There is very little if any evidence that DMT can cause tolerance or physical withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, experts do not believe that DMT is chemically addictive. Furthermore, this is no evidence suggesting that using DMT on a long-term basis significantly changes or damages a person’s brain.
However, DMT can cause psychoemotional dependence when an individual repeatedly uses it to experience a “trip” or escape reality. Some DMT users consider it to be therapeutic and take it regularly for this reason. When an individual uses DMT in this manner, they may eventually find themselves unable to quit using DMT and other hallucinogens.
Limited research on DMT dependence suggests that DMT users can experience drug cravings and psychological distress when they cannot obtain or use it. In addition, someone who develops a DMT habit is more likely to incur its effects on their health. Behaviors that indicate DMT dependence include the following:
- Taking increasing amounts and more frequent doses of the drug
- Gathering supplies for use
- Spending a significant amount of money on the drug
What Is DMT?
DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain and plants native to Central and South America. It is typically found in the form of white powder. To experience its effects, users can smoke DMT out of a pipe or brew it into drinks, such as ayahuasca.
Additionally, DMT is sometimes injected by users, although this is relatively uncommon. DMT is sometimes called “fantasia” or “dimitri,” which is one of the minor commonly-used drugs in the U.S. and worldwide. Most people who experiment with DMT have already used other hallucinogens.
Effects and Risks of DMT
DMT instigates the production of serotonin, a brain neurochemical that induces feelings of pleasure and reward. As a result, DMT causes users to experience intense euphoria, hallucinations, and altered perceptions of reality which people often describe as life-changing. A DMT trip can onset almost instantly and generally lasts less than an hour when the drug is smoked.
Users who drink DMT as tea often begin to encounter hallucinations that last for 4-6 hours after the onset, which takes about thirty minutes. Some users report mild lingering effects that persist for several days. On an emotional level, DMT can produce adverse side effects.
The possible physical side effects of DMT include:
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid eye movement
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of muscle control
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain/tightness in chest
Although many users laud the benefits of DMT, the drug is not entirely safe. In fact, DMT can substantially harm an individual’s physical health and mental well-being. Because DMT causes the brain to release serotonin, excessive doses may cause a condition known as serotonin syndrome, which can provoke seizures, hinder breathing, and induce a coma. As a result, DMT can cause a person to die or suffer significantly.
While some DMT users have reported having positive psychological experiences while under the influence of the drug, others have had DMT trips which they describe as confusing and terrifying. The psychoactive effects of DMT can be traumatizing, especially for those living with mental health issues, especially schizophrenia.
Dangers of Serotonin Syndrome
Like LSD and magic mushrooms (psilocybin), DMT produces its effects by attaching to serotonin receptors in the brain. However, taking DMT combined with other drugs that influence serotonin levels can cause a potentially fatal condition called serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome occurs when the brain and body accumulate an extreme amount of serotonin. The risk of developing this condition is exceptionally high among those who take SSRI antidepressants, such as sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), and others.
SSRIs prevent the reuptake of serotonin into brain neurons, thereby increasing serotonin levels in the brain. DMT works pretty much the same way. And although more serotonin can be beneficial o relieve depressive symptoms, too much can be dangerous and even lethal.
Symptoms of mild-moderate serotonin syndrome include the following:
- High fever
- Impaired coordination
- Changes in blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
Severe cases of serotonin syndrome can lead to seizures, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ACDS), kidney failure, coma, and death.
Getting Help for Drug Abuse
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