Other Names

Dimethyltryptamin, dimethyltryptamine, DMT,

nigerin, nigerina, nigerine (1946), AT,N-dimethyltryptamine,

3- [2-(dimethyl-amino)ethyl] -indole

Substance type: tryptamine (indole alkaloid)

R. H. F. Manske first created DMT as a synthetic

substance in the laboratory in 1931. It was not

until 1955 that it was isolated as a natural compound

in the seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina. It

is found in a great number of plants and also

occurs naturally in humans and other mammals

(see table, pages 853-854). N,N-DMT is closely

related to 5-MeO-DMT and psilocybin/psilocin.

N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are among the

psychedelics whose effects are short in duration.

They are not orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance. effective in an isolated form (as

a salt or abase) because the MAOMonoamine Oxidase, an enzyme that catalyses the metabolism of many drugs (e.g., DMT, dopamine and serotonin). enzyme breaks

them down before they can pass through the

blood-brain barrier (cf. ayahuasca, f3-carbolines).

They reveal their awesome effects only when

injected by syringe (Strassman et al. 1994),

snuffed, or smoked. When N,N-DMT or 5-MeODMT

is injected intravenously, the effects last

some forty-five minutes; when the substance is

smoked or snuffed, the effects last only ten

minutes. Subjectively, however, those few minutes

may seem to have spanned centuries. People who

have had experiences with DMT unanimously

agree that it is easily the most powerful psychedelic

known (cf. McKenna 1992; Meyer 1992).

Some people have described DMT as "crystallized

consciousness." When DMT is smoked, it is said

that the "scent of enlightenment" fills the air. Only

"a few seconds after taking it, DMT acts like the

trumpets of Jericho upon the gates of perception"

(Kraemer 1995, 98). DMT experiences can be so

extraordinarily alien that most subjects find it

extremely difficult or even impossible to describe

them in words. Many people speak of contact with

strange beings (aliens, fairies, machine elves, et

cetera) (Bigwood and Ott 1977; Leary 1966;

McKenna 1992; Meyer 1992).

When pure DMT is smoked or vaporized and

inhaled, the effective dosage lies around 20 mg

(although amounts as high as 100 mg are

sometimes smoked). The dosage for ayahuasca

and ayahuasca analogs ranges from 50 to 100 mg.

When DMT is injected, the typical dose is 1 mg/kg

of body weight (Ott 1993,433*).

DMT is also produced in the human nervous

system, where it appears to serve an important

function as a neurotransmitter (Barker et al. 1981;

Callaway 1996; Siegel 1995b). Neurobiologists are

as yet uncertain about the role DMT might play in

the nervous system. Hyperventilating causes the

concentration of DMT in the lungs to increase

(Callaway 1996). One physician has reported that

the release of endogenous DMT is highest at the

moment of death. It is my opinion that this

chemical messenger is responsible for the ultimate

shamanistic ecstasy, for enlightenment, and for the

merging into the "clear light of death." An experiment

in which DMT was given to practicing

Buddhists found that the subjects had experiences

and visions that corresponded to the Buddhist

teachings (Strassman 1996).

DMT has clearly inspired numerous novels in

the fantasy and science-fiction genres. The novel

Kalimantan deals with the search for a fictitious

hallucinogenic drug called seribu aso. The descriptions

of the effects of this drug agree perfectly with

the descriptions of DMT trips (Shepard 1993).

Several novels, including the Valis trilogy of the

science-fiction master Philip K. Dick (1928-1982),

also appear to represent a literary attempt to understand

the hyperdimensionality of DMT experiences

(Dick 1981a, 1981b, 1982).

Commercial Forms and Regulations

DMT occurs as a free base, an HCL, and a

fumarate. Although the fumarate crystallizes out

easily, it contains only 600/0 of the pure substance.

DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug in the

United States and is a "narcotic drug in which

trafficking is not allowed" in Germany as well as in

Switzerland (Korner 1994,38*).
Plants Containing DMT

(from Block 1994*; Smith 1977; Montgomery, pers. comm.; Ott 1993*; Schultes and Hofman 1980,

155*; supplemented)

