How Long Does DMT Stay in Your System?

DMT in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, & Saliva

Man Taking a Pill

BSIP / UIG / Getty Images

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic compound found in some plants and, in trace amounts, in the human body. It can cause rapid, short-lived hallucinations, and may be taken orally, consumed as a tea, smoked or vaped, or injected.

DMT is the primary hallucinogenic component of ayahuasca tea, which is made from the South American plant of the same name and is traditionally used for ritual purposes. DMT can also be synthetically produced and is often available as a white or yellow crystalline powder.

DMT is not usually tested for in standard drug screenings, though some tests are able to detect it. It is also rapidly excreted from the body and, depending on the type of test used and on the way it was taken, it may not be detectable after as little as a few hours.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies DMT as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medicinal use and carries a high potential for abuse. DMT can be used for research in some cases at the approval of the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How Long Does DMT Stay in Your System?

Blood: One to two hours

Urine: Up to 24 hours

Saliva: Between four and 12 hours

Hair: Up to 90 days

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

DMT acts on serotonin and other neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. It can produce effects like:

  • Agitation, anxiety, or fear
  • Distorted body image
  • Euphoria
  • Problems concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Vivid visual hallucinations
  • Vomiting or nausea

It can also cause physical changes in:

  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Respiration

It is recommended that people with schizophrenia or similar mental health conditions avoid DMT and other hallucinogens. Though rare, reports have attributed DMT and ayahuasca as triggers of severe psychotic episodes.

DMT acts very quickly, but the method used to take it will impact how soon you feel the effects.

  • Intravenous injection: Effects appear very rapidly, often instantly, and are gone within around 30 minutes.
  • Intramuscular injection: Effects appear within two to five minutes and disappear after approximately one hour.
  • Oral consumption through ayahuasca tea: Effects begin after around one hour, peaking within 90 minutes and lasting about four hours total.
  • Smoked or vaped: Effects may appear instantly and last less than 30 minutes.

How Long Does DMT Last?

The half-life of DMT is not precisely known, and likely depends on how the drug is taken. For DMT that's injected, the half-life is around 15 minutes, while the half-life of DMT taken in ayahuasca tea is longer.

DMT has no effect if taken orally by itself as it is quickly broken down by monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the digestive tract. This process produces the metabolites DMT-NO and IAA.

For an oral dose to be active, it must be taken with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which also produces a longer effect. This is seen in ayahuasca tea, which includes a plant-based MAOI ingredient.

DMT is not part of the screening process for standard drug tests used for law enforcement, employment, and treatment purposes. Detecting DMT in the blood, urine, hair, or saliva requires specific testing.

Blood

DMT can be detected by a blood test for only up to around two hours after it's taken. This requires a specific test and it would have to be administered very quickly after the drug was taken to detect it.

Breath

There is no known breath test for DMT.

Urine

DMT can be detected in urine for up to 24 hours after it's taken. This requires a specific test that's made to find hallucinogens like DMT.

Hair

Hair tests can confirm long-term drug use, and they are able to detect DMT. Typically, hair testing can detect drugs for up to 90 days after they're taken, but this number may vary based on how often the drug is used.

Saliva

It's not clear how long saliva testing can detect DMT. While the most common saliva tests may be unable to detect it after as little as one hour, research shows it is possible to find DMT in saliva samples between four and 12 hours after use.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

Individual factors can impact how long DMT stays in your system, including:

  • The dosage taken
  • Your weight
  • Your age
  • Your metabolism
  • How frequently you use the drug

Oral Ingestion vs. Smoking

The way you took the drug can also impact how long it stays in your system. Taking DMT orally by drinking ayahuasca tea, or injecting it intramuscularly, may be less detectable than other methods. Smoked DMT is detectable by drug tests.

How to Get DMT Out of Your System

There are no known ways to speed up the metabolic process and quickly get DMT out of your system. Drinking more water or eating a full meal won't clear the drug out of your body faster; however, taking ayahuasca or another oral form of the drug on an empty stomach may speed up how quickly it takes effect.

Symptoms of Overdose

An overdose of DMT is very rare and would involve taking an extremely high dose of the drug. However, a dangerous condition known as serotonin syndrome can occur when taking DMT together with other medications, like:

Serotonin syndrome can cause life-threatening symptoms like high fever, loss of consciousness, seizures, and sudden changes in blood pressure or pulse. If you or a loved one are experiencing serotonin syndrome, seek medical help right away.

Caution may also be warranted for pregnant people. While the research in this area is not conclusive, animal studies have shown that negative effects may be possible with ayahuasca usage.

Like most hallucinogens, DMT is probably not addictive, though the long-term effects of regular use are not yet known. Habitual users do not appear to develop a tolerance to DMT.

Taking DMT may result in a bad trip, which can cause unpleasant symptoms like extreme anxiety and palpitations. DMT may also negatively impact judgment, which may lead to harmful or dangerous choices, especially for someone who isn't accustomed to the drug's effects.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Drug testing.

  3. Carbonaro TM, Gatch MB. Neuropharmacology of N,N-DimethyltryptamineBrain Res Bull. 2016;126(Pt 1):74-88. doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2016.04.016

  4. Dos Santos RG, Bouso JC, Hallak JEC. Ayahuasca, dimethyltryptamine, and psychosis: A systematic review of human studies. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2017;7(4):141-157. doi:10.1177/2045125316689030

  5. McIlhenny EH, Riba J, Barbanoj MJ, Strassman R, Barker SA. Methodology for determining major constituents of ayahuasca and their metabolites in bloodBiomed Chromatogr. 2012;26(3):301-313. doi:10.1002/bmc.1657

  6. Riba J, Mcilhenny EH, Bouso JC, Barker SA. Metabolism and urinary disposition of N,N-dimethyltryptamine after oral and smoked administration: A comparative study. Drug Test Anal. 2015;7(5):401-406. doi:10.1002/dta.1685

  7. Kintz P, Ameline A, Raul J-S. Human hair tests to document drug environmental contamination: Application in a family law case involving N,N-dimethyltryptamineDrug Test Anal. 2021;13(2):447-450. doi:10.1002/dta.2948

  8. Lanaro R, Mello SM, Cunha KF da, et al. Kinetic profile of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine and β-carbolines in saliva and serum after oral administration of ayahuasca in a religious context. Drug Test Anal. 2021;13(3):664-678. doi:10.1002/dta.2955

  9. Brito-da-Costa AM, Dias-da-Silva D, Gomes NGM, Dinis-Oliveira RJ, Madureira-Carvalho Á. Toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of ayahuasca alkaloids N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine: Clinical and forensic impactPharmaceuticals. 2020;13(11):334. doi:10.3390/ph13110334