N, N-Dimethyltryptamine, otherwise known as DMT, is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic compound. Interestingly, minuscule traces are actually found within human biology, and these are released during birth, sex and at death. For this reason, DMT has come to be known as the “spirit molecule.”
DMT’s hallucinogenic effects last only seconds, but the experience feels like an eternity. As one of the main ingredients that make up Ayahuasca, DMT can be enjoyed as an Ayahuasca tea. The drug is typically found in either yellow or white crystallized powder that can be man-made. The street form of DMT is known as “Dimitri”, while the pure and natural form is known as “Spice.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has classified Dimitri as a schedule 1 drug. This means that it is strictly prohibited by law due to its high potential for addiction and abuse. Although DMT does not have any accepted medical applications in the USA, it is permitted to use for scientific research. In some cases (when approved by the DEA and the FDA), DMT can be used for “schedule 1 studies.”
While DMT is not typically screened for during drug tests, some screenings might actually detect it.
DMT: How Long Does it Last?
DMT affects neurotransmitter receptors for serotonin in the brain. In comparison to other psychedelics, like LSD, the drug acts faster when ingested via smoking or snorting. However, unlike acid, the effects of DMT dissipate a lot quicker. Regardless of this, a great number of users choose to smoke the drug with either a vaporizer or dry herb and tobacco. On rare occasions, the spirit molecule might even be injected directly into the bloodstream.
It is important to note that even tiny amounts of DMT will immediately cause visual and auditory hallucinations. In fact, users typically start to hallucinate only seconds after the drug is ingested. DMT tends to peak effect at around 5 minutes, and the efficiency of the high led to it being dubbed “businessman’s special.”
A number of factors including the dosage, health of the user, and how the drug is taken affect the length of time that a DMT trip will last. However, you can generally expect to feel its full effects in between thirty and forty-five minutes.
Because DMT is broken down in the digestive tract (by monoamine oxidase) the drug has no effect when taken orally in isolation. In order for an orally-ingested dose to work, it therefore must be taken with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). This causes the drug to stay in the system longer, as is the case with Ayahuasca tea. The tea contains DMT and the plant from which Ayahuasca is named. This plant is a natural MAOI, which is why the effects of Ayahuasca tea can last for hours.
Impact on the Mind
Spice, Dimitri or DMT is known to cause sensations of euphoria, as well as hallucinations. The quick-acting drug can be overwhelming to some users. Effects experienced include anxiety, a rapid heartbeat and wild hallucinations. These hallucinations might cause visual and spatial distortions. It might sound fun, but be warned – if ayahuasca is ingested, the user might succumb to violent vomiting.
In light of the fact that spice is a psychedelic, users may experience a range of unpredictable side effects. Psychedelics impact the way in which serotonin is released, causing fluctuations in appetite, mood, sensory perceptions, sleeping patterns, body temperature and motor coordination. It is strongly advised that people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia should avoid psychedelics entirely. This includes anyone with a family history of mental health problems – even though you may not have been directly diagnosed as such. Although not frequent, there have been reports of DMT and Ayahuasca triggering serious psychotic episodes.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), most psychedelics including DMT are not typically addictive. However, further research is needed to determine the long-term impact of DMT. Regular users may develop a tolerance to the drug, which might cause some to take higher and higher doses. It goes without saying that this enhances the chances of an overdose.
The effects of DMT vary based on the dosage and may include hallucinations as well as physical and psychological distress. Physical distress includes shifts in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing. Psychological distress includes sensations of anxiety, fear, terror, paranoia, aggression and invulnerability. What’s more, when combining DMT with large quantities of central nervous system depressants (like alcohol) can cause respiratory arrest which can even be fatal.
The human body is known to metabolize DMT rapidly. Most urine or blood tests run on popular psychedelics typically only find trace amounts of DMT – and only if taken shortly after usage. In light of this, results are often difficult to pin down. DMT does not form part of standard drug testing procedures. However, with certain lab tests the drug can be detected, whether as part of a urine or hair sample or straight from the substance itself.
The Bottom Line
While DMT might not be commonly tested for, there are screening options that can assess the presence of DMT. However, it is important to consider all of the risks of taking Ayahuasca or DMT. Legal repercussions and the possible side effects may outweigh the positives to the experience.