DMT is a psychoactive molecule and in this sense it is a drug. The title of this article is provocative for a very good reason. DMT is so strange and mysterious that it literally pushes the boundaries of the meaning of “drug”. In fact, many people who have consumed DMT say the experience transcends the boundaries of language itself.

First of all, what is DMT?

It stands for dimethlytriptamine and it is a key ingredient in the Amazonian shamanic brew ayahuasca. When consumed, DMT fits snuggly into the most wide and important network in the human brain: the serotonin system. If drunk as part of the ayahuasca brew, the experience usually lasts for 4 to 8 hours. If smoked, it’s action is much shorter. It has a peak experience of 3 to 5 minutes and fully back to baseline, or ordinary reality, in 20 to 30 minutes.

 

A journey of unimaginable proportions

The DMT and ayahuasca experience are often called a journey or trip given the sensation of going on an epic expedition of the soul. The DMT trip includes the classic psychedelic effects of holographic rainbow patterns, time and space distortions and emotional intensities. But it usually includes an extra element.

People who take DMT often report encountering and interacting with beings, spirits, extra-dimensional aliens or figures of the mind (*choose word that suits your belief system) . Artists and video animators have been busy trying to depict their inner DMT visions in mind-bending artworks. And wordsmiths have been scribing their visions en masse. You can read hundreds of descriptions of DMT experiences at Erowid.

But many profess that the only way to possibly know the DMT experience is to tackle it head on. Author Erik Davis put it well: “Like our loving and like our dying, our [psychedelic] trips are ultimately known, if anything is ultimately known at all, from the inside”. Here is what pharmacologist Professor David Nichols of Purdue University had to say about the inside of DMT experiences and their “inter-dimensional beings”:

To study its safety and the medicinal and religious elements of DMT, Dr. Rick Strassman conducted research at the University of New Mexico in the 1990s. He gave 50+ people 600 doses of DMT over a period of several years.DMT the spirit moleculeHe discovered that the molecule is biologically very safe and not harmful to the body. Recent research has shown that DMT has anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects on the brain and that it grows new brain cells in the hippocampus (which is an area of the brain important for memory and imagination). The ayahuasca brew (which contains DMT) has recently shown promise in helping heal treatment-resistant depression in a pioneering study in Brazil.

But with its soul expanding qualities, DMT can be extremely psychologically challenging.

DMT and “bad trips”

The possibility of a scary or “bad” trip is very real. There are many things that can influence the DMT experience, including your personal psychology and the setting or environment of the trip. But it’s important to know that not all people see “bad trips” as bad. Many person on the psychedelic path relate to scary or challenging material in their visions as opportunities for letting-go or for learning about themselves and their emotional habits. They prefer to talk about these experiences as not bad but challenging experiences that are insightful and essential parts of the psychedelic path (see videos on the ayahuasca path for more about this).

This brings us back to the concept of druuuuuuuuugs.

We should be careful with how we use language. The fact is that words are kind of like magical instruments, especially when it comes to something like DMT. Because, what you expect, believe and think will shape your DMT experience in very powerful ways. If you truly believe DMT is a toxic drug, then you will likely have terrifying visions. The experience is very prone to suggestibility.

Pablo Amaringo
Artwork by the Peruvian artist Pablo Amaringo. A depiction of ayahuasca visions.

 The pineal gland story

Therefore, DMT is also a breeding ground for strange ideas. One of the most popular misconceptions about the molecule regards the mysterious pineal gland in the center of the human brain. DMT does naturally occur in all human bodies (and in so many animals, plants and fungi) and it has been found in the pineal gland of the brain of rodents in very small amounts. But recent research has shown that DMT is not produced in the pineal gland with anywhere near the amounts needed to induce naturally occurring mystical effects.

This is what Dr. Rick Strassman, who is often referenced as the source of the pineal gland DMT idea, had to say about the idea:

I did my best in the DMT book to differentiate between what is known, and what I was conjecturing about (based upon what is known), regarding certain aspects of DMT dynamics. However, it’s amazing how ineffective my efforts seem to have been. So many people write me, or write elsewhere, about DMT, and the pineal, assuming that the things I conjecture about are true. When I was writing the book, I thought I was clear enough, and repeating myself would have gotten tedious.

