People who smoke DMT describe an intense and profound psychedelic experience, but there's a trick to getting the most out of each hit.

If you have found this article, chances are you’ve heard about the mysteries and magic of DMT. From visiting other worlds, to meeting aliens and living alternate lives, the Spirit Molecule is one of the most fascinating psychedelics. One question remains, however: how do you actually smoke DMT?

Unfortunately, the process is not as simple as rolling a joint, but fear not, in 5 easy steps Psychedelic Spotlight will teach you how to safely smoke DMT.

*Note: this article is for harm reduction and educational purposes only. Psychedelic Spotlight does not condone the use of illegal drugs.

What is DMT?

N,N-dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT, is a potent psychedelic substance that naturally occurs in various plants and animals such as bark, leaves, and roots. DMT is usually consumed by smoking it and differs from ayahuasca, which requires the combination of different plants for its preparation.

A few individuals make DMT in their homes by boiling the roots of plants, such as Mimosa hostilis, using a solvent. They filter the boiled plant material and evaporate the solvent to create a stronger concentration. Other plants that contain DMT, such as Acacia species and Phalaris arundinacea, are also occasionally used.

The extract can be found in different forms like white or yellow crystalline powder which can be smoked using a pipe or vaporizer. It is also possible, albeit less common, to consume it orally by preparing a brew called “ayahuasca” that mixes DMT with a MAOI like Syrian rue, which activates the DMT when ingested.

DMT has short-lived effects that last for approximately 10-15 minutes, but the experience can be intense and profound. During a trip, there is a sudden breakthrough to a different state of consciousness, and there can be intense visual and auditory hallucinations. Additionally, the person may feel ego dissolution and time distortion. Numerous individuals have stated that they were taken to a different “dimension” while consuming DMT. They've also shared experiencing communication with entities in that realm. The DMT effects are relatively short, lasting around 10-15 minutes. However, people have reported feeling like they experienced it for numerous hours and even lived through a lifetime of experiences.

For more information, visit: DMT vs. Ayahuasca: How Do They Actually Differ?

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What Is the Difference Between DMT and 5-MeO-DMT?

This article refers to DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), not 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxydimenthyltryptamine), other known as “the toad” or “toad medicine”. Although the two substances are similar in the sense of the name, there are a few noteworthy differences to make.

Chemical Structure

5-MeO-DMT contains a methoxy group in the 5th position of its indole ring, whereas DMT does not. Both substances interact with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Source

Like DMT, 5-MeO-DMT also naturally occurs in various plant and animal species. The most well known source of 5-MeO-DMT is the venom of the Colorado River toad, hence the name “the toad” or “toad medicine”. To this day, people are known to harvest this venom for shamanic and spiritual rituals.

Dosage

The potency of 5-MeO-DMT is known to be considerably higher than DMT. While 5 – 10 mg of DMT is considered a low dose, 5 – 10 mg of 5-MeO-DMT is considered a strong dose that can produce intense effects.

Effects

While both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT experiences are completely subjective, studies show that 5-MeO-DMT is more likely to lead to a feeling of oneness where the psychedelic explorer sees themself as part of a larger, spiritual whole, as opposed to DMT, where geometric patterns and sentient entities are typically seen.

Duration

The duration of a 5-MeO-DMT trip is known to be shorter than a DMT one. The peak effects of most 5-MeO-DMT experiences are known to last between 10-15 minutes while those of a DMT experience last between 10-20 minutes.

Tips For Smoking DMT

  1. Don’t ever smoke DMT alone – EVER. Always get a trip sitter or an experienced psychedelic facilitator who can create space for you and if necessary – guide you through your DMT trip. Experienced facilitators can also help you make sense of your trip – especially if you’re doing it for therapeutic reasons.
  2. ALWAYS test your DMT.  To test a psychedelic for adulterants,you should choose a suitable testing kit. DanceSafe.org is a reputable organization that offers a range of testing kits specifically designed for different types of drugs. To learn more, you can read our “How to Test Psychedelics for Adulterants” guide.
  3. Make sure you pay attention to your set and setting. Following this practice will help you have a pleasant trip and will prevent a possibility for a “bad trip”.
  4. Try to fast a day before your psychedelic experience or at least steer clear of eating greasy or fried foods to avoid feeling lethargic or experiencing nausea. Your diet before, during and after your trip can greatly impact the quality of your experience.
  5. Inhale your DMT slowly and deeply and hold for at least 20 seconds before exhaling the DMT smoke.
  6. Don’t burn the DMT, vaporize it by holding the lighter away from the powder/crystals.
  7. Use a precision scale to measure your dose. If you simply eyeball it, you may end up taking more than what you’re prepared for – especially if you’re a beginner.
  8. Start low and increase your dose. This is especially important for novice psychonauts.

