Today we'll explore everything you need to know about the powerful and potentially life-changing experience of dimethyltryptamine, aka DMT.
We'll cover the basics, law, safety, experience, myths and a whole lot more.
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DMT - The King of Entheogens
For anyone interested in the exploration of consciousness, there is no denying the allure of the otherworldly experiences offered by mind-altering drugs, especially psychedelic compounds.
Arguably the king of all entheogenic substances is DMT, offering those brave enough to venture into its territory, experiences that can transcend language and shake the philosophical and existential bedrock of one's reality.
DMT is a powerful naturally-occurring psychedelic that’s also found endogenously in the human body and many living organisms.
Visually, it appears as a white or yellow crystalline substance, although poor extractions can result in a yellow wax-like material.
DMT has a unique and difficult-to-place scent, with some likening it to mothballs or a musky jasmine. After using DMT, many users report noticing its scent absolutely everywhere.
As with most tryptamines, DMT's molecular structure is very similar to that of Serotonin.
The most popular means of taking DMT is through the inhalation of its vapour, but it can also be taken orally in ayahuasca-like preparations. Alongside ayahuasca, traditionally, it has also been used as a snuff.
Vaped dosage ranges from 10 to 60mg, with 30-60mg being most common.
Whatever the dose, the administration experience translates to three long and deeply held inhalations of its somewhat harsh vapour.
The Law & Safety
DMT is a Schedule 1 illegal drug in the United States and shares a similar illegal status in almost all countries.
While it is considered mostly-harmless and non-habit forming among its users, there has been little scientific research into its long-term effects on health. In other words, most claims you might hear are likely to be assumption or speculation.
As with any powerful drug that profoundly alters the complex machinery of the mind, one should proceed with the appropriate caution, safety, and respect.
Indeed, those with a personal or family history of mental illness should be especially cautious, as there may be a risk of triggering latent issues.
On the flip-side, recent research has also shown promising results in using similar compounds to treat long-term depression.
During the experience users are almost entirely incapacitated, in a state resembling sleep, therefore it should only be used in a safe, secure and relaxing environment with those with whom the user trusts deeply. A bed or comfortable spot to lay is essential. It is wise to have a sober and trustworthy companion to watch over you.
The experience of DMT is short lived at roughly 10 minutes, and incredibly intense. Indeed, most who have experienced its effects admit that there are simply no words to describe it.
Even experienced psychonauts who have used other psychedelics are generally shocked by its sheer intensity and peculiarity.
Initially, one finds a comfortable spot, a place to lie down during the experience. Then with the help of a partner one proceeds to take the first long, deep inhalation, this is held for as long as possible and quickly followed by the second.
At this point, most people will already be feeling the intensity of the effects, with a rapid onset of geometric designs crisscrossing one's vision and reality melting as if at the peak of an LSD trip. Generally, most people feel "the highest they have ever felt", and the idea of a third toke is incredibly unappealing.
However, the third inhalation is vital for the full "breakthrough" experience. On the third toke, your assistant will take the pipe and the user will lie back on the bed and close their eyes.
At this point, roughly 10 to 20 seconds after the first toke, any connection to the physical world has been lost. This may involve the feeling of dissolving, being pulled through a hyperspace tunnel, or simply "appearing" in an entirely different psychedelic geometric space - which has been nicknamed "the waiting room".
Personal identity will have mostly evaporated, with only base consciousness remaining. For most this can be a terrifying experience, and the belief that one is dying is a common fear. However, it is vital to remain calm and to simply relax and let go, but this is much easier said than done!
Time also appears to lose all meaning, with the space between each breath seeming infinitely long. This can also induce the unfounded fear that one has stopped breathing.
This "Ego Death" tends to occur in the "waiting room", a space that has been described as feeling something like a complex geometric multi-dimensional cosmic doorway.
Now, One may be greeted by what feels like some form of an independent entity, and while it is hard to put into words, often they appear to be formed from the very same ever-changing-kaleidoscope-environment that unfolds before you. These beings can come in a variety of forms and personalities, from loving almost-parental creatures, devious, cold-and-detached, shocked, outright malevolent, and everything in-between.