We don’t know whether DMT is made in the pineal. I muster a lot of circumstantial evidence supporting a reason to look long and hard at the pineal, but we do not yet know. There are data suggesting urinary DMT rises in psychotic patients when their psychosis is worse. However, we don’t know whether DMT rises during dreams, meditation, near-death, death, birth or any other endogenous altered state.

DMT is everywhere, almost

One interesting factoid about DMT is that its in so many different lifeforms on earth. It’s one of the most basic chemical elements of many lifeforms. For instance, common citrus trees, such as lemons and oranges, contain DMT. The reason why you don’t enter a kaleidoscopic time-space warp when drinking orange juice is because of an enzyme in your stomach that breaks-down DMT before it can get to your bloodstream. The powerful ayahuasca vine of the Amazon rainforest has a special molecule in it that enables the DMT to enter your blood.

This means that orange farmers are literally mass producing one of the most powerful drugs on the planet. Researcher Morris Crowley estimates that the state of Florida (US) produces 5 kilos of pure DMT per season in its oranges. He explains that this is roughly 150,000 doses. Therefore, should we also call oranges drugs?

Blue-Crystal-Fire-Luis-Tamani-exp
Artwork by Luis Tamani

While DMT is found all across the world, a scientist discovered how to create it in a laboratory in 1931. Richard Helmuth Fredrick Manske was first to synthesize it, but it was Dr. Stephen Szara of Hungary who showed the Western world that this molecule has powerful psychedelic effects. He was a standard scientist working in the 1950s and 60s and who visited San Francisco California in the 1960s. Szara went there to study the “hippies” taking DMT. He wrote a fascinating if not strange article about his research called A Scientist Looks at the Hippies. You can read about it in Graham St. John’s fantastic book Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT.

Terence McKenna

One of the biggest proponents of DMT was the late psychedelic writer and bard Terence McKenna. In the 1980s and 1990s, he toured the world giving speaking tours about the mysterious nature and effects of psychedelics. His ability to discuss such a wide range of topics in one talk makes him one of the greatest psychedelic minds in history. His range of interests included renaissance magic, biology, mathematics, anthropology, ethnobotany and Jungian psychology. Check out this video of him discussing “drugs” and psychedelics:


DMT vs ayahuasca

Drinking DMT as part of ayahuasca can open up portals into the deepest depths of the subconscious and the most ineffable realms of the beyond. However, freebase DMT crystals are also extracted from the plants that contain them and smoked or vaporized to achieve an incredible ego-shattering high full of fantastic visions and astral travels. DMT is consumed in this form as a recreational psychedelic by tens of thousands of psychonauts around the world.

Ayahuasca journeys are much longer than smoked DMT trips and involve more profound emotions and insight; thus, these experiences are incredibly idiosyncratic and often extremely personally meaningful. They require a period of mental and physiological preparation in order for the insights to be integrated into regular life. Ayahuasca is usually consumed in a ceremonial context where many users drink in a circle, and the shamans or guides hold the space and manage the collective and individual journeys. Most ayahuasca ceremonies take place in ayahuasca retreats in South America, especially in Peru. These retreats usually involve other traditional Amazonian healing methods.

When smoked, DMT effects start almost instantly, catapulting the user into unknown realms which are much more alien to the human experience than the deeply insightful ayahuasca journeys. They also last much shorter, but this small time window seems like eternity in the faraway realms in which time doesn’t exist. Smoking DMT is not usually a ceremonial event; it is often done recreationally by “psychonauts”, either solitary, in a small group, or at large gatherings such as music festivals.

Because DMT activates serotonin receptors in the brain, it is similar in its biochemistry to other powerful psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, 5-MeO-DMT, and LSD, which also work on the serotonergic system. Science is still trying to understand how this neurochemical action translates into the incredible entheogenic visions the users perceive on these substances.


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DMT in the old ages

As we mentioned, DMT can be found in hundreds of species of plants all over the world. As such, it’s not surprising that people have been aware of its existence for thousands of years. That’s correct, the molecule has been part of rituals connecting its users with spirits, ancestors, and deities since ancient times.

Archeological remains of puma bones, unearthed on the territory of today’s Argentina and estimated to be over 4,000 years old, were found to contain traces of DMT on the inside. It’s assumed that these bones were used as insufflation devices.