Species Demonstrated Tryptamines
AGARICACEAE (FuNGI)  
Amanita citrina Gray DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Amanita porphyria (Fries) Secretan 5-MeO-DMT
Amanita spp. DMT, bufotenine
AIZOACEAE/MESEMBRYANTHEMACEAE  
Delosperma sp. DMT,MMT
Mesembryanthemum spp. DMT (?)
GRAMINEAE (POACEAE)  
Arundo donax 1. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Phalaris arundinacea 1. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Phalaris tuberosa 1. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. DMT
LAURACEAE  
Umbellularia californica (Hook. et A.) Nutt. 5-MeO-DMT
LEGUMINOSAE  
Acacia confusa Merr. DMT
Acacia maidenii F. von Mue1!. DMT (0.360/0)
Acacia nubica Benth. DMT
Acacia phlebophylla F. von Mue1!. 0.30/0 DMT
Acacia simpIicifolia Druce 0.810/0 DMT
Acaciaspp. DMT
Anadenanthera colubrina (VeIl.) Bren. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine
Anadenanthera peregrina (1.) Spag. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine
Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacMillan DMT (to 0.340/0)
Desmodium adscendens (Sw.) DC. var. adscendens DMT (?)
Desmodium caudatum DC. DMT
Desmodium gangeticum DC. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Desmodium gyrans DC. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Desmodium pulchellum Benth. ex Bak. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Desmodium racemosum Thunb. 5-MeO-DMT
Desmodium tiliaefolium G. Don DMT, bufotenine, and others
Desmodium triflorum DC. DMT, bufotenine, and others
Lespedeza bicolor Turcz. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT
Lespedeza bicolor var. japonica Nakai DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Lespedeza capitata Michx. DMT
Mimosa scabrella Benth. DMT
Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Pair. [syn. Mimosa hostilis 0.570/0 DMT
Benth., Mimosa nigra]  
Mimosa verrucosa DMT
Mimosaspp. DMT and others
Mucuna pruriens DC. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine
Mucunaspp. DMT and others
Petalostylis cassioides Pritze1 DMT, tetrahydroharmane
Petalostylis labicheoides R. Brown DMT, tryptamine
Phyllodium pulchellum (1.) Desv. DMT
MALPIGHIACEAE  
Banisteriopsis argentea Spring. [syn. B. muricata (Cav.) Cuatr.] DMT, DMT
Diplopterys cabrerana (Cuatr.) Gates DMT,5
[syn. Banisteriopsis rusbyana]  
MYRISTICACEAE  
Iryanthera ulei Warb. 5-MeO-DMT
Osteophloeum platyspermum (DC.) Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Viroia calophylla Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola calophylloidea Markgr. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola carinata (Spruce ex Benth.) Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola divergens Ducke DMT
Virola elongata (Spruce ex Benth.) Warb. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT
Virola melinonii (Benoist) A.C. Smith DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola multinerva Ducke DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola pavonis (DC.) A.C. Smith DMT
Virola peruviana (DC.) Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola rufula (DC.) Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola sebifera Aubi. DMT
Virola theiodora (Spruce ex Benth.) Warb. DMT,5-MeO-DMT
Virola venosa (Benth.) Warb. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, and others
Virolaspp.  
OCHNACEAE  
Testulea gabonensis Pellegr. DMT
POLYGONACEAE  
Eriogonum sp. DMT
RUBIACEAE  
Psychotria carthaginensis Jacq. DMT
Psychotria poeppigiana Mueli. Arg. DMT
Psychotria viridis Ruiz et Pay. [syn. P. psychotriaefolia Stand!.] DMT
RUTACEAE  
Dictyoloma incanescens DC. 5-MeO-DMT
Dutaillyea drupacea (Baill.) Hartley 5-MeO-DMT
Dutaillyea oreophila (Baill.) Sevenet-Pusset 5-MeO-DMT
Evodia rutaecarpa Benth. 5-MeO-DMT
Limonia acidissima 1. DMT traces
Melicope leptococca (Baill.) Guill. 0.21% DMT
Pilocarpus organensis Rizzini et Occhioni 5-MeO-DMT
Vepris ampody H. Perro DMT
Zanthoxylum arborescens Rose DMT traces
Zanthoxylum procerum Donn. Sm. DMT

Literature

See also the entries for 5-MeO-DMT.

Arnold, O. H., and G. Hofman. 1957. Zur

Psychopathologie des Dimethyltryptamine.

Wiener Zeitschrift fur Nervenheilkunde 13:438-45.

Barker, S., J. Monti, and S. Christian. 1981. N,Ndimethyltryptamine:

An endogenous

hallucinogen. International Review of

Neurobiology 22:83-110.

Bigwood, Jeremy, and Jonathan Ott. 1977. DMT: The

fifteen minute trip. Head 11:56 ff.

Callaway, James. 1996. DMTs in the human brain. In

Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of

Consciousness (1995), 4:45-54. Berlin: VWB.

Dick, Philip K. 1981a. The divine invasion, New York:

Vintage Books.

---. 1981b. Valis. New York: Vintage Books.

---. 1982. The transmigration of Timothy Archer.

New York: Vintage Books.

Kraemer, Olaf. 1995. Die Trompeten Jerichos. Wiener

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Lamparter, Daniel, and Adolf Dittrich. 1996. Intraindividuelle

Stabilitat von ABZ unter sensorischer

Deprivation, N,N-Dimethyltryptamin (DMT)

und Stickoxydul. In Jahrbuch des Europiiischen

Collegiums fur Bewufitseinsforschung (1995),

33-43. Berlin: VWB.

Leary, Timothy. 1966. Programmed communication

during experience with DMT. Psychedelic Review

8:83-95.

Manske, R. H. F. 1931. A synthesis of the methyltryptamines

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McKenna, Terence. 1992. Tryptamin hallucinogens

and consciousness. In Yearbook for Ethnomedicine

and the Study ofConsciousness (1992),1:133-48.

Berlin: VWB.

Meyer, Peter. 1992. Apparent communication with

discarnate entities induced by dimethyltryptamine

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ofConsciousness (1992),1:149-74. Berlin: VWB.

Shepard, Lucius. 1993. Kalimantan. New York: Tom

Doherty Associates.

Shulgin, Alexander T. 1976. Profiles of psychedelic

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167-68.

Smith, Terence A. 1977. Tryptamine and related

compounds in plants. Phytochemistry 16:171-75.

Strassman, Rick J. 1996. Sitting for sessions: Dharma

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Strassman, Rick J., Clifford R. Qualls, Eberhard H.

Uhlenhuth, and Robert Kellner. 1994. Doseresponse

study of ~N-dimethyltryptaminin

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Szara, S. 1. 1956. Dimethyltryptamin: Its metabolism

in man; the relation of its psychotic effect to the

serotoninA monoamine neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, that is primarily found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, platelets, and central nervous system (CNS) of humans and animals. It is a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being. metabolism. Experientia 15 (6): 441-42.

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