DMT is a psychoactive chemical in the tryptamine family. It causes intense visuals and strong psychedelic mental effects when smoked, or when taken orally with a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) such as harmine or harmaline. DMT exists naturally in every human being and throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. There are many indigenous cultures in South America whose traditional religious practices include the use of DMT in snuffs and ayahuasca – a DMT infused brew. Traditionally only a shaman ingested the brew to help cure sickness in others, however in more recent years with the influx of Western tourism it has become common for the participants to ingest the brew too. In Australia DMT is typically found as a white, yellow, pink and orange powder or crystal. This powder or crystal is also often infused in dried plant matter (typically caapi – a South American vine containing a MAOI) to create changa.
Know Your Body & Mind — ‘Set’
Know Your Environment — ‘Setting’
Know Your Drug — Practice Harm Reduction
Most commonly vaporised and inhaled using a glass pipe. Changa is usually smoked through a bong, a pipe or joint. Ayahuasca is swallowed as a brew.
DURATION OF EFFECTS
The following timelines are based on smoked and vaporised DMT.
If taken orally with MAOI duration can be much longer.
Total duration: 3-20 minutes
Onset: 0-2 minute
Peak: 3-15 minutes
Coming down: 3-5 minutes
Hangover/after effects: 15-60 minutes
Half life: Even though the apparent effects of the drug wear off after 3-20 minutes, the drug is still active in your system for up to 20 minutes after you have taken it. Remember this if using other substances or redosing.
Roadside Police: Roadside saliva tests do not look for DMT but other substances can be detected that might have been cut into your DMT. It is illegal to drive under the influence of any illicit drugs, including DMT and any driver may be subject to a roadside behavioural impairment test. Wait at least 24 hours before driving.
Workplace: Taking multiple doses over a period of several hours can lengthen the detection window. Urine: 24 hours after Hair: Up to 90 days Blood: no current data
Effects vary from person to person. Check out our table below that has listed the potential physical, psychological and emotional effects.
Taking drugs is never without risk. In an unregulated market it’s impossible to know the purity or dose of any drug. ‘Dose’ depends on the form a drug is in (liquid, powder, pill, crystal) and how you have it (snort, eat, inject).
- Strength can vary greatly so it’s best to start with a small dose to test strength
- A recreational dose (vaporised) is somewhere between 5-10mg (light) and 35+mg (heavy) or one puff (small dose) or 3 puffs (large dose)
- When smoking changa through a bong, it is easy to overdo the dose, as you take the full hit all at once. Be careful – less is more.
- It is easy to burn DMT, especially when a flame hits the DMT directly. The desired vaporise temperature is between 60-80degC.
- Start small – if you take a hit and it’s not enough, you can take a little more to get the effects that you want.
- You do not need a lot of this drug to achieve the desired effects; even with low doses, users report intense visuals.
- Wait at least 2 hours before redosing
- Try to buy from a trusted source and from someone who will tell you about changes in quality etc.
‘Pill Testing’/Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing has been trialled in Australia and is not available as a health service yet but DIY reagent testing is an option. Marquis, Mecke and Mandelin give a reaction. See photos of testing results here > verbinding.110110
- Intense open eye and closed eye visuals
- Slight stomach discomfort
- Risk of clumsiness/falling
- Unusual body sensations (chills, goosebumps, tingling)
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Lethargy (feeling heavy)
- Inability to move
- Loss of bladder control
- Profound/Life changing spiritual experiences
- Feeling of oneness with the universe and all beings within it.
- Overwhelming fear
- Powerful ‘rushing’ sensations
- Auditory hallucinations/sound distortions (buzzing
- Colour shifting eg. a red/green and gold colouring to the whole world
- Temporary verbal dyspraxia – Temporary inability to communicate
- Distorted perception of time
- Radical shift in perspective
- Reduced connection to ego (ego death)
- Difficulty integrating experiences
‘Set’ is the mindset a person brings with them and includes the physical, emotional and spiritual condition of the person, their expectations about the drug’s effects and how they will react to it. ‘Setting’ is the environment that a person is in, including the social environment, who you are with and the physical surroundings, e.g. at home, at a festival or an unfamiliar location. For psychedelic drugs, more so than other psychoactive substances, set and setting are very important in determining the nature of the experience.