The DMT found in these bones is likely from one of the trees belonging to the Virola genus or from the leguminous fruits of the plants Anadenanthera peregrina or Anadenanthera colubrina. These plants grow throughout South America and have been used by many ancient civilizations. Virola snuffs are today known as epená, and Anadenanthera snuffs are well-known as yopo (or cohoba, vilca, and huilca).

Traces of DMT were also found in many other ancient artifacts throughout the Amazon basin and beyond, in the Caribbean islands and throughout the Andes. Of special note is a recently discovered shamanic pouch, which was found in southern Bolivia, and which was used to store numerous psychoactive compounds, including DMT. The late shaman also stored some carved bone tubes and wooden artifacts for insufflation in it. It’s dated to around the year 1000 AD.

As for ayahausca, its history is also old, but not as easy to trace back as the use of DMT. This is because the insufflation devices are very specific in their function and easy to analize for substances, while cauldrons, pots, and other drinking vessels could have been used for many different purposes and are more difficult to test for chemicals they once contained due to having been washed.

That said, a particularly interesting ceremonial-looking stone bowl, richly adorned with carvings of mythological figures, was uncovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon and was dated to somewhere between the years 500 BC and 500 AD. Archaeologists speculate that it was a vaso de brujo (sorcerer’s cup), which was used for communal drinking of ayahuasca, but we can’t know for sure.

In any case, at some point, some hundreds of years ago or possibly much longer in some places, indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin started brewing the vine Banisteriopsis caapi with the leaves of Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana (depending on local availability) and making sacred brews sacred brews called ayahuasca or yagé (depending on the culture).

Brewed on their own, these DMT-containing plants would not have much of an effect because the enzymes in our stomachs metabolize DMT extremely quickly, before it can reach the brain. However, combined with the ayahuasca vine, the DMT is allowed to move freely throughout the bloodstream and eventually cross the blood-brain barrier and cause psychoactive effects.

We don’t know much about how the indigenous people came up with this mixture, but we know that they were, and are, quite adept at using plant medicine (not just individual plants but also their complex combinations), passing the knowledge down through generations and sharing it with each other across the rainforest. Notable ayahuasca researchers Gayle Highpine and Steve Beyer have both discussed the hows, whens, and wheres of the encounter of DMT with the ayahuasca vine.

What we do know is that the DMT plants are not, as Terence McKenna initially proclaimed, the core of the ayahausca experience. Rather, they are admixtures in the brewing process whose purpose is to potentiate and enrich the effects of the master vine aya waska (Banisteriopsis caapi). The master vine may traditionally be consumed in small recipies in combination with potentially dozens of different plants. The other plants also receive an increase in their own effects when drunk with the caapi vine.

In traditional ayahausca shamanism, they serve to brighten the visions and are infused into the brew with specific intentions which include practicing medicine, divination, and magic. Otherwise, the B. caapi vine-only brew (without or with very little DMT) has been prevalent throughout the Amazon, and its use facilitates both shamanic and personal healing, and communal activities such as ceremonies and hunting.

The rediscovery of DMT by the West

Western science first became aware of DMT when it was synthesized by German chemist Richard Helmuth Fredrick Manske in 1931. However, we still had no idea of the molecule’s psychedelic properties for another two and a half decades, until the Hungarian chemist and psychiatrist Stephen Szára researched and described its effects in 1956.

DMT became miraculously intriguing over the next decade or so, resulting in a plethora of research on its prevalence, biochemical properties, clinical potential, and possible connection to psychopathology. However, this research, as well as research into most other psychedelics, gradually came to a halt in the 1970s, after the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971, which outlawed and stigmatized all known natural and synthetic psychoactives practically globally.

Interestingly, Rick Strassman, whose research we already mentioned, singlehandedly reshaped the landscape of the science into DMT. Thanks to Strassman’s controversial yet approved and peer-reviewed sturies, which you can read about in his widely popular and seminal book on DMT, The Spirit Molecule (this name eventually stuck as the synonym for DMT), we gained remarkable insight into the nature of DMT and its biological and psychological effects. As a result, the “psychedelic renaissance” was set into motion.

Among the most influential proponents of DMT was also the late Terence McKenna. Strassman’s book and research and Terence McKenna’s famous monologues on the ineffable nature of DMT trips brought the Spirit Molecule into the mind’s eye of a global audience. DMT became massively popular throughout the 90s, with thousands seeking out the notorious crystal so they can “break through” into the realms far beyond this ordinary one.

