What psychedelic molecule is found in some plants, animals, and even your brain? Also known as the spirit molecule, DMT has had many different identities. It was part of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the following psychedelic dark ages, and today’s emerging field of psychedelic therapy.

But what is DMT, what kind of hallucinogenic experiences does it produce, and why do so many people have similar stories about DMT elves?

We’re here to demystify this mysterious psychedelic. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at DMT, from how it works to what separates it from Ayahuasca and “the toad.” Let’s dive in.

What Is DMT?

DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic compound that naturally occurs in many plants and animals, including humans.

Unlike other psychedelics, DMT works quickly. It produces intense experiences that can produce visual and auditory hallucinations, inspire a sense of euphoria, and alter a person’s sense of space and time, among other psychoactive effects.

Like LSD, peyote, psilocybin, and mescaline, DMT is considered a “classic psychedelic.” This term refers to a group of drugs that have different effects but have something in common: they all act on a specific serotonin receptor in the central nervous system.

Said another way, DMT acts on the part of your brain that plays a role in learning, memory, and neuron creation.

DMT meaning

“DMT” stands for “Dimethyltryptamine.” You might also see “N,N-Dimethyltryptamine.” These names are the same. In chemistry, “N,N” refers to the structure of DMT’s atoms: two methyl groups are attached to nitrogen.

We refer to DMT throughout this article. Keep in mind that DMT isn’t the same as 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and bufotenin (5-OH-DMT). These are separate substances that have different effects on the brain and body.

5-MeO-DMT is a derivative of DMT that is found in some South American plants and the poison of the Sonoran Desert toad. 5-MeO-DMT looks a lot like DMT on the molecular level, but it produces more intense experiences than DMT does.

Bufotenin is another compound related to DMT. It’s found in some mushrooms, plants, and the poison and eggs of some toads in the Bufo genus, including the Sonoran Desert toad. Bufotenin is hallucinogenic, and in the brain, it behaves like LSD and 5-MeO-DMT. 1

DMT street names

You might encounter DMT by the following names, some of which allude to how quickly it works:

  • 45-minute psychosis
  • Businessman’s lunch
  • Businessman’s trip
  • Businessman’s special
  • Dimitri
  • Fantasia
  • Lunch-hour psychedelic
  • The spirit molecule

A Brief History of DMT

DMT has been used by Indigenous peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years in spiritual and medicinal practices, such as the consumption of Ayahuasca—a psychoactive brew that contains DMT. 2 In 2019, archaeologists discovered Ayahuasca residues, with traces of DMT, in a 1,000-year-old leather bundle buried in the Bolivian Andes. 3

In Western culture, DMT was first synthesized by Canadian chemist Richard Manske in 1931. 4 But DMT’s hallucinogenic properties weren’t discovered until 1956 when Hungarian chemist and psychiatrist Stephen Szara researched the psychoactive effects of synthetic (made in a lab) DMT. 5

In the 1970s, DMT was categorized as a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act. That means DMT is illegal for anything outside of approved studies—and studies are ongoing. Current research is exploring DMT’s potential as a depression, stroke and addiction treatment, among other medical applications.

In the 1990s, Rick Strassman and his colleagues conducted a five-year-long DMT study at the University of New Mexico. Fun fact: Strassman has bragging rights because he is considered the first person in the United States to undertake human research into psychedelic substances. 6

DMT also has a history of being used recreationally. Beat writers of the 1950s, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, documented their experiences with Ayahuasca. DMT was also part of the psychedelic counterculture movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Figures like Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna increased awareness of Ayahuasca (and, by extension, the psychoactive properties of DMT) in Western culture.

Today, data suggests that DMT is becoming more popular, particularly among people who are new to psychedelics. A 2014 survey showed that 24% of DMT users were new users.7

DMT is commonly combined with other substances, which we don’t recommend. It’s difficult to pinpoint how commonly DMT is used today, but researchers estimate that the use of DMT and other tryptamines (a type of organic molecule) more than tripled from 2007 to 2014. 8

Where Does DMT Come From?

