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DMT Pen: The Dangers of a DMT Vape Pen

DMT stands for N-dimethyltryptamine, a chemical compound that naturally occurs in many plant species and can be made synthetically in a laboratory. While usually called “DMT” and sometimes ingested through a DMT pen or DMT vape pen, this substance also has street names like:

  • Businessman’s trip.
  • Businessman’s special.
  • 45-minute psychosis.
  • Spirit molecule.
  • Fantasia.
  • Dimitri.

It produces similar effects to psychedelic drugs and has been used in South American rituals and religious practices for hundreds of years, brewed into concoctions like ayahuasca, smoked, or made into preparations held in the mouth beside the gums, like snuff. It has no distinctive taste or smell and can be sniffed, injected, smoked, or imbibed. Although illegal in the U.S., it can still be found in the illicit drug market as a solid crystal, a waxy substance, a white or yellow powder, or in DMT vapes. 

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Introduction to DMT and Vaping Technology

People often use DMT to change their mental state or to have a mystical or religious experience. DMT vape pens are vaporizing devices that can vaporize oils and distillates using heat. They are small, with a plastic or glass cartridge design that resembles a ballpoint pen (hence the name DMT pen) and a battery. The DMT can be combined with mixing agents (usually propylene glycol and vitamin E acetate) to form an e-liquid, which vaporizes under extreme heat and can be inhaled.

The Rise of DMT Vape Pens: A New Trend

Because DMT vape pens are small and portable, and users feel they can better control their dosages, these devices have become a popular way to use DMT. There have been few studies done on DMT vape pen use. but experts have noticed an upward trend in their prevalence, especially with users of other psychedelic drugs. Those who use tryptamine drugs like DMT almost always have used other drugs as well, with only approximately 0.04% never having used other substances at some point in their lives.

The Physical and Psychological Effects of DMT

dmt vapes

Using DMT pens or DMT vapes produces the same effects as smoking DMT from a pipe. Once the drug is inhaled, the onset of the high is fast (usually minutes), with the immediate hallucinogenic effect making users feel like they’re traveling quickly through a tunnel of shapes and bright lights. It can be frightening or overwhelming and may cause the user to feel like they’ve left their bodies or changed into something else completely. Some experience a white light, with the presence of “entities” or “elves.” After using a DMT vape pen, a person may experience:

  • Dramatic changes in mood.
  • A spiritual experience.
  • Depersonalization.
  • Euphoria.
  • A floating sensation.
  • Vivid visual hallucinations.
  • Auditory distortions.
  • An altered sense of time.
  • A “rush.”
  • Agitation and paranoia.

Physically, DMT users may notice:

  • Dizziness.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Loss of muscle coordination.
  • Involuntary rapid rhythmic eye movements.
  • Seizures.
  • Increased sensitivity to pain, pleasure, and other bodily sensations.

The entire experience is usually short, only lasting 15 to 60 minutes on average, but it is intense. It is different for everybody, depending on the set and setting, their life experiences, how much they’ve used, whether they’ve taken other drugs, and whether they ate before using DMT. 

The Risks and Dangers of Using DMT Vape Pens

Contrary to popular belief, using a DMT pen has risks. Because it raises the user’s heart rate and blood pressure, it can be especially dangerous to those with heart conditions or high blood pressure. It can also cause seizures in some individuals, and the lack of bodily control can increase a person’s risk of falling and injuring themselves. The American Association of Poison Control has also added that there is a risk of coma and respiratory arrest when using DMT.

Using psychedelic drugs and psychoactive substances like DMT can also cause anxiety, psychosis, or a bad trip, which may include fear, paranoia, frightening hallucinations, intense anxiety, and confusion. Because the experience can be disorienting and strange, people may react unpredictably when using DMT. Those who have taken this drug in the past may also experience flashbacks, which are usually visual hallucinations that can occur at any time, weeks, months, or even years after using the drug. 

Because DMT raises the neurotransmitter called serotonin, those who take medications like antidepressants may be at risk of developing serotonin syndrome if they use DMT pens, a condition that can be life-threatening. Signs of serotonin syndrome may include:

  • Tremors and shivering.
  • Muscle spasms or overactive reflexes.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Anxiety and irritability.
  • Confusion.
  • Disorientation.

Legal and Ethical Concerns Surrounding DMT Vaping

DMT is not legal in the US, so those caught possessing, using, selling, or buying DMT, e-liquid, or a DMT pen may face serious legal consequences. It is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because it has a high risk of misuse and is not approved for medical use. This means it can only be found on the illicit drug market, with much of the vape juice made in small, unregulated batches. This can put you at risk of smoking harsh chemicals and other substances that could be harmful to your health. 

Researchers can only test the drug under a Schedule 1 research registration with approval from the FDA and DEA. They are exploring the potential benefits of its use in treating certain mental health disorders, but research is ongoing as it has been found that the drug can worsen depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental health disorders and can cause symptoms of psychosis in some people. Psychiatrists cannot legally use DMT to treat patients. 

Comparing DMT Pens to Other Methods of DMT Use

When using a DMT pen or smoking the powder out of a pipe, the effects come on quickly, sometimes within a few seconds to a few minutes. The effects last between 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the inhaled amount. Drinking ayahuasca and other methods of intake can have a longer onset. People tend to feel more in control over their DMT use when they use a vape pen because they can better control their doses than they could when drinking a preparation. They also find that vape pens are much more discreet than other methods of use.

Vaping any substance can have serious health consequences, including using a DMT vape pen. People who inhale any substance regularly are at risk of:

  • Throat and mouth irritation.
  • Headaches.
  • Coughing and wheezing.
  • Eye irritation and blurry vision.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Serious lung conditions.
  • Lung injuries.
  • Organ damage.

Treatment and Recovery from DMT Abuse

While DMT is not considered to be an addictive drug, some studies suggest that an increased tolerance over time can lead to psychological dependence in some cases. If you have been finding that your DMT use is out of your control, or if you would like help stopping drug use, you can call Resurgence Behavioral Health at 855-458-0050 or contact us online for advice. 

We will meet you where you are on your recovery journey with personalized drug addiction treatment plans tailored to best suit your medical, psychological, behavioral, and practical needs. We have inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment options, with an effective mix of evidence-based care and holistic practices designed to heal your body, mind, and spirit. Join us at Resurgence Behavioral Health and become the sober individual you want to be.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.


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