DMT, officially known as dimethyltryptamine, is a potent hallucinogenic drug. It’s similar in structure to the more well-known LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, although its effects last for much shorter a duration. While an LSD experience can last several hours, a DMT trip typically lasts 45 minutes to one hour.
Street names for DMT include:
- 45-Minute Psychosis
- Businessman’s trip
- Businessman’s LSD
- Businessman’s special
The drug occurs naturally in a number of plants, such as the tropical tree Piptadenia peregrine. It has additionally been found in bodily fluids of those who suffer from schizophrenia. A synthetic version of the drug was first made in 1931, and synthetic versions remain on the market today.
How it’s Taken
DMT is most active when the drug is smoked, sniffed or injected. Indians living in South America and the Caribbean used to inhale the drug through special tubes, and modern users can roll into cigarettes, sniff it as they would cocaine, or inject it using a needle. It was initially though DMT was inactive if taken by mouth, but later reports dispute that fact.
While surveys do not usually specifically target DMT use, many have looked at the use of hallucinogenic drugs in general. The most recent hallucinogen use statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health are from 2006. The report notes:
- Nearly 700,000 people age 12 or older used hallucinogens other than LSD during their lifetime, with about 100,000 using them within the past year
- 23 million people age 12 or older had used LSD during their lifetime, with about 700,000 using it within the past year
The effects of DMT are similar to those of LSD, but they are typically more intense.
Physiological and psychological effects include:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid pulse rate
- Frenzied stream of thoughts and visions
- Sense of transcending time
- Feeling of objects losing form and dissolving into vibrations
- Difficulty expressing thoughts
- Trouble concentrating
- Possible euphoria with uncontrollable laughter
- Possible anxiety, paranoia, foreboding and panic
Because DMT can rapidly enter the body when sniffed, injected or smoked, it often produces sudden and overwhelming effects.
Although the effects are generally short-lived, they are incredibly intense and can result in risky behaviors or poor decisions. People who are hallucinating lose the concept of reality, becoming confused as to where they are or what they are doing there.
This can be particularly dangerous if the effects of DMT set in while a person is driving or otherwise engaging in activities that require their full focus and attention. People can also experience flashbacks long after their initial trip, sending them back into a state of panic, paranoia or terror.
Another potential danger comes from the components used to create the drug. DMT may be synthesized in makeshift home labs using caustic chemical substances that are harmful to the human body.
While the drug does not seem to result in addiction by creating a psychological or physical dependency, any drug runs the risk of becoming a crutch people need to get have a good time, perform a certain activity or even get through the day. Those who repeatedly use DMT can build up a tolerance that results in needing more and more of the drug to produce the same level of results.
Like other illegal substances, DMT certainly has the potential to change behaviors and negatively impact the lives of those who use it and their loved ones. Many drug treatment centers offer programs for all types of substances, including hallucinogens such as DMT.