‘I assumed I’d died’: What it’s like taking the hallucinogenic DMT

Most people feel like they’re in a tunnel

DMT is a hallucinogenic drug and the effects are similar to LSD and shrooms. It’s usually sold as an impure substance which is often a yellow, orange or pink powder or solid, and then smoked.

It’s been used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes in the form of an Ayahuasca brew. But recently more young people have started taking the drug, so we spoke to individuals who have smoked DMT to find out what it’s like.

Rachael, 22, Kent

I felt I was half in and half out of the room – I could sense I was there but I was also in a place ‘underneath’ reality. My field of vision consisted of swirling colours as if it was a tie dye – within the swirls of colour I could see beings or entities that were coming back and forth from me.

Whatever they were doing to me they were enjoying, I even felt they laughed and smiled at me at times, despite them having no mouth or way of making noise. For some reason, I felt that I had wet myself as I was coming out of the trip.

Tony, 20, Cardiff

After taking a few consecutive hits, everything I could see was extremely vivid and it felt like my body was vibrating, but in a comforting way. I took another hit, started to lean back and watched blades of grass appear to open out like concertina fans. As I hit the floor I closed my eyes and felt my body melt away into the ground, but my mind was launched into hyper drive.

I saw the most incredible closed eye visuals including shapes, colours and figures. Patterns and images were moving and intertwining, and for lack of a better explanation, all existing on a plane beyond the 3D world we can ordinarily perceive. There was a long colourful winding road leading off into the distance, and a figure dancing seductively and drawing me towards her.

I followed down the path for as long as I could, which felt like a lifetime, and saw flashes of places, objects and people from throughout my life along the way. There were light afterglow visuals that lasted for an hour or two after the main trip.

Alex, 21, Nottingham

There was a large purple lady who was dancing seductively, then as she faded away I noticed other people were around me in what looked like an indoor garden, with fake grass on the floor and purple and yellow chairs and some tables dotted around.

There were about four other people there, two were mingling and the other two looked like they were talking to me. I had to keep my eyes closed the entire time because if I opened them I would see my mate’s yellow faces floating in the middle of this indoor garden.

Gareth, 20, Durham 

In my final year of university, I bought some DMT off the dark web and asked my friend to trip sit me. Upon exhalation everything began rapidly splitting into two, then four, then eight. I felt my body disintegrate as if it were a pile of sand that had been swept away by the wind and suddenly I was being launched through a tunnel of pure white light at unbelievable speed.

I came out of the tunnel and noticed 10-12 black, child-like shadow figures darting around me, each took turns to lead me through this place. I began to panic and assumed I had died, but the creatures felt my fear and projected a feeling of pure love into me that instantly calmed me down.

They communicated by manipulating my emotions and told me there was nothing to be afraid of, I was here to learn from them and the only thing that is real is love. After spending an unknown amount of time here I felt my awareness slipping from this place.I opened my eyes and went between hysterically laughing and on the brink of tears several times. My friend came to my side and told me seven minutes had passed.

Matt, 21, Cardiff 

My whole body felt like it was vibrating. I stared into some trees and the branches and leaves seemed to pulsate and grow, so I looked around at my other surroundings and sure enough everywhere I looked the visualisations continued. I felt like I was in a tunnel. Quickly after opening my eyes, the effects started to fade. I later on learnt that when people ‘breakthrough’ on DMT, there supposedly is a tunnel in which they travel through and at the end is where this ‘breakthrough’ moment occurs.

University of East Anglia