How To Smoke DMT

Estimated Time:

Supplies

  • A lighter
  • A precision scale 

Step 1: Prepare Your Mind

Before you smoke DMT, reflect on why it is that you want to take this substance. What is the purpose of your experience?

Your mindset entering into the DMT realm is essential to the quality of your experience. If you are terrified and paranoid going into it, chances are you will not have a good time. We highly recommend that you take time to reflect on whether you are ready for this experience. Meditate if you can, and perhaps journal. Learn as much about the substance as you possibly can.

Remember, it is okay not to be ready.

If you have never taken a psychedelic such as LSD or psilocybin, we suggest you start with one of these, as DMT is sometimes described as a psilocybin trip multiplied by 1000. The purpose is to learn to let go to the powers of a psychedelic. If you don’t let go, chances are you will not have a good experience.

Again, there is no rush to try DMT. Ensure that you are in the right frame of mind before dabbling in the food of the gods.

🌈  The More You Know

While DMT is generally considered safe —though if you have a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia 100% do not try it— it is one of the most powerful psychedelics known to man. Even a small dose can rip your consciousness out of your body, which can be a traumatic event for some people.

Step 2: Obtain and Test Your DMT

For some, this will be the hardest step. Across most of the West and the world, DMT is a highly illegal substance. So much so, that your greatest risk in smoking it may be the legal risk.

Obviously, Spotlight can not help you source your DMT, but to the best of your ability, try to get it from a trusted source. As DMT, when smoked, comes in the form of a white crystal or powder (though it can also be tan or beige), it is possible an immoral dealer could add other addictive substances to the powder. Again, ensure that your source is trustworthy.

If you cannot be 100% sure of the quality of your DMT, to be safe, you should buy a test kit. There are two main types of tests. The first will determine whether what you have is actually DMT, and the second can determine if the supply has been contaminated by fentanyl.

While the test liquid can be relatively expensive at around $50 for what essentially amounts to a lifetime supply —the fentanyl strips are much cheaper at a few dollars a strip— we highly suggest you make this investment. If nothing else, it will help put your mind to ease before smoking the DMT.

To learn more about testing DMT, visit this site, this site, or this site. You can also buy test kits through these websites (this is not a paid promotion).

Step 3: Get a Trip Sitter

Once you have put yourself in the right mindset and acquired and tested your DMT, it is time to find a responsible and trusted trip sitter. This should be a person that knows that what you are doing is safe, and who won’t freak out if you start having a bad experience. If possible, it would be best if this person had previous DMT or psychedelic experience, but of course this is not always possible. The key thing is that they are a calming presence that can hold your hand or hug you if you need it, and can wait out the experience with you. Again, make sure this person is someone you trust.

Step 4: It’s DMT Time

Find A Place and The Right Equipment

Once you have put yourself in the right mindset and acquired and tested your DMT, and found a trip sitter, it’s time to smoke!

Ensure that you have a pleasant and familiar setting. Perhaps play some calming music, and have a blanket or something to snuggle with nearby. Though the experience only lasts around 15 minutes, it is still essential that your setting is conducive to a good trip.

The best smoking device to use is a glass freebase pipe (sometimes referred to as a “crack pipe”). Put a screen in the pipe, then place the DMT crystals evenly over the center of the screen. Here it is essential to note that you are not trying to burn the DMT, but rather liquify and vaporize it. Therefore, do not touch the flame to the pipe, but rather bring it very close and let the heat from the flame do the work. You may have to experiment with the distance of the torch to ensure it is close enough to melt the crystals, but not so close it burns them. Gently rotate the pipe back and forth to gain an even melt. Ensure you use a butane torch lighter for better control.

