How Long Does DMT Last

Written by Robert Hammell

DMT is one of the most powerful hallucinogens available.[1] While it is a schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no recognized medical benefits (research is on going) and a high potential for abuse, DMT has been permitted in various religious ceremonies in isolated communities.[2] The question is, how long does DMT last, and what effects the length of the experience?

Factors Affecting DMT Metabolism
Though DMT is quite strong, it is relatively fast acting. For most people, the entire trip lasts between 5 and 30 minutes, but there are a few factors that can change that.[3] The first has to do with how it is ingested. Smoking or vaporizing causes the high to come on faster (within seconds), but it burns out much quicker, too.
When taken orally in the form of ayahuasca, DMT can last up to  a few hours.
This is because the DMT must first pass through the digestive system, which takes much longer to break down and be absorbed. This is also where the second factor comes into play: your metabolism. Someone whose body quickly and efficiently breaks things down tend to work through DMT much faster. Of course, when it comes to smoking versus digesting, this does not play too big of a role. Finally, the last major factor is how much is taken.


Adjusting the Variables
Why is it that smoking DMT works through your system so much faster than digesting it?
Besides the fact that the digestive process takes longer to absorb it into your bloodstream, there is another factor at play here. When DMT is ingested orally, there is a digestive chemical called monoamine oxidase that shields the DMT, preventing it from instantly being broken down.[4] This same chemical does not occur when the DMT is smoked, however there is an alternative. Enter, the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).[5] MAOIs were originally developed as an antidepressant, as they can help regulate serotonin in the brain. For DMT users, this allows the trip to be extended and elevated, however, it is generally not recommended to mix MAOIs with other medications, as they could have potentially unexpected side effects.[6]

Reference List
1. Barker, S. A. (2018). N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an Endogenous Hallucinogen: Past, Present, and Future Research to Determine Its Role and Function. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12.

2. Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth. (2020, March 12). Legality of Our

3. Santos-Longhurst, A. (2019, November 25). How Long Does DMT Last? Healthline.

4. McKenna, D. J., Towers, G., & Abbott, F. (1984). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors in South American hallucinogenic plants: Tryptamine and β-carboline constituents of Ayahuasca. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 10(2), 195–223.

5. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). (2019, September 12). Mayo Clinic.

6. Savoldi, R., Polari, D., Pinheiro-da-Silva, J., Silva, P. F., Lobao-Soares, B., Yonamine, M., Freire, F. A. M., & Luchiari, A. C. (2017). Behavioral Changes Over Time Following Ayahuasca Exposure in Zebrafish. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11.

About the author

Robert Hammell