Experts say DMT usage is not widespread because the drug provides a supercharged, often terrifying psychedelic experience.
Unlike the hours-long mind-altering effects of the more common hallucinogen LSD, the effects of DMT last about 30 minutes. It is sometimes called “the businessman’s LSD,” preferred by users with little time to spare.
Injected DMT produces an experience that is similar to inhalation in duration, intensity, and characteristics.
In a study conducted from 1990 through 1995, University of New Mexico psychiatrist Rick Strassman found that some volunteers injected with high doses of DMT had experiences with a perceived alien entity. Usually, the reported entities were experienced as the inhabitants of a perceived independent reality the subjects reported visiting while under the influence of DMT.
In a September, 2009, interview with Examiner.com, Strassman described the effects on participants in the study: “Subjectively, the most interesting results were that high doses of DMT seemed to allow the consciousness of our volunteers to enter into non-corporeal, free-standing, independent realms of existence inhabited by beings of light who oftentimes were expecting the volunteers, and with whom the volunteers interacted. While “typical” near-death and mystical states occurred, they were relatively rare.”
A standard dose for smoked DMT is between 15–60 mg. This is generally smoked in a few successive breaths. The effects last for a short period of time, usually 5 to 15 minutes, dependent on the dose.
The onset after inhalation is very fast (less than 45 seconds) and peak effects are reached within a minute. In the 1960s, some reportedly referred to DMT as “the businessman’s trip“because of the relatively short duration of vaporized, insufflated, or injected DMT.
DMT is commonly vaporized in glass pipes such as those used with crack cocaine and methamphetamine. Improvised smoking devices can be constructed from light bulbs. The vapor is sometimes described as harsh, and some users even compare its flavor to that of burning plastic.
Some users elect to combine it with cannabis, parsley, mullein, or other plants in an attempt to improve flavor and reduce harshness. Combining DMT with plant matter or depositing it upon a substrate of ash also facilitates use of an ordinary pipe, a bong, or a vaporizer.
In South America there are a number of indigenous traditions and more recent religious movements based on the use of ayahuasca, usually in an animistic context that may be mixed with Christian imagery.
There are four main branches using DMT-MAOI based sacraments in South America: Amazonian Peoples. There are many indigenous cultures in South America, mostly in the Upper Amazon Basin whose traditional religious practices include the use of ayahuasca.
These are the oldest cultures in the whole of South America that continue to use ayahuasca or analogue brews, such as the ones made from Jurema in the Pernambuco, near Recife or Iquitos in Peru.
Santo Daime (“Saint Give Unto Me”) and Barquinha (“Little Boat”). A syncretic religion from Brazil. The former was founded by Raimundo Irineu Serra in the early 1930s, as an esoteric Christian religion with shamanic tendencies. The Barquinha was derived from this one.
União do Vegetal (Union of Vegetal or UDV). Another Christian ayahuasca religion from Brazil, is a single unified organization with a democratic structure.
Neo-shamans. There are some self-styled shamanic facilitators in Brazil and other South American countries that use ayahuasca or analogous brews in their rituals and séances.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic drug of the tryptamine family. This drug is found not only in many plants,but also in trace amounts in the human body, where its natural function remains undetermined. Structurally, it is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) and other hallucinogenic tryptamines such as 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenin (5-OH-DMT), and psilocin (4-HO-DMT).
DMT is created in small amounts by the human body during normal metabolism by the enzyme tryptamine-N-methyltransferase. Many cultures, indigenous and modern, ingest DMT as a psychedelic, in either extracted or synthesized forms. When refined, DMT is a clear to white, crystalline solid. However, DMT found on the illicit market is commonly impure and may appear yellow, orange, or salmon in color, unless special care has been taken to remove these impurities. Such impurities result from degradation or originate from plant matter from which the DMT may have been extracted.
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