Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles DMT is an intense naturally-occurring psychedelic that's been taken for centuries. The drug is typically used via inhalation or is taken orally in the form of an ayahuasca-like preparation. Although it's not as popular as LSD or psilocybin, it is a widely discussed and used psychedelic. DMT is also present endogenously in the human body. As always, there will be more information and links to references on TheDrugClassroom.com which you can find using the link below. Among the potential positive effects are closed and open eye visuals, spiritual or otherwise meaningful experiences, euphoria, mood lift, and auditory hallucinations. The negative effects can include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, fear, anxiety, and paranoia. Although I won't fully discuss ayahuasca here, it does come with some other common effects that may be considered negative such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. DMT's effects depend on the dose, though the vast majority of attention is given to its peak effects. At low doses, it might provide some mood effects, such as anxiolysis and mood elevation. These doses typically aren't very hallucinogenic, but they can lead to objects vibrating, items becoming more colorful, and the appearance of slight geometric patterns. More complete doses come with effects that are highly variable between users, but some parts of the experience can be placed into typical groups. Multiple proposals have been made regarding how to group the effects and experiences. One commonality between them is that the lowest or initial stage of an experience contains colorful geometry of increasing prominence in the visual field and behind closed eyes. A step up from this is the progression to being immersed in what seems like a different world. Sometimes a further peak experience of white light and euphoria is obtained, although the immersion into another world is the most commonly discussed experience. Depending on dose and individual response, you may only reach the initial stage. Although you can group the effects, the actual contents of a full immersive experience differ between users. Here are some of the common elements: A full replacement of normal reality with an "alternate universe." The universe can include visual objects and even seemingly sentient, intelligent, or powerful entities that sometimes interact with the user. Regardless of eyes being closed or open there is rapidly changing "kaleidoscopic" imagery. A feeling of euphoria is often present following an initial period of anxiety. Some users report laughter, calmness, or a feeling of joy. Although it's possible to experience significant anxiety and fear during the entire experience. And other users don't report any discernible feelings during the peak effects. There's also a dissociation from the body and, when your eyes are closed in particular, a disconnection from normal reality. This can mean no longer feeling your body and sometimes at least a partial disconnection from "self" occurs as well. Disconnecting from the "self" or your mind may include an absence of thoughts or a temporary lack of personal memories. Lastly, another common element is that people report the experience feels as real or more real than normal reality or dreaming. Not all of these effects appear for everyone, but they're a general outline of a full DMT experience. There's also a pretty typical progression of the experience with a full dose. Initially there's a "rush" phase during which you may feel disoriented and like you're being rocketed to a new location. Your head may feel like it's intensely vibrating. This can be accompanied by a sound, usually of a high-pitch, such as a whine. This initial period is often filled with transient anxiety brought on by the intensity of the effect. The rush progresses towards a detachment or dissociation from the body and normal reality. People sometimes remain partly connected to normal reality with their eyes open, depending on the dose. The "rush" is followed either by a full breakthrough experience or first by a brief waiting period. When the waiting period is present, which it isn't for everyone, it may be filled with colors and a sense that an experience is about to unfold. Users can feel like they're moving, such as heading down a tunnel. And the internal feeling and progression is sometimes described like that of a rollercoaster. When it comes to the contents of a full experience, it's difficult to give a description. As was previously noted, there are often impressive geometric patterns and incredibly bright or intense colors. There can also be non-earth landscapes and environments. Euphoria is a common feeling, along with a sense of wonder, amazement, and confusion. A few general categories for the type of experiences someone can have were put forth by Rick Strassman, who carried out DMT research. The first is "personal," which are experiences based around personal issues, which might be difficult to accept. The second is "transpersonal," which are novel experiences in terms of quality and intensity but they have some basis in the subject's previous experience. Mystical and near-death-type experiences may be grouped in this category. And the third is "invisible worlds," which involve encounters with autonomous, freestanding realities seemingly inhabited by alien beings capable of interaction. Strassman reported that around half of volunteers receiving a high dose