Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

What is DMT? Addiction, Abuse & Treatment

Table of Contents

DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic drug with psychoactive effects similar to other psychedelics like LSD and magic mushrooms.

The history of DMT dates back to indigenous tribes in South America who have used it in traditional rituals for centuries.

However, it can also pose serious risks to DMT users’ physical and mental health, and there may be legal consequences.

What Is DMT?

N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring substance found in various plants and animals, especially in the Amazon region of South America. The human brain also produces it in small amounts, although its function has yet to be fully understood.

Some researchers have speculated that DMT may play a role in dreaming, near-death experiences, or spiritual awakening.

As a psychedelic, DMT belongs to the hallucinogenic tryptamine drug family, alongside psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and LSD. It’s renowned for inducing intense, short-lived experiences described as mystical, spiritual, or transcendent.

Common street names for DMT include “spirit molecule,” “Dimitri,” “businessman’s trip,” “Fantasia,” “45-minute psychosis,” “change,” and “ayahuasca.”

It usually comes in pure form as a white crystalline powder that can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally as part of Ayahuasca or other plant preparations.

Effects of DMT

The effects of DMT vary based on dosage, administration, setting, and the individual’s expectations and mindset.

However, some common DMT effects include:

  • Altered perception of time, space, and reality

  • Enhanced sensory awareness and synesthesia (the mixing of senses)

  • Intense visual hallucinations and geometric patterns

  • Emotional euphoria or dysphoria

  • Out-of-body experiences and dissociation

  • Altered sense of self and identity

  • Insights into personal or universal truths

  • Feelings of connection or unity with others or nature

What Is DMT

Is DMT Addictive?

Unlike opioids or nicotine, DMT doesn’t typically lead to physical dependence. Users don’t experience withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

However, some users may develop psychological dependence on DMT, compelling them to abuse it despite negative consequences.

How Common Is DMT Abuse and Addiction?

The prevalence of DMT abuse and addiction is not well-known, as there is limited data and research on this topic.

However, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), DMT use is relatively rare compared to other hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD or psilocybin.

However, the number of DMT users can be difficult to track and regulate as some may not report their use due to stigma, fear, or ignorance. Moreover, some DMT users may obtain this illegal drug from natural sources or make it themselves.

How Common Is DMT Abuse and Addiction

DMT Dependence And Addiction

DMT isn’t known to cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms. However, with repeated use, it can cause psychological dependence and tolerance.

Developing DMT tolerance means that users may need higher doses to achieve the same hallucinogenic effects over time as their body becomes accustomed to the hallucinogenic drug.

Signs and Symptoms of DMT Dependence and Addiction

Some of the possible signs and symptoms of DMT dependence and addiction are:

  • Craving or obsessing over DMT and spending a lot of time, money, and energy to obtain and use it

  • Neglecting or compromising one’s responsibilities, relationships, health, or safety because of DMT use

  • Experiencing negative consequences or problems related to DMT use

  • Taking DMT despite these negative consequences or problems

  • Having difficulty controlling or reducing one’s DMT use or feeling unable to stop using it

  • Developing tolerance

  • Experiencing anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, or restlessness when not using DMT

DMT And The Law: Legal Implications and Consequences

DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States and many other countries, classifying it as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Possession, distribution, manufacturing, or importing can lead to legal consequences, including arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, fines, or asset confiscation.

The penalties may vary depending on the state and federal law and the country or jurisdiction where the offense occurs.

What are the Side Effects And Risks Of DMT Abuse?

As a potent hallucinogenic tryptamine drug, DMT abuse can have severe and potentially harmful side effects on the mind and body in the short and long term.

Some of the risks and side effects of DMT abuse in the short term are:

  • Altered perception of time, space, and reality

  • Enhanced sensory awareness and synesthesia (the mixing of senses)

  • Intense visual hallucinations and geometric pattern

  • Emotional euphoria or dysphoria

  • Out-of-body experiences and dissociation

  • Altered sense of self and identity

  • Insights into personal or universal truths

  • Feelings of connection or unity with others or nature

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Increased body temperature and sweating

  • Dilated pupils and nystagmus (rapid eye movements)

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

  • Headache, muscle tension, or tremors

  • Anxiety, panic, paranoia, or confusion

  • Difficulty speaking or communicating

DMT abuse can also have long-term side effects on one’s physical and mental health, such as:

  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD)

  • Psychosis

  • Depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts

  • Memory impairment, cognitive decline, or brain damage

  • Serotonin syndrome

  • Hypertensive crisis

  • Respiratory depression

What are the Signs and Symptoms of DMT Overdose?

DMT overdose is a rare but possible occurrence resulting from taking too much or combining it with other drugs or medications.

