Also known as

Dimitri, ayahuasca, DMT, businessman's trip, businessman's special, fantasia, forty-five-minute psychosis.




Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hallucinogenic drug, which means you're likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality and it can cause hallucinations. It's effects are similar to LSD and magic mushrooms. As with LSD, some people refer to using DMT as 'tripping', which can be a good or bad experience.

A number of indigenous people's traditions and religions use drinks or food, such as ayahuasca, that contain DMT.

This has led some people to consider DMT as being 'spiritual' and 'safe' rather than seeing it as a chemical hallucinogen [1].

The key effects and risks of DMT include -

  • A distorted view of objects and reality or actual hallucinations. These effects are normally pleasurable and can come on rapidly, can be very intense and may last for two hours.
  • Until you have taken DMT you can't tell how strong it is or how it's going to affect you. Once the 'trip' has started, you can't stop it.
  • Intoxication with DMT can cause nausea and vomiting [1].

What does it look like?

Usually found as a yellow, sometimes waxy, crystal-like substance, occasionally as a powder [2].

In its pure form, DMT is a white, crystalline powder or solid, however, pure DMT is rare and it's more common to get impure DMT, which can be a yellow, orange or pink powder or solid.

DMT is normally sold in wraps, containing between an eighth and a half of a gram of DMT [1].

It is a white powder, 5 - 10 times stronger than DMT [3]. DMT is usually seen as a yellow, orange or pinky powder or crystals [4].


Originally sourced from plants but now produced synthetically [5].

Street price

DMT and 5-MeO-DMT can usually be purchased at $10-30 per 'hit' or between $150 and $400 per gram [3].

Roughly £25 for a wrap containing an eighth to half a gram [4].

Prices start at £25, but increase as the purity of the DMT increases [1].

Why take it?

Sought after effects

  • visual perception (seeing bright colours, geometric shapes, 'soft edge' to objects),
  • intense dreams,
  • change in self-perception and identity (disconnection from senses when sought) [2],
  • changes in consciousness,
  • distorted reality [5].

Undesired effects

  • hallucinations can become frightening (overly intense),
  • sense of disconnection from self,
  • effect/comedown can be rapid and abrupt [2].
  • disorientation,
  • increased heart rate,
  • increased blood pressure,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting [5].

How long do its effects last?

Onset of effects

  • smoked - 20 - 40 seconds [6].
  • smoked or vapourised - 0 - 2 minutes [7], 0 - 3 minutes [8].
  • oral-MAOI - 20 - 45 minutes [7].
  • nasal - 3 - 5 minutes [7], 1 - 15 minutes [8].
  • oral - 10 - 60 minutes [8].
  • intravenous - >1 minutes [8].

Come up

  • smoked - 1 - 3 minutes [6].


  • smoked - 2 - 8 minutes [6].
  • smoked or vapourised - 10 - 15 minutes [8].


  • smoked - 1 - 6 minutes [6].

Duration of effects

  • smoked - 5 - 20 minutes [6].
  • smoked or vaporised - 3 - 10 minutes [7], 15 - 30 minutes [8].
  • oral-MAOI - 180 - 420 minutes (3 - 7 hours) [7].
  • nasal - 45 - 60 minutes [7].
  • oral - 4 - 8 hours [8].
  • intravenous - 30 - 45 minutes [8].


  • smoked - 10 - 60 minutes [6].
  • smoked or vaporised - 15 - 60 minutes [7].
  • oral-MAOI - 15 - 60 minutes [7].
  • nasal - 15 - 60 minutes [7].
  • oral - 2 - 3 hours [8].


Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) belongs to a class of chemical compounds called 'tryptamines' which mainly modulate amounts of serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, sleep and memory) throughout the central nervous system.

DMT has been found naturally in humans although it has yet to be confirmed whether it is actually made in the body.

The hallucinogenic effects of DMT reach their peak quickly when it is taken intravenously (around 2 minutes), take slightly longer to be reached following injection into muscle (between 10 - 15 minutes) and are slowest when the commonly-used oral route is used (1 - 2 hours). The time taken to reach peak effects following smoking of DMT is yet to be accurately measured.