DMT naturally occurs in varying amounts in some plants and animals, including humans.

There’s evidence that DMT is found in human blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid.9 Based on animal studies, researchers think that DMT is produced in the pineal gland in the brain. 11,12

The drug can also be synthesized in a lab, which is how scientists can research DMT’s effects in controlled settings.

Natural sources of DMT

DMT’s hallucinogenic effects are more pronounced when it’s derived from certain plants, such as South American Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis. Indigenous peoples of the Amazon use these plants, among other combinations, to prepare a psychoactive brew called Ayahuasca.13

DMT is also found in many other plants, including those in the Phalaris, Delosperma, Acacia, Desmodium, Mimosa, Virola, and Psychotria genera. 14 DMT has even been found in the leaves of citrus plants like bergamot. 15

In nature, plants can contain varying amounts of other psychoactive compounds. That’s true for DMT-containing plants; sometimes, DMT takes a back seat to other compounds like 5-MeO-DMT or bufotenin.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of plants that primarily contain DMT: 16,17

  • Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi)
  • Jurema (Mimosa tenuiflora syn. Mimosa hostilis)
  • Chaliponga (Diplopterys cabrerana)
  • Chacruna (Psychotria viridis)
  • Cooper’s ice plant (Delosperma cooperi syn. Mesembryanthemum cooperi)
  • Raspberry jam (Acacia acuminata)
  • Cascade wattle (Acacia albida)
  • Fine leaf jam (Acacia burkittii)
  • Whistling thorn (Acacia drepanolobium)
  • White sallow wattle (Acacia floribunda)
  • Blackbrush acacia (Acacia rigidula)
  • Acacia simplex
  • Golden shower tree (Albizia inundata)
  • Bobinsana (Calliandra angustifolia)
  • Prickle weed (Desmanthus illinoensis)
  • Diplopterys cabrerana syn. Banisteriopsis cabrerana
  • Osteophloeum platyspermum syn. Iryanthera krukovii
  • Virola elongata
  • Virola pavonis
  • Virola sebifera
  • Bulbous canary grass (Phalaris aquatica syn. P. tuberosa)
  • Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
  • Confused canary grass (Phalaris brachystachys)
  • Devil’s ear (Psychotria poeppigiana syn. Psychotria tomentosa)
  • Psychotria viridis 

DMT in the Brain

How does DMT cause such intense hallucinations? First, let’s talk about your mind.

Your brain cells are constantly communicating with each other. They send signals that tell your body what to do and how to feel, whether you’re tired, anxious, or cranky because you need to eat something.

Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters are responsible for sending those signals. Neurotransmitters bind to specific receptors in your brain, like a key fitting into a lock.

Like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin, DMT is considered a serotonin 2A receptorantagonist. That means it primarily binds with serotonin receptors, which changes cognition, mood, and the way a person experiences their surroundings.18

You might be familiar with serotonin. This neurotransmitter is generally thought to support a healthy mood. Conventional antidepressants called SSRIs work by elevating serotonin levels in the brain.

Here’s the thing. Serotonin does a lot more than make you feel content. It impacts a majority of your brain cells and helps regulate emotions, social cognition, and even sleep-wake cycles. 19 20

There’s a lot we don’t know about serotonin, just as there’s a lot we don’t know about DMT. There’s evidence that it interacts with other receptors, not just serotonin, which might play a supporting role in DMT’s overall effects.21

What’s more, brain waves change during a DMT trip. A 2019 study found that DMT shifted the brain’s alpha and beta bands and increased spontaneous signal diversity. In other words, as participants tripped on DMT, researchers were able to correlate their experiences with changes in their brain activity. 22

Additional research shows that DMT engages the visual parts of the brain, so DMT visuals aren’t just trippy. The brain thinks they’re real images, which may explain why DMT experiences feel so immersive.23

What’s more, DMT and other psychedelics have been shown to trigger neuroplasticity.