DMT overdose can cause severe physical and psychological effects that can be life-threatening. Some of the signs and symptoms of DMT overdose are:

  • Extreme hallucinations

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Severe anxiety or panic

  • Seizures

  • Irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest

  • Hypertensive crisis

  • Hyperthermia

  • Hypotension

  • Respiratory arrest

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Muscle spasms or rigidity

Recognizing an Overdose

If you suspect that someone has overdosed on DMT, you should look for the following signs:

  • Unresponsive or unconscious

  • Not breathing or breathing very slowly

  • Pale, blue, or cold skin

  • Dilated pupils and rapid eye movements

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Low or High blood pressure

  • High or low body temperature

  • Seizures or convulsions

  • Agitation, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, or psychosis

Immediate Actions to Take

If you witness someone overdosing on DMT, you should take the following actions:

  1. Call 911 or local emergency services immediately.

  2. Stay with the person, monitor vital signs, and place them in a safe position if possible.

  3. If trained, perform CPR for those without breathing or a pulse.

  4. Don’t restrain someone having seizures; clear the area of hazards and cushion their head.

  5. Loosen tight clothing, observe seizure details, and remain calm when dealing with an agitated person.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of DMT Overdose

DMT Addiction Treatment

DMT addiction treatment is a process that aims to help people who are addicted to this hallucinogenic drug overcome their substance use disorder and restore their physical and mental health.

DMT addiction treatment can involve various steps and options, such as:


Detox is the process of eliminating DMT and other toxins from the body. This can be done at home or in a medical facility, depending on the addiction’s severity and other medical or mental health issues.

Detox can involve using medications or therapies to ease the withdrawal and reduce the cravings for DMT. It can also involve harm reduction strategies, such as hydration, nutrition, rest, or counseling, to support recovery.

DMT Rehab Options

DMT rehab treatment is a process that aims to help people who are addicted to DMT, a potent hallucinogenic drug, to overcome their substance use disorder and restore their physical and mental health.

Depending on the individual’s needs, preferences, and resources, there are different types of rehab options for DMT drug addiction.

Some of the common types of rehab options are:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a rehab option that involves staying in a residential facility for some time, usually 30 to 90 days. It can provide a safe and structured environment for people who are addicted to DMT and need intensive care and supervision.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a rehab option involving sessions at a clinic or a center for a few hours per week. It can provide a flexible and less intensive option for people who are addicted to DMT and have mild to moderate symptoms.

Outpatient treatment can also be ideal for people who have completed inpatient rehab and still need ongoing monitoring and support.


Therapy is a key component of DMT addiction treatment that can help address the underlying causes and consequences of drug abuse and addiction.

Some of the common types of therapy for DMT addiction are:

Continued Care Options for DMT Addiction Treatment

Continued care options are programs or services that can help the person maintain their recovery and prevent relapse after completing addiction treatment.

Some of the common continued care options for DMT addiction are:

Seeking Help for DMT Addiction?

If you or someone you know is struggling with DMT addiction or substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Contact NuView Treatment Center today to explore personalized treatment options and take the first step toward a healthier, substance-free life.

Your path to recovery starts here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about DMT Addiction, Abuse and Treatment

DMT differs from other hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin in its intensity and brevity. DMT trips are intense but typically last only 15-30 minutes. Users may experience near-death experiences, vivid visuals, and a profoundly altered state of consciousness.

There's no substantial evidence that DMT causes permanent psychological damage.

However, individuals predisposed to mental health problems may experience worsening symptoms. Long-term, frequent use may lead to hallucinogen use disorder requiring professional treatment.

The effects of DMT are usually short-lived, lasting for about 15 to 30 minutes when smoked, snorted, or injected and for about 4 to 6 hours when ingested orally as part of Ayahuasca.

However, the after-effects can last for days or weeks, depending on the intensity and meaning of the experience.

Typically, it can be detected in urine for up to 24 hours after use. The exact duration may vary depending on dosage, individual metabolism, and frequency of use.

Currently, there are no approved medical uses for DMT in most countries. While some studies suggest its potential for treating mental health issues, research is ongoing.

DMT is commonly smoked or vaporized in its white, crystalline powder form. It can also be brewed into a psychedelic tea called Ayahuasca, traditionally used in Central and South America.

It is possible to build a resistance to DMT's effects, but this may depend on several factors, such as the frequency, dosage, method, and individual variability of DMT use. 

Yes, there are known interactions between DMT and other drugs or medications. DMT should not be taken with any MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor) as it can lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Interactions with other drugs are not well-studied.

Penalties for DMT-related offenses can include arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, fines, and asset confiscation.

Barker, Steven A. “N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an Endogenous Hallucinogen: Past, Present, and Future Research to Determine Its Role and Function.” Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 12, Frontiers Media SA, Aug. 2018. Crossref

Bilhimer, Matthew H., et al. “Acute Intoxication Following Dimethyltryptamine Ingestion.” Case Reports in Emergency Medicine, vol. 2018, Hindawi Limited, 2018, pp. 1–3. Crossref

“Could Psychedelics Be Used to Treat Mental Illness?” American Psychiatric Association, Accessed 27 Aug. 2023. 

“Drug Scheduling.” Drug Enforcement

Palamar, Joseph J., and Austin Le. “Trends in DMT and Other Tryptamine Use Among Young Adults in the United States.” The American Journal on Addictions, vol. 27, no. 7, Wiley, Sept. 2018, pp. 578–85. Crossref

“Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs | National Institute on Drug Abuse.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 22 Aug. 2022,

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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