is a form of hallucinogenic tryptamine drug that causes users to experience hallucinations. DMT has been known to induce an intense psychedelic experience that can lead to a range of different psychedelic effects and symptoms.

This particular drug is similar to other psychedelics, such as LSD and magic mushrooms. DMT differs from other hallucinogenic drugs due to the fact that it is known to sometimes cause psychosis and other negative mental health issues.

Is DMT illegal?

Yes, under US law, DMT is not legal, and it belongs to a classification for illegal drugs in the US known as a 'Schedule I controlled substance'. This means that it has been deemed illegal to produce the drug, to be in possession of it, or to arrange the distribution or sale of it.

According to current US law, the drug is not being used as a form of medicine that has been cleared by official governing bodies, such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).

Other than being legal in South America for small religious groups, its only other known legal usage is for research purposes.

Where Does It Come From?

DMT has been reportedly used in South America for many centuries by various peoples, including for religious ceremonies by shamans in tribes.

Interestingly, DMT is a naturally occurring substance that is present in many different types of plants, and one of the most well-known varieties that it is found in is the Ayahuasca plant. Other varieties of plants that DMT can be found within include Psychotria Viridis, Acacia Confusa, and Mimosa Hostilis root bark, to name a few.

During the 1960s, DMT was no longer just used for religious ceremonies or other types of private ceremonies in central and South America. It saw a surge in popularity in countries such as the US and the UK.

For example, many popular bands of the time were experimenting with psychedelic drugs and were openly expressing their experiences in interviews and within songs.

How Is DMT Made?

Other than being extracted from plants, DMT can also be produced synthetically in a lab. British chemist Richard Manske was the first scientist to produce DMT in a lab in this manner. By extracting the DMT from plants and then mixing it with other chemicals, it is possible to create the DMT drug.

How Is DMT Taken?

DMT is consumed in a variety of ways. For example, it can be smoked, vaporized (vaped), eaten, snorted, injected, combined with types of snuff, and more traditionally, it has been brewed and drank in the form of ayahuasca brew tea by religious tribes.

In terms of how it might look, DMT from a lab (synthetic DMT) will typically be presented in a white crystalline powder form. Although, as previously mentioned, its form is different when consumed in its natural state.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

The length of a DMT experience will vary according to which form it comes in. If it's synthetic, DMT's effect will likely be felt between 5-10 minutes of consumption. If the drug has been consumed via a plant in the form of tea, users can expect the effects to be felt somewhere between 20 to 60 minutes after drinking.

How Long Does It Last?

Once again, it depends on how the DMT has been taken. There are a few important points to consider. For instance:

  • How much has been consumed?
  • How was the drug taken?
  • Did the user eat before taking the drug?
  • Have other drugs been consumed or mixed with the DMT?

With all of the points above taken into account, in general, consuming DMT in a tea form can lead users to experience a high for anywhere between 2 to 6 hours, whereas if an average dose of synthetic DMT has been ingested, snorted etc., DMT affects the body and mind for a shorter period, and this could be anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes.

What Are the Effects of Taking DMT?

According to C.Timmermann (et al. 2018), usage of N-dimethyltryptamine can lead to a combination of physical effects, visual distortions, and subjective effects that people might experience through DMT use, and the effects of a DMT experience may be far more intense with high doses.

Some of the more common psychoactive effects of a DMT trip include a feeling of exiting one's body, visual hallucinations of having left the body and entered an altered sense of reality, or an alternative realm of existence.

DMT use can also include after-effects such as hearing high-pitched noises, dilated pupils (though this is common with other drugs and drug abuse in general), paranormal experiences, seeing bright lights, and other unusual visual and sensory distortions.

Moreover, some users of DMT have reported experiencing near-death experiences as a result of DMT abuse, with some users even stating that they felt that their experience felt more real than life itself.

Does DMT Naturally Exist in Your Brain?

There is no concrete answer to this question, only speculation. Some scientists and researchers postulate that DMT might be produced naturally within the pineal gland in the brain, and that it might be released naturally while we dream.

Other speculators have proposed that it could be released during birth and death. For instance, many people who have recounted their near-death experiences could have been subject to a natural release of DMT into the brain and body, and this might explain their experiences.

Does DMT Cause Any Side Effects?

Yes, and there is a range of different physical and mental side effects that can be experienced as a result of taking DMT. For instance, in terms of mental side effects, users could experience sensations such as the feeling of floating, a sense of euphoria, hallucinogenic effects, a sense that time has been altered, and a feeling of a loss of self.

Moreover, these side effects may potentially last for days or even weeks after the drug has been consumed. This will, of course, be dependent on how the DMT was consumed and how much was taken during the session.

Elsewhere, the effects of DMT could include a sense of paranoia, feelings of nausea, the need to vomit, dizziness, dilation of the pupils, pains in the chest, feelings of tightness within the body, rapid rhythmic movements, feelings of agitation, visual issues, increased blood pressure, and a rapid heart rate.

What Are The Risks Of Taking DMT?

There are several health risks that can potentially occur as a result of using DMT. In addition to the physical side effects described above, DMT users may also experience seizures, confusion, a lack of or loss of coordination within their muscles, respiratory arrest, the danger of slipping into a coma, or even a potentially life-threatening condition.

Frequent DMT use could lead to the development of one mental health disorder or a number of mental health disorders. Some of these include hallucinogen persisting perception disorder and psychosis.

Elsewhere, as is consistent with many other forms of addiction, DMT users could also risk creating a physical dependence or psychological dependence on the hallucinogenic drug. This could come in the form of an addiction to the feeling of the high or the feeling it provides to the body.

Users of DMT could also potentially damage or affect their serotonin receptors, which can lead to serotonin syndrome disorder. DMT can lead to an increase in neurotransmitter serotonin levels, which can be a life-threatening disorder, and it can be especially dangerous if users are also taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor to handle other conditions, such as depression.

Is DMT Addictive?

This is another question that does not have a definitive answer right now, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that the long-term effects of the drug, together with addiction liability, are not currently known. They have also stated that DMT differs from other hallucinogens in that it doesn't seem to induce tolerance.

Moreover, there is currently no medical scientific evidence available to suggest that the drug causes any lasting physiological or neurological effects on a consistent basis, though as previously mentioned, it has led to mental illness and physical issues.

Getting Help With DMT Addiction

There are a range of different options available for people seeking help with substance abuse issues related to DMT, as well as other forms of hallucinogenic drugs. You can gain access to residential treatment facilities, hospital treatment, therapy, medication, monitoring from trusted physicians, and much more.

If you need help and support to recover from an addiction to DMT, general drug and alcohol dependence, or if you think that your habit might be headed in the wrong direction, Cirque Lodge can offer you a trusted, state-of-the-art addiction treatment facility that can provide you with the tools and resources you need to begin your recovery.

To learn more and begin your road to recovery, click here.

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