Thursday, May 25, 2017
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DMTDMT is Schedule I in the United States. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute without a DEA license. Not available by prescription.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown

Mechanism of Action: agonist of the serotonin receptors, at 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C, among others  (see a more detailed discussion below)


DMT Crystals

DMT Crystals

Pure DMT, or N,N-dimethyltryptamine, at room temperature is a clear or white crystalline solid. It was first chemically synthesized in 1931, although it occurs naturally in many species of plants.

DMT is an entheogen that has been used in a spiritual setting for millennia.  In South America two churches, the Santo Daime and União do Vegetal, use ayahuasca, or hoasca, as their sacrament. Ayahuasca is a tea made from boiled plants – one plant contains DMT and another plant contains MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

DMT is only orally active when it is combined with an MAOI. Still, DMT is active without an MAOI if it is smoked, snorted, inserted into the anus, or injected. When smoked (at dosage ranges from 2 to 50mg), DMT has a very fast onset (less than 1 minute) and the effects have a short duration (5 to 30 minutes).


Despite the fact that DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug, the United States Supreme Court recognized it’s spiritual significance. In Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, the Supreme Court heard arguments on November 1, 2005 and unanimously ruled in February 2006 that the U.S. Federal Government must allow the União do Vegetal to import and consume ayahuasca for religious ceremonies under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This means that UDV members throughout the United States can legally consume DMT/ayahuasca in their ceremonies. Yet, recreational use remains illegal.


DMT affects numerous G protein coupled receptors. The graph below (Ray, 2010) shows the affinity for forty-two receptors, arranged in order of decreasing affinity (click the image to enlarge).


As explained by Ray (2010), “The black vertical bar represents a 100-fold drop in affinity relative to the receptor with the highest affinity. As a rule of thumb, this is presumed to be the limit of perceptible receptor interaction. Receptors to the right of the black bar should be imperceptible, while receptors to the left of the black bar should be perceptible, increasingly so the further left they are” (p. 14).

Substance Identification:

         Marquis Reagent     Ehrlich’s Reagent   
DMT dark yellow to dark brown purple

(Info provided by Bunk Police, 2013; Bunk Police, 2013)

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

The fast onset of DMT can cause overly-intense experiences, which could lead to overwhelming fear and difficulty integrating the experiences. It is possible that this could lead to Flashbacks and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). DMT is also hard on the lungs to smoke and can sometimes cause slight stomach discomfort.

Frequency of Bad Trips. Cole (2014) examined the estimated frequency of bad trips associated with the use of smoked or vaporized DMT through an online survey of recreational users (n=1222); 2.2% of respondents reported experiencing bad trips during all of their smoked or vaporized DMT experiences, while 72.8% of respondents reported never having bad trips on smoked or vaporized DMT. Furthermore, Cole (2014) also examined the estimated frequency of bad trips associated with the use of oral DMT with an MAOI  (n=391); 5.4% of respondents reported experiencing bad trips during all of their oral DMT/MAOI experiences, while 68.5% of respondents reported never having bad trips on oral DMT with an MAOI.

Deaths and Overdoses:





Recommended In-Print Books:

Other Resources:

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