If the dosage has been correct, one will be pulled through the doorway and into "hyperspace" itself, often guided by the entity, all attempts at a description from this point onward become virtually meaningless.
For the next 10 minutes, which for the user can feel like eternity itself, one feels as if they have entered an entirely alternate reality - one in which all the rules of OUR world have become quite useless. Indeed, many suggest that they feel like an infant in an unfathomably confusing and vastly different universe.
There really is nothing that can prepare you for this and the astonishment that one feels can be entirely overwhelming.
One thing is common, that the experience is almost always reported as hyper-real or feeling more real than life itself.
People report all manner of experiences from alien experimentation, communication with god or gods, peculiar cosmic sexual encounters, playful cosmic clowns, or any manner of outright bizarre experiences.
It is entirely impossible to predict the experience - as often each trip seems utterly unrelated to the personality or interests of the user.
Often people report the entities offering seemingly profound insights into their lives, the state of humanity, or other spiritual revelations.
Of course, as with experiences in dreams, it is important to be cautious of taking such insights entirely on face value. Simply because something feels profound, doesn't always mean it truly is.
Whatever your beliefs about DMT, be they scientific, spiritual, or somewhere in-between, remember, both the subconscious mind and any potential otherworldy entities are as capable as any human of attempting to deceive or manipulate. So, retain a healthy level of critical thinking.
As the DMT wears off, between the 8-10 minutes mark, the consciousness of the body slowly returns - often feeling as if one "remembers" one's existence in this dimension. Aspects of the personality and self, coalesce, and normality rapidly returns. Often one has been so detached from oneself that if there is more than one person in the room, it seems almost arbitrary who you'll awake as.
Normal reality can often feel exquisitely comfortable and reassuring by comparison - a feeling that much like returning home after a long and exotic journey.
It is now that any trip report must be recorded as, like a dream, the memory will quickly fade.
Remarkably, most people feel almost completely normal within 15 to 30 minutes after the experience - if not a little shaken by the realisation of such a profoundly different world.
One cannot talk about DMT without addressing some of the common myths associated with the substance. The following are popular beliefs which sound incredibly exciting, yet have absolutely no evidence to support them:
MYTH #1 - DMT is released during birth and/or death. One should ask oneself simply what kind of hideous experiment would have had to have been undertaken to discover this. Rest assured, no such experiment has been ever been performed and there is no evidence to support this claim.
MYTH #2 - DMT is produced in the pineal gland (referred to by some as "the Third Eye"). Again, this is pure speculation with no scientific evidence. The pineal gland isn't fully understood but we do know that it regulates some hormones such as melatonin - which is best known for its role regulating sleep patterns. DMT has not been discovered in any significant amounts in the pineal gland.
MYTH #3 - DMT is responsible for dreams. While this certainly sounds plausible, again there is no direct evidence that the body even uses DMT as a neurotransmitter. While it is present in the body, some evidence points to it likely being the byproduct of the synthesis of similar transmitters like tryptophan or serotonin.
DMT is a fascinating substance that raises deep questions about the nature of self and reality, it is more than interesting enough without needing to invent myths about its use in the brain, dreams, birth or death. While it's great to speculate, it's good to remain lucid in our understanding.
Lucid Dreaming -The Alternative
DMT is a remarkable chemical with a long and rich history and I believe it is up to each individual to assess the legal, physical and psychological risks involved in its use.
Certainly, an experience with DMT will shake the very foundations of your existence - raising all manner of philosophical and spiritual questions. It is up to you to draw your own conclusions - I'd recommend doing so with a clear and lucid mind.
Personally, I'd recommend that those who are interested in this and other substances first try a little experiment. Develop your ability to lucid dream, and then use that dream control to explore these drugs within the safety of the dream world.
I and others have had fascinatingly convincing experiences in just this manner - a lucid dream of DMT can be just as astonishing as the real thing. As an additional bonus, you will have also unlocked the keys to your own personal biological virtual reality and a universe of self-exploration.
What do you think DMT tells us about this strange and mysterious universe in which we find ourselves in?