of DMT reported an "invisible worlds" experience at least once. Just to give an idea of the range of things witnessed during the experiences, people have reported everything from "high-tech machine-like objects" to "a ballroom with crystal chandeliers" to "circus imagery." A key component of many experiences is ineffability, or the inability to describe the effects with language. Not only can people struggle to impart their experiences onto others, they themselves may recall just a small portion of what was experienced. This is often because there's an overwhelming amount of data in the form of feelings or visual perception. Entities are clearly an interesting part of the experience. They don't always appear and many people use DMT without encountering them, but they are frequently reported. Again, there's massive variation. People come back describing the entities as elves, spirits, gods, dwarfs, reptiles, insects, mantises, stick figures, and sometimes just an unseen but felt "presence." Those descriptions typically aren't meant to be precise. For example, if someone describes "elves," that's largely due to it being the best available term. It's not because the elves people usually think of are exactly what was seen. These things may interact in the form of welcoming the user, laughing, or seemingly imparting some sort of wisdom. They may also just probe or examine the user. And sometimes they don't even acknowledge the user. Although the entities are more often described as benign and even helpful, they can sometimes be persecutory and antagonistic. Users tend to have the feeling that these beings are not a part of themselves, but this may very well just be a feeling. While people are under the influence, they usually don't move much or at all. Sometimes deep breathing is present, the user's mouth may be partly open, and there can be REM-like movements behind the eyelids. The main acute negative psychological effects are anxiety and confusion. Paranoia, including feeling like you or others are being controlled by an outside force, is also sometimes encountered. These effects normally fade away quickly, but you should definitely be cautious when it comes to using the drug. Ayahuaca will be fully explored in a separate video, but since DMT is a key component of it, I'll briefly mention it. The term traditionally refers to Banisteriopsis caapi, though it's come to refer to a brew made up of Caapi and Psychotria viridis, which contains DMT. Using it orally lengthens the effect to 3 to 4 hours and reduces the peak intensity and ineffability. Although it can still be a very intense effect and it may be even more intense in terms of the emotional and psychological impact. Some medical applications for DMT have been explored. Much of the data involves ayahuasca, which complicates matters. Three areas where DMT or ayahuasca may have some efficacy are depression, anxiety, and addiction. But there's relatively little research in all of those cases. It's worth exploring given the drug's effect and the trend towards efficacy that has been shown so far. The endogenous nature of the substance has led to multiple hypotheses about its potential role, assuming it even has one. A popular, though minimally supported hypothesis, is that it plays a role in dreaming, near-death experiences, or naturally arising spiritual experiences. Other proposals are that it could be an immune system modulator or a tool that helps the brain survive potentially life-threatening conditions. Although it was once posited to be the cause of schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, that's no longer really supported. But some people still think it could have an impact on psychiatric illness. Even in healthy people some proposals are that it could regulate mood and anxiety. In each of these cases we need a lot more research to figure out what it might be doing. One last point to round out this section is that DMT differs from other psychedelics in that it effectively lacks a tolerance. It's possible to use the drug multiple times per day. When inhaled, DMT lasts 10 to 15 minutes and begins working in under 30 seconds. Some effects may appear by 15 seconds, subsequently building to the full effect within a minute or two. Orally the duration is 3 to 4 hours and the onset is 30 to 45 minutes. DMT is the simplest of the common tryptamine hallucinogens. It is structurally similar to melatonin and serotonin. It's also similar to other psychedelics, such as 5-MeO-DMT. The drug is found in other animals and is widespread in the plant kingdom. Among its sources are Psychotria viridis, Diplopterys cabrerana, and Mimosa tenuiflora. Other plants have historically been taken intranasally, but DMT is typically a minor constituent. Ayahuasca is classically made with Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, the latter providing the DMT. Brews sometimes contain other hallucinogenic, stimulating, or otherwise active drugs. This makes ayahuasca a more complex pharmacological substance. After decades of research we now have pretty good evidence for the endogenous nature of DMT. It's believed to be synthesized beginning with tryptophan, which is used to form tryptamine. An enzyme called INMT catalyzes the addition of methyl groups to tryptamine. This leads to n-methyltryptamine and then to DMT. The most important production sites for the drug are unknown. INMT is expressed throughout the body, with some high level areas being the lungs, thyroid, and adrenal gland.