DMT Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 15, 2022

DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that is not known to be addictive, although tolerance to it can develop. Addiction treatment can help people who are abusing DMT or other drugs.

How Long Does DMT Last

DMT is a hallucinogenic drug commonly known as the “spirit molecule” that is naturally occurring and found in multiple plants, including some from the Amazon region of South America.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alongside the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have named DMT a Schedule I controlled substance.

Although several indigenous cultures have used plants containing DMT in ceremonial practices for thousands of years, the drug is not safe to use recreationally.

DMT is not known to be addictive, but people who use the drug can experience psychological dependence.

DMT abuse is serious and can lead to major physical and mental health disorders and issues. Substance abuse treatment can help to stop DMT abuse.

How DMT Works In The Body

DMT has a similar chemical structure to the brain chemical serotonin. This similarity allows DMT to bind to serotonin receptors in the brain.

Other psychedelic drugs, like LSD and psilocybin, are also associated with serotonin receptors. When DMT binds with these receptors, it delivers hallucinogenic effects.

DMT works the same way in the body whether it is taken with ayahuasca tea or as a synthetic drug.

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Ways People Use DMT

There are multiple ways of taking DMT. When DMT is taken as ayahuasca, the Amazonian brew containing two different plants, it is taken by ingesting it in liquid form.

Smoking DMT

Smoking DMT is quite common. People who use DMT recreationally might use a pipe to smoke the drug, or they could add it to a marijuana joint or tobacco cigarette before smoking it.

Plugging DMT

Plugging refers to the process of taking a drug by rectal administration. Plugging DMT is not common.

People plug drugs because it causes them to be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, leading to very intense effects.

Read more about plugging DMT.

Snorting DMT

Synthetic DMT, which takes the form of a white crystalline powder, might be taken by snorting it.

Snorting DMT is less common than ingesting or smoking it, but some people do use the drug in this manner.

Learn about the dangers of snorting DMT.

Side Effects Of DMT Abuse

DMT drug use can lead to many adverse physical and mental health effects. Some people who have negative experiences or “bad trips” on DMT report long-term effects, even after one use.

Bad trips are more common when a person takes high doses of DMT.

Even without a bad trip, some side effects of DMT abuse may include:

  • paranoia
  • unpleasant hallucinations
  • emotional distress
  • seizures
  • respiratory arrest
  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • dilated pupils

Is DMT Addictive?

DMT is not known to be addictive or to cause physical dependence.

People who use the drug repeatedly may experience cravings for the drug or they may abuse it because they think it will help cure mental illness.

People who abuse DMT often may exhibit behavior similar to that of someone who is psychologically addicted to a drug.

Does DMT Lead To Withdrawal Symptoms?

DMT is not known to cause withdrawal symptoms. People who use the drug regularly might feel depressed or sad if they stop using it.

Other times, people might experience “flashbacks” to their DMT trips where they feel as though they are high on DMT, even if it has been weeks or months since they used the drug.

Dangers Of Mixing DMT With Other Drugs Or Alcohol

Mixing DMT with other drugs might make it more dangerous or increase the likelihood of serious health conditions happening.

People who use DMT might mix it with substances like antidepressants, magic mushrooms, alcohol, or ketamine.

Can DMT Abuse Cause An Overdose?

It is possible to take too much DMT for the body to handle. However, a DMT overdose is different from other drugs like heroin or alcohol, which are too toxic for the body to handle at a certain dose.

Taking too much DMT often results in a “bad trip”. Effects of a bad trip on mental health can be intense, and they may trigger disorders such as schizophrenia.

Treatment Programs For DMT Abuse

Although DMT does not lead to drug addiction the same way some other substances do, abusing the drug might require addiction treatment.

Treatment centers are equipped to help people who abuse hallucinogenic drugs like DMT.

Detox is not usually needed before DMT treatment, but inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can be helpful.

Rehab centers offer mental and physical healthcare services to help people who are struggling with DMT abuse.


Read more about DMT abuse in the commonly asked questions below.

DMT can lead to dangerously high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

People who take DMT alongside drugs like antidepressants are at high risk to develop serotonin syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening.

People who take DMT often may develop an increased tolerance to the drug, although tolerance to DMT appears to develop more slowly than with other drugs of abuse like cocaine or heroin.

DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has no medical use and is not legal in the U.S.

DMT costs vary depending on whether the drug is sold in synthetic form or in a drug like ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca is not usually sold like other drugs. Instead, people pay a fee which includes money for the drug and for a ceremonial experience.

There is not a dose of DMT that is known to cause a universal overdose.

However, taking too much DMT could result in a bad trip or in serious side effects like high blood pressure or seizures.

DMT stays in everyone’s body for different amounts of time depending on a number of factors. Age, weight, and overall health can all affect how long the drug stays in the system.

Drug testing will detect DMT for varying lengths of time. The most common testing method, done via urine samples, detects DMT up to 24 hours after the last use.

Hair testing can usually detect drugs for up to 90 days, while blood tests can detect DMT for just a few hours.

Find A Drug Rehab Program Today

If you or someone you know is having trouble stopping DMT drug abuse, now is the time to act. Contact us today to learn where to go for the best addiction treatment.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 15, 2022

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