[Previous (#2)] [Next (#4)] [Contents] [Bibliography] [Psychedelics] [Home]

3. Dosage and Duration of Effects

If DMT is synthesized to a high level of purity it emerges as crystals which are then broken up into a white powder. If the DMT has not been completely purified during the synthesis it may be encountered by the user as a pale orange waxy material. Dose levels mentioned in this article refer to pure DMT unless otherwise noted.

The amount of DMT needed to produce significant psychic effects when smoked is 5 mg to 20 mg, there being considerable variation in individual reaction. Some people have reported "profound" effects with as little as 10 mg. A moderate dose is 25 mg, with 50 mg a large dose. A very large dose (for example, 75 mg) will often lead to loss of consciousness.

Stafford writes of DMT, DET (diethyltryptamine) and DPT (dipropyltryptamine) that:

More often [compared to injection], these tryptamines are smoked because less is needed to feel the effects . . . The DMT peak lasts for three to ten minutes, and it's all over in twenty to thirty minutes. DET and DPT, which have more subtle effects than DMT, may take a few minutes to register . . . DET lasts about an hour when smoked; the most intense part of a DPT experience is over in about twenty minutes." ([108], p.322)

Several different methods may be used to smoke DMT, and there are differences of opinion as to their efficiency. "Some users prefer to smoke a compound like DMT . . . in a small glass pipe. A small amount of the crystals or oil is placed in the bowl and then slowly heated until fumes begin to fill the pipe. . . . A regular pipe covered with a fine screen can also be used." (Stafford, [108]) In this method the DMT should be spread over some plant material such as mint leaves, parsley, marijuana or mullein (which is smoked by asthmatics to clear bronchial passages); a flame is held over the bowl and the vaporised DMT is inhaled deeply. It is usually advisable to do this under the guidance of a person who is experienced in this practice.

When smoked, one or two deep inhalations may be sufficient in the case of some people to cause profound effects very quickly, whereas others may require up to four or five inhalations for full effect. One should be in a position to lie or to lean back comfortably, since the effects of smoking a large amount (for example, 50 mg) are usually physically incapacitating. Some favor a sitting position. As noted above, the effect is most intense in the first few minutes, and wears off after about ten or fifteen minutes. Since DMT occurs naturally in the human brain there are probably homeostatic mechanisms for regulating its concentration, which would explain the rapidity with which the effects wear off.

As noted in the previous section, smokable DMT is not the same as injectible DMT. What is smoked is the freebase (the compound itself) whereas the salt (usually the fumarate or the hydrochloride) is normally injected, snorted or taken orally. According to Alexander Shulgin ([98b]) a "complete psychedelic experience" results from the intramuscular injection of 50 to 70 mg (75 mg subcutaneously) or from smoking 30 mg.

When calculating doses for the injectible DMT fumarate, one should reckon on the fumarate being equivalent to 75% by weight of the freebase. That is, in terms of DMT content, 40 mg of the fumarate is equivalent to 30 mg. of the freebase (this figure may be different for other salts of DMT, such as the hydrochloride). However, injecting 40 mg. of the fumarate does not have the same effect as smoking 30 mg. of the freebase because with the latter method the DMT is delivered to the brain faster than with intramuscular injection, producing a more intense experience. To produce a result comparable to the effects of smoking 30 mg. of freebase, an injection of 80 mg. of fumarate may be needed.

When DMT fumarate is injected the effects come on in about five minutes (compared to one minute when the freebase is smoked) and last for about twenty to thirty minutes (compared to the five to ten with smoking).

DMT has been extensively tested both in the U.S. and in Europe and is apparently quite safe in normal subjects.

A case of a severely adverse reaction which has been reported in the literature is that of a woman who received 40 mg by intramuscular injection and who "suddenly developed an extremely rapid heart rate 12 minutes after the injection; no pulse could be obtained; no blood pressure could be measured. There seemed to have been an onset of auricular fibrillation." (Turner [126], p.127) However, this woman (who had been diagnosed as schizophrenic) was, at the time of the injection, extremely tense and apprehensive. Her anxiety was no doubt justified insofar as she was an unwilling participant in Nazi-like medical experiments performed by Drs Turner and Merlis in 1959 at a New York mental institution. Jonathan Ott describes these experiments in detail ([82a], p.167), and referring to this woman he writes:

Only when a female "patient" nearly died of cardiac arrest after a 40 mg injection ("extreme cyanosis quickly developed" and the poor woman was without pulse for 30 seconds, necessitating cardiac massage) did the good doctors cease their murderous experiments with DMT.

Whether such "medical" experimentation continues to this day is uncertain (but certainly is worth investigation). In any case, the enforced administration of this powerful psychoactive material to uninformed and hapless prisoners and mental patients in a hospital prison environment is very different from the voluntary use of DMT by individuals intent on exploring the potentialities of their conscious minds.

For such exploration (so I am informed) to proceed safely one should have good cardiovascular health and avoid drugs and foods which increase heart rate and blood pressure by direct stimulation of the heart or by vasoconstriction. DMT should not be used by anyone who is taking MAO-inhibiting drugs. Insofar as MDMA is a mild MAO-inhibitor, the combination of Ecstasy and DMT is not recommended.

[Previous (#2)] [Next (#4)] [Contents] [Bibliography] [Psychedelics] [Home]