What Does it Feel Like to Get High on DMT?

Woman in surreal landscape
While most drug hallucinations are mild, occasionally users are transported to an unreal world. Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

The DMT Trip or Businessman's Lunch

Getting high on DMT, also known as a DMT trip or businessman's lunch due to its short duration, is technically termed DMT intoxication. In contrast to LSD, a much more commonly used hallucinogenic drug which lasts 8-12 hours, sometimes longer, the effects of DMT last only half an hour to an hour, although distortions to time perception is a common effect of DMT as well as other hallucinogens.

 

Although the effects of the typical DMT follow a predictable pattern, as with other hallucinogens, the effects on each individual user are quite unpredictable. If you have heard from another user that they had a wonderful experience on DMT, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will. Having a bad trip is usually unexpected, as most people take drugs in the hope that they will produce pleasant effects, and it does not mean you are not a "cool" or "spiritual" person.

Spiritual Experiences

Most people who take DMT do so in the hope that they will have a pleasant spiritual experience, and this has been supported by research showing that many people do experience increased feelings of happiness, sadness, awe and amazement. This, coupled with the dream-like, visionary state in which visual changes are perceived, can seem quite profound.

Higher doses of DMT result in reports of users feeling more non-judgmental of others, and a sense of time becoming like an eternity.

Although many users find this a positive experience, some find it frightening. As with other drugs, set and setting are important in determining whether the experience goes well or badly.

Many people who take DMT report reflecting on of life, nature, and human consciousness. Whether this is actually a result of the drug, or a consequence of the users' expectations of the drug, coupled with the ritualization of its use, is unclear.

It does appear that bad trips on DMT are more common when the drug is taken outside of ceremonial processes, which may provide some structure or control over the experience.

Visual Distortions and Hallucinations

As with other hallucinogens, it is common to experience visual changes when on a DMT trip. These visual changes typically involve things seeming brighter, and appearing to vibrate. Rapidly moving patterns transposed over reality commonly appear. Hallucinations in the form of scenes that can be seen with eyes open or closed are also common. This is often described as a visionary state.

Cases of substance-induced psychosis have occurred with DMT, although they are rarer than with other hallucinogens, such as LSD, or with other drugs, such as marijuana or alcohol. Typically, these psychotic episodes are transient in nature, and pass after a few hours. However, the infrequency of reports of psychotic reactions in DMT intoxication may be more a result of the lower popularity of the drug than its relative safety, and there are other risks involved with DMT which should be considered before consuming the drug.

See What is DMT? for more details on the risks of DMT.

Sources:

American Psychiatric Association.

 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition DSM-5 American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Cakic V., Potkonyak J.,Marshall A. Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): subjective effects and patterns of use among Australian recreational users. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 111 (1-2): 30-7. 2010.

Denning, P., Little, J. & Glickman, A. Over the Influence: The Harm Reduction Guide for Managing Drugs and Alcohol. New York: Guilford Press. 2004.

Fadiman, J. The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press. 2011.

Gable, R. Risk assessment of ritual use of oral dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmala alkaloids.

 Addiction, 102 (1): 24-34. 2007.

Continue Reading