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Home » Is DMT safe? How can the risks be avoided or reduced?

Is DMT safe? How can the risks be avoided or reduced?

DMT stands for N, N-Dimethyltryptamine. It is a potent psychoactive drug with serotonergic actions on humans’ brain that can result in a quick and intense psychedelic experience frequently referred to as a “DMT-induced trip”. It is a DMT experience is typically characterized by hallucinations in the form of visuals, usually associated with powerful entities, and often accompanied by more profound meaning. The experience can be described as a “DMT breakthrough.”. When it’s used as a leisure substance, DMT can be smoked or snorted or injecting in its crystal form.

The DMT molecule is structurally similar to other psychedelic psychedelic tryptamines such as 5-MeO DMT, 4-AcO DMT and psilocybin. These allow it to bind with serotonin receptors to trigger the psychedelic effects.

DMT is found naturally in a variety of plants and is known for its long-standing role as a psychoactive constituent in ayahuasca, a thick hallucinogenic teathat is considered to be an important component of shamanic traditions in the Upper as well as the Lower Amazon.

Currently, there is limited evidence that supports endogenous DMT production by humans. and specifically, whether DMT is made in the brain.

What does DMT look like and how can it be used?

DMT is available in a variety of types, that work for different consumption methods and may alter the duration that you experience. Pure DMT is either a white crystalline powder, or solid, however it is usually seen as a yellow-pink liquid or solid. It is also available in herbal blends known as “changa”.

It is smoked (DMT): DMT powder can be smoked in bongs or pipes, or vaporized including through the use of vape pens. Freebase DMT is typically linked to smoking.
Smoked (Changa): Changa is an herb blend that includes both DMT-containing extract as well as a monoamine oxide inhibitor (MAOI)-containing extract from plants. Combining DMT and a MAOI is based upon the chemical principle of ayahuasca which is why the addition of MAOI prolongs the journey. Changa can be consumed in a joint, pipe bong, or even vaporized using the vape pen.
When injected, DMT must be injected in its salt form (DMT fumarate).
Ingestion or oral consumption in the form of ayahuasca.

While DMT is naturally present on the plant, it may also be chemically synthesized, creating DMT in its salt or base form. The term “freebase DMT is the term used to refer to DMT in its alkaloidal form and is insoluble with water, while “DMT fumarate” is the salt version and is water-soluble.

What is the way DMT perform its function as a chemical in the body and the brain?

DMT is a psychoactive tryptamine. The substance is an indole alkaloid that has a chemical structure similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin. This similarity in structure that exists between DMT and serotonin lets it bind to serotonin receptors. Particularly, DMT is an agonist of the 5-HT2A receptor. This means that it binds to the receptor and triggers the response. It is thought that the 5-HT2A receptor agonism plays an essential role when it comes to hallucinogenic results of DMT. The 5-HT2A receptor is linked with a variety of other psychedelics that are considered classic, including psilocybin and LSD as a result, these psychedelics can often be classified as serotonergic psychedelics.

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What are the effects of DMT?

Psychological effects

DMT is fast-acting and effects are typically observed about 2-5 mins after consumption and last around 15-20 minutes. Even though its effects are brief, DMT is known as one of the most powerful psychoactive drugs. The effects that people experience from DMT can be significant however they can vary with dose. The most notable are:

The intense visual changes can trigger hallucinations, specifically colourful geometric shapes and colours
Mystical or profound spiritual experiences
Varying alternations in mood and emotions, including feelings of emotions like euphoria, calmness, and anxiety
Perceived encounters with other entities, which are often described as like elf-like.
Alternate sense of time as well as place
Feelings of depersonalisation or other out of body experiences
Possible auditory hallucinations
Invoking powerful memories

Effects of physiology

DMT is associated with low toxicity and can be easily metabolised through the body. However, there are physiological effects and potential risks to be aware of. The most notable are elevated blood pressure and an increased cardiovascular rate. This is especially dangerous for people with heart diseases. The diminished motor and cognitive performance poses a security risk , and provides a reason to consider DMT to be taken in a secure environment with a sober sitter. It is important to note that at higher doses, there have been reports of respiratory issues, seizures and complications.

Does DMT has any medical use?

DMT which is consumed as ayahuasca, has a long history of medicinal use in the traditional way for various indigenous tribes in the Lower and Upper Amazon. The potential for ayahuasca to treat ailments as a tool for therapy for psychotherapy has attracted a lot of scientific interest. In addition, several clinical trials have reported beneficial effects on the treatment of depression and addiction.