Alternatively, you can use a cannabis pipe or bong, using the “sandwich” technique. This means placing the DMT between two thick layers of a burnable herb, such as mint (some people also use cannabis). Gently light the top of the herb on fire and slowly inhale. The purpose here is that when the herb burns, the DMT under the herb is heated enough to vaporize, without burning itself. Then, the melted DMT is vaporized before it drains through the layer of herb beneath it.

Check Your Dosage

When it comes to dose levels, we will use guidelines presented by MAPS.

5 – 10 mg will cause a pleasant buzz throughout the body, with little or no visual colors

15 – 25 mg will elicit visualizations, patterns and simple forms

25 – 35 mg will cause the patterns to dissolve into stronger and more distinct images

35 – 60 mg will cause the full-blown effects, and may carry your consciousness to another “universe”

Now, when you are smoking it can be very difficult to judge how many milligrams you are vaporizing and inhaling, so it is practical to use a simple rule of thumb. Taking one hit from your pipe or water bong will elicit seeing pleasant colors and body sensations. Two hits will cause the patterns to dissolve and cause an intense hallucination —here it is common for people to experience entering a “tunnel” or portal, or perhaps experience a sensation of freefalling. The third hit should be enough to elicit the full effects, also known as a “breakthrough” experience. Here, people have been said to “break through” the tunnel, and enter an entirely different universe where autonomous beings can be interacted with.

Before taking your first hit, take several deep breaths to slow down your breathing. Then, for each hit, slowly inhale, hold the smoke in for at least 5 seconds, and exhale. Take the next hit immediately. You will feel the effects of each hit almost instantaneously. After your second hit, it may be difficult to continue, so make sure you discuss with your trip sitter beforehand whether you intend to go for a full breakthrough experience. Taking the third hit, immediately after the second, can be a daunting task as you will already be experiencing intense hallucinations —despite having only started smoking less than 10 seconds previously.

If it is your first time (or any other time for that matter) there is no shame in stopping before a full breakthrough experience. Also important to note is that you can start with a small amount and build up to a larger dose the same day, as any tolerance you build up dissipates within half an hour.

Once you smoke, make sure you put the pipe down immediately, or you may drop it. Your trip sitter may need to help you with this.

Enjoy the trip!

Step 5: Integration

Once your experience is finished, the work begins. Often during your travels in the DMT universe you may learn important life lessons, though it can be hard to make sense of them and apply them to your life. This process is called integration.

Try to write down your thoughts after the experience is over, though capturing it in words may be nigh on impossible. Talk through the experience with your trip sitter, and reflect on what transpired over the coming months. Sometimes a lesson learned in the DMT space can take months or even years to make sense.

Ideally, you would be able to discuss it with a trained psychotherapist, though for most people that may be impossible. Fortunately, a service called the Fireside Project exists, which you can call or talk with through their app. Fireside can help you integrate your experience through talking with their volunteers. You (or your trip sitter) can also call them during the experience, to help walk you through it.

Remember, you are not taking DMT just to get high. This is an extremely powerful hallucinogen, and its lasting effects on your life can be profound. It is essential that you integrate the experience into your life.

DMT FAQ

DMT is considered a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. It is prohibited to manufacture, possess, purchase, or distribute it. This puts it in the same group as other closely regulated psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin. DMT is also banned in numerous other countries globally. However, its legal situation is complicated when it comes to religious and spiritual purposes. Native American tribes use plants containing DMT in ayahuasca preparations for traditional spiritual practices. The legality of DMT depends on its use in ayahuasca ceremonies, which has been the subject of two Supreme Court cases. It's crucial to understand the distinction between ayahuasca and DMT when considering their legality. Although ayahuasca is legal under religious exceptions, DMT by itself is yet to be considered legal. The bark of M. hostilis is legal to buy because it is a DMT-containing plant not classified as a controlled substance. However, turning it into a Schedule I drug occurs once DMT is extracted from it.

You may also like: Ayahuasca Churches Are Legal in Montreal

Recently, some US jurisdictions have passed or are considering decriminalizing DMT and other plant medicines. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization: DMT would remain an illegal substance across the US. However, some cities and states have chosen to remove or deprioritize criminal penalties for DMT and other psychedelics,  for personal and non-commercial use and in minimal quantities.