A digestive enzyme present in the body called monoamine oxidase, breaks down DMT when it is taken orally. For this reason, when taken orally, DMT must be combined with an inhibitor of this enzyme - a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as the ayahuasca vine, found and widely used in South America. MAOIs both prolong the duration and increase the intensity of DMTs pharmacological effects. They also interact with a host of other drugs and should be used with caution.

Once taken, DMT binds to several types of serotonin receptor and at a few of these; its stimulating action has been confirmed. DMT has a notably high affinity for one such receptor - the serotonin 2C receptor (or 5-HT2C receptor). Stimulation of this receptor is known to induce the hallucinogenic effects seen with DMT while serotonin produced inhibits both dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in reward-seeking behaviour) and adrenaline (a neurotransmitter and hormone involved in stress regulation).

In addition to the intense but relatively short hallucinations, users may also experience effects including: dilated pupils; increased heart rate; increased blood pressure and euphoria.

At particularly high doses, feelings of incapacitation can overwhelm the hallucinogenic effects of DMT [2].


10 - 20 minutes [7].

Lethal dosage

The median lethal dose or dosage at which 50% of participants die LD50 of DMT for human beings has never been reached in any setting [6].

Mode of use

DMT can be injected, smoked or snorted [1].

  • Smoked - it can be inhaled through a pipe, and smoked in a joint. This is the preferred method and usually easier to do in the 'freebase' form.
  • Injected - it can be injected only if it is in the acidic salt (fumarate) form, the other form ('freebase') cannot be as it does not mix with water.
  • Snorted - the crystals can be crushed and snorted, similar to other white powders.
  • Ingested - in some cultures, the 'ayahuasca' beverage contains some DMT. However, when ingesting DMT, an appropriate enzyme inhibitor must be taken (i.e. MAOIs), otherwise the DMT will be inactive [2].

NB. The fumarate form is water soluble (mixes with water), more stable and less likely to degrade, but is slightly less potent than the 'freebase' form. Both forms can look similar in appearance, although the 'freebase' form may have a stronger crystal-like appearance [2].

Signs of usage

  • changes in the senses,
  • fluctuations in body temperature,
  • alterations in time perception,
  • pupil dilation,
  • feeling detached from one's body,
  • lingering visual images after the trip has ended,
  • inability to discern reality from fantasy,
  • diminished ability to learn new concepts,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • alterations in mood,
  • memory loss [9].


The effects of DMT include -

  • Hallucinations,
  • Feelings of time and movement speeding up or slowing down,
  • Distortion of colour, sound and even double vision,
  • Often a heightening of mood [1].

Short-term effects

  • 'rushing' sensation,
  • elevated mood,
  • increased energy,
  • boost in libido,
  • improved concentration,
  • heightened sense of empathy [10],
  • altered perception of time and space,
  • feelings of intense joy,
  • visual and auditory hallucinations,
  • out-of-body experience,
  • perception of bright, intensified colours,
  • perceived insights or epiphanies (often believed to have come from aliens, divinities or other mystical beings) [11].

Long-term effects

  • disordered mood,
  • disorganised thought,
  • persistent paranoia,
  • visual disturbances [11].

HPPD effects

  • hallucinations and visual disturbances,
  • symptoms that would be present with other neurological problems such as brain tumours or cerebrovascular accident (i.e., stroke) [11].

Physical effects

  • changes in gravity,
  • physical euphoria,
  • pupil dilation,
  • spontaneous tactile sensations,
  • temperature regulation suppression [6].

Cognitive effects

  • déjà vu,
  • ego replacement,
  • feelings of impending doom,
  • mindfulness,
  • subconscious communication,
  • time distortion,
  • analysis enhancement,
  • emotion enhancement,
  • increased music appreciation,
  • novelty enhancement,
  • rejuvenation,
  • memory suppression,
  • personal bias suppression,
  • existential self-realisation,
  • spirituality enhancement,
  • unity and interconnectedness [6].

Visual effects

  • acuity enhancement,
  • colour enhancement,
  • pattern recognition enhancement,
  • after images,
  • colour replacement,
  • colour shifting,
  • colour tinting,
  • drifting,
  • recursion,
  • scenery slicing,
  • symmetrical texture repetition,
  • tracers,
  • geometry,
  • autonomous entities,
  • external hallucinations,
  • internal hallucinations,
  • perspective alterations,
  • scenarios and plots,
  • settings, sceneries, and landscapes,
  • transformations [6].

