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Detection and Quantification of Psychoactive N,N-Dimethyltryptamine in Ayahuasca Brews by Ambient Ionization High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry

NCJ Number
Acs Omega Volume: 5 Issue: 44 Dated: 2020 Pages: 28547-28554
Date Published
8 pages

This article reports the development of a rapid validated method for the quantification of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in ayahuasca by direct analysis in real time-high-resolution mass spectrometry (DART-HRMS).


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime designated 20 psychoactive botanical species as “plants of concern” because of their increased recreational abuse. Four of these are used to prepare ayahuasca brews. The complexity of the plant matrices, as well as the beverage itself, make the identification and quantification of the Schedule I component, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavor when performed using conventional approaches previously reported. The ambient ionization approach reported in the current article also enables identification of ayahuasca through detection of the secondary metabolites associated with its plant constituents. Analysis of six ayahuasca brews created using different combinations of DMT/harmala alkaloid-containing plants resulted in beverages with DMT levels of 45.7–230.5 mg/L. The detected amounts were consistent with previously reported values determined by conventional approaches. (publisher abstract modified)


Date Published: January 1, 2020