The main effect of DMT is psychological, with intense visual and auditory hallucinations, euphoria, and an altered sense of space, body, and time.

Many users describe profound, life-changing experiences such as visiting other worlds, talking with alien entities known as “DMT elves” or “machine elves,” and total shifts in the perception of identity and reality.

When smoked, DMT produces brief yet intense visual and auditory hallucinations that have been described by users as an alternate reality, otherworldly, or a near-death experience.

In comparison to other psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, ketamine, and magic mushrooms, recreational users of DMT consider it to have the lowest side effect profile.

Possible side effects of DMT include:

  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • chest pain or tightness
  • agitation
  • dilated pupils
  • rapid rhythmic movements of the eye
  • dizziness

When taken orally, DMT can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Depending on the individual user, the DMT experience can range from intensely exciting to overwhelmingly frightening. The experience can be so powerful that users may have difficulty processing and integrating the “trip” into their real life.

Mental side effects may linger for many days or weeks after ingestion of the drug.

RISKS

DMT is structurally related to the neurotransmitter serotonin and, because of this, a condition called serotonin syndrome is a potentially lethal health risk associated with its use. Individuals taking antidepressants are at highest risk for this complication.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when the body accumulates an excessive amount of serotonin. The condition is often caused by taking a combination of different drugs.

Too much serotonin in the body can lead to a range of symptoms, such as:

  • agitation
  • confusion
  • high blood pressure
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • a headache

At higher doses, DMT can cause seizures, respiratory arrest, and coma.

DMT could have serious adverse consequences for users with pre-existing psychological problems or a mental illness, such as schizophrenia.

Due to limited research data, DMT is not known to cause physical dependence or addiction, although frequent recreational users may develop psychological cravings for the drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that, unlike other hallucinogens, DMT use does not seem to induce tolerance of the drug.

Although it is not considered an addictive substance, DMT has several health risks, can produce terrifying hallucinations, and might lead to psychological dependency.