DMT is a naturally occurring compound in animals and plants, including human beings, but in minimal quantities. The molecule can be synthetically produced in the lab or extracted from plants to give the user a strong hallucinogenic effect. In the United States, DMT is classified as a schedule 1 drug, making it illegal. While it has no acceptable medical use, the drug is greatly abused, and standard drug screenings do not test for DMT.
The length of time taken by this drug in your body depends on how it gets into the body; this drug’s effects last 30-45 minutes while it takes 45 seconds to start working. The drug peaks five minutes after consumption.
DMT is taken in the following ways:
- Injecting: When injected, the drug takes effect almost instantly. Injecting causes some of the worst side effects, which include vein damage or abscesses.
- Smoking: It is common practice to take DMT through vaporization or smoking. When smoked, the user feels the effect of the drug instantly.
- Eating: The drug can also be taken orally, but it should be taken with monoaminoxidase inhibitor drugs to produce psychoactive effects. Ingesting the drug orally produces effects after 15-30 minutes.
- Drinking: The herbal plant ayahuasca contains DMT. The plant is brewed to make tea, taken in some South American cultures as part of a spiritual ritual.
Once the drug is absorbed into the body, the user starts to experience brain and body effects, including extreme hallucinations. Simultaneously, the kidneys start to filter the chemical out of the body. This goes on steadily where users undergo a peak, and then the intensity starts to diminish slowly until all the effects disappear. The drug has a short half-life making its effects short-lived. Whether taken as an injection, vape, or smoked, the effects last for about 15-30 minutes, while drinking or eating has more prolonged effects of about 2-4 hours. It takes longer when eaten or drunk because it takes longer to be absorbed into the bloodstream when ingested orally.
Factors that Affect the Duration of DMT in the Body
- Body Weight (BMI) – Healthier and fit people eliminate the drug faster than unfit or unhealthy people.
- Age – Age plays a small part in the duration the drug stays in your system. Younger and healthier people eliminate the drug faster than older people who may not be as healthy.
- Genes – Your genes may play a small role in your ability to eliminate this drug from your system.
- Metabolism – People with fast metabolisms and good health get rid of the drug faster than those with a slow metabolism.
Duration of DMT Detection
Detection of the drug in urine is determined by how it was ingested. When ingested orally, a urine test will not detect the drug, although some metabolites can be seen 24 hours after consumption. Alternatively, when ingested through smoking, the metabolites and the drug can be traced in urine for 24 hours.
This is an excellent way to test for the drug as hair follicle testing takes more time than other methods; it is ideal for testing for long-term use. The lab technician cuts a bunch of hair close to the scalp and tests the hair for the drug or its metabolites. Metabolites are chemicals that are produced in the body after processing the drug. Using hair to test for the drug detects it even after 90 days. When used heavily, detection can be done for longer periods or if the user has long hair with multiple episodes of drug use.
The only way that the drug can be detected in the blood is to test when the person is under its influence. It leaves the bloodstream after two hours of use. Due to this, testing for the drug or most other types of drugs using blood is uncommon. Blood tests are not used to test for psychedelic use.
DMT metabolites can be detected in the saliva for about one hour after ingestion. Therefore, testing for the drug-using saliva is uncommon as using blood to detect its use. Testing through saliva can only yield results if done an hour or less after use.
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Effects of DMT
The drug produces euphoria and hallucinations. The initial effects can make the user vulnerable. The effects include hallucinations, including spatial and body distortions, agitation, and an increased heart rate. When brewed using the ayahuasca plant, the user experiences severe vomiting. Due to the drug being hallucinogenic, users experience unforeseen side effects. Hallucinogens may affect the brain chemical serotonin’s function, which regulates body temperature, hunger, sleep, sensory perception, muscle control, and mood.
The effects may be experienced by people with a family history of the conditions, despite being undiagnosed with the conditions. In rare cases, the drug has been seen to trigger severe psychotic episodes.
- Dilation of pupils
- Coordination problems
- High blood pressure
- Vomiting when taken orally
- Increased heart rate
- Involuntary rapid eye movement
- Coma or respiratory arrest when taken in high doses
- Doubled vision
- A feeling of time slowing down or speeding up
- Out of body experiences
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Auditory and visual hallucinations
This drug is dangerous for individuals with heart conditions due to its ability to increase blood pressure.
- Poor concentration on life tasks or work duties
- Symptoms similar to those of a stroke
- Seeing circles of light or trails on moving objects
- Hallucinations even days after using the drug
Signs of Abuse
More research is needed on DMT addiction and abuse. However, other hallucinogens similar to this drug cause lack of coordination, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and sleeplessness in the user. Long-term effects include psychosis, panic, and paranoia. When someone abuses any drug, they undergo desperate financial situations, with the reliance on narcotics outweighing any financial concerns. Some drug addicts engage in crime to finance their addiction. If you are continually thinking about the drug, you probably have a psychological addiction to the drug. Continued use of the drug will lead you to addiction.
How Do I Know if I am Addicted?
Addiction to the drug is less likely as your body will not build a tolerance to the drug. However, psychological dependence is possible in some users, and chronic use may lead to mental health issues.
Other Signs of Abuse
- Obsession with the drug
- Lying to family or friends about drug use
- Experiencing drug effects even when not using
- A feeling of being disconnected from reality
- Problems with professional or personal life as a result of using drugs
There are rare cases of overdosing on ayahuasca or DMT, but there have been numerous hospital visits related to ayahuasca use. People who have visited the hospital after exposure to ayahuasca have exhibited the following symptoms.
- Injuries associated with hallucinations when the user is unaware of their body and physical environment
- Excessive vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Respiratory arrest
Is it Necessary to Seek Treatment?
People struggling with drug abuse face the obstacle of coming to terms with the reality that they have a problem. A significant number of this population has trouble admitting that they are addicted to drugs. One of the reasons for this is the stigma associated with alcohol and addiction, making many victims unaware of their addiction’s effect on their lives and their family. The stigma is unfounded as it is based on generalizations, preconceptions, and assumptions and not facts. Stigma can negatively affect an individual’s self-esteem where it can worsen their defense mechanisms, such as minimizing the use of the drug and denial. It also damages the relationship of the individual with their family members and employers. In some cases, stigma is so profound that preventing active users from going for Treatment or acknowledging their problem.
However, substance use disorder or drug abuse can happen to anyone due to the many factors influencing the disorders’ development. Therefore, it is essential to be aware that we can achieve more positive results by reducing the stigma associated with drug addiction. The World Health Organization says that stigma is a significant contributor to exclusion and discrimination, and it is some form of human rights abuse.
If you are not sure about your addiction to DMT, it would be better to speak to a substance abuse professional. Please do not wait for the addiction to advance to seek Treatment; go to a rehab clinic as soon as possible as it will also help in getting the substances out of your system. The same applies if your family members think you need help or when drug abuse negatively affects your work, family life, or school.