Auditory effects

  • auditory distortion,
  • auditory enhancement,
  • auditory hallucinations [6].


  • dilated pupils,
  • involuntary rapid eye movement,
  • increased heart rate,
  • high blood pressure,
  • coordination problems,
  • dizziness,
  • nausea and vomiting (typically when taken in oral forms such as ayahuasca),
  • coma and/or respiratory arrest (reported in high doses) [11].

Positive effects

  • euphoria,
  • feeling of awe,
  • realisations about one's life [8].

Neutral effects

  • time dilation,
  • intense hallucinations,
  • dissociation,
  • loss of comprehension of basic concepts such as ego, language or one's own body,
  • out-of-body experiences,
  • unconventional thought patterns [8].

Negative effects

  • panic attack,
  • bad trip,
  • nausea - oral only,
  • vomiting - oral only [8].

After effects

  • a lasting perspective shift is likely to occur,
  • depersonalisation/derealisation can occur after an experience and may last up to several months,
  • some people experience long-term anxiety after an experience while others report a decrease in overall anxiety [8].


  • DMT can produce very random, and sometimes very frightening, effects, which feed off a person's imagination.
  • If panic sets in, the experience can be scary and confusing.
  • Flashbacks sometimes happen. This is when part of the trip is subsequently re-lived after the original experience.
  • DMT could have serious implications for somebody who has a history of mental health problems. It may also be responsible for triggering such a problem in someone predisposed but unaware of this.
  • People have been known to harm themselves during a bad trip from using hallucinogens - so it is probably best to avoid taking DMT if you're in a bad or anxious mood.
  • Some people report unpleasant emotional effects lasting for days after taking DMT.
  • DMT can also raise blood pressure and heart rate and may harm those with a pre-existing heart condition [1].


Throat and lung irritation if smoked, once a trip starts it cannot be stopped, experiences will be random and will depend on the users state of mind, some experiences may be very frightening, flashbacks can occur days or weeks later and some users report unpleasant emotional effects lasting for days after taking DMT [5].


Psychological and emotional difficulties for weeks afterwards, long-term effects are not yet known but may be similar to LSD and other hallucinogenic substances [5].


DMT is rare and there is little evidence on how pure it is [1].


Can you get addicted

As with LSD, there is no evidence that DMT is addictive but tolerance may develop rapidly so that with repeated use a higher dose is needed to get the same effects. The tolerance probably goes back to normal quite quickly after stopping taking it for a period [1].

While DMT does not produce physical dependence, some individuals may abuse the drug to the point that they experience numerous problems as a result. This may be especially true in cases of polysubstance abuse, where the user is combining DMT with other psychoactive substances. A pattern of problematic hallucinogen use that causes significant problems or distress is characterised as 'other hallucinogen use disorder'.

Symptoms include -

  • taking more DMT than intended,
  • unsuccessfully attempting to control or stop DMT use,
  • expending a lot of time and energy in obtaining and using DMT or recovering from its effects,
  • craving DMT,
  • ignoring personal obligations in favour of using DMT,
  • continuing to use DMT in spite of mounting negative interpersonal, social, or physical/mental health problems,
  • abandoning previously enjoyed habits or hobbies to use DMT [11].

Dangerous interactions


  • Tramadol - well known to lower seizure threshold and psychedelics also cause occasional seizures [7].


  • Cannabis - has an unexpectedly strong and somewhat unpredictable synergy with psychedelics.
  • Amphetamines - Stimulants increase anxiety levels and the risk of thought loops which can lead to negative experiences.
  • Cocaine - Stimulants increase anxiety levels and the risk of thought loops which can lead to negative experiences [7].


  • flashbacks,
  • muscle spasms,
  • loss of coordination,
  • aggressive, hostile or violent behaviour,
  • zombie-like state,
  • high blood pressure,
  • rapid heart rate,
  • fear of going insane,
  • depression,
  • frank psychosis,
  • hyperthermia,
  • diarrhoea,
  • permanent post-hallucinogenic perceptual disturbance,
  • long-term psychosis [9].

