Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number: 61-50-7 Formal Names: Dimethyltryptamine, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine Informal Names: AMT, Businessman's LSD, Businessman's Special, Businessman's Trip, Cohoba Snuff, Disneyland, Disneyworld, Dmitri, Fantasia, 45 Minute Psychosis, 45 Minute Trip, Instant Psychosis, Psychosis Type: Hallucinogen. See page 25 Federal Schedule Listing: Schedule I (DEA no. 7435) USA Availability: Illegal to possess Pregnancy Category: None
Uses. Various plants contain this chemical, and minute quantities are manufactured by body processes in mammals. The substance can also be made in a laboratory and is chemically similar to bufotenine. Grasses containing DMT can sicken and kill livestock.
Native peoples of the Amazon use snuffs and drinks containing DMT for religious purposes. Supposedly such drinks can give a person telepathy and other ESP (extrasensory perception) powers, but one researcher failed to achieve such states even though he used the drink 30 times while living among a native population for three years.
In rat experiments the animals acted as if DMT is similar to LSD. A human study found DMT to evoke visual and auditory hallucinations so intense that the volunteers lost contact with ordinary reality during the drug experience. The volunteers vacillated back and forth between euphoria and unease. In contrast, a different human study comparing DMT and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also called THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana) found their actions to be equivalent. The finding was exceptional, however; most reports describe DMT as a potent hallucinogen with actions reminiscent of LSD or mescaline. Some people are said to become relaxed as DMT's initial actions wear off.
One commonly mentioned DMT effect is awareness of elves, fairies, or some alien intelligence—encounters that users do not necessarily find pleasant. Some users say that time seems to slow. Most scientists seek explanations that do not require acceptance of alternative realities, because throughout the history of science the simplest explanations tend to be correct. For example, time may seem slower if many events crowd simultaneously on someone's consciousness—an explanation that does not require time itself to alter. Likewise, industrious investigators have detected changes in the eye during DMT intoxication, changes that the brain may interpret as light and that a person can "see" as hallucinations.
Drawbacks. While under DMT's influence a person can experience memory trouble, shortened attention span, and altered perception of one's body. Physical effects may include dizziness, nausea, tingling, trembling, weakness, and breathing difficulty, along with higher body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Reportedly a typical human-size dose per body weight is enough to kill a sheep.
Some researchers suspect that excessive natural production of DMT and related substances by a person's body processes may be the cause of schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions. Research along that line has produced mixed results. One study found that DMT levels generally went up and down in psychiatric patients, depending on outbreaks of psychotic behavior and return to normalcy, but timing of the shifts did not always match changes in patients' conditions. In addition, psychologically normal persons with liver disease can have DMT levels about as high as those found in schizophrenic individuals.
Abuse factors. Human experimentation has detected no development of tolerance to DMT's psychological effects. Tolerance to some physical actions (such as higher pulse rate) has been measured, but tolerance to increase of blood pressure has not been seen. Mice form a tolerance to DMT, and rats not only acquire a tolerance to DMT but have also exhibited cross-tolerance with LSD (meaning the drugs can be substituted for each other, in some ways at least). Humans have also shown partial cross-tolerance between those two drugs. Cats and monkeys fail to develop tolerance to various DMT effects (such as changes in appetite, behavior, and coordination) but apparently tolerance can develop to other effects. Some researchers feel that DMT tolerance is an uncertain phenomenon at best.
Drug interactions. Not enough scientific information to report.
Cancer. Not enough scientific information to report.
Pregnancy. Not enough scientific information to report.
Additional scientific information may be found in:
Fish, M.S., and E.C. Horning. "Studies on Hallucinogenic Snuffs." Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 124 (1956): 33-37. Gillin, J.C., et al. "The Psychedelic Model of Schizophrenia: The Case of N,N-
Dimethyltryptamine." American Journal of Psychiatry 133 (1976): 203-8. Riba, J., et al. "Subjective Effects and Tolerability of the South American Psychoactive Beverage Ayahuasca in Healthy Volunteers." Psychopharmacology (Berlin) 154 (2001): 85-95.
Rosenberg, D.E., et al. "The Effect of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine in Human Subjects Tolerant to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide." Psychopharmacologia 5 (1964): 217-27. Shulgin, A.T. "Profiles of Psychedelic Drugs—DMT." Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 8 (1976): 167-68.
Strassman, R.J. "Human Psychopharmacology of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine." Behavioural Brain Research 73 (1996): 121-24.
Strassman, R.J., et al. "Dose-Response Study of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine in Humans. II. Subjective Effects and Preliminary Results of a New Rating Scale." Archives of General Psychiatry 51 (1994): 98-108. Szara, S. "The Comparison of the Psychotic Effect of Tryptamine Derivatives with the Effects of Mescaline and LSD-25 in Self-Experiments." In Psychotropic Drugs, ed. S. Garattini and V. Ghetti. New York: Elsevier, 1957. 460-67.
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