In the Amazon, indigenous tribesmen have long created a herbal homeopathic remedy known as Ayahuasca from native plants. The tribes believe the plant has miraculous healing properties and it is used in healing ceremonies by shamans. The tribal people use Ayahuasca for various reasons including rituals and recreational use. Besides its therapeutic properties, it also produces hallucinations. One of the byproducts of Ayahuasca is the hallucinogen, Dimethyltryptamine better known by its common appellation, DMT. Dimethyltryptamine has a reputation of being among the most powerful psychedelic drugs known to man.
The drug’s ability to create intense auditory and visual hallucinations has prompted tourists seeking the mind-expanding experience of Ayahuasca travel to the regions of South America where the drug is legal. The shaman concocts a tea from Ayahuasca and ceremonial participants can spend hours riding on the lasting psychedelic effects of the drug described as both euphoric and a complete escape from reality The acute distortions of time and space perceptions is considered a gateway to spiritual enlightenment by fans of Ayahuasca.
Some people who have previously indulged in other hallucinogens claim the side effects are less intense than in others like LSD. But make no mistake, this is a powerful drug and its effects can be felt weeks after the time it was consumed. The hallucinations can be either intensely exciting or terrifying. Users speak of visiting the aliens dimensions and scientists conducting studies with the substance say the explanations of the experiences seem to imply that the DMT allowed them to be aware of parallel realities.
What is DMT
DMT is a molecule not only found in various plants but in the brain, blood, and secretions of all mammals, including humans. It’s consumed by either smoking it like marijuana, snorting it like cocaine, injecting or drinking it. When smoking it, it is commonly blended with Ayahuasca to produce what is known as Changa.
Changa takes extracts from DMT producing plants, and select herbs. The finished blend ranges from 20 to 50 percent DMT potency depending on the plants used. A common herb used in Changa is the Banisteriopsis Caapi. This is a hallucinogenic plant and a primary ingredient in Ayahuasca, DMT is found in the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant. Changa is prepared by the infusing of DMT into herbs dissolved in ethanol. This combination of herbs has a similar effect to brewed Ayahuasca. Once the concoction has dried it is smoked or imbibed through a vapor pipe.
How Does DMT Impact The Brain?
DMT is a hallucinogen that impacts the brain. In a recent study, lab rats injected with DMT showed that even though the effects of the “high” weren’t long-lasting, the brain continued to rewire from the impact of the DMT for a full 24 hours after ingestion. DMT causes increased neural activity in the brain’s visual cortex and limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and memory. Users sometimes experience hidden memories from the past in vivid hallucinations which can elicit strong and intense emotions. The strongest effect of the hallucinogen takes place in the brain’s frontal cortex which affects mood and perception.
MT is a naturally occurring substance, and some scientists have speculated that extra DMT production may be behind reports of alien abductions and near-death experiences. Some DMT users experience the feeling of being awake but having no sense of self or personal identity. This is described as Ego Death. The experience causes many people to believe they have experienced the sensation of dying. The similarities between the experiences of patients who had near-death experiences and the Ego Death trips of some DMT users are nearly identical.
When DMT enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, It can change perceptions of body awareness, vision, and emotions by affecting the brain’s serotonin receptors. Unlike most substances, DMT has the ability to pass through the blood/brain barrier. Since DMT is naturally produced in the blood, brain, and secretions of mammals, the body accepts its entrance as a normal part of the brain.
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Tripping With DMT: The Effects
The DMT trip is often compared to the psilocybin or LSD trip when the experience comes from high doses. Some liken it to an out of body or near-death experience. Many feel as though they have traveled to another, unique dimension. No two DMT trips are the same and some people never experience the other-dimensional, mind-bending experiences others do. Milder trips experience bright colors, geometric patterns, and objects in a sharply-defined holographic reality. These milder trips are called Shallow Trips.
The more intense DMT trip is known as a Breakthrough Experience. The experience is akin to feeling your spirit exit your body and leave it behind like an empty shell. Some people experience multi-dimensional worlds and an overwhelming profusion of sights and sounds in an entirely different universe.
Terence McKenna, Dr. Rick Strassman & The DMT Trip
The intensity of the DMT trip is affected by variants. One is the method in which you take the DMT. If it is taken intravenously, the experience is a short-duration psychedelic experience. If it is taken like Ayahuasca, the effects are much more long-lasting and intense. A detailed study in which participants were administered doses of DMT was conducted by Dr. Rick Strassman. He recorded detailed descriptions of the DMT trips experienced by study participants. They reported seeing aliens, dwarfs, elves, reptiles, insects, and other creatures. Some just experienced colorful patterns.
Ethno Botanist, Terence McKenna chronicled his own personal experiences with DMT. He described a vivid, fantastical world with elves and basketballs that dripped with jewels and had the ability to dribble themselves. To him, it was a different realm with experiences completely outside of reality. To date, McKenna’s account of his DMT tripremains the most detailed and vivid.
Does The Pineal Gland Control DMT?
The Pineal Gland has long been considered a psychic portal by New Age adherents. It is believed to house the Third Eye or opening to the sub-conscious and center of psychic power. Many believed the Pineal Gland released DMT at special intervals including birth, near death, and while in the dream state to produce actual out-of-body experiences. There is no scientific validation to support these theories. The exact place where DMT is produced in the body and its actual function is not known.
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The Surprising Popularity of DMT
Despite the intense and potent hallucinatory experience of DMT, it has become a popular recreational drug over the years. There are higher numbers of people reporting using DMT for the first time than for other psychedelic drugs like LSD and Shrooms. Its popularity can be attributed to what some describe as a short, pleasurable experience that has less negative effects than other substances.
DMT: Tolerance & Addiction
DMT holds a low risk of addiction. Although there is no proof the user can become addicted to the substance, some people may become addicted to the hallucinogenic experiences the drug produces. There is also a low risk of developed tolerance for the drug.
Physiological & Psychological Side Effects of DMT
Although DMT has relatively few side effects when compared to other hallucinogens like LSD and Ketamine, there are some side effects. Besides its impact on the brain, DMT can bring about physiological effects, too.
Some people experience increased heart rate and blood pressure. Users have also reported experiencing chest tightening and pain, symptoms also associated with cardiac arrest.
Users experience rapid eye movement, dizziness, and high agitation levels after taking DMT. If panic sets in, it often creates frightening and stressful experiences.
Some people have experienced internal discomfort including vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea after taking the drug orally.
Although rare, some users have experienced seizures, respiratory arrest, and other severe physical problems.
Aside from physical side effects, there can be mental drawbacks as well. Depending on the method of ingestion, the effects of DMT can remain in the system for a long time. Hallucinations can be intense, stressful, and it can be hard to separate perception from reality. People who have preexisting mental health issues may put themselves at risk by taking DMT.
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Can You Overdose on DMT?
There is insubstantial evidence of the risk of overdose on DMT. While it’s technically possible to overdose, it would require extremely high dosages. Although this seems unlikely, it should be noted there are many ways to consume DMT. Depending on the method used, there is a possibility of taking a high enough dose to lead to overdose.
However, there is risk involved in taking DMT with other substances which could cause an adverse reaction. This is particularly true if an individual is taking a prescription medication for a serious illness or disease.
Help for Bad Trips & Psychedelic Abuse
If you know someone who is concerned about their use of DMT and you would like to help them, there are many luxury rehab centers which offer help with detox programs and skilled therapists who can help them overcome the effects of a bad DMT trip.
Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.