08 September 2009


N,N-DMT use has been documented as early as the 8th century AD in snuffs found in burial sites, but its use is believed to be much older.


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N,N-DMT is a psychoactive chemical in the tryptamine family, which causes intense visuals and strong psychedelic mental effects when smoked, injected, snorted, or (when taken with an MAOI such as haramaline) when swallowed orally. N,N-DMT is most often called just "DMT", although this name sometimes causes confusion with its chemical cousin 5-MeO-DMT.

N,N-DMT is present in thousands of species of plants and has been used traditionally in South America both in Ayahuasca brews and snuffs since at least the time of first European contact. N,N-DMT gained significant notoriety in the last 15 years from Terence McKenna's many glowing rants about the strange visions it can precipitate.

A standard dose for smoked N,N-DMT is between 15-60mg. This is generally smoked in a few successive breaths until the user is unable (or unwilling) to take another hit off the pipe or bong. Most users report needing to wait an hour or so between attempts even if effects are not achieved.

N,N-DMT is controlled by the 1971 United Nation's Convention on Psychotropic Substances and is illegal in most countries.

N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (N,N-DMT) is a naturally occurring chemical in the tryptamine class. It is related structurally to 5-MeO-DMT, Bufotenine, Psilocybin, and Psilocin.

N,N-DMT use has been documented as early as the 8th century AD in snuffs found in burial sites, but its use is believed to be much older. Cohoba snuffs (from the Yopo tree) were documented in Columbia in the 16th through 19th centuries. N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT were finally identified as the active constituents of cohoba in the early 1950s and in 1954 N,N-DMT was isolated as an active ingredient in A. peregrina.

Terminology / Slang
The Substance: DMT; Dimitri; Business Man's Special. The Experience: No common terms known.

To quote Terence McKenna, "The feeling of doing DMT is as though one had been struck by noetic lightning. The ordinary world is almost instantaneously replaced, not only with a hallucination, but a hallucination whose alien character is its utter alienness. Nothing in this world can prepare one for the impressions that fill your mind when you enter the DMT sensorium".

The smoked DMT experience is short, but generally incredibly intense. Onset is fast and furious, sometimes compared to being launched from a cannon. It is a fully engaging and enveloping experience of visions and visuals which varies greatly from one individual to the next. Users report visiting other worlds, talking with alien entities, profound changes in ontological perspective, fanciful dreamscapes, frightening and overwhelming forces, complete shifts in perception and identity followed by an abrupt return to baseline.

Because of the nature and intensity of the experience, users are almost always seated or lying down with someone nearby to take the pipe as the experience begins. Intense and varied visuals are common.

When smoked, DMT generally reaches full effects within 10-60 seconds of inhalation.

The primary effects of N,N-DMT last approximately 5-20 minutes when smoked. For many people there is an additional period of time (one to two hours) before fully returning to baseline. Some people find DMT experiences difficult to integrate and experience unsettling thoughts and feelings for days after use.

One of the primary physical problems encountered with smoked N,N-DMT is the harsh nature of the smoke which can cause throat and lung irritation. Integration of the smoked DMT experience can also cause difficulties for some individuals, especially at higher doses. Difficult integration periods can lead to anxiety, difficulty focusing on daily tasks, preoccupation with the experience, difficulty sleeping, etc. Generally these effects dissipate on their own over the course of a few days but there are reports of persisting problems.

The effects of smoked N,N-DMT are dramatically increased if used by individuals currently taking MAOIs. MAOIs are most commonly found in the prescription anti-depressants phenelzine, tranylcypromine, isocarboxazid, l-deprenyl, and moclobemide. Check with your doctor if you are not sure whether your prescription medication is an MAOI.
Do not stand up. Do not operate heavy machinery. Do not drive.
Individuals currently in the midst of emotional or psychological upheaval in their everyday lives should be careful about choosing to use psychedelics such as N,N-DMT as they can trigger even more difficulty.
Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or early onset mental illness should be extremely careful because psychedelics have been known to trigger latent psychological and mental problems.

Addiction potential
DMT is neither physically addictive nor likely to cause psychological dependance. As with most substances, some people will use it more frequently than they are comfortable with. There may be a short period of tolerance after DMT use. However, Strassman et al. found in a tolerance study of DMT that four successive high-dose IV injections of DMT administered at 30-minute intervals produced no noticeable tolerance effect.

- Article used with the permission of Last modified April 2009.

Erowid caution and disclaimer

This Erowid article is a summary of data gathered from Erowid site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. As this field is complex and constantly changing, information should always be verified through additional sources.


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