Is DMT Dangerous?

DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a hallucinogenic drug that occurs naturally in both plants and animals. Deaths involving the use of DMT are nearly non-existent. However, users commonly experience intense hallucination, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and chest tightness or pain.

Experts suggest the greatest danger with DMT use is serotonin syndrome. It is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur, particularly if a person is using another serotonin-boosting substance (such as an antidepressant) in combination with DMT.

What Is DMT?

DMT is a powerful hallucinogen drug. A common nickname for DMT is the “spirit molecule” due to its ability to induce a brief by a very intense psychedelic experience. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies DMT as a schedule I substance. Despite this, it is still often used for spiritual purposes. Many claim it has a wide variety of therapeutic effects on a person’s psyche following use.

DMT is often found as white powder. It occurs naturally in certain plants found in Mexico, South America, and parts of Asia, such as the Mimosa hostilis shrub (jurema). Native cultures brew the plants as a tea, such is the case with ayahuasca. The powder can be smoked or vaped, and, rarely, may be snorted or injected.

Chemically, the structure of DMT is similar to the anti-migraine medication sumatriptan, and it acts as an agonist at most serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which creates feelings of pleasure and reward. It has a substantial effect on the majority of brain cells. There is also some evidence that DMT occurs naturally in the body, specifically in the brain’s pineal gland.


DMT’s use goes back for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and is often associated with spiritual practices or rituals. As noted, DMT is the active ingredient in ayahuasca, a traditionally brewed tea from South American.

DMT’s psychedelic, hallucinogenic effects, and “spiritual insight” is one of the most common reasons people use the drug. Most DMT users are already familiar with hallucinogenic drugs, and today, it can be easily purchased over the Internet.

Effects of DMT

The main effect of DMT is intense visual and auditory hallucinations that can dramatically transform the user’s perception of the world around them. Other effects include euphoria and an altered sense of body, space, and time. Many users report profound, life-changing experiences, such as visiting other worlds, talking with alien entities, and complete shifts in their perception of reality.

DMT induces brief yet vivid visual and auditory hallucinations that users often describe as otherworldly, an alternate reality or akin to a near-death experience.

Possible side effects of DMT include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Agitation
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Dizziness

When consumed orally, DMT can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Depending on each individual user, the DMT experience can be intensely exciting or overwhelmingly frightening and everything in between. The experience can be so intense that users may find it challenging to process it integrate it into real life. Still, many report significant long-term benefits from DMT use, including reduced depression and anxiety and less desire to abuse other drugs or alcohol.

Is DMT Dangerous?
closeup man having heart attack. healthcare concept


DMT is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and, for this reason, a condition known as serotonin syndrome may develop. This is a potentially lethal health risk, and people who use antidepressants are at the highest risk for this complication.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when an excessive amount of serotonin has accumulated in the body. The condition is most often caused by using a combination of different types of drugs that increase serotonin concentrations.

Serotonin syndrome can cause a range of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, including the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hypertension
  • Impaired muscle coordination
  • Headache

At very high doses, DMT can cause seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma. It could have severe consequences for users with pre-existing psychological problems or a mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia.

Getting Help for Drug Abuse

DMT is not believed to cause physical dependence or addiction, but relevant research is scarce. Also, frequent recreational users may encounter psychological cravings for the drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that, unlike most other hallucinogens, repeated DMT use does not appear to result in tolerance.

Although not necessarily an addictive substance, DMT use can cause several health risks. It can also produce terrifying hallucinations and other undesirable psychological effects. Frequent use of this drug may increase a person’s risk of experiencing adverse effects, including life-threatening complications like serotonin syndrome.

If you have been abusing DMT, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today. Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive, customized programs designed to treat substance use disorders in addition to all aspects of a person’s mental and emotional well-being.

If you are ready to begin experiencing life on a whole new level, we are here to help you reclaim your sanity and break free from the vicious cycle of addiction one day at a time!

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