Snorting DMT (Insufflation) Dangers And Risks

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 28, 2023

DMT is a very strong psychedelic compound that can have unpredictable and even serious effects in both the long-term and short-term. People who snort DMT can find help through inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

Dangers Of Snorting DMT

DMT, also known as the spirit molecule, naturally occurs in very small quantities in the brain. It is also found in ayahuasca, a South American brew of leaves that is taken for religious purposes.

This psychedelic drug is commonly taken by vaporization. However, intranasal use, or snorting synthetic DMT as crystalline powder may be done as well.

Learn more about the dangers and effects of snorting other drugs.

What Is DMT?

DMT ( N, N-dimethyltryptamine) is commonly produced as an illegal synthetic compound in the United States.

People take DMT recreationally or to feel a greater sense of spiritual awareness. By itself, DMT is quickly metabolized, and it is usually combined with an MAOI (MAO-inhibitor) to slow its breakdown.

Regardless of origin, whether from South America or elsewhere, DMT’s use as a hallucinogenic drug produces strong mind-altering experiences.

The highs associated with DMT are reportedly stronger than those derived through the use of other hallucinogens, such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or LSD (acid).

Side Effects Of DMT

DMT does not create the same experiences for everyone. The drug’s purity, the quantity taken, a person’s mental health, and the person’s surroundings at the time the drug takes effect will influence outcomes.

DMT’s typical side effects include:

  • altered senses of time
  • altered sense of space
  • profound experiences with perceived deities, aliens, or the universe
  • out-of-body experiences
  • auditory hallucinations
  • visual hallucinations
  • altered perceptions of reality
  • altered perceptions of sounds
  • altered visual perception

Snorting DMT

Freebase snorting DMT is reportedly very painful and is not considered a preferred method of ingestion because of the pain and because high doses are required to feel effects.

Nasal ingestion of DMT is typically performed by mixing an MAOI with DMT powder into coconut cream, which is applied inside the nose.

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DMT carries heavy side effects that may complicate existing health conditions. Typical side effects may include increased heart rate and blood pressure, agitation, chest pain, dizziness, and more.

Side effects and “trip” outcomes are generally unpredictable, but even more so when DMT is taken with MDMA, cannabis, ketamine, or synthetic opioids like tramadol and fentanyl.

Side Effects Of Snorting DMT

DMT does not typically create physical dependence like strong opioids or benzodiazepines. However, it can result in serious short-term and long-term effects on the body.

People with heart conditions are especially at risk when snorting DMT.

Possible side effects include:

  • hypertension
  • elevated heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • agitation
  • rapid eye movements
  • seizures
  • dilated pupils
  • respiratory arrest
  • damaged voice
  • damage to the nasal septum
  • damage to the mucous membrane
  • irritation

Long-Term Effects Of DMT Use

Besides the potential physical impact of having extended high blood pressure or heart rate, the major concern surrounding recreational DMT use involves altered mental status.

Mental Health Impact

Frequent drug use of hallucinogens like DMT may cause symptoms similar to that of schizophrenia, called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

HPPD is essentially a psychotic state where strong, spontaneous flashbacks interrupt normal function.

Other types of persistent psychosis may present with the following symptoms:

  • disorganized thinking
  • paranoia
  • altered visual perception
  • unstable mood

Addiction To DMT

Because DMT does not cause physical dependence, the possibility of addiction is mostly a psychological risk.

People that have previously enjoyed a feeling of spiritual well-being may seek out the feelings more than they had previously intended and may frequently ingest DMT.

The signs of problem DMT drug abuse include symptoms like:

  • foregoing normal activities to get DMT
  • sacrificing personal and professional relationships
  • ignoring obligations
  • craving DMT
  • lying about drug use
  • combining DMT with other drugs
  • experiencing flashbacks or psychotic symptoms
  • feeling out of touch

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 28, 2023
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