What is (N,N-DMT) Dimethyltryptamine
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT or N,N-DMT) is a substituted tryptamine that occurs in many plants and animals and which is both a derivative and a structural analog of tryptamine. It is used as a recreational psychedelic drug and prepared by various cultures for ritual purposes as an entheogen. It produces strong psychedelic effects (e.g. visual hallucinations).
Although lesser known than other psychedelics such as LSD or magic mushrooms, DMT produces a brief but intense visual and auditory hallucinogenic experience.
DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States; this means that it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute the drug. The substance has a high potential for abuse, no recognized medical use, and a lack of accepted safety parameters for the use of the drug.
DMT has no approved medical use in the United States. but can be used by researchers under a Schedule I research registration that requires approval from both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Uses of DMT | How to make DMT
Despite its illegal status, DMT is used in some religious ceremonies and various settings for an “awakening” or to obtain deep spiritual insight.
DMT is produced in many species of plants often in conjunction with its close chemical relatives 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) and bufotenin (5-OH-DMT). DMT-containing plants are commonly used in indigenous Amazonian shamanic practices. It is usually one of the main active constituents of the drink ayahuasca; however, ayahuasca is sometimes brewed with plants that do not produce DMT. It occurs as the primary psychoactive alkaloid in several plants including Mimosa tenuiflora, Diplopterys cabrerana, and Psychotria viridis. DMT is found as a minor alkaloid in snuff made from Virola bark resin in which 5-MeO-DMT is the main active alkaloid. DMT is also found as a minor alkaloid in bark, pods, and beans of Anadenanthera peregrina and Anadenanthera colubrina used to make Yopo and Vilca snuff, in which bufotenin is the main active alkaloid. Psilocin and its precursor psilocybin, an active chemical in many psilocybin mushrooms, are structurally similar to DMT.
The psychotropic effects of DMT were first studied scientifically by the Hungarian chemist and psychologist Stephen Szára, who performed research with volunteers in the mid-1950s. Szára, who later worked for the United States National Institutes of Health, had turned his attention to DMT after his order for LSD from the Swiss company Sandoz Laboratories was rejected on the grounds that the powerful psychotropic could be dangerous in the hands of a communist country.
DMT is generally not active orally unless it is combined with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A (RIMA), for example, harmaline. Without a MAOI, the body quickly metabolizes orally administered DMT, and it therefore has no hallucinogenic effect unless the dose exceeds the body’s monoamine oxidase’s metabolic capacity. Other means of ingestion such as vaporizing, injecting, or insufflating the drug can produce powerful hallucinations for a short time (usually less than half an hour), as the DMT reaches the brain before it can be metabolized by the body’s natural monoamine oxidase. Taking a MAOI prior to vaporizing or injecting DMT prolongs and potentiates the effects.
Clinical use of DMT
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous ligand of sigma-1 receptors (Sig-1Rs), acts against systemic hypoxia. Research demonstrates DMT reduces the number of apoptotic and ferroptotic cells in mammalian forebrain and supports astrocyte survival in an ischemic environment. According to these data, DMT may be considered as adjuvant pharmacological therapy in the management of acute cerebral ischemia.
- Visual perception (seeing bright colours, geometric shapes, ‘soft edge’ to objects)
- Intense dreams
- Change in self-perception and identity (disconnection from senses when sought).
- Hallucinations can become frightening (overly intense)
- Sense of disconnection from self
- Effect/Comedown can be rapid and abrupt
Injected: it can be injected only if it is in the acidic salt (fumarate) form, the other form (‘freebase’) cannot be as it does not mix with water.
Snorted: the crystals can be crushed and snorted, similar to other white powders.
Ingested: in some cultures, the ‘ayahuasca’ beverage contains some DMT. However, when ingesting DMT, an appropriate enzyme inhibitor must be taken (i.e. MAOIs), otherwise the DMT will be inactive.
NB. The fumarate form is water soluble (mixes with water), more stable and less likely to degrade, but is slightly less potent than the ‘freebase’ form. Both forms can look similar in appearance, although the ‘freebase’ form may have a stronger crystal-like appearance.