Those who desired a less outlandish DMT trip heartily embraced the emergence of changa, a smokable blend of freebase DMT and various healing and aromatic herbs, which first made its global debut in 2005, courtesy of its creator, Julian Palmer. Changa allowed people to experience DMT but not get completely lost in it, and a year after its first appearance in Australia, it was already a hit (pun intended) in the European psytrance scene.

Today, aside from being a prominent object of scientific research, DMT is consumed as a recreational psychedelic around the world. This especially goes for Australia, where numerous different plants which it can be extracted from grow in abundance.

The Global Drug Survey conducted in 2019 reported that 8.2% of the respondents had tried DMT, and that 4.2% had done it in the last 12 months. Over half of the survey respondents (56.8%) were under 25. A 2010 survey of Australian DMT users found that changa is the preferred method of use among them, with 98.3% of respondents confirming they had smoked DMT this way. Some 30.6% reported having tried DMT as part of ayahausca.

The DMT trip: What to expect?

Smoking DMT provides for a relatively short, but extremely intense trip. We say ‘relatively’ because, possibly unlike with any other psychedelic, time seems to completely dissolve in the DMT realm, giving the feeling of an endless visit to an infinite astral plain with eternal entities residing in it. Basically, everything contained within the DMT trip feels entirely grand and over-the-top.

The realms you can gain access to appear hyperdimensional, with intricate morphing patterns adorning the walls which stretch into eternity, unbridled otherworldly flora covering the extremely lush and mesmerizing landscapes, and hyper-advanced structures and vessels dwarfing in beauty and complexity anything you ever may have tried to imagine beforehand. And, there somewhere, or everywhere… the entities.

There are vastly different accounts on what these entities look like, but, strikingly, there are also incredibly similar descriptions of them coming from trippers with completely different cultural and gnostic backgrounds.

The most common archetype people tend to see seem to be the ‘machine elves’—this is an umbrella term for more-or-less shape-shifting entities, famously coined by Terence McKenna. It denotes beings which usually have a kind of jesteresque quality to them, gleefully greeting the visitor, showing them around, summoning hyperdimensional objects or changing properties of existing ones (or themselves), trying to get the visitor’s attention, teaching them something, and/or tricking them.

Rick Strassman’s research brought to light the commonalities of the collective experiencing these otherworldly creatures. The participants he administered DMT to described them as “entities”, “beings”, “aliens”, “guides”, and “helpers”. Aside from the ‘machine elves’, other frequently reported entities dwelling in DMT realms included clowns, reptiles, mantises, bees, spiders, cacti, and cartoonish or stick figures.

The entities are commonly described as sentient and well-defined, with character, intelligence, telepathic abilities, and… humor. In the DMT trip, it truly feels like you’re entering worlds and meeting creatures which aren’t an extension of your subconscious mind, but that exist quite autonomously, governed by no rules known to us in our default reality.

It’s also curious how common these kinds of visions are under the effect of DMT. Rick Strassman reported that, out of the thousand pages of notes on participant experiences, 50% of them included interactions with DMT entities. Similarly, Philip Mayer, who had analyzed 340 DMT trip reports in 2005, reported that two thirds of them referenced autonomous entities which interact in a sentient and intentional manner.

The DMT breakthrough

A special category of high-tier DMT trips is commonly known as a DMT breakthrough. To get to this level, the user must ingest a sufficient amount of DMT, which usually requires lungs of steel and a solid smoking technique.

To break through means to experience an utter blast-off into hyperspace. It is followed by the dissolution of everything that makes up the default reality. Your soul detaches from your body, which can no longer be felt, the surroundings completely disintegrate, time ceases to exist even as a concept, everything that makes you a person, including your memories, language, personality traits, intelligence, what you care about, etc. is forgotten, and all that is left is your energetic essence floating in an ether of eternality.

For those who have experienced this state, the only way to describe it is ceasing to exist in the default world and emerging in another, or, in other words, dying. DMT is a rare substance able to catalyze an experience which so vividly presents the end of all we know about ourselves and life in general. This is what is commonly referred to in the psychedelic communities as ego death.

