Visual hallucinations with DMT are often of complex alternate realities. Some people experience hallucinations so vividly they believe they were real. Learn why DMT visuals are so vivid.

The drug DMT is mainly known for causing complex visual hallucinations. Users of DMT have had many different types of visuals from using the drug. However, many of the visuals have certain aspects in common. For this reason, if you or a loved one use DMT, it is important to know what to expect during a DMT trip.

Article at a Glance:

  • The DMT drug is a hallucinogen and a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States
  • A DMT trip often starts right away and can last up to 45 minutes
  • Users of DMT often report that their visuals take the form of a complex alternate reality
  • Although DMT wears off quickly, some visual effects can last briefly after the trip is over
  • People with a history of mental health problems may be at higher risk of psychosis and longer-term hallucinations after using DMT

What is DMT and Why Does it Make You Trip?

N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hallucinogen. It is present in many plant species in South America, and can also be made in a lab. Researchers also think DMT might be naturally present in very small amounts in the human brain.

People often smoke DMT to get high. However, DMT is also present in ayahuasca, which people drink. DMT is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. That classification means that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

People can have trips on DMT because of how it impacts certain brain chemicals, specifically serotonin. The drug works on areas of the brain including the prefrontal cortex, which controls perception.

What are DMT Visuals?

Someone high on DMT will often have powerful visual hallucinations. These often start within seconds after taking DMT. A DMT trip can last for up to 45 minutes. Visuals from DMT use are often very complex and are not just a single hallucination, but the creation of a completely separate reality. Colors in DMT visuals may be much brighter and more intense than in real life. Some DMT users report distorted depth perception during their trip. In addition, DMT visuals might overlay the objects and people that are around the DMT user, making the hallucination blend with reality.

Common DMT Visuals

Often, DMT visual effects will show the user an intricate alternate universe. The person may see many creatures in this universe as part of the hallucination. The person also may see a variety of strange objects in the universe. What sets DMT visuals apart from other hallucinogens is the level of complexity of what the person thinks they are seeing.

Good DMT Visuals

Sometimes, DMT users have hallucinations that they find interesting, funny or calming. A doctor wrote of some of the pleasant DMT visuals his patients reported to him:

  • Jesters and clowns
  • Riding a merry-go-round
  • Spirits or beings coming to give blessings
  • Intricate color patterns and swirls

Bad DMT Visuals

Sometimes people can have a bad DMT trip. Because DMT hallucinations are often of complex alternate universes, some users may find themselves in scary situations. In addition, some people who have used DMT have had psychotic episodes and more serious hallucinations. Doctors think that having a history of mental health problems may be linked to the risk of having a psychotic episode on DMT. One doctor reported some of the frightening hallucinations his patients had while using DMT:

  • Being possessed by aliens
  • Not recognizing their own bodies
  • Sexual assault
  • Being attacked by crocodiles
  • Threatening, non-human faces

DMT and Outer Space

DMT visuals commonly involve beings that users think might be aliens. One doctor studied DMT in users and found that many people thought that aliens abducted them during their DMT trip.

These DMT users thought they were under the total control of the aliens. During their DMT trips, people often thought that aliens were experimenting on them. Sometimes, the visual hallucination of aliens was so intricate that it involved aliens using their alien language of visual symbols. When users came off their DMT trip and later used DMT again, many would go straight back into their previous hallucination of aliens. In some cases, DMT users reported the aliens greeting them and welcoming them back. The hallucinations during the DMT trips were so vivid that they convinced some people that their DMT experiences were real and not drug-induced visuals.

The Effects of DMT Trips and Visuals

Although DMT visuals quickly wear off as the body rids itself of the drug, some visual effects may linger briefly after the trip ends. These longer-lasting DMT effects include:

  • Feeling like the lights are too bright
  • Thinking that objects move in a wave-like pattern
  • Having more depth perception than normal
  • Thinking that things are moving in a jerking motion

In addition, some people with mental health problems have experienced psychosis and hallucinations after using DMT that can last for weeks.

If you or a loved one struggle with using hallucinogens like DMT, help is available. The experts at The Recovery Village can help you live a healthier life without drugs. Contact The Recovery Village today to learn more.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

Drug Enforcement Administration. “N,N-Dimethyltrypamine.” November 2016. Accessed June 5, 2019.

Barker SA. “N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an Endogenous Hallucinogen: Past, Present, and Future Research to Determine Its Role and Function.” August 6, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs.” February 2015. Accessed June 5, 2019.

Strassman R. “DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research Into the Biology of Near-death and Mystical Experiences.” 2001. Accessed June 5, 2019.

Dos Santos RG., Bouso JC., Hallak JEC. “Ayahuasca, Dimethyltryptamine, and Psychosis: A Systematic Review of Human Studies.” April 2017. Accessed June 5, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.