DMT is a bottomless well of never ending befuddlement, an unsolvable riddle of epic proportions spoken in alien tongues. It will call into question all that you know, all that you’ve learned to accept as reality and introduce you to a state of being that defies all comprehension.
This experience is not for everyone, and not all who choose to open the door deal well with the questions it raises. It should never be undertaken lightly or treated in a casual manner. Those who approach the experience without respect often pay a psychic price. Should you choose to proceed, be aware that integration issues may ensue. What you find inside may change your life and will almost certainly alter your deepest, most fundamental assumptions.
DMT/Ayahuasca and Health
Research shows the relative physical safety of DMT. Ayahuasca, the DMT-containing brew from the Amazon, has been studied by multidisciplinary groups in Brazil and other countries and it has been shown that in reasonable doses in a careful context, it presents no negative cognitive, psychiatric or physical consequences (Callaway, 1994. Callaway et al, 1996. Callaway et al, 1998. Grob et al, 1996.). There has been minimal research into vaporized DMT, but there seems to be no sign that it is more physically dangerous than other methods of administration. There are no reported deaths from vaporizing DMT.
It should be noted that somatic effects such as the possibility of increased heart-rate mean that people with heart or other life-threatening conditions should NOT take DMT unless they have consulted a qualified health professional. Also, it is possible that during the experience, you will temporarily lose orientation in consensus reality, so smoking or ingesting DMT in a hazardous physical environment is not a good idea. DO NOT use RIMAs/MAOIs (Banisteriopsis caapi, Peganum harmala, extracted harmala alkaloids, etc.) together with stimulants (e.g., MDMA or amphetamines) or SSRI medication (e.g., Prozac), as this can cause serotonin syndrome and lead to convulsions or death.
The research mentioned above has shown that in a carefully controlled setting, ayahuasca (oral DMT) use, even with regularity, causes no apparent cognitive, emotional or social problems. Habitual users actually reported improved well-being and overall health. However, these users were part of a strong community with shared values and constant support. The controlled setting in which they took ayahuasca helped them make sense of the experience and they took special care with regards to integration (see the Integration section below).
Vaporized DMT has not been the subject of any peer-reviewed scientific studies. The overwhelming nature of the experience, as well as the almost instantaneous onset (wherein the user is launched into the peak experience within a minute) lends itself to the possibility of panic and existential terror. The complete and utter inscrutability of the experience can leave the user vulnerable in the aftermath. Integration issues are not at all uncommon and most who have vaporized DMT have dealt with this in some way. It is very important that anyone who plans on vaporizing DMT takes special care with regards to set and setting, approaches the experience with a respectful attitude and takes time to integrate their experience(s).
As with other psychedelics, DMT provides a very powerful emotional and mental experience, so those with personal or family psychiatric history should not use it. A psychedelic experience can possibly trigger latent schizophrenia or exacerbate a pre-existing mental illness.
While there have been several cases reported of “psychological healing” along with anecdotal reports of cured depression and other mental health issues, DMT and psychedelics in general should not be considered a cure-all and will not heal everybody. If you are going through a difficult period in your life, you should be aware of the increased risks that undertaking this experience carries. If, after informing yourself thoroughly of the possible risks, you still decide to do it, it is recommended that you do so only under the supervision of an experienced individual, medical/spiritual professional or shaman, and take special care concerning set, setting and integration.
Addiction and Frequency of Use
DMT is not physically addictive and many users find it has a self-regulating quality. However, any drug has the potential for abuse, and DMT is no exception. If you feel yourself slipping into an area where you might be overindulging, trust your instincts – chances are you’re right.
It is unclear how often DMT can be smoked safely. There is most likely a point at which frequency of use has a negative impact on the user’s body, mind, or social life due to neglecting friends, family and personal duties. The safe limit of use varies from person to person, context to context and moment to moment. If at any point you find that you are investing more emotional energy in “that world” than “this one”, we strongly recommend that you reduce your frequency of usage or take a break altogether.
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