What’s “neuroplasticity?” This umbrella term refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new information, stimulation, and development.

In studies involving human and animal cell cultures, DMT has been shown to stimulate neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) and synaptic plasticity (which helps neurons communicate with each other). 24

DMT molecular structure

Before we look at DMT, we’re going to talk about tryptamine: an organic molecule that’s common in nature.

Tryptamine can be found in plants, fungi, and animals. In humans, tryptamine is an important neurotransmitter. On a molecular level, tryptamines consist of two linked rings: one with five atoms and the other with six.

In chemical terms, DMT is a functional analogand structural analog of tryptamine. Here’s what it means:

  • Functional analog: It has similar properties as another compound.
  • Structural analog: It has a similar structure as another compound.

Serotonin is a tryptamine. Its chemical name is 5-hydroxytryptamine. That means a DMT molecule can able to bind to a serotonin receptor because it behaves and looks a lot like serotonin.

Other psychedelics, like LSD and psilocybin, are also functional and structural analogs of tryptamine. Those properties allow them to bind to serotonin receptors, just like DMT.

DMT and Mental Health Research

DMT is part of a growing field of psychedelic therapy, which is exploring how psychedelic substances can help treat mental health conditions.

A large proportion of research focuses on Ayahuasca, which contains DMT and complementary compounds that extend the duration of the trip. Without additional clinical studies that focus specifically on DMT as it relates to mental health, we can’t say for certain (yet) that DMT alone can help treat depression. 21

The potential, though, is promising. Long-term Ayahuasca users have reported reduced feelings of hopelessness, as well as an improvement in depressive symptoms.25,26

In 2019, researchers interviewed 11 Indigenous participants of Ayahuasca ceremonial retreats in Canada. Responses revealed that the retreats helped reduce substance use, reduced substance cravings, and increased a sense of connectedness.27

One of the hallmarks of a DMT’s psychedelic effects is called ego dissolution (or “ego death”). Ego dissolution is associated with marked improvements in mental health, including mindfulness and satisfaction with life, according to a 2018 study of 57 Ayahuasca ceremony attendees.28

Psychedelics like DMT may help break down mental barriers by temporarily dissolving a person’s sense of self. 29 In a clinical setting, this action might help people feel more receptive to therapy.

That said, psychedelic therapy should only be performed under the guidance of a qualified professional who can help guide a person through their experience and integrate afterward.

The DMT near-death experience

Sure, the phrase “near-death experience” sounds scary. Near death? Don’t humans naturally want to be far away from death?

The thing is, near-death experiences (NDEs) can be transformative in controlled settings, and they’ve been studied for decades. Research has shown that NDEs can improve a person’s well-being. 30,31

There isn’t a universal definition of NDEs, but they’re usually associated with the following features:32

  • Feelings of inner peace
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Sensations of traveling through a tunnel or void
  • Visions of a bright light
  • The sensation of entering another realm
  • Communicating with sentient beings

These features are pretty similar to the effects of DMT. The DMT experience has been linked to themes of death and dying, which can shatter a person’s world image and preconceptions. 33

So, does a DMT trip qualify as an NDE? Maybe. In a 2018 placebo-controlled study, responses from 13 participants suggest a strong overlap between NDEs and DMT-induced near-death experiences. 32

NDEs can include mystical-type experiences (MTEs), a term that refers to a sense of unity with the universe and the transcendence of time and space. 34 MTEs may predict long-term therapeutic benefits from psychedelics, as MTEs are reported to induce significant and persisting changes in a person’s worldview. 35

You can gain a lot when you change your mind. NDEs evoke a sense of unity, immersion in the world, and getting outside one’s head. This altered state of consciousness may illustrate why DMT can be transformative for people in the appropriate set and setting.37

The DMT Experience

DMT is characterized by intense, vivid hallucinations and changes in the way your body experiences the world.

