Neuropharmacology of N,N-dimethyltryptamine

Theresa M. Carbonaro, Michael B. Gatch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is an indole alkaloid widely found in plants and animals. It is best known for producing brief and intense psychedelic effects when ingested. Increasing evidence suggests that endogenous DMT plays important roles for a number of processes in the periphery and central nervous system, and may act as a neurotransmitter. This paper reviews the current literature of both the recreational use of DMT and its potential roles as an endogenous neurotransmitter. Pharmacokinetics, mechanisms of action in the periphery and central nervous system, clinical uses and adverse effects are also reviewed. DMT appears to have limited neurotoxicity and other adverse effects except for intense cardiovascular effects when administered intravenously in large doses. Because of its role in nervous system signaling, DMT may be a useful experimental tool in exploring how the brain works, and may also be a useful clinical tool for treatment of anxiety and psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-88
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Hallucinogen
  • N,N-dimethyltryptamine
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Psychiatric disorder


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