Published: December 20th, 2021
Categories: Other subjects
Most of us would like to travel to other universes and commune with gods, but it seems out of reach. With the help of DMT, these experiences are possible for everyone. More than any other drug, describing a DMT experience is particularly hard. Nevertheless, here we share with you what we know about the drug's effects, in the hope that it will prepare you for this most transcendental of experiences.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is an exceptionally powerful and unusual psychedelic drug. It goes by other names, such as “the spirit molecule”, and is the psychoactive ingredient in the famous ayahuasca concoction used by indigenous Central and South American cultures. When ingested, DMT primarily interfaces with serotonin receptors in the human brain, which allows it to exert its extremely powerful effects.
Despite its mysterious and revered reputation, DMT is actually found across much of nature; in Acacia bark, Mimosa hostilis, the pineal gland of rats, and even in humans. There is much speculation about the role that endogenous DMT (DMT produced by the body) plays in human life. Famously, DMT is claimed to be produced in the pineal gland at birth, death, and potentially in dreams.
There is, however, no proof for this. What we do know is that DMT is always present in the body, and that it can be found in trace amounts in urine and blood samples in all people. But what purpose does it serve? And where is it made?
Conjecture is rife. From being the key to unlocking existence and communicating with our creators to being a biological waste product, the natural function of DMT could be the most profound aspect of our existence, or totally redundant. For now, we don’t know.
This depends on how it comes. If you’re creating ayahuasca from, say, chacruna (Psychotria viridis), it will be hard to distinguish the aromatic characteristics of the DMT in isolation. The mixture itself will be brown and bitter.
DMT freebase on the other hand—that is, DMT that has been extracted and concentrated—has a distinct and not entirely pleasant aroma. It smells like something between melted plastic and faeces, especially when it is burned for smoking. Suffice it to say, it is not the most pleasant smoke to inhale. Once the effects take hold, though, you’ll quickly cease to care about the taste!
It looks off-white and yellowish; a powder/paste. Its consistency should be crystalline, but over time it will become less solid until it becomes unusable and dissolves into whatever it’s stored in.
Explaining any psychedelic experience to someone who hasn’t had one is difficult. Explaining a DMT trip is near-impossible. Or, at least, explaining the character of it is. The contents of DMT trips share surprising similarities, though, and so it is possible to outline what you could expect. That being said, DMT trips are uniquely profound and personal, so go into them with an open mind and don’t look for any certain kind of experience—let them come to you.
The method of ingestion determines the strength of the effects, too. Digested DMT (ayahuasca) will probably be less intense but much longer-lasting. Smoked, vaped, or injected DMT will be incredibly powerful but very short-lived.
Smaller doses of DMT share some similarities to other psychedelic drugs, but with their own distinct character: i.e. the distortion of reality. This can range from trippy visuals to seeing other dimensions, in the sense that you can perceive that which isn’t usually apparent. In fact, while DMT visuals tend to be incredibly clear and coherent to behold, they can be impossible to understand even while they’re being experienced.
But for most DMT users, distortion of reality is not the goal. Rather, entering a whole new reality is. DMT has the unique ability to transport a user out of normal reality and into other universes populated by mysterious god-like or alien beings.
Traditional ayahuasca use in Central and South America seeks to interact with spirits and the spirit world. DMT catalyses this connection.
Regardless of the form, a “breakthrough” is often what is desired when taking DMT. Breakthrough is a term used to describe a trip that departs normal reality entirely. One of the most commonly reported effects of DMT breakthroughs is encounters with other beings. Depending on the individual, these are reported as aliens, gods, spirits, and so on. What is interesting about DMT is that the character of these beings tends to be very similar across scientific and anecdotal literature.
Some believe that these really are other beings; others believe they are parts of the psyche about which we don’t usually have conscious awareness. Sceptics believe they are little more than dreams. Interestingly, beliefs about what these encounters are tend to be diverse even within cultures. DMT, alone among psychedelic drugs, has the power to make most people feel they have experienced something truly “other”.
The distortion or dissolution of time is also a common effect of DMT. While the main trip only lasts around 5–10 minutes when not digested, to the one having it, it can seem to spread over an indefinite period of time. In fact, time does not stretch, but almost seems to cease, seeming neither long nor short.
DMT trips may also cause out-of-body experiences or the merging of consciousnesses if taken at the same time as other individuals.
One very strange aspect of the DMT experience is that the conscious state remains, in a way, unaffected by the trip. Of course, reality warps unrecognisably or dissolves, but all the while the conscious part of your mind, the part most people would identify as themselves, feels as though it remains entirely sober.
You are able to appraise the contents of a DMT trip with a cool and clear mind. This adds to the strangeness and profundity of the DMT experience, because you really are able to consider what it is you are experiencing. The confusion and thought loops associated with other hallucinogenic drugs tend to be absent from a DMT trip.
DMT trips are extremely powerful. In fact, they are likely the most powerful drug experience on the planet. And as a consequence, they can, of course, go bad. However, there is something about their nature that makes this fairly rare. Due to the clear-headedness of them, they can be less anxiety-inducing than trips on other drugs. Likewise, the absence of any physical effects means there is no body anxiety.
That being said, the experience can be overwhelming, and ego death is not uncommon on DMT. Ego death is essentially the dissolution of one’s identity. While a conscious experience still exists, it becomes hard to attribute an “I” to that experience. Though it can be painful and upsetting while it is happening, most people who experience ego death tend to reflect on it as a positive, meaningful experience during which they reached a state of interconnection with the universe.
Still, for those nervous about going it alone, consider getting a trip sitter to come by and make sure you're okay. Unless you're digesting the DMT, they'll only have to be present for a short while.
The side effects and health consequences of DMT are generally considered few and mild. The main risk with taking this hallucinogenic tryptamine is the potential for serotonin syndrome. Although rare, this condition can be life threatening, and is defined by symptoms like high blood pressure, headache, and even seizures and respiratory arrest. For this reason, in particular, it is not advised to mix DMT with other drugs—including certain prescription drugs—especially those affecting the neurotransmitter serotonin.
An ayahuasca trip can last up to 12 hours, with the average trip lasting 4–6 hours. On either side of this is a period of the high that is not “tripping”. The onset takes between 1 and 2 hours.
Smoked, vaped, and injected DMT lasts a much shorter time. In fact, the meat of a DMT trip tends to last a mere 5–10 minutes. The onset is rapid too with these methods, taking as little as 15 seconds. And there’s very little time to consider it once it starts. Once the drug enters your brain, you will peak almost immediately. After the initial rush, it levels out very quickly too.
There will be a lingering afterglow for some time.
It is hard to call DMT a recreational drug. While there is no doubt that DMT experiences can be fun and exciting, it is almost impossible for them not to be very deep as well. Therefore, before taking DMT, it’s important to be aware of this, and to make sure you are in a space to have what could be one of the most important experiences of your life.