How Long Does DMT Last?
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a short-lasting psychedelic compound. With many other psychedelics, you need to dedicate a whole day — or a large portion of the day — to the experience. Not so with DMT. This is why DMT has become known as the “businessman’s trip”: The idea being that one can fit the experience into a lunch break.
But how long does DMT last? In this post, we will describe the general length of time of a DMT trip, as well as the various factors that can affect its duration. For most of the post, we’ll be talking about the two most common ways of doing DMT: smoking powder using a pipe or bong, or vaping a liquid via a vape pen. Both last about the same length of time.
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The Length Of A DMT Trip
DMT will generally last 5-30 minutes. The average is about 15 minutes, start to finish. As with other psychedelic experiences, there is the onset, peak, come down, and after effects.
Typical Time: 15 seconds
The onset of smoked DMT is much faster than that of the other classic psychedelics, such as LSD, psilocybin, ibogaine, and mescaline. The reason is that you eat those other medicines, so the molecules have to travel through your stomach, to your bloodstream, and to the rest of your body. When a medicine is smoked, whether it’s tobacco or DMT, the molecules go right into the lungs and right into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach.
Whether smoked or vaped, when you take DMT, the onset occurs within a matter of seconds. You can expect to feel effects in as little as 15 seconds. In contrast, with psilocybin or LSD, you may feel effects within 30 minutes. And when you take mescaline-containing cacti the onset can take much longer: 45-90 minutes.
Typical Time: 2-8 minutes
The peak of a DMT experience is wild, surreal, and mystical. Morphing shapes and crazy colors greet you in a spectroscopic world that can feel as foreign as the other side of the moon. You will reach the peak of a DMT trip around 2-8 minutes after administration. With psilocybin mushrooms, on the other hand, the effects peak at about 90-120 minutes after ingestion. With LSD, which lasts longer than psilocybin, the effects will peak at around the 3-5 hour mark.
Typical Time: 1-8 minutes
The effects of a DMT trip will wear off much quicker compared to other psychedelics. You can be fully immersed in what feels like another realm and then find yourself quickly regaining your sense of your body and the outside world. You will come down from the experience 1-8 minutes after the peak. With magic mushrooms, you will come down for 1-3 hours after the peak. And for LSD, this tail-end part of the experience lasts 3-5 hours.
After effects refer to any remaining physical sensations, such as stimulation, as well as certain psychological effects, such as positive mood, elation, confusion, or disorientation. When you experience these after effects, however, the primary subjective effects of the compound will be over. You won’t experience perceptual distortions anymore, but you may still feel some remaining effects of the drug.
For DMT, the after effects last 10-60 minutes, following the coming down stage. You will be functional at this point, able to have a conversation and carry out activities as normal. Psilocybin’s after effects, meanwhile, may last for up to six hours after the experience is over while for LSD these effects may persist for up to 12 hours.
Above: A chart from a scientific study, published in the journal Nature, showing how long DMT lasts, along with reports from trippers.
Factors That Impact How Long A DMT Experience Lasts
As with other psychedelics, there are many factors that can influence the duration of the DMT experience.
Firstly, the dosage can affect the length of the experience. The dosage range for DMT is typically 10-60mg. 10mg will offer you a light experience that is short, whereas 60+mg will be a heavy trip that is longer.
When you take a low dose of DMT, the visual, emotional, and physical effects will be mild and very short-lasting. You may feel back to normal five minutes after a low dose. With a high dose, however, it is more likely that the experience will be extended. At this sort of dose, the experience can last as long as 25 or 30 minutes.
DMT Microdosing: A Tiny Dose, Big Possibilities
Now, not every experience has to be a “breakthrough” dose of DMT. Welcome to the world of microdosing. When you microdose, you’re typically taking about 1/10th to 1/20th of a regular dose. For smoked DMT, this translates to about 1-6mg. For vaped DMT, that means a small puff off the vape pen.
Folks who’ve microdosed DMT often find themselves in a better mood, feel more creative, or simply feel better overall. You don’t have to deal with hallucinations, other realities, entities, or intense psychedelic experiences that come with a full dose. And thanks to DMT’s quick in-and-out nature, you can have multiple sessions throughout your day without throwing your routine off balance. There’s also a fascinating possibility to use it alongside psychotherapy in a traditional one hour window unlike the 6-8 hour windows for MDMA or psilocybin therapy or the 10-12 hours for LSD.
With microdosing DMT, the effects still kick in pretty fast, usually within seconds to minutes after you’ve taken it. The experience lasts about 5-15 minutes, with a little cool-down period afterward. As for its benefits, optimal doses, and long-term effects? Researchers are still doing their homework on that, and there aren’t that many anecdotes online.
There’s another way of using DMT that lasts much longer than smoking or vaping it: changa. The word “changa” refers to a smoking blend, consisting of smokable herbs infused with DMT. These herbs often include peppermint, blue lotus, damiana, mullein, and passionflower. Another common type of herb included is an MAOI-containing plant such as Banisteriopsis caapi. Changa is also called ‘smokable ayahuasca’ due to the presence of MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).
Ayahuasca consists of a DMT-containing plant (Psychotria viridis) and the caapi plant. The MAOIs in caapi prevent the MAO (monoamine oxidase) present in the body from breaking down DMT after ingestion. The MAOIs, therefore, make DMT orally active. When taken in this way, it becomes a slower and more extended experience.