One of the hallmarks of DMT is that it’s fast. It has what is called “rapid onset,” which means it comes in quickly and clears the system just as fast.

Depending on factors like dose, administration, set, setting, and a person’s biology, a DMT experience can be transformative or frightening (a “bad trip”).

DMT effects

Like other psychedelic drugs, the experience of DMT can vary. Generally, though, DMT has a few common effects:

  • An altered sense of space and time
  • A sense of euphoria
  • Distorted colors and sounds
  • Double vision
  • Encountering autonomous entities
  • Out-of-body experiences
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Mystical experience

At high doses of DMT, people report breakthrough experiences: the sensation of being in another world or dimension, entering “hyperspace,” or having a near-death experience. 33,38

Breakthrough experiences have been associated with challenging a person’s beliefs about the nature of reality and consciousness. Some people describe these experiences as “realer than real.” 22

People also report encountering sentient “DMT entities” (commonly called “DMT elves” or “machine elves”). In a 2019 survey of over 2,000 people, respondents described these encounters as among the most meaningful, spiritual, and psychologically insightful experiences of their lives.39

Like other psychedelics, DMT is associated with ego dissolution (also known as “ego death”). Ego dissolution refers to a sense of enlightenment and self-awareness, a detachment from identity, or feeling immersed in the world beyond oneself.

We’re not talking about ego in the sense of a person’s self-esteem. Instead, think more in the Freudian ballpark, i.e. a person’s conscious personality and what they project toward others. Dissolving the ego means a person’s mental walls come down.

How long does DMT last?

DMT kicks in fast, produces intense effects, and lasts for a short time. 21 full DMT is like the microwave of psychedelics: It’s a quick way to experience a psychedelic trip.

  • Inhaled or injected: Five to 15 minutes
  • Vaped: Less than 30 minutes
  • Consumed in an Ayahuasca brew: Four hours or more

A note on that last bullet: Normally, the body processes DMT pretty quickly. Ayahuasca contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), compounds that extend the amount of time a person stays in the psychedelic state. That’s why Ayahuasca ceremonies can produce trips that last as long as four hours.

It’s important to note that your perception of time can be distorted, and even short experiences of 30 minutes or less can feel like hours or even days.

DMT dosage

There’s a lot of variability in DMT dosage, whether it’s being used recreationally or in a clinical setting. Generally, here are the typical dosages for DMT: 40 41

  • Smoked, as in a vape pen: Between 30 to 150 mg
  • Consumed in an Ayahuasca brew: Between 35 to 75 mg
  • Intramuscular (IM) injection: 0.2 to 1 mg/kg
  • Intravenous (IV) injection: 0.2 to 0.4 mg/kg to produce hallucinogenic effects
  • “Pharmahuasca” (a pharmaceutical version of Ayahuasca): 50 mg DMT:100 mg harmline or 50 mg harmline: 50mg harmine and 50 mg DMT

DMT administration

DMT is typically administered in the following ways:

  • Consumed orally, as in Ayahuasca
  • Injected
  • Smoked
  • Snorted

We do not encourage the use of illegal drugs. 

When consumed orally, DMT is broken down by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. This process quickly inactivates DMT unless it’s combined with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A (RIMAs).

MAOIs are one of the reasons Ayahuasca traditionally consists of a combination of plants. Boiling the Ayahuasca vine with DMT-containing plants protects the DMT from being inactivated, and it also extends the amount of time that people experience their DMT trip.

Injections can come in the form of intramuscular (IM) or intravenous (IV) injections. IM effects are usually less intense than IV or inhalation. With IVs, lower doses (0.01 and 0.05 mg/kg) have been shown to produce sensory and emotional responses, but not hallucinations.

