DMT isn’t well-researched, and there is limited definitive information available about detecting the drug. It seems that it’s possible to test for this drug in hair, but this testing method is not widely used for DMT.
DMT Effects: How Long Do They Last?
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) isn’t well studied, so there are many unknowns when it comes to the drug. When smoked, effects take place quickly. If taken orally, such as when drunk as part of an ayahuasca ceremony, the drug is known to take significantly longer to affect a user.
When smoking the drug, DMT trips tend to be intense but brief. When taken as part of ayahuasca ceremony, the effects of the drug can last several hours. The usual length of time given is about four hours, but trips have been known to last longer.
Using DMT can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate. Its mental effects can be unpredictable and potentially frightening.
DMT Detection Timeline
Because the drug isn’t well-researched, especially outside the context of its presence in ayahuasca, there are likely ways of detecting the presence of the drug that are not yet known. Based on what we know now, here is what to expect with DMT’s detection timeline:[1-2]
|Time Since Use||Effect|
|Initial dose||DMT is a psychedelic. When taken, a user’s perception of the world around them will start to become distorted. A user may hallucinate, feel their perception of time start to warp, experience double vision, and may feel as though they are out of their body.|
|30 minutes||Anecdotally, 30 minutes seems to be about how long it takes for DMT to begin fully affecting a user if the drug is taken orally. When taken as ayahuasca, users report nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of being “purged” in addition to the drug’s hallucinogenic effects.|
|4–6 hours||This is the typical length of an ayahuasca ceremony. When taken as part of a ceremony like this, DMT generally affects the user for this time period.|
|24–48 hours||This is the maximum detection window via urine testing for DMT.|
Testing for DMT
There aren’t many ways to test for DMT currently available to the public. Testing for DMT is rare, so it’s likely there isn’t a high demand for this type of testing. While other types of drug tests may test blood and saliva, it appears that only urine and hair drug tests are potentially available to test for DMT.
Urine Drug Test
Urine tests for the presence of DMT appear to be the only widely available way to currently test for the drug. Depending on how much of the drug a person has been taken, these tests can reportedly detect the presence of DMT from 24 to 48 hours since a person’s last use.
Hair Drug Test
While it appears this type of drug testing for DMT is not publicly available, it’s possible to test for DMT use via hair testing. There is a reference to hair testing for the presence of DMT in regard to a family law case.
What Factors Impact How Long DMT Stays in Your System?
Factors that may potentially impact how long DMT stays in your system include the following:
- Dose taken
- Frequency of use
- Metabolism, which can be affected by health issues relating to several of the body’s systems, notably the heart and kidneys
Again, DMT isn’t well understood in the same ways that other popular drugs of abuse are, so much is still not known about how it acts in the body. There may be factors other than those mentioned above that can also affect how long it stays in a person’s system.
FAQs About How Long DMT Stays in Your System
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about DMT’s duration in the body:
While it’s possible to test for DMT use, it isn’t standard. Psychedelics or hallucinogens in general are often difficult to accurately test for. Most standard drug tests don’t test for DMT, so it must be specifically requested.
DMT generally affects users very quickly if smoked. If taken orally, such as part of an ayahuasca ceremony, it reportedly can take 30 minutes to take effect.
The reported window for DMT urine tests is between 24 to 48 hours after last use. There will be some variation depending on individual specifics and how the drug was used.
There isn’t a way to stop a bad trip, as the drug has to be processed by the body. If someone is experiencing a bad trip, get them to a safe space and stay with them. Seek medical help, including mental health assistance, if needed.
- N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous hallucinogen: Past, present, and future research to determine its role and function Barker SA. N, Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2018;12(536).
- Ayahuasca: Psychological and physiologic effects, pharmacology and potential uses in addiction and mental illness Hamill J, Hallak J, Dursun SM, Baker G., Current Neuropharmacology. 2019;17(2):108-128.
- Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) urine test PharmaDrugTest.com. Accessed October 3, 2023.
- Human hair tests to document drug environmental contamination: Application in a family law case involving N,N ‐dimethyltryptamine Kintz P, Ameline A, Raul J., Drug Testing and Analysis. 2020;13(2):447-450
- Drug metabolism Susa ST, Preuss CV., National Institutes of Health. Published June 3, 2019. Accessed October 3, 2023.
- Acute effects of intravenous DMT in a randomized placebo-controlled study in healthy participants Vogt SB, Ley L, Erne L, et al., Translational Psychiatry. 2023;13(1):1-9.
- Adverse effects of psychedelics: From anecdotes and misinformation to systematic science Schlag AK, Aday J, Salam I, Neill JC, Nutt DJ., Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2022;36(3):026988112110691