Drug testing

Estimating how long DMT, a psychedelic compound, is detectable in the body depends on many variables, including which kind drug test is being used. DMT - also known as Dimethyltryptamine, businessman's trip - can be detected for a shorter time with some tests, but can be 'visible' for up to three months in other tests.

The timetable for detecting DMT in the system is also dependent upon each individual's metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, physical activity, health conditions and other factors, making it almost impossible to determine an exact time DMT will show up on a drug test [12].

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which DMT can be detected by various testing methods -

How long does DMT stay in the urine?

DMT can be detected in the urine for 2 - 5 days [12].

How long can DMT be detected in blood?

No current data is available concerning blood tests for DMT [12].

How long can a saliva test detect DMT?

A saliva test can detect DMT for up to 1 - 5 days [12].

How long can a hair test detect DMT?

DMT, like many other drugs, can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days [12].


  • DMT is a class A drug which means that it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
  • The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you life and/or an unlimited fine [1].

What if you're caught?

If the Police catch you with DMT, they'll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution [1].

  • A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries - for example the United States - and limit the types of jobs you can apply for [1].

Did you know?

  • Like drinking and driving, driving while high on DMT is illegal - you can get a heavy fine, be disqualified from driving or even go to prison.
  • Allowing other people to supply drugs in your house or any other premises is illegal. If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a club they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any person concerned in the management of the premises [1].

Harm reduction

Knowing your own body is essential to the use of any substance, so it is always safest when starting use of unknown substances to begin with small doses until you discover your own tolerance levels. DMT only requires very small (milligram) amounts to have an effect on an inexperienced user.

When smoked in a glass pipe, users should ensure it is clean and that the solutions used do not contain any harmful contaminants. The smoke produced is harsh and bitter and can produce a sensation of burning in the throat and lungs. Some crystals can remain in the bottom of the pipe after use and it is important to thoroughly clean these out before further use, as they will combine with the next quantity when heated, meaning the user gets a higher dose than they were anticipating. It is also advised however, that if you wish to smoke DMT, you try to use a vapourizer rather than a glass pipe.

If injecting, it is vital to use clean needles and equipment and not to share them, as blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C are easily spread on used needles.

When using, it is always safest to have people you can trust around you (such as close mates) or at the very least knowing where you are. If using with other people, keep your own drugs to yourself (remember, the law considers sharing, even with mates, to be supplying) and keep an eye on each other. If possible, one of you should have some knowledge of First Aid, and you should always have a phone close to hand to call the emergency services if the worst happens [2].

  • Do not smoke DMT or 5-MeO-DMT if you have any heart or blood pressure conditions, have a personal or family history of serious mental illness, feel as if you are in emotional or psychological turmoil, or if you are taking any medications.
  • MAOIs are contraindicated with a variety of everyday foods and drugs such as soy sauce and Prozac, and are dangerous in combination with many other drugs. Although MAOIs are a principal ingredient in Ayahuasca, you should not take DMT (or Ayahuasca) if you are already taking an MAOI.
  • Do not be fooled by their short duration, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are some of the most powerful psychedelics known. Use in a positive mindset and in a safe environment. If you don't have these, consider waiting until you do.
  • Users are advised to remain seated or lying down while smoking [3].


Pipe or bong if smoked. if snorted razor blade, hard level surface (such as a mirror or glass), tube or rolled banknote. If injected, needles, syringes, water [5].


The use of plants containing DMT is known to have occurred in the Americas as far back as the 8th century. It appears that it was taken in the form of 'snuff' - a fine powder to be snorted. As modern shamanic rituals also make use of it in the form of a brewed drink, known as 'Ayahuasca', it is possible that it was also consumed in this way in ancient times.

The arrival of Europeans in South America in the late 15th century exposed a new continent to many of the hallucinogenic substances known to native peoples for centuries. Friar Ramone Pane was one of the first to document the use of a snuff called 'cohoba' by the Taipo people of Hispaniola, which has been confirmed in recent years to contain (amongst other things) DMT.

The use of DMT as a synthetic substance did not occur until 1931 when it was synthesised by the British scientist Richard Manske. In the UK it was scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 [2].