Safer Using – 5-MeO-DMT

About 5-MeO-DMT

5-MeO-DMT or 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (also called O-methyl-bufotenine, the God molecule, or simply 5-MeO) is a powerful psychedelic drug which is chemically related to DMT, but more potent.1,2 5-MeO-DMT naturally occurs in the poison of Colorado River toads (Incilius alvarius) as well as some plant species.1,2 It may also be produced by the human body, although its natural functions (if any) remain unknown.1 5-MeO-DMT is most often smoked (or more precisely vaporised) using an oil vape pen or an oil burner pipe (a.k.a. pizzo or pilo pipe), but is also less commonly snorted or injected.1,3

According to surveys of users, the most common motivations for taking 5-MeO-DMT are  spiritual exploration, recreation, wellbeing, and healing/psychological treatment.4,5 A 2019 study recruited 42 individuals who smoked the dried secretions of the Colorado River toad and gave them a series of psychological questionnaires.4 The researchers found that participants showed greater satisfaction with life 24 hours after smoking the toad secretion which persisted for 4 weeks.4  Additionally, mindfulness, depression, stress and anxiety scores were all improved 4 weeks after smoking the toad secretions.4 Another survey found improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety after smoking 5-MeO-DMT.6

Like DMT, 5-MeO-DMT produces fast-acting, short-lived and intense psychedelic effects when vaporised.1,3 However, 5-MeO-DMT often produces milder visual hallucinations and stronger mystical/ego-dissolving effects than DMT.3,7 Both drugs interact with the serotonin system of the brain, but the difference in effects may be due to interaction with different types of serotonin receptors.1,2,7 Namely, 5-MeO-DMT binds more strongly to 5-HT1A receptors.1,2,7 Unlike DMT, 5-MeO-DMT should not be mixed with MAOI inhibitors (e.g., to make ayahuasca).1 This is a potentially fatal combination (see the 5-MeO-DMT Overdose section for more details).1

5-MeO-DMT only differs from DMT at the position highlighted in green. Small differences in chemical structure can lead to large differences in effects and toxicity.

Psychedelic drugs (particularly psilocybin and LSD) have gained the attention of researchers and psychiatrists for their profound and fast-acting antidepressant effects.2 However, the question of whether the hallucinatory states produced by these drugs are necessary for their antidepressant effects remains unanswered, and some researchers are seeking to discover non-hallucinogenic psychedelics.2,8 5-MeO-DMT has been studied in this context because of its strong psychedelic and antidepressant effects coupled with its relatively mild hallucinogenic effects, due to its unique interaction with the serotonin system in the brain.2 Hence, it may provide a direction for future research into non-hallucinogenic psychedelic drugs.2

Pure 5-MeO-DMT is typically sold as a crystalline powder.3 It’s impossible to verify the purity or presence of adulterants in a powder simply by looking at it. If you believe your 5-MeO-DMT may be adulterated with another substance, consider testing it with reagent test kits at home (e.g., https://dancesafe.org/product/standard-set-of-6-testing-kits/) or by taking it to a drug checking site such as CanTEST.

Effects of 5-MeO-DMT

The effects produced by psychedelic drugs are highly varied, personal, and often difficult to articulate. The effects of psychedelics are highly dependent upon the set (mindset) and setting (environment) of the person. Ensure you are in a safe and comfortable setting ideally in the presence of a familiar and trusted tripsitter. Additionally, it can be difficult to stand up or move on 5-MeO-DMT, so ensure you are sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down to prevent injury.

The effects may also differ slightly between pure 5-MeO-DMT and dried secretions of the Colorado River toad. The dried toad secretions contain chemicals in addition to 5-MeO-DMT which are biologically and psychologically active, such as bufotenine.4

When vaporised, 5-MeO-DMT typically produces the following effects:3,5,7

  • Profound mystical experiences.
  • Feelings of awe and astonishment.
  • Loss of sense of self (ego death).
  • Decreased awareness of the outside world.
  • Altered perception of space and time.
  • Mood lift, euphoria.
  • Intense emotions.
  • Altered bodily sensations.
  • Feeling of weight on chest.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Shaking/trembling.

The effects of vaporised 5-MeO-DMT come on very quickly and typically last up to an hour in total with an intense peak lasting 5-15 minutes.3,9 When snorted, the effects last up 1-3 hours in total with a peak lasting up to 45 minutes.3,9

Dosing 5-MeO-DMT

It is always recommended to start with a low dose and wait before redosing drugs (start low and go slow). This reduces the risk of unexpected side effects and accidental overdose.

The following is a rough dosage guide for pure 5-MeO-DMT:3,9

LOW DOSE – 2-5 mg

MODERATE DOSE – 5-10 mg

STRONG DOSE – 10-20 mg

It’s important to differentiate between dried toad secretions and pure 5-MeO-DMT, since the pure substance is more potent (i.e., requires a smaller dose).

5-MeO-DMT Overdose

Psychedelic experiences can be incredibly intense and sometimes difficult to handle. 5-MeO-DMT is considered by some to be the most intense psychedelic.3 Unexpectedly strong doses of 5-MeO-DMT can cause distressing psychological and physical effects like anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, dysphoria, nausea and bodily discomfort.3 It can be helpful to reassure a person that the peak effects only last 5-15 minutes when vaporised.3 No deaths have been reported from ingesting 5-MeO-DMT on its own.7

However, the following symptoms could suggest something more serious:1,7

  • Extreme agitation.
  • Increased body temperature (hyperthermia).
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Seizures.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.

If a person experiences the above symptoms, or if you are concerned, it is recommended to seek emergency medical treatment.

Compared to DMT, 5-MeO-DMT has more problematic interactions with other drugs. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (a.k.a. MAOIs), such as harmine or harmaline, are a component of ayahuasca alongside DMT.7 Mixing MAOIs and 5-MeO-DMT has resulted in deaths.1,7 Hence, plants and medications containing MAOIs, such as Syrian Rue or the atypical antidepressant tranylcypromine (Parnate), should be avoided when taking 5-MeO-DMT. 5-MeO-DMT may carry a greater risk of serotonin syndrome than DMT, so one should avoid mixing 5-MeO-DMT with other serotonin-releasing drugs (e.g., MDMA or DXM).3

Other problematic interactions include:3,10

  • Tramadol, which increases the risk of seizures.
  • Cannabis, which can increase the risk of anxiety, delusions, and paranoia.
  • Stimulants (e.g. cocaine or amphetamines), which can increase the risk of anxiety.

References

[1] https://doi.org/10.2174/138920010794233495

[2] https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-024-07403-2

[3] https://psychonautwiki.org/wiki/5-MeO-DMT

[4] https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05236-w

[5] https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/journals-permissions

[6] https://doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2018.1545024

[7] https://doi.org/10.1177/02698811211050543

[8] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.03.043

[9] https://wiki.tripsit.me/index.php?title=5-MeO-DMT

[10] https://combo.tripsit.me/

Written by Darcy Lynch

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