The hallucinatory effects of DMT come in at higher doses: 0.2 and 0.4 mg/kg. 38 For IM injections, a medium dose (0.7 mg/kg) provides similar effects to those of mescaline and LSD, including hallucinations and euphoria. 41

Synthetic DMT can be vaporized or smoked. It’s a harsh and potent drug, so it’s sometimes combined with other herbs to make it more palatable and complement its effects. This psychotropic smoking blend is called changa.

DMT can also be snorted. One traditional preparation is called yopo snuff, which is used in Indigenous South American healing and religious rituals. This powder is made from the beans of the yopo plant, which primarily contain bufotenin, 5-MeO-DMT, and DMT. 42

How does DMT feel?

DMT is described as an intense trip that can cause visual and auditory hallucinations, change the way a person experiences space and time, and even make them feel like they’re having an out-of-body experience.

Depending on factors like how it’s taken, the dose, set, and setting, the DMT trip can be good, bad, transformative, scary, or a combination of all of the above.

Coming down from DMT

DMT is thought to have fewer comedown effects than other hallucinogens.

Some people have an abrupt comedown, while others have lingering effects. People can experience anxiety, confusion, fear, fatigue, or have trouble sleeping or focusing after taking DMT.

Comedown effects can depend on factors like dose, administration, potential mixing with other substances, and a person’s biology.

DMT Side Effects and Risks

DMT is associated with certain side effects and risks:

  • Agitation
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Rapid eye movements

When consumed in an Ayahuasca brew, DMT can cause negative effects including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

And even though DMT’s hallucinogenic effects can be transformative, it’s also very possible to have a bad trip. Hallucinations are particularly serious for people with a history of mental health problems.

It’s also possible to develop a condition called serotonin syndrome, which is potentially lethal. DMT is a serotonin antagonist, which means it allows serotonin levels to build up in the brain. People who take large doses of DMT, combine DMT with other drugs, and/or take antidepressants are at a higher risk for serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome is associated with symptoms like:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of muscle coordination

DMT contraindications

We’ll lay out some potential contraindications below, which refer to conditions and situations that serve as reasons not to take DMT. Stay in communication with your doctor, especially if you’re thinking about coming off any medications.

DMT use can have serious consequences for people with pre-existing psychological problems or a mental illness, such as schizophrenia. DMT can increase heart rate and blood pressure, so it’s not recommended for people with heart conditions.

DMT is sometimes combined with MAOIs, as in Ayahuasca. People with severe liver and kidney impairment, severe or frequent headaches, uncontrolled hypertension, and cerebrovascular diseases should know that these conditions should not be combined with MAOIs.

DMT can also interact with other prescription drugs, recreational drugs, herbal medicines, and over-the-counter medications that contain MAOIs. Here’s a non-exhaustive list: 43

  • Amphetamines
  • Asthma inhalers
  • Barbiturates
  • Carbamazepine
  • Certain antihypertensive medications
  • Cocaine
  • Cold medications
  • Decongestants and allergy medications
  • Diet pills
  • Dopamine
  • Levodopa
  • MDMA
  • Methylphenidate
  • Meperidine
  • Opiates
  • Sympathomimetic amines

How to Prepare for a DMT Session

Whether it’s taken in its natural or synthetic form, DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug, and it should be treated seriously. If you’re going to take DMT, here are a few ways to prepare:

  • Have a trusted guide
  • Get in the right mindset
  • Find a safe space
  • For Ayahuasca, follow your guide’s diet and lifestyle recommendations leading up to your ceremony
  • Don’t combine with other substances

Have a trusted guide

Because of DMT’s intense subjective effects, including hallucination, it shouldn’t be taken alone. Ensure a safer trip with a sober person looking out for you.

Get in the right mindset

“Set and setting” is a common phrase in psychedelics. “Set” refers to your mental state, and “setting” refers to your physical and social environment. Set and setting are important for DMT.

Limit stressors before a DMT session, whatever that means for you. Some people will even avoid scary movies and intense music. Remember that “stress” includes stress on your body, too. Try to get a good night’s sleep and stay hydrated before your session.

