Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): Physiological effects
Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 1:45 pm
Following injection with DMT, users experience dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, and an increase in blood pressure. Several minutes later, when full intoxication is induced, users have difficulty concentrating. Typically, there is a mood change that includes euphoria and unmotivated laughter. Finally, users experience paranoia, anxiety, a sense of foreboding, and panic.
DMT may cause unpredictable behavior depending on the amount taken, where the drug is used, and the user’s personality. Common unpredictable effects include:
• distortion of sensory perceptions
• difficulty speaking or communicating
• sense of suspended time
• alternating feelings of motor paralysis and motor hyperactivity
• depressed appetite
• loss of sexual desire
Similar to other hallucinogens, repeated use of DMT does not appear to lead to either physical or psychological dependency.
Harmful side effects
DMT is a Schedule I hallucinogen, meaning it has no acceptable medical use, presents an unacceptable safety risk, and has a high potential for abuse.
Hallucinogens may cause unpredictable behavior depending on the amount taken, where the drug is used, and on the user’s personality. Common side effects include dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, sweating, runny nose, excessive salivation, and other symptoms associated with psychedelic drugs.
DMT can cause neuronal damage in the brain. It causes impaired judgment that often leads to rash decisions and accidents. It can cause extremely frightening trips or flashbacks. Some people have become frightened and paranoid after taking DMT. Its effects can be disorientating, resulting in panic and confusion.
Although most hallucinogens do not normally cause addiction, they do build tolerance quickly, requiring larger amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect, or “high.” The risks of adverse reactions and overdose increase as users take larger amounts of the drug to get high. Repeated doses of DMT or ingestion of multiple DMT-containing substances, such as a plant brew or combination of snuffs, can produce highly adverse effects that can be fatal.
Finally, visual and auditory distortions resulting from DMT use can last 10 to 12 hours, endangering users who drive. Public safety — for example, the safety of other drivers and pedestrians — may also be compromised.
Long-term health effects
The long-term effects of heavy hallucinogen use include impaired mental function and distorted abstract reasoning. In addition, hallucinogen users are susceptible to flashbacks of the drug experience for a long time afterward. Many users can also experience spontaneous recurrence of visual or sensory distortions.
Some studies have documented changes in the mental functions of some chronic hallucinogen users. For example, some users develop signs of brain damage affecting memory, attention span, mental confusion, and difficulty thinking. Long-term PCP users report memory and speech difficulties, as well as hearing unreal sounds and voices. In addition, ecstasy may cause long-term brain damage because it is toxic to neurons.
Though it is clear that hallucinogen use alters mental function, is not known whether the changes are permanent or if they will disappear after use is stopped. After long-term hallucinogen use, some individuals may experience prolonged psychosis and may require therapy or institutionalization. It is not known whether these drugs cause this condition or merely expose a previous tendency to psychosis.
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