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Key things to know
DMT is usually smoked, but some people take it orally with another drug▼ Safer using
DMT is a potent psychedelic and you may experience intense changes in how you see the world, yourself and others▼ What to expect
Make sure you’re in a good mindset and a place you feel comfortable before you use▼ Trip tips
Drug checking in 2023 found a synthetic cannabinoid sold as DMT. It’s a good idea to get your DMT checked before taking it▼ Drug checking info
What to expect
How does DMT make you feel?
DMT is a psychedelic, which means it can change how you think, feel, and understand the world around you. When smoked or vaped, the effects of DMT are intense and short lasting, usually only 3-10 minutes. DMT is sometimes combined with an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) and taken orally. This may take the form of ayahuasca, a plant preparation associated with South America.
DMT is also sometimes combined with an MAOI as a dried herb and then smoked. This is called changa and can last 10-30 minutes longer than DMT alone.
Remember, a low dose of DMT for one person can be a high dose for someone else. As the effects are quite strong, it is a good idea to start with a small amount first.
Many people who use DMT or ayahuasca share that the experience is difficult to put into words. The effects of DMT are subjective and can be very different for each person.
One person on Reddit describes their DMT experience:
Imagine that suddenly your whole reality deconstructed, and you didn't just see it and hear it, you felt it. You instantly knew that every experience you have ever had was superimposed upon a more fundamental reality. Both Alien and Familiar, this experience is ineffable because it's like trying to describe a colour that hasn't been seen.
|Pleasant effects||Unpleasant effects|
|Physical and mental euphoria||Nausea|
|Emotional enhancement||Fast beating heart|
|Increased appreciation for the environment around you||Anxiety|
|Sense of emotional wellbeing||Difficulty regulating your body temperature|
|Distortions in perception|
|Pleasant effects||Unpleasant effects|
|Increased euphoria||Intense nausea or vomiting|
|Increased enhancements in perception||Irregular heartbeat|
|Increased hallucinations||Intense anxiety, or paranoia|
|Mindfulness||Feeling detached from your body,|
|Increased visual acuity||Confusion|
|Feelings of ‘impending doom’|
|Feeling like you are dying|
Very high dose
|Pleasant effects||Unpleasant effects|
|Intense euphoria||Increased vomiting|
|Intense enhancements in perception||Psychosis|
|Ego death*||Extreme anxiety, or paranoia|
|Existential self-realization||Increased disturbing hallucinations, visions or perceptions|
|Increased fever or overheating|
|Intense or lasting feeling like you are dying|
*ego death may be desirable for some people, and distressing for others.
How can you be safer when using DMT?
Consider set and setting.
DMT is often described as a very intense experience, even when compared with other hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin. That means it is extra important to ensure that you are in a good place - both physically and mentally - when you're planning to take DMT. If you are not in a good mindset or are experiencing negative effects from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, it may be a good idea to wait to use DMT until you are in a better place. It is also important to use DMT in a safe and controlled setting, such as at home, with somewhere to sit or lay down comfortably for the duration of the trip. Your physical environment, including the people around you, can significantly influence your experience.
Get your DMT tested at a drug checking clinic.
Recently, a potent synthetic cannabinoid was sold as DMT and was linked to a serious harm event. Drug checking services will be able to tell you what is really in your DMT before you use.
Start with a low or ‘trial’ dose before jumping right in.
DMT is both short acting and very intense. Many people find it helpful to take a low dose as a ‘tester’ to see if they feel ready to take a larger amount. DMT trips can be unpredictable and even if you are in a safe, comfortable environment and a good headspace, a trip can be overwhelming or uncomfortable. Starting with a smaller amount is like ‘dipping your toes in’ before taking a plunge. It can be a helpful way to ensure you don’t end up well out of your depth!
Avoid dangerous drug combinations.
Whilst DMT itself is very unlikely to induce an overdose, the harm potential can change when combined with other substances. All drug combinations have the potential to cause unpredictable effects, but it is recommended to not mix DMT with cannabis, lithium (medicine), stimulants like MDMA or cocaine, and Tramadol. These substances can increase you risk of having a seizure or experiencing a bad trip.
If you are taking DMT along with a MAOI, including when the two are mixed as ayahuasca, this carries a higher risk of developing serotonin syndrome. DMT can also be dangerous combined with other MAOI drugs (including antidepressants), SSRIs/SNRIs, most stimulants and even things like nicotine and AMT.
It is important to note whilst that some combinations may not result in an overdose, or dangerous effects, many people who use DMT report mixing it with other drugs to be extremely overwhelming. If you do choose to mix, start with small doses of both and wait to see how you feel before using more.
Avoid storing DMT in plastic bags or containers for long periods of time.
Plastics with phthalate in them can be corroded by DMT, causing them to leech into your substance over time. This is not good for you to consume, especially when smoked. Consider finding a phthalate free or plastic free container for longer-term storage such as a glass vial.
Consider having a tripsitter with you: DMT can be intense and disorienting, even for experienced users.
Many people who have used DMT describe the effect of ‘feeling like they are dying’, which can be an intense experience to navigate alone. Consider using DMT around a sober tripsitter who is experienced in psychedelics, or who makes you feel safe and comforted. They can help you navigate challenging experiences, and get help if things start to go wrong.
Do your research and know what to expect.
As DMT can be an intense, and sometimes challenging experience, it is a good idea to do as much research as you can to learn about what to expect before you use. This can help you be prepared for what to expect and how to handle intense feelings or emotions. There are lots of great resources on what to expect from a DMT experience - you can find some of them here: Reddit, Bluelight, PsychonautWiki, Erowid
If you've taken too much
What happens if you have too much DMT?
Taking too much DMT alone is unlikely to kill you, but remember, there is a chance that what you have is not actually DMT if you haven't had your drugs checked.
