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Creative visualization of a woman experiencing DMT side effects.

Everything You Need to Know About DMT

What is DMT, and how does it affect individuals who abuse it? N, N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a popular and powerful psychedelic substance with a Schedule III classification under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Dealers also call DMT drugs “the spirit molecule” or “the businessman’s trip.” 

What Does DMT Look Like? 

DMT is a naturally occurring substance in plants and animals and can appear as an extract or look like a dried plant. Traditionally used in religious rituals of Indigenous cultures, its psychoactive effects are accessed by brewing parts of the mind-altering Amazonian plant ayahuasca into tea. 

DMT drugs can also be synthetic or lab-produced and appear as a white crystalline powder. Sometimes, in a slightly less pure form, they can take on a yellowish-pink powder appearance.

Depending on whether it’s dried, extracted, or powdered, it can be taken in the following ways:

  • Vaporizing or smoking through a pipe.
  • Drinking in brews like ayahuasca.
  • Snorting
  • Injecting

How Long Does DMT Last?

One striking feature of DMT is its relatively short duration of effects, usually lasting around 15 to 30 minutes. This contributes to the intensity of DMT trips, providing a concentrated and profound experience. 

What Are the DMT Side Effects 

A woman vomiting in a bathroom sink.

What does DMT do to a person? The primary side effect of DMT is predominantly psychological. It’s renowned for inducing profound visual and auditory hallucinations, along with altering one’s perception of space, body, and time. However, DMT side effects may vary depending on several factors:

  • Your size, weight, and overall health.
  • Whether you’ve used it previously or it’s your first time.
  • If you’ve consumed other substances simultaneously.
  • The dosage you take.
  • The potency of the drug sourced.
  • Your surroundings.
  • Your emotional state at the time of ingestion.

Research indicates the effects of DMT can sometimes resemble near-death experiences. Common psychological DMT effects may include:

  • Changes in mood.
  • Higher sensitivity to sensations, such as pain, tingling, warmth, etc.
  • A feeling of euphoria or intense happiness.
  • A spiritual and emotional experience.
  • Distorted body image.
  • An ability to unlock hidden memories.

Like other psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), abusing DMT drugs can be extremely harmful to your physical and mental health and well-being

Here’s a list of known physiological side effects of DMT drug abuse:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Temporary narrowing of blood vessels, also known as vasoconstriction.
  • Rapid or irregular breathing.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Changes in body temperature.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Altered consciousness.

DMT drugs also work as serotonin receptors, like antidepressants and MAO inhibitors. Users who have mental health issues and consume large doses of DMT are making themselves vulnerable to serotonin syndrome. A severe and sudden accumulation of the serotonin chemical in the body can lead to the onset of mild to severe consequences. Too much serotonin can lead to:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of muscle coordination or tissue
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Kidney or respiratory syndrome

In addition, abusing DMT drugs in exceptionally high doses or mixing them with alcohol and other illicit substances, such as cocaine or opioid painkillers, can cause someone to abruptly stop breathing and fall into cardiac arrest, coma, or, worse, sudden death. 

DMT Versus LSD Versus Psilocybin: How They Differ 

To better understand DMT and its effects, let’s compare it with other more commonly known psychedelic drugs: LSD and Psilocybin.

LSD 

LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) or acid is commonly consumed orally as liquid drops or blotter paper (tabs) placed on the tongue or swallowed. It’s a synthetic psychedelic compound originally derived from ergot fungus. It causes alterations in perception, mood, and thought, leading to visual distortions, changes in time perception, and even heightened sensory experiences. 

Compared to DMT, LSD offers a much longer-lasting trip. Its effect often ranges from six to 12 hours, depending on the dosage and the person.

Psilocybin 

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms. Similar to LSD, psilocybin produces visual distortions, altered states of consciousness, and introspective experiences. However, these effects are generally milder compared to LSD, offering a more gentle psychedelic journey. 

Psilocybin’s effects last up to six hours, making it shorter than LSD but longer than DMT. Psilocybin is typically consumed orally by eating mushrooms containing psilocybin or by brewing into tea, providing a natural and accessible way to experience its effects.

