How long has DMT been illegal?

Drug lexicon


DMT is the abbreviation for dimethyltryptamine. It is a naturally occurring, hallucinogenic substance. DMT arises in a number of animals, plants and in the human organism as a metabolic product. The chemical structure of DMT is very similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin and psilocybin, the hallucinogenic active ingredient of "magic mushrooms". DMT unfolds its hallucinogenic effect in particular through the activation of serotonin receptors.

Plant components containing DMT are used, for example, in South America to produce the Ayahuasca drink, which is drunk by the indigenous people of the Amazon basin as part of religious ceremonies. In Australia, plants containing DMT are also used by the Aborigines for ritual purposes. DMT, which is used as an intoxicant in western countries, is obtained from plant components using chemical processes and is mostly smoked.


DMT has hallucinogenic effects. Perception changes, acoustic and visual hallucinations are possible. Consumers also report increased self-awareness. Physiologically, DMT has a slightly stimulating effect and leads to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

The duration of action of DMT depends on whether the active ingredient is smoked or ingested orally. When consumed orally, for example in the form of the ayahuasca drink, the effect only occurs after about 45 minutes and lasts for about four hours. If the DMT is smoked, on the other hand, the effect already sets in after about a minute, reaches its peak after two to five minutes and is completely gone after about 20 to 60 minutes.


If DMT is drunk as ayahuasca, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can result. Smoked DMT often causes coughing fits and has a rather unpleasant taste. According to surveys of consumers, frightening experiences during intoxication and even a horror trip are the most common negative consequences of consumption. [1] As with other hallucinogenic drugs, the effect is not only a consequence of the dosage of the substance, but also depends on one's own constitution and the context, i.e. the environment and the people involved.

Due to the massive influence on the serotonin system, the consumption of DMT, especially when taking certain medications at the same time, can result in serotonin syndrome. A very high dose of DMT can therefore be fatal. However, the critical amount is about 20 times the dose normally consumed. Since the purity of the mostly illegally procured DMT is mostly not guaranteed, there is always the risk of consuming other, possibly toxic components.

The naturally synthesized DMT in the human body is also suspected of being involved in the development of psychotic symptoms. Among other things, the hallucinogenic effects of DMT are similar to those of psychosis. High concentrations of DMT in the urine of people with acute, untreated psychosis were also measured - similar to people who had consumed the DMT-containing drink ayahuasca immediately before. However, the role of DMT in the development of psychoses has not yet been thoroughly investigated.


In Germany DMT is one of the non-marketable narcotics within the meaning of the Narcotics Act. Possession of and trading in DMT or preparations containing DMT are therefore a criminal offense.

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