Straight Talk Advice

Jul 28, 2010

Lucy in the Sky with DMT (today’s LSD)

DEAR STRAIGHT TALK: Can you tell me if DMT is safe? Articles I’ve read in Spirituality & Health magazine seem to indicate it is probably okay to use for a mind-expanding, healing experience. But I’m wary. I’ve heard there are different types of DMT and that some are hard to recover from. I took sacred mushrooms in Mexico and it was an extremely healing and helpful experience, but the dose was small. I’m an elder. I know wisdom can be obtained from sacred plants with a qualified guide, but it’s not worth having a bad reaction or messing up my mind. What do you advise? Also, what should I say to young people curious about DMT? — Caite Mathis, Nevada

Leif 21, Berkeley, Calif. Ask me a question
I did ayahuasca [a traditional drink containing DMT-rich plants] in a formal setting with two experienced shamans in Peru. I did it four times over a five-month period following strict dietary guidelines between ceremonies. Overall, my experience was excellent, but that was because I was with two very experienced guides. Those experiences still guide me today and the shamans’ words ring truer as time passes. That said, be very careful. Ayahuasca is potent stuff. Beyond the stories of permanent damage, it can be terrifying. The shamans see it as a way to confront your deepest fears or psychological illnesses. It was certainly scary at times for me. You seem to be approaching things correctly (not just looking for a good time), but I would only do this with experienced guides. These substances are sacred and deserve respect.
Nicole 20, Grass Valley, Calif. Ask me a question

I was fine taking DMT. It helps one search within, distinguish what is positive in life and what is holding you back. Using it without purpose just pollutes your brain.

Katelyn 16, Huntington Beach, Calif. Ask me a question

Don’t use DMT. If you want enlightenment and wisdom, live life!

Molly 18, Fair Oaks, Calif. Ask me a question

I don’t know anyone who has done DMT, but I know quite a few who have used salvia. Hallucinogens can result in amazing spiritual experiences if done in the proper environment with proper preparation. Learn everything you can about the drug, be responsible, take care of your body.

Winter 18, Carmichael, Calif. Ask me a question

I’ve never heard of DMT but I know people who have done salvia. Some say it was the scariest experience of their lives, others say it was fun. It seems to depend on mindset and intention.

DEAR CAITE: DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is a refined, natural hallucinogen. It is also a Schedule 1 illegal drug. Most teens and young adults use DMT for kicks. Their “guides” are friends from school. (Ditto for other natural hallucinogens such as salvia and mushrooms.) This manner of use is dangerous and disrespectful. Quite simply, teenagers (and most young adults) haven’t put in enough hours on this planet to attain the mental and spiritual preparedness needed to use these drugs safely. Teens may think they have, but they’re mistaken. Many people are never ready. I’m very stern about this and, if asked, I hope you will be, too.

The damaging experiences from sophomoric use of these drugs is what has fueled prohibition and inhibited scientific study. These drugs have enormous medical and evolutionary potential. They are known as entheogens (“generating the experience of God within”). DMT is arguably the most potent of the entheogens. Even in the best of circumstances, I can’t possibly predict its safety for you. Contemplate this: Say you do have a positive peak experience. Will it cause an actual shift in how you show up for life? It could. But for almost everyone else, things slowly go back to normal with no lasting change. Why risk your health when you can find enlightenment through inner work — and be a better role model?

Editor’s Web Note: Just for the record, when the Beatles produced “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (marking their LSD phase), they were all over age 25. Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll really are happening younger and younger — it’s not our imagination. This is important to note when parents sigh, “But didn’t we do that when we were young too?” Actually, most youth who used drugs from the Boomer era were pretty clean until after high school. Experimenting started, on average, four to five years later than it does now — and the brain is considerably more developed at these older ages. The hallucinogens discussed today, DMT and salvia, are new to most parents’ awareness. Sacred plants had a role in the ancient origins of every world religion. Their capacity to “generate the experience of God within” has huge potential for healing mental illnesses and for evolving consciousness. But the “bright light,” can both illuminate and blind. These drugs are not for children (of any age), nor for kicks. While DMT and ayahuasca are Schedule 1 drugs, salvia and the plants used to create the ayahuasca brew are legal. Parents: please discourage your teenager or college student from using these drugs. —Lauren

  1. By Miller Wright, age , from Ohio on 05/29/2011

    “While DMT is a Schedule 1 drug, salvia and ayahuasca are legal.”

    This is a false statement, Ayahuasca is not legal, the plants and MAOI’s used to produce it are all legal but the brew itself is classed as DMT, a schedule 1 drug.

    Get your info straight.

    Reply to this comment

  2. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Fair Oaks, CA on 05/29/2011

    Dear Miller,

    I checked on your statement and you are correct. I have corrected my editor’s note to reflect that along with DMT, the ayahuasca brew is also a Schedule 1 drug.

    Thank you for taking the time to write. I greatly appreciate it.

    Reply to this comment

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