In recent years, the scientific community has become quite interested in the therapeutic benefits of DMT and researchers and drug developers are allowed to study it,  provided that the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows it. This means that clinical trials have been approved and are ongoing in the US. Those interested, can read a 116 Psychedelic Clinical Trials Are Now Recruiting Volunteers.

Outside of clinical trials, DMT therapy is illegal in the US. However, as clinical trials approach FDA approval, its legal status may change.  Big pharma has already shown interest by applying for patents for DMT vape pens, and in 2023, Otsuka, a major Japanese Pharmaceutical company,  signed an agreement to acquire Canada's Mindset Pharma, which specializes in developing psychedelic medications for neuropsychiatric disorders, including DMT.

Where Is DMT Decriminalized? +

DMT is decriminalized in some places in the US. In Colorado, psilocybin, DMT and other psychedelic plants are officially decriminalized. On December 2022, Gov. Jared Polis issued a proclamation about Proposition 122, which passed with nearly 54% of voters in favor, allowing Coloradans to have and share psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline in the state. However, the substances are still Schedule I narcotics and illegal on the federal level.

Colorado is not the only place where DMT is decriminalized. In 2019, Oakland became the first jurisdiction in the US to decriminalize a some psychedelics, including DMT and ayahuasca. Later on, in 2020, voters in Oregon eliminated criminal penalties for all illegal drugs, including DMT and similar psychedelics which means Oregonians can be fined if found in possession of DMT or ayahuasca for non-religious purposes but they won't be arrested or imprisoned.

Since then, more cities have joined the psychedelic renaissance, including:

  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Washington DC

Moreover, a much bigger psychedelic drug reform is coming in California by Oct. 14, the deadline for Gov. Newsom to sign or veto SB-58. This would decriminalizes the possession of 1g of psilocybin or psilocin (or one ounce of the fungi containing the substance), 1g of DMT, and 4g of mescaline.

Can DMT Help Treat Mental Health Disorders? +

DMT, like ayahuasca, is considered a non-addictive substance that does not cause neurotoxicity. It is highly non-toxic when compared to the dose. Also, similar to other psychedelics, exposure to DMT usually results in minimal physical side effects. Studies indicate that if taken in moderate amounts within a controlled setting, DMT usually does not cause unfavorable cognitive, psychological, or physical reactions. Furthermore, researchers have investigated the potential therapeutic benefits of DMT in treating conditions such as depressionPTSD, and anxiety. For example, a study published in Nature entitled Exploratory study of the dose-related safety, tolerability, and efficacy of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in healthy volunteers and major depressive disorder, found that depressive symptoms in those with treatment-resistant Major Depressive Disorder “decreased significantly,” while DMT was found to be “mostly safe and well tolerated.” DMT is one of the drugs at the forefront of the psychedelic pharmacological revolution, which also includes psilocybin and MDMA. This revolution aims to offer people with mental health disorders an alternative way to relieve their symptoms.

You may also like: DMT is Effective at Treating Depression, New Study Finds

4 replies
  1. Mobius
    Mobius says:

    These DMT articles drive nuts! There are multiple types of DMT, each with different characteristics and dosages. This article is referring to N,N-DMT and that should be specified. 5-MeO-DMT is less common but still ubiquitous among psychonaut communities. It requires much less of the chemical. Just 12-15mg of 5-MeO-DMT is considered a powerful dose. So be careful out there when reading about DMT. Authors who don’t make the distinction are doing readers a disservice.

  2. Kamal
    Kamal says:

    Thanks for the detailed information.
    Question here: I am a non-smoker, so my throat isn’t used to hot steam. Will inhaling DMT vapor for the first time cause coughing (which leads to ruining the trip)?

  3. sorry wot
    sorry wot says:

    RE: coughing

    1. no
    2. even if you do cough, it won’t ruin the trip. however, it’s unlikely that you will continue to feel the urge to cough for very long after your hit.
    3. it’s a very distinct taste/smell that many describe as new sneakers. you are not inhaling burning plastic or anything.
    4. hold it in for as long as possible and exhale as slowly as possible. this will usually be the beginning of your trip, so make it nice.

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