If you take too much DMT, you might feel anxious or paranoid, nauseous, have unpleasant or confronting thought patterns, feel detached from your body, or feel like you are dying. Most of these feelings will pass as the effects wear off, and many of them can be managed at home. Try:
- Focus on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths.
- If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm.
- Do not take more DMT, alcohol, or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse.
- Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing.
- Drink water to stay hydrated.
If your symptoms worsen or don't improve, you have intense nausea or vomiting, have an irregular heartbeat, feel intense paranoia, feel panicked or have a panic attack, or are having disturbing hallucinations, call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116). You won't get in trouble if you tell them you've used drugs. They can talk you through the next steps.
If you or someone are you experiences psychosis, has a seizure, has suicidal thoughts, has intense feelings of fear that you are dying or going insane, loses consciousness, or attempts suicide - then these are signs something is not right. You or the people around you should act quickly. Call 111.
If you experience unexpected or concerning effects from DMT, you can notify High Alert to help keep others safe.
What do comedowns from DMT feel like, and how can you feel better?
You aren’t likely to experience a ‘comedown’ from DMT in the same way you would from stimulant drugs, such as MDMA. However, many people report that their DMT experience affects them for several days, to several months after the effects have worn off.
Most people report the comedown or aftereffects of DMT to be pleasant or describe an increased level of happiness and peace within themselves. People may find their experience on DMT affects how they view themselves and the world around them.
However, some people may feel unpleasant or unusual after an experience on DMT.
- Feel a bit disoriented or confused
- Feel anxious or panicked
- Feel disconnected with your body
- Jarring feeling of coming back to reality
- Feeling like you have many racing thoughts or realizations
- Get plenty of rest and sleep.
- Remember to eat and drink plenty of water.
- Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals.
- Reach out and talk with friends and whānau for support.
- Relax and do things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs.
- Practise mindfulness and deep breathing and try writing down your thoughts and feelings.
If any of these symptoms intensify or don't go away, then call a doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116. They can talk you through the next steps.
If your symptoms worsen or you are with somebody who:
- Feels panicked or have a panic attack
- Experiences intense fear of dying or going insane
- Has unpleasant or ongoing hallucinations
- Has intense suicidal thoughts
- Has unpleasant flashbacks
- Experiences psychosis
Call 111. These are signs that something more serious is going on. You or the people around you should act quickly.
A Reddit user talks about their experience on a comedown from DMT:
“Depending on how intense the trip was, the come down can vary significantly. Once you came down you are down. The hallucinations go away. It’s not like mushrooms that the effect lingers. However, many people including myself gain the ability to channel themselves to the essence of the DMT experience... (extreme meditation/instant mental stillness and tripping / drifting out of your body) for months.”
What are the long-term effects of using DMT?
The long term effects of DMT use are mostly psychological, rather than physical. Unlike other hallucinogens like LSD, regular DMT use does not appear to result in increased tolerance to its effects. This means that taking more will make you feel stronger effects, regardless of how much you have used before.
As DMT is an intense experience most people will only use it occasionally. DMT is unlikely to cause a physical overdose, but can lead to emotional and mental changes, or changes in perspective. Sometimes these changes can be positive, and other time they may be unsettling or challenging. DMT may alter the way you see yourself, or the world around you.
One rare longer-term impacts from using DMT is having is hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) and is unique to psychedelic drugs. After using DMT, you may find that you have times where your perception and senses suddenly become distorted. This might be what you see, feel, hear, or taste. You may have visual hallucinations, see halos of light around objects or see flashes of colour. These can last anywhere from a few seconds to several days (or longer in some severe cases). The research isn’t clear on how or why these happen or how common it is to experience HPPD, but it is considered relatively rare. HPPD can be managed with some medicines and with psychological support.
There have also been a few cases of developing or worsening tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from using DMT. If you are predisposed to a mental health condition such as bipolar, schizophrenia or dissociations, DMT may worsen symptoms in some cases.
How do you manage withdrawal from DMT?
See the 'Making changes' page for more information on how to Manage withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.
DMT does not tend to cause withdrawal symptoms in the same way other drugs like methamphetamine can. People who stop taking DMT do not generally report feeling any physical symptoms. Some people who take DMT often may feel as though they are ‘missing something’, or that they feel they need to use it again to regain insights.
If you have had a ‘bad trip’ or a challenging experience, you may find it takes time to recover mentally from this.
Working and driving
How can DMT affect your daily activities?
DMT can significantly affect the way you see the world and make sense of things around you. Even at lower doses, DMT is intense and can still distort your perception of reality and your ability to do everyday tasks. If smoked, the effects of DMT are quite short (less than an hour) if you have taken DMT orally with another MAOI, including as ayahuasca, the effects can last much longer (4-6 hours).
DMT causes significant changes to how you process what is in your environment such as what you see and hear, so it is dangerous to operate heavy machinery, drive a car or do tasks that require attention or fine motor skills. As DMT also has effects on your emotions, your mental state, and the way you relate to others, it may become hard to engage in any sort of social interaction. Most people say it is difficult to go about their normal activities, or even hold basic conversations while experiencing the effects of DMT.
Will DMT show up on a drug test?
DMT is not a drug that is likely to be tested for in most panel drug tests. Blood, urine, and saliva tests are unlikely to be able to detect DMT 1-2 days after use. Hair follicle tests may be able to detect DMT for around 90 days after use, but this does depend on the individual.
Is DMT illegal?
DMT is classed as an illegal drug in New Zealand under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is a Class A controlled substance, which means it is illegal to use, buy, sell, make, import, or possess DMT.
You can also get in trouble with the law if you are found to be impaired by DMT while driving.
To find out more about the law around legal and controlled drugs, including cocaine, see Drugs and the law.
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