Witnessing a DMT breakthrough and coming back to ordinary existence can change a person in profound and irrevocable ways. The most striking part of it is that the purity and eternality of that space beyond the veil of comprehension actually feels more real than the default reality. So, returning from it with the awareness that something so outside of our understanding, so incredibly vast and powerful is out there, beyond this limited existence, can induce immense humility and appreciation for the sacredness and miraculous unlikelihood of life.

The DMT experiences involving ego death, otherworldly landscapes, dwellings, and entities can be incredibly intriguing and inspire major insight in the tripper. However, this kind of soul expansion may not sit well with all—the DMT trip can easily go awry and end up as an overwhelming psychological challenge.

Where does DMT exist naturally?

DMT is spread across the plant and animal kingdoms. Some of the most well-known plant sources of DMT include:

  • Psychotria viridis – this plant is an admixture to ayahuasca brews in Peru. Its local name is chacruna (meaning “mix” in the indigenous Quechua language).
  • Diplopterys cabrerana – this plant is commonly used as an ayahuasca (or yagé) admixture in Ecuador and Colombia. Its local names are chaliponga, ocoyagé, chagropanga, and huambisa.
  • Psychotria carthaginensis – a close relative of P. viridis, this plant contains low levels of DMT, but is easy to grow in a variety of conditions. Due to this, it’s popular among ayahuasca brewers outside of South America. It’s known as sameruca.
  • Mimosa tenuiflora or Mimosa hostilis – this plant is used throughout Brazil in preparation of vinho da jurema, the local hallucinogenic brew. Aside from N,N-DMT, it also contains 5-MeO-DMT, β-carbolines, and numerous other alkaloids.
  • Anadenanthera peregrina and Anadenanthera colubrina – the leguminous fruits of these plants are used for the preparation of the yopo powder, which is ritually snuffed by indigenous peoples throughout Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. DMT is not present in high levels in these plants.
  • Virola theiodora, Virola rufula, Virola calophylla, and a few other Virola species – these plants are also used in preparation of ritualistic snuffs, but by indigenous peoples of the Venezuelan Orinoco Basin.
  • Acacia confusa, Acacia maidenii, Acacia obtusifolia, Acacia simplicifolia, and dozens of other Acacia species – plants popularly used for DMT extraction in Australia, where they are found in abundance.
  • Citrus plants – as we already noted, oranges and lemons contain tiny amounts of DMT.

Aside from these plants, we are aware of the existence of DMT in different concentrations in hundreds of other plants, and we will likely discover it in hundreds more.

DMT has also been found in brains of rats, lungs of rabbits, and human cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and urine. Rick Strassman famously asserted in his book that the Spirit Molecule may exist in potentially every mammal’s body. 

How Does DMT Work?

On a chemical level, N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a derivate of the essential amino acid tryptophan (an important serotonin regulator). We ingest tryptophan on an everyday basis from many foods in which it is found, such as turkey, chicken, red meats, cheese, yogurt, eggs, chocolate, fish, and others. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin in the brain, and it’s not entirely inconceivable (although it is biologically redundant as far as we know) that some of it could also be converted into N,N-DMT, accounting for the modest amounts of it found in various parts of the human body.

However, our bodies are quite used to the presence of DMT, specifically, in keeping it low, presumably so we wouldn’t be spending our lifetimes traversing alternate plains of existence. If DMT in its freebase form enters our systems orally, it is immediately disintegrated by enzymes in the linings of our stomach called monoamine oxidase enzymes (MAOs). This is why the Molecule is usually ingested by inhalation (smoking, snuffing, vaporizing)—that way it bypasses the stomach and goes directly from the lungs into the brain.

What’s interesting about ayahuasca is that the core plant from which it’s made, B. caapi, contains several β-carboline alkaloids known as harmalas (harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine, and others) which act as inhibitors of the MAO enzymes. When the DMT-containing plant is brewed together with B. caapi, these alkaloids allow DMT to travel through the stomach intact, ultimately passing the blood-brain barrier and achieving its psychoactive effects.

The ayahuasca vine is not the only thing that can protect DMT from being metabolized in our stomachs; any compound that acts as an MAO inhibitor can play this role. Consuming any of the harmalas individually, or a plant such as Syrian rue (Peganum harmala) prior to ingesting DMT (either by inhalation or orally) can allow it to remain active in the body for a longer period of time. Crafty psychonauts have come up with numerous ways of combining different alkaloids and/or plant extracts with DMT in order to replicate this process that underlies the ingestion of ayahuasca. These analogs are collectively referred to as anahuasca or pharmahuasca, depending on what ingredients they use.