Consider setting an intention for your DMT session. Intentions are like goals: They’re thoughts you can use to ground your experience and find meaning, like “I want to love myself” or “Teach me how to let go of fear.”

Find a safe space

DMT is fast, but it can also cause intense experiences, and there’s no way of knowing for sure how someone will react. DMT sessions should only take place in safe, secure spaces to minimize your risk of injury.

For Ayahuasca, follow your guide’s recommendations

In a 2018 study that examined the effects of Ayahuasca among ceremony attendees in the Netherlands and Colombia, researchers described dietary preparation instructions. 28 Participants were asked to abstain from eating red meat and foods containing salt, sugar, or fats.

This step is intended to reduce levels of a natural compound called tyramine in the body. Lower tyramine levels reduce common side effects of Ayahuasca called increased heart rate, nausea, and headaches.

Your guide may also advise you to refrain from certain activities or adjust your medications leading up to your ceremony. Work with your doctor when making any changes to your prescriptions, even if you intend to resume after your session. Abrupt changes can come with adverse side effects or severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Don’t combine DMT with other substances

This isn’t a time to cross-fade with alcohol and other drugs. Talk to a medical professional if you’re currently taking any medications.

Here’s why: DMT is sometimes paired with MAOIs or RIMAs to extend its effects, but these compounds can interact with other drugs, including SSRIs and even herbal medicines. 44 See “DMT contraindications” above.

Is DMT Legal?

In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies DMT as a Schedule I controlled substance. That means it’s illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute DMT drugs

DMT has no approved medical use in the United States, but it can be used by researchers upon approval from both the DEA and FDA.

One group has received a religious exemption to use Ayahuasca: In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court permitted a Brazilian church, the União do Vegetal (UDV), to use Ayahuasca ritually.

How to smoke DMT

We’re providing this information for educational purposes only. DMT is illegal, and we don’t recommend that you smoke DMT. 

DMT is commonly crystal vaporized, which has a fast onset because vaping DMT allows it to quickly cross the blood-brain barrier. This process requires a special rig, which uses a heat source to vaporize crystals into a smokable vapor.

DMT can also be smoked out of a pipe. This process involves putting the crystals in the bowl of the pipe and using a torch lighter to heat the bowl from below. DMT crystals turn into liquid and then vapor, which can be inhaled.

Although DMT can be smoked in a few different ways, it’s important to remember two things: It acts quickly, and it can produce intense effects. Start with a small amount, especially if you don’t know how strong the drug is or how you will react to it.

How to get DMT

DMT is illegal, but it, like other drugs, can be found in various forms in the gray and black market. DMT is a naturally occurring substance, so some people extract DMT themselves using online guides and plant cuttings.

DMT can also be found in vape pens that are preloaded with DMT cartridges, and some people will pay “guides” to walk them through the DMT experience.

Psychedelic researcher Alan Davis told VICE, “My understanding is that usually people are paying anywhere from $200 to $500 for somebody to bring them the drug and then dose them with it, so they’re paying for a drug and an experience and that facilitation.”

People can also get DMT in the form of Ayahuasca, which is illegal in the United States. The brew is currently legal in Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, and Peru, where private and nonprofit companies offer guided Ayahuasca retreats.

Avoiding DMT scams

DMT is still very illegal, so unless it’s used in a clinical setting, it’s a case of buyer beware in terms of product purity and safety. Understand that the risk is very real.

Consider purchasing a DMT test kit to screen for substances that are missold as DMT. Test kits are available online from retailers like Test Kit PlusDanceSafe, and Elevation Chemicals.

The increasing popularity of international Ayahuasca retreats has also been exploited by scammers and charlatans, including instances of violence and sexual assault.

Before embarking on a DMT retreat, do your research, confirm the safety procedures ahead of time, and consider using platforms like AyaAdvisors and Ayamundo to read experiences from others.

What’s Next for DMT?