The rising acceptance by the general public of the therapeutic benefits of ayahuasca (DMT-containing beverages) along with other traditional psychedelics has generated increased scientific interest about whether DMT is a therapeutic option. Research has revealed that there are the similarities in DMT and psilocybin, whereby DMT can provide similar mystical experiences to that of the psilocybin. It is thought that psilocybin can alter brain activity, allowing for the brain’s reset. This is why the evidence from recent studies that DMT causes changes in brain activity in humans may be beneficial. Similarities to these suggest DMT could have the same therapeutic effect to psilocybin treating psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Are DMT risk-free? What is the best way to make sure the risks can be prevented or minimized?

DMT is a potent psychoactive drug. As with any drug it’s crucial to have a sense of appreciation for the psychological and physiological risks associated with the use of this drug.

DMT can trigger a powerful psychic experience, characterized by intense visual alterations and hallucinations and changes in emotion and mood. The intensity of the experience can be emotionally challenging for certain people, triggering feelings of anxiety, panic and fear. For some , DMT can trigger an experience of a heightened state or depersonalisation, which can be overwhelming. Similar to all psychedelics, the risks to your mental health can be reduced by’setting and setting’, ensuring that your mental state is well-organized and stable and the surrounding is safe and encouraging. Sober sitting is a crucial safety precaution to reduce the risk of psychological harm.

Find out more information about DMT harm reduction by visiting the harm reduction tips section.

Are there health conditions that can make DMT more dangerous?

Similar to other psychedelics, having a history of mental illness (such as psychosis, schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder) could increase the chance of an unpleasant experience and there is a risk that DMT could aggravate these disorders. There is little understanding of the dangers associated with the usage of psychedelics by people with mental health issues.

It’s vital to be aware that DMT affects the serotonin system and therefore should not be taken together with other substances that change the structure of the serotonin. This could cause the possibility of a life-threatening disorder known as serotonin syndrome. This can be caused by antidepressants, as well as selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs).

Prescription drugs with an associated risk:

Antipsychotics (although many will also block the actions of DMT)
Opioids, specifically tramadol, are opioids.
Central nervous system depressants

Can DMT be mixed with other substances?

DMT should not be mixed together with alcohol and other drugs and a thorough understanding of its effects and mechanism can provide insight into the risks associated when mixing it with other substances.

Some of the most effective drug combinations can be found below:

DMT should not be mixed in with tramadol, due to the increased risk of seizure
DMT shouldn’t be mixed with other stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines.
DMT shouldn’t be mixed with cannabis.
DMT is a powerful psychoactive and mixing it into other hallucinogens carries the risk of making the trip even more intense
DMT is not recommended to be mixed with other prescription drugs that are known to possibly be in a relationship with. This includes all the drugs listed above

Are DMT addictive?

DMT and other classical psychedelics, is not addictive. However, tolerance may develop when using it regularly, meaning it is necessary to take a greater dose to get the same result.

DMT harm reduction advice

DMT is a potent psychedelic drug that can produce an intense and intense hallucinogenic sensation. The right harm reduction information can help to mitigate the risks associated with it.

Being educated and prepared

It is important that you take the time to fully understand the health risks and interactions between drugs and DMT. It is vital to ensure that the correct type and method of consumption is employed and an appropriate dosage. The particularly intense nature of DMT is why it is essential that enough preparation is made. This is a matter of awareness of the physical and mental effects that DMT could cause. Preparation is also linked to the person’s mindset.

Set and setting

“Set” refers the individual’s mind-set, including the person’s mood, thoughts and expectations. This can have a significant effect on the experience of the journey and, therefore, it is recommended that DMT should only be consumed when a person is in a stable and positive state of mind. “Setting” refers the environment and social situation that the drug is consumed. DMT should be taken in a secure and tranquil environment, due to the intense nature of the experience as well as the possibility of motor impairment.


A sober person to watch your child is advised with DMT. The sitter is able to provide reassurance and support during and after the journey. The sanity of the sitter is vital and will provide an underlying sense of calm and direction through any confusing or stressful experience.

DMT myths and misunderstandings

Does the human brain produce DMT?

There has been much debate about whether DMT is produced within the brain of humans. Much of the discussion has been focused on the pineal gland, a tiny organ located in the middle of the brain that has been widely believed by many as the primary source of DMT. However, the evidence to support this theory is not a lot.

The presence of trace amounts has been observed in human urine and blood and urine, which support the theory of the endogenous release of DMT in the human body. Even though a study recently revealed DMT in the pineal glands in rats, it is no evidence that this is the case within the pineal gland in the human brain. A subsequent study demonstrated that DMT continues to be produced in the rat brain after elimination of the pineal gland, creating further controversy in the debate about which gland in the brain is the principal supply of DMT. Understanding the endogenous DMT creation in humans and its potential roles in physiology has been a neglected area and extensive further studies are required.

Are DMT and 5-MeO-DMT similar?

5-MeO-DMT stands for 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine. Although they look like each other, and share similar chemical structure, they provide distinct experiences and should not be confused.