N, N–dimethyltryptamine or DMT, a powerful psychedelic drug. Its chemical structure is similar to that of serotonin and melatonin, and it is believed to bind to certain serotonin receptors in the brain.
Experiences on DMT can vary dramatically for users. This may depend largely on the setting and state of mind, but the perception of the reasons for this tends to vary. Nick Sand, the first person to discover that DMT can be synthesized, believes that the experience is heavily dependent upon these factors, and posits that Dr. Rick Strassman’s test subjects regularly experienced entities examining, probing, and testing them due to the clinical nature of the environment their bodies were in.
Unlike the more famous LSD or psilocybin, DMT trips are often quite short, sometimes lasting as little as five minutes. The short duration is more than made up for its intensity, however, with users reporting extremely vivid hallucinations. The shortness has given the drug the nickname of the “businessman’s trip” back in the 1960s. Typical doses lead to visions of complex, multicolored geometric patterns, ego death, and altered thought patterns.
High doses of DMT may lead to an occurrence called a “breakthrough,” at which point the user no longer perceives themself as being in the same plane of existence. The new location can be truly phantasmagoric, ranging from hyperspace to non-Euclidean realms. These strange places are often populated by even stranger creatures known as “machine elves.” named by the ethnobotanist Terence McKenna who popularized DMT in certain circles, have been reported by users since Dr. Szára’s experiments. Reports of the elves can vary dramatically, especially in appearance, but users tend to agree that the hallucinated creatures are intelligent and benevolent.
Though some users have speculated if these beings are real, author and psychedelic authority James Kent stresses that they are hallucinations. DMT is not legal. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, an international treaty signed in 1971, bans the drug but not the plants that contain it.
Many countries have their own bans on the substance or the plants from which it can be extracted. However, many jurisdictions have exemptions for the use of DMT-containing products (like ayahuasca) by certain religious groups as part of their rituals. Some American cities have recently decriminalized the drug. Typically, DMT cannot be consumed orally. It must be smoked or, as is common in medical studies, injected.
If it is combined with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, it can be consumed in tea. Variations of this tea, some including different hallucinogenic substances, are often known as ayahuasca from one of the names given it by indigenous South Americans.
Mikkel grum Bovin, of Copenhagen, Denmark, during his inhaling of DMT was transported to the International Space Station where he found himself on board with a couple of thousand 13 feet tall praying mantis'. "I had landed in a gigantic alien discotheque "
There are lots of user’s stories of alien abduction, time travel, vibrant colors stretched in multiple x,y,z plains all intersecting each other in one place and others at the same time, fiddle contests with devils (I made that up),
reality splitting into frames – like freeze frames – that appeared to made of orange slices of light, and I felt sounds going right through my tongue as if they were plastic razor blades… there was no pain, but the sounds – even the slightest click – coincided with a sensation of passing right through my tongue,
hyper-futuristic metropolis populated by human form entities only; thousands of them were just going about their business, etc. Probably even Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and a White Room with black curtains. One experience I found said: “I tried DMT for my first time earlier today and although it was intense and awesome, I don’t think I reached the tunnel or broke through.
I saw the 2D grid with some sacred patterns inside a circle and I felt my ego completely disappear and this sense of complete relaxation came over me along with a oneness with everything and an overwhelming sense of knowing and wisdom. It felt like time froze for this moment.”
- Dr. Stephen Szára, a Hungarian psychologist working in the mid-20th century, was denied access to LSD by the Western companies that then produced it. At the time, LSD was considered a powerful tool with applications in spycraft, so neither communist countries nor their biomedical scientists were allowed access to it. Unable to work with that psychedelic, he turned to DMT as an alternative.
- James L. Kent is a writer and programmer living in Seattle, Washington. He is the former Editor of Psychedelic Illuminations Magazine and the former Publisher of Trip Magazine. He currently edits DoseNation.com, a multi-user weblog for drug news, culture, and humor, and is a regular contributor to h+ magazine.
- The production and consumption of ayahuasca go back millennia, it has only recently become popular with Western psychonauts. An entire industry of ayahuasca tourism has formed in South America, focused around northeastern Peru, with more than a few psychedelic tourists and celebrities shelling out for a chance to drink the tea in a ritual setting. By all accounts, a trip on ayahuasca is similar to a DMT trip but with a much longer duration. It also prominently features the purging of the contents of the participants’ stomachs and bowels. Some practitioners consider this part of the purification process. However, tourists looking for an “authentic” experience may be getting high on hype.