Although DMT remains a controlled substance, it can be used by researchers under a Schedule I research registration that is approved by the DEA and FDA. To that end, here are a few notable and ongoing happenings in the world of DMT:

  • UK-based drug development firm Small Pharma is conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to explore the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of DMT-assisted therapy.
  • In February 2022, psychedelics biotech startup Entheon Biomedical received approval for a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating DMT. The company’s goal is to further DMT research into nicotine addiction, smoking cessation, and substance abuse disorders.
  • Florida-based biotechnology company Psilera Bioscience is developing a derivative of DMT that is non-hallucinogenic but aims to maintain the positive mood benefits of psychedelics.
  • Algernon Pharmaceuticals is investigating the use of DMT for the treatment of stroke victims. In a preclinical study that examined an animal model for stroke, DMT helped recover motor function more quickly and to a greater extent than the control group. 45

DMT Personal Stories

DMT “trip reports” abound on forums like ErowidNexus, and Reddit. We’re sharing a few experiences from people who have tried DMT and come out the other side with new levels of self-awareness.

What My First DMT Trip Taught Me About Life – Leafly

In this personal essay, Danté Jordan shares his experience trying DMT at a party. He experienced an intense trip that dissolved his ego, refocusing his attention on the ways he wanted to grow professionally and personally. “The ego death really brought all of the goals I’d been running from right to the front of my brain,” he writes.

DMT: The Spirit Molecule with Dr. Rick Strassman – The Innovation Show with Aidan McCullen

In the early 1990s, Dr. Rick Strassman performed the first new human studies with psychedelic drugs in the United States in over 20 years. In this interview, he describes the volunteers’ psychedelic experiences on DMT. “You become only an awareness of entering into a world of life which is more intensely colored and heavily saturated than anything that you’ve seen before,” he says.

Megan Fox shares her Ayahuasca experience – Jimmy Kimmel Live

Actress Megan Fox spoke about going on an Ayahuasca retreat in Costa Rica with boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly. She describes the experience of “going to hell” and the death of her ego, which opened her up in a way that talk therapy or hypnotherapy alone could not.

DMT Frequently Asked Questions

What does DMT taste and smell like?

Some people compare the taste and smell to new shoes or burnt plastic or rubber.

When it’s prepared in an Ayahuasca brew, the beverage has a molasses-like consistency and bitter, pungent taste.

What does DMT look like?

Depending on its format, DMT can look like:

  • A white powder or solid
  • Yellow, orange, or pink powders or solids
  • Greenish or brownish herbal mixture (in changa)
  • Grownish or reddish liquid (in Ayahuasca)

Can you get addicted to DMT?

DMT doesn’t appear to induce tolerance or physical withdrawal symptoms, so it’s not generally considered addictive. 7

However, DMT abuse can cause psychological dependence if a person repeatedly uses it to alter their consciousness and escape reality.

If you or someone you know are struggling with substance use or addiction, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information about support and treatment facilities in your area.

Is DMT the same as Ayahuasca?

No. Although people who use Ayahuasca report similar experiences, DMT is a separate molecule.

Ayahuasca’s psychoactive effects primarily come from a combination of DMT and another molecule called 5-MeO-DMT, the latter of which is described as “the God molecule.”

5-MeO-DMT is described as causing an even stronger, more profound psychedelic experience. In comparison, DMT, “the spirit molecule,” isn’t as intense as 5-MeO-DMT.

What is the DMT frog?

The DMT frog refers to crystalized secretions of the Sonoran Desert (Bufo Alvarius) toad, which contain the hallucinogens 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenin, and DMT. The DMT frog, also called “the toad,” isn’t the same as isolated DMT.

Final Thoughts

Also known as the spirit molecule, DMT produces intense hallucinogenic experiences that last less than 30 minutes. Researchers are still understanding the therapeutic applications of DMT. Like other psychedelics, DMT may trigger neuroplasticity, which is promising when combined with psychotherapy.




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