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What is DMT?

DMT is a hallucinogenic chemical substance occurring naturally in many plants and animals. It is both structural analog and a derivative of tryptamine which is known to simulate serotonin production in the brain. Sometimes called the spirit molecule, DMT is known for producing intense and in some cases, spiritual psychedelic experiences. In a way, that makes DMT similar to other psychedelics such as magic mushrooms or LSD, although trips from these are usually much more intense. 

Is DMT used in psychedelic therapy?

However, unlike psilocybin and LSD the effects of DMT onset rapidly and are quite short in duration, typically less than 30 minutes, which potentially makes it more suitable for outpatient therapy. Until recently, it was unclear how effective DMT would be for psychedelic assisted therapy since the effects are so short lasting. However, new studies have shed a spotlight on the drug’s immense potential. 

What effects have DMT had on depression in psychedelic research?

According to the results, there was a statistically significant difference between those who took DMT and those who took just a placebo at two weeks post-dose. The antidepressant effect of DMT with supportive therapy demonstrated a rapid onset at one week post-dose. The study also showed a durable antidepressant effect with a 57% remission rate at 12 weeks. DMT also has a favourable safety and tolerability profile, with no drug-related serious adverse events reported. In other words, DMT is very safe, well tolerated and has provided resoundingly clear antidepressant effects compared to placebos. And because DMT is so short acting, patients could theoretically go about their day like nothing happened within one hour. DMT sessions are intense, but the afterglow may be more than worth it.

What does the term ego death mean when on DMT? 

When people take hallucinogens and other psychedelics, they sometimes have an out of body experience. Sometimes they feel as if they are outwards looking in, and they see themselves in a new light. This feel might be described as transcendence or an enlightenment. Ego death is when people realize their sense of self identity is not what they thought it was. They see themselves and maybe the grand scheme of the cosmos of the universe, and it can be unsettling, but it also can be peaceful and positively powerful for other individuals. 

How do people consume DMT?

One of the common methods for people to use it is to smoke it or vaporize it. It usually takes about three big hits or inhalations in order to have what people call a breakthrough dose. Which basically means moving away from reality, and not just having the typical psilocybin or LSD experience. In a shroom or acid trip, things are radically different, but you’re still basically a person in this reality. To go somewhere else with a drug like DMT, you would typically take three hits, and it comes on like a freight train. 

How fast does a DMT trip happen?

When you inhale DMT, around the time of the first exhalation, or between the first and the second hit, the trip will start to come on. From one hit you might be getting the equivalent of a 30 milligram LSD trip. At the second hit, it might be the strongest psychedelic experience someone has ever had. If you can take that third hit (some people can’t), then you might be propelled into another reality. 

What will I see on a DMT trip?

The nature of that other reality will differ depending on who you ask. But folks will often talk about entities of different types. Anything that you might see on a DMT trip is likely culturally influenced. It is probably also dependent on who you are and what you’ve been exposed to. 

One often has a sense that they’re surrounded by intelligent, autonomous entities, like elves or aliens or other higher beings. There’s communication between these entities and the tripper and often the higher beings are telling the DMT user things that that the person says are self validating. People often say it’s like downloading some intelligence from a higher dimension. 

Why do people often have profound experiences with DMT?

Regardless of whether or not there are autonomous entities out there, DMT users may have this experience because the level of learning or comprehension might be so far beyond what someone is used to that the only way for the nervous system or sense of self to understand what is happening is to use metaphor. 

Stories are basically like our sense of self. Narrative self is a story. This is why metaphors are always more powerful than laying out all the details. You can have all the best data in the world, but it’s often not as powerful as one anecdote can be. So when this unimaginable change in experience happens with DMT ingestion, the stories of entities might be the easiest narrative way for your brain to understand what is happening. Which is not to say the stories aren’t real, but the brain is communicating with itself in a massively different way. There’s incredible amounts of communication with areas that don’t normally communicate. 

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