What is a DMT “Bad Trip”? 

 Creative visualization of heightened senses due to DMT drugs.

Although more extensive research is needed to prove DMT’s long-term side effects, experts agree that users with concurrent mental conditions, such as schizophrenia, face more significant risks due to the possibility of experiencing a “bad trip.” 

In the world of recreational drug use, having a bad trip means suffering from prolonged and terrifying hallucinations, flashbacks, and nightmares instead of getting the sought-after high. Potential psychological long-term side effects of DMT can last for days, weeks, months, or sometimes years after use. This unsettling experience can trigger debilitating panic attacks or suicide attempts driven by overwhelming fear and persistent paranoia.

In severe cases, individuals struggling with DMT substance use disorder may encounter Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). While not as frequently linked as with substances like LSD or psilocybin, instances of HPPD have been reported among those who have developed a psychological dependence on this illegal drug. This hallucinogen use disorder can manifest as: 

  • Perceiving static or “snow-like” visual noise across their field of vision.
  • Seeing trails or afterimages of objects that move across their vision.
  • Perceiving halos or auras around objects or lights.
  • Experiencing distortions in the size, shape, or colour of objects.
  • Seeing sudden flashes or bursts of light.
  • Objects appear larger or smaller than they are.

Can I Get Addicted to DMT Drugs? 

According to current research, DMT drugs exhibit low risks of psychological and physical dependence because it does not cause physical withdrawal symptoms when you pause or quit using them, unlike other drugs. However, the risk of developing an addiction to DMT drugs is still there, especially for individuals who habitually abuse them to escape or make themselves feel better from their bleak reality. 

Other symptoms that may suggest you’re at risk of forming a DMT drug addiction include:

  • Being accustomed to taking DMT in high doses.
  • Inability to successfully stop or quit abusing DMT even if you want to.
  • Getting into trouble at work or compromising relationships because your DMT drug use comes first.
  • Neglecting hobbies and other activities that you previously loved spending time on.
  • Feeling inadequate, unhappy, or lacking in confidence without using DMT drugs.

What Are the Treatment Options for DMT Addiction? 

 A patient speaking with an addiction specialist

There’s currently no prescription or over-the-counter medication, approved by the FDA, to treat addiction to DMT drugs. Psychotherapy and effective behavioural therapies may prove valuable in overcoming substance use addiction and ultimately help guide patients to have a happier, healthier life in sobriety.

At Freedom From Addiction, we follow evidence-based approaches to treat different types of substance use disorders. We recognize the importance of determining underlying causes and treating the addiction as a symptom instead of a problem. With our world-class addiction specialists, we’ll develop a customized treatment plan for each patient based on their medical and psychological evaluations. 

DMT drug addiction treatment programs may include:

Medical Drug Detox 

Detox is the first and most crucial step. A medically guided drug detox ensures there’s no trace of substance in the system while making the patient safe and comfortable. Additionally, any toxic effects or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms of the drug can also be mitigated by detox experts, prescribing medication if needed.

Individual Counselling 

It’s a one-on-one patient and therapist setting that provides an opportunity to unpack and process past trauma and triggers that may have led to addiction. 

Group Counselling

In group-based therapy sessions, patients talk about their experiences and feelings in a safe and shared space. It helps them recognize that they are not alone in their journey and allows them to draw inspiration from other participants.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

CBT is a specialized type of psychotherapy that focuses on getting rid of harmful behaviours and mindsets and equipping patients with positive coping strategies when they feel cravings for DMT drugs. 

Residential Drug Rehab 

Our inpatient treatment program typically lasts 30 to 90 days. However, it’s important to note that addiction treatments can last longer, depending on the patient’s progress. Clients get full-service therapy from professionals during the day as they remain at their residence in Freedom From Addiction

Begin Your Recovery Journey from DMT with the Support You Need 

If you or a loved one has suffered enough from DMT side effects but cannot seem to walk away from it, Freedom From Addiction can help you. To know all about our DMT drug addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our treatment consultants, who are available 24/7.

Reach out to us today!

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