Another interesting bit of psychedelic biochemistry trivia is that the active ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms is very similar to DMT. Psilocin, the compound which actually has the psychedelic properties (and the compound into which psilocybin gets converted once ingested) is actually 4-hydroxy-DMT. The four hydroxy radicals protect the DMT from being broken down by MAO enzymes similarly like the alkaloids in the ayahuasca vine do. Strong mushroom trips and non-breakthrough DMT trips are commonly compared in their subjective effects, and this is the chemical reasoning behind it; they are both tryptamines.

And, as tryptamines, their action in the brain mostly revolves around the activation of the serotonergic system. Regulating the levels of serotonin (5-HT), one of the oldest neurotransmitters on an evolutionary level, DMT impacts the most extensive modulatory behavioral system in the brain and throughout the body. DMT binds to the 5-HT2A receptor, as well as to a variety of other 5-HT receptors; it’s thought that this agonism accounts for most of DMT’s effects (and of other tryptamines), including its mystical visions.

DMT also has an affinity for the Sigma-1 receptors, whose suboptimal functioning has been connected with numerous pathological processes, such as depression, addiction, pain, amnesia, and others. It’s likely that this pharmacological action is responsible for the healing effects of DMT.

Aside from the serotonin and Sigma-1 receptors, DMT also has an affinity for a completely different class of trace amine-associated receptors. Additionally, serotonergic hallucinogens such as DMT activate the frontocortical glutamate receptors. In summary, the Spirit Molecule does a whole lot of stuff to a whole lot of biological channels, and we know very little about how its effects are actually created. It’s a question if the understanding of its pharmacological action can ever even bring us closer to understanding where the mysterious visions really come from.

Is DMT legal?

Possessing or growing the plants that contain DMT is not illegal in most of the world, except in France, which outlawed all plants used for brewing ayahuasca in 2005. However, although the plants themselves are legal, DMT extraction, possession, use, and sales are not legal. DMT is a highly regulated illicit substance.

However, on the plus side, DMT is rapidly metabolized by the body, so all traces of it disappear basically as soon as its effects are over. For this reason, screening specifically for DMT is not part of any standardized workplace drug test.

DMT side effects and risks

DMT is an extremely powerful hallucinogen; aside from its intense consciousness altering effects, it can cause a wide range of changes in bodily processes.

The most common DMT side effects include: dizziness, a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, lack of coordination, nausea (if it’s taken in a combination with MAOIs), shivering, spasms, and, potentially, a loss of consciousness. Individuals with pre-existing heart conditions, such as hypertension, should avoid DMT.

Under the effect of DMT, no physical activities should be performed as they may result in injury due to the lack of coordination. Spacious, comfortable environments without disturbances, where one can lie down for the duration of the trip are recommended. Additionally, and especially for first-timers, having a sober sitter present is a must.

As noted, bad or overwhelming trips on DMT are entirely possible. Just the massive alteration in the perception of the environment can be enough to send someone off into a spiral of anxiety or panic, let alone the wild closed-eyed visualizations. Extremely, this can result in psychological trauma.

DMT can also induce a heavy dissociation between the mind/soul/spirit and the body. The breaking of this connection is viewed by some as the main benefit or goal of the DMT experience, and it can yield incredibly profound insight into the nature of reality. However, it can also cause symptoms of depersonalization, which may be difficult to recover from and integrate.

Finally, DMT may have pharmacological interactions with other drugs or medication, especially psychoactive substances such as opioids, CNS depressants or stimulants, phenethylamines, methamphetamines, barbiturates, antipsychotics, and others.

The Molecule should further not be mixed with any substance that alters serotonin levels (such as SSRI anti-depressant medication) or blood pressure (such as alcohol or hyper/hypotension medication). The interaction between DMT and these substances/pharmaceuticals can lead to serotonin syndrome or hypertensive crisis; both of these can have fatal outcomes. This especially goes if MAOIs are used in combination with DMT, as they can make this interaction even more dangerous.

Remember that DMT is an illegal substance, and therefore under-researched. Due to this, its potential interactions with other substances have not yet been fully discovered, so precautions should be taken to avoid risks to health.

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Header Artwork by Alex Grey.

Jared Michaelson