Since changa includes MAOIs, this can likewise slow down the DMT experience (including the onset), as well as lengthen its duration. Many people find changa easier to work with partly for this reason. Vaporizing of smoking DMT, in contrast, can hit you much faster and more intensely, with some users reporting that the effects feel more chaotic as well. Changa appears to offer a smoother and more grounded — but albeit still intense — DMT experience.
The duration of the trip tends to be longer compared to an experience involving smoked or vaped DMT. While the bulk of a smoking or vaping experience can last for around 10 minutes, changa can last up to 40 minutes. Smoking changa won’t, however, lead to an experience as long as an ayahuasca journey (4-6 hours).
DMT vs LSD vs Psilocybin vs Mescaline vs MDMA: Psychedelic Experience Timeline
|Stage||DMT (Vaporized, Smoked, or IV)||LSD (Orally)||Psilocybin (Orally)||Mescaline (Orally)||MDMA (Orally)|
|Onset||15 seconds||30 minutes||30 minutes||45-90 minutes||15-60 minutes|
|Peak||2-8 minutes||3-5 hours||90-120 minutes||2-3 hours||1.5-3 hours|
|Coming Down||1-8 minutes after peak||3-5 hours after peak||1-3 hours after peak||2-4 hours after peak||2-3 hours after peak|
|After Effects||10-60 minutes after coming down||Up to 12 hours||Up to 6 hours||2-4 hours after coming down||Up to 24 hours|
|Hangover/Afterglow||1-24 hours||12-48 hours||6-24 hours||12-48 hours||24-72 hours|
The “Hangover/Afterglow” period represents the time frame when an individual might experience residual effects, either positive (afterglow) or negative (hangover), following the main effects of the substance. Please note that the experience of a hangover or afterglow can greatly vary depending on the individual and the specific circumstances of use, such as the dosage, the person’s general health and mental state, their environment during use, and other factors.
Many people report that combining DMT with other drugs, particularly other psychedelics, can extend the length of the entire experience. If you smoke or vaporize DMT while already being under the influence of LSD, for example, the experience will not just be more intense but potentially longer as well.
DMT Trip Aftermath: More Than Just a Memory
A DMT trip might be brief, but its impact can be profound, akin to a nuclear detonation in your brain that permanently alters your perception of reality. These aren’t just your average “Wow, that was cool” experiences. They’re transformative, deeply immersive experiences. Users have reported encounters with entities from other dimensions, traversing through different realms, and gaining profound insights into themselves, the universe, and everything in between. Past lives, mystical states, near-death experiences, or deep meditative trances are common metaphors people use to describe their experiences. Research suggests that such experiences could have therapeutic benefits. Much like how intense workouts lead to stronger muscles, intense psychedelic experiences can lead to long-term positive changes in mental health. Given DMT’s potential to induce even more intense experiences, it wouldn’t be surprising if it has a similar impact.
Scientists Are Trying To Extend The DMT Experience
We’ve talked about all the traditional ways of using DMT. But a fascinating new possibility is opening up. Scientists have figured out a way to extend the length of a DMT trip indefinitely. Yes researchers are working on a DMT trip that could last–not minutes, and not hours–but weeks.
In a 2016 paper published in Frontiers in Psychology, Dr. Rick Strassman and Dr. Andrew Gallimore proposed a technique for making DMT trips last longer. Drawing on techniques from anesthesiology, their proposed method will regulate the amount of DMT in the body and the brain. Regarding DMT, Gallimore states the following:
“It’s very short acting, and it doesn’t exhibit subjective tolerance with repeated use. This is quite remarkable, because all other psychedelics exhibit very rapid tolerance, so you have to wait for days before you can get the same effect. This lack of subjective tolerance suggested to me that you could use a continuous drip-feed of DMT rather than a bullous injection [one quick shot of DMT], which is what Rick used [in his 90s studies]. [One shot of DMT] gets a very rapid peak effect. And that’s fine for the work he wanted to do. But if you want to study the DMT state more thoroughly… You can actually program an infusion machine to control the infusion rate of the drug such that the level of the drug remains a constant level.”
In other words, an anesthesia machine could be used to keep the person at the same level of intoxication basically as long as they wanted.
There Are Positives When Extending A DMT Experience
Extending a DMT trip this way will, nonetheless, require some safeguards. In trials involving this method, volunteers need to be able to signal clearly when they want to come out of the DMT state. There will also need to be certain time limits and dose limits to protect participants’ well-being.
The benefits of lengthening the duration include having the ability to make MRI scans of the DMT-influenced brain for the first time. Scientists could then compare these brain scan results with those gained from LSD and psilocybin studies. An extended DMT trip may also give users more time to interact and communicate with the strange entities that are often encountered in the experience. In the future, then, we may have methods that allow users to extend a DMT experience for a preferred amount of time.
Time Warp in DMT Trips
Without extended-state DMT, DMT’s effects stick around for less than half an hour after you smoke or vape it. Yet users often feel as if they’ve been on a journey for hours, days, lifetimes or even an eternity.
This time warp isn’t a DMT-only situation. It’s common with other psychedelics too. But, DMT, with its raw power, short duration, and immediate effects, takes time-twisting to another level. So, if you find yourself lost in a ‘timeless’ moment on DMT or a narrative that seems to last forever, don’t worry, you’re not alone.Psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers are still scratching their heads trying to understand why this feeling of time dilation happens.