Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring compound in many plants and animals. Most commonly found in Amazonian plant species, the drug is often called spirit molecule due to the intense psychedelic experience it provides. The compound can be extracted from plants in South America, Mexico, and some parts of Asia.
The compound is not as effective as others like magic mushrooms and LSD, but it is strong enough for the intaker to feel intense visual hallucinations that last long.
How is DMT consumed?
Since the compound is extracted from plants, it can be taken in the form of ayahuasca which is plant brew made from the plant species that contain the drug. Additionally, the compound can be synthesized in the lab to convert it into white crystalline powder which the addicts inhale, snort, or sometimes even inject into their bodies.
The strength of this drug can be deduced from the fact that even at dosages as low as 0.2 milligrams, the drug reflects hallucinogenic properties. The average DMT trip lasts for about 30-45 minutes when smoked using a pipe. The high caused by DMT has effects similar to magic mushrooms and LSD, although people still prefer DMT because of the shorter duration of the trip.
However, if consumed orally using the plant brew ayahuasca, the trip starts after 30-45 minutes which peaks after a few hours and lasts for as long as 6 to 10 hours. The number of people using DMT almost doubled from 2006 to 2012 as suggested by the reports of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Further, over 114,000 teenagers between ages 12-17 were found to be using DMT in 2017.
How Does DMT Work?
Various research concluded that hallucinogenic drugs such as DMT acts on serotonin receptors in our brain and produces psychoactive effects. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that impacts the brain and is crucial to managing health and mood.
By affecting a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in keeping the brain calm, DMT causes the individual to experience unusual mood swings, anxiety issues, questions about one’s existence, and perception-related problems. Hallucinogens like DMT also affects the parts of the brain that regulates response to stress and panic, thereby causing the consumer to behave irrationally in such situations.
Scientists have also found quite concrete proof of smaller amounts of DMT being naturally produced in the human brain. One more controversial theory by scientists reveals that it because of this naturally occurring DMT in our brain that we experience near-death situations, mystical experiences, and alien abductions. However, it is yet to be proved completely.
What are the side effects of DMT?
DMT produces extremely intense psychoactive effects and most of them can be seen almost immediately after the drug intake. The effects are both physiological and psychological and users often experience good trips where the feeling is good, and bad trips where the hallucinations cause frightening and scary experiences.
Also, when taken high doses of DMT, there is a good risk of having a respiratory arrest with some severe cases even resulting in a coma. The drug is even more harmful to people with pre-existing health conditions specifically for patients suffering from mental health issues. It worsens their mental well being and pushes them even further down the hole.
The substance does not have any medical use and is solely extracted and synthesized for selling in the illicit market. Combining the compounds with any other prescription drug, alcohol, opioids, cocaine, etc can result to be even more fatal. Some of the most common side effects of DMT are:
- Feeling of being detached from one’s body.
- Unusual mood swings
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Fear of dying and/or getting killed
- Violent or unusual imagery
- Feeling that you do not belong here
While these were the psychological impacts of the drug on the body, the drug also affects one’s physical well being. The substance causes a spike in blood pressure and an increased heart rate. The eye movement becomes involuntary, quick, and rhythmic along with dilated pupils. Constant feelings need to vomit and lack of coordination happens all the time. Severe cases have also reported the patients having a respiratory arrest and going into a coma.
Is DMT An Addictive Substance?
There is no proof to support that the DMT causes physical dependency which may result in an addiction. However, long-term use of the substance may cause a psychological dependency which can constantly develop an urge to intake more. The substance abuse becomes even worse if combined with other drugs having the same effect on the body. The side effects are then multiplied.
However, if you still doubt that someone around you might be abusing DMT, here are the symptoms to look for in a disorder caused by DMT:
- Using high dosages of the substance.
- Inability to stop the urge to consume.
- Taking a long time to be normal from the trip caused due to DMT.
- Skipping personal responsibilities and other obligations because of the drug.
- Spending more time alone.
- Disturbing anger issues.
- Continuing to abuse despite knowing the harmful effects both mentally as well as physically
Is There A Treatment for DMT Abuse
Despite DMT abuse increasing with each passing day, there is no treatment dedicated to this disease. There are no FDA approved medications for curing the addiction caused by frequently using DMT. However, there are still behavioral therapies and other psychological treatments conducted specifically for the people who aim to sneak out of this addiction.
Since this drug has consumed both adults and teenagers, it has become important to educate people about the harmful effects of this drug on the body. If teenagers are exposed to this drug at the age of 14-17, it would be then become difficult to pull them out of this after. The reason why spreading knowledge about this issue is crucial to help others who may fall victim to this drug. 
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.