Friday, April 15, 2011

Trying DMT Part 1

My friend asked me recently whether it was a good idea to make DMT his first psychedelic. I haven't done DMT, but my first reaction was "Of course not!" However, when he explained his reasoning, I warmed up to it a little: if he doesn't like it, it's over quickly. He's done his research and feels prepared, even if a little anxious, whereas the thought of doing LSD or shrooms makes him nervous. This seems like good reasoning to me, so I decided to do a little research to decide whether or not to join him.

DMT is a chemical that is found naturally in various plants and mammals, including rats' brains, and human cerebrospinal fluid. It has been hypothesized, but not proven, that it is released by the pineal gland during dreams, near-death experiences, religious epiphanies, and in massive amounts just before death. Its structure is very similar to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for causing feelings of pleasure and serenity in the brain. It has a long history of use among the indigenous tribes of South America.

Pure DMT is apparently a crystalline substance that can be smoked, snorted, injected or even (when combined with an MAOI) drank in a brew called Ayahuasca. As per most hallucinogens, it is generally considered nonaddictive. Unlike LSD and shrooms, it can produces true hallucinations (I'll post about the difference later) and open-eye visuals, often of a spiritual nature. Many users report interacting with aliens, elves, and other fantastical creatures. 

An average dose is commonly priced at $10-30. Its effects begin almost immediately, within 10-60 seconds of inhalation. Apparently it smells and tastes atrocious, like burning plastic, and the smoke is very harsh, but it should be breathed in deeply. It is recommended to have someone near you to take the pipe from you so you can lay down immediately; otherwise you risk a loss of motor control that can cause you to collapse. The entire experience lasts only 5-20 minutes, although full sobriety may not return for up to a few days, especially after a bad trip. After your trip, make sure you've lost your shakiness before you attempt to stand up. It's not a party drug, so don't mix it with other recreational substances, at the risk of either dulling the experience or becoming overwhelmed.

DMT is known to elevate blood pressure, so don't try it if you know that's a problem for you. The trip is made stronger by combining it with MAOI's, but this may not be a good idea. MAOI's are a group of chemicals commonly used as anti-depressants, and are also found in substances like tea, olive oil, cigarettes, pepper, and coffee. MAOI's can be addictive and cause numerous unpleasant drug interactions that may result in psychosis or death, so be extremely careful and do your research if this is on your to-do list. Other than these, there are no negative health effects of DMT.

To me, the totally immersive nature of the experience seems scary and overwhelming, but this is a chance that I can't pass up. It is made a little less intimidating by the fact that I will have friends present that have done it before. I'll let you know in a later post how it goes for my friend and I!

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