- Use around people you trust in a comfortable and safe environment
- It is best to have a sober friend or experienced user present (trip sitter), especially when it is your first time.
- Be mindful of those around you, people can have overwhelming reactions to the smell of DMT even if they are not smoking.
- Sit or lie down for the experience, as it can be overwhelming and disorientating. At times the hallucinations can be so strong that you cannot see the world in front of you only the hallucinations.
- Take your time and be mindful of how you are feeling as the drug is coming on, before you consider increasing your dose; more is not necessarily better.
- DMT can come on with a heavy ‘body load’ at first. Breathe calmly in through your nose and hold a friend’s hand to ground yourself. This feeling does not last forever.
- Try take it in a place with low stimuli, as loud noises, lights, crowds and people can impact your experience and can sometimes cause stress.
- Psychedelics affect all the senses, especially auditory and visual senses, leading to hallucinations.
- Psychedelics alter the way we think, our sense of time, and our emotions. Reactions and experiences can vary dramatically from person to person.
- Even if you’ve taken DMT many times before, every experience is unique and unpredictable.
- Try to make sure you haven’t got anything important to do the next day – You may need some recovery time from the experience
- Try not to make any big decisions about life or people during the experience or until you have fully ‘landed’.
- Research ‘Integration’, which is an ongoing process afterward to translate your psychedelic experience to have a positive impact in your life.
LONG TERM EFFECTS
- Some people may re-experience the subjective effects of DMT days, weeks, months, or even years later. These experiences can be in slight changes in perception, powerful recollections of images and emotions.
- DMT also gives such an intense experience to an alternative reality and powerful hallucinations that some people feel like they change or have an ‘energy shift’ in small to radical ways after the experience.
- Psychedelic drugs may accelerate the onset of mental health issues if you are genetically predisposed. DMT is not strongly associated with exacerbation of mental illness, but it is important to be aware of this possibility.
It is not recommended to use DMT if you have or are at risk of:
- Chest infections
- Psychotic disorders
- Respiratory problems
- Heart problems
Carrying DMT and paraphernalia (e.g. injecting/snorting/plugging equipment) puts you at risk of criminal charges including trafficking, even if you don’t deal. Know your local laws e.g. the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld).
Information on combinations with smoked DMT is limited though it is best to avoid using it in combination with any other substances. The DMT experience is a mind bending and often spiritual catapult into another dimension and as such DMT is not a great party drug.
Polydrug use has many possible outcomes. What could be fun for one person could be dangerous for another. We do not endorse any of these combinations and recommend you proceed with caution.
- Tramadol – is well known to lower seizure threshold and psychedelics also cause occasional seizures.
- Cannabis – has an unexpectedly strong and somewhat unpredictable synergy with psychedelics.
- Amphetamines & Cocaine – Stimulants increase anxiety levels and the risk of thought loops which can lead to negative experiences
- SSRIs- may decrease the effects of DMT.
Low risk effects
- Psychedelics – may intensify psychedelic experience, longer peak and slower come down
- GHB/GBL– may decrease the effects of DMT
- Alcohol – may decrease the effects of DMT
Check out the TripSit drug combinations chart here for info on other combinations.
Call 000 if experiencing adverse effects, feel unwell or concerned in any way
This educational resource has been developed collaboratively by healthcare workers and people who use drugs for their peers and the wider community. The role of Hi-Ground is to provide practical, evidence-based, unbiased information to assist you to make educated choices and to promote harm reduction, community care, and wellbeing.
In an unregulated market it’s impossible to know the purity or dose of any substance. Taking drugs from an unregulated market carries its own risk, and you can educate yourself and practice harm reduction to reduce this risk.
Knowledge is power.
This resource is produced by DanceWize & Hi-Ground