The Potential Negative Effects of MDMA and How to Counteract Them
I recently added a comprehensive health effects, potential addiction, and tolerance as well as a legal issues section to everyone of my specific substance guides. I wanted to add this article to specifically include with the MDMA health section; since there was so much information and preventative tips, it was necessary to make it an article on its own. This was so all the information was in one simple place, so people no longer have to trawl through random forum posts. Once again, this article is not written by me, but the same friend of mine who wrote the previous article on “An Explanation of the Effect of Hallucinogens upon the Nervous System”.
Negative Effects on Health
Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is an excess of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Serotonin syndrome can often be overcome by resting in a cooler environment. However, occasionally it will turn into a medical emergency, which can be fatal. If dangerously excessive amounts of MDMA are taken, serotonin syndrome may occur.
Excessive sweating, high body temperature, high blood pressure, increased heart beat, pupillary dilatation, nausea, diarrhoea, shivering.
Twitching, restlessness, tremor, in-coordination rigidity, teeth chattering, reduced opening of jaw, seizures.
Confusion, agitation, anxiety, persistent elevated/irritable mood, insomnia, hallucinations, headache.
Dehydration can occur when taking MDMA; this happens when not enough fluid is consumed to replenish that already lost. MDMA can cause excessive sweating, diarrhoea and hyperthermia on its own, which can exacerbate the dehydration. To prevent dehydration occurring, fluids should be drunk before thirst is felt. Thirst is the preliminary indicator of dehydration. As many ions/electrolytes (essential for many bodily functions) in the body are lost while on MDMA, the best fluids to drink are sports/energy drinks, or water with a tablespoon per litre of table salt added but normal water will always suffice regardless. This restores the electrolytes lost via sweating or diarrhoea.
It is also important to regulate the amount of fluid consumed. If too much is drunk, hyponatremia (water intoxication) can occur. This interferes with the sodium levels, making them lower than normal levels. Symptoms include include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma. To prevent this occurring, fluid must be drunk at the correct rate, ensuring you sip the water at a slow rate:
During active e.g. dancing: between 250ml and 500ml every hour.
When inactive: around 250ml every hour.
MDMA interferes with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This is because it causes vasoconstriction, where the blood vessels closest to the skin constrict, preventing the body from ridding itself of excess heat. Hyperthermia can occur, which is where the body overheats. This can be controlled by staying hydrated and taking breaks from physical activity. If hyperthermia occurs, cease physical activity immediately, and apply cool (but not freezing cold) flannels to the forehead, chest and groin.
Improving the MDMA Experience
Taking supplements before/after taking MDMA is known as pre/post-loading. There are a number of supplements that can improve the MDMA experience and help with some of the negative effects and neurotoxicity.All these, apart from the SSRIs (prescription only) are cheap and freely available through Google, Amazon, and local health food stores.
5-HTP: This is the precursor to serotonin, and taking it after taking MDMA helps restore levels of serotonin in the body. Due to the depletion of serotonin after taking MDMA, a comedown is often felt the next day or upon ‘coming-down’. Symptoms are very similar to depression, and can include impaired attention, focus, and concentration, as well as drive and motivation, aches and pains, exhaustion, and feelings of sadness. Taking 5-HTP can help relieve these effects, by replenishing serotonin.
SSRIs: If you have access to SSRIs (specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors), these can be taken after a buzz to help restore serotonin levels also. However, taking them before an MDMA buzz appears to dull the buzz.
Magnesium: There is a nerve in the jaw called the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for innervating the jaw. This nerve is especially sensitive to changing levels of (among other things) serotonin. This causes the jaw to clench and the teeth to grind, known as bruxism or “gurning”. Magnesium can be taken before MDMA, and acts as a muscle relaxant.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been proven to be effective when combating neurotoxicity of MDMA.
One Hour Before
100mg of Magnesium
1000-2000mg of Vitamin C
200mg of 5-HTP
Another effect caused by MDMA is the release of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is responsible for regulating urination. If more ADH is released, urination will become difficult. This, coupled with the vasoconstriction, makes urination almost impossible. If heat is applied to the genitals, especially when male, this helps reduce the vasoconstriction, and make urination easier.
MDMA can be taken safely without using any of these supplements, and most dangers generally come from overuse, over a long period of time, or unnecessary excessive doses. The information above can be used to seriously diminish the negative health effects and sometimes notoriously unavoidable comedown that is experienced for some in the days after taking MDMA.
An Explanation of the Effect of Hallucinogens upon the Nervous System at the level of the Neurone
This article is intended to be a detailed explanation of how hallucinogens affect the brain, via the inhibition and excitation of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. This article is not written by me, but an extremely close friend of mine who is significantly more knowledgeable when it comes to science, and specifically chemistry. She is also my editor and grammar-checker, as well as scientific advisor and participator in 100% of the field of research that has gone into the previous several specific substance guides which have been posted on this website.
A neurone is a cell that carries electrical impulses. Information is processed and transmitted by the nervous system in the form of electrical and chemical signals. The neurone primarily comprises of a cell body, an axon and dendrites. The axon is a nerve fibre that carries electrical signals away from the cell body, to the end of the neurone. The end of the neurone then connects to the dendrites on the cell body of the next neurone, via a synapse. Drugs cause their effects due to their action on the neurones in the nervous system.
A nerve impulse is a self-propagating wave of electrical disturbance that travels along the surface of the axon membrane. This electrical disturbance comprises of a temporary reversal of the electrical potential difference; not an electrical current. The axon is usually negatively charged compared to the outside of the axon, and this is known as the resting potential, the value of which is usually around -65mV. When a stimulus is received, a reversal in electrical potential difference is caused, and this is known as the action potential (normally around +40mV).
To begin, the inside of the axon is negatively charged, compared with the outside of the axon. The change in potential difference, that is needed to fire off an action potential, is controlled by the movement of sodium and potassium ions in and out of the axon. An ion is a positively or negatively charged molecule. This movement occurs via the action of ion pumps and channels. The ions cannot just diffuse in and out of the axon uncontrollably; this diffusion is prevented by a membrane around the axon. Periodically placed along the membrane are proteins that act as channels for ions to pass through. Sodium gated channels and potassium gated channels open and close to allow the ions to pass through only at specific times. Sodium-potassium pumps transport Na+ and K+ in and out of the axon.
The inside of the axon starts at around -65mV compared to the outside of the axon. An action potential is reached when the axon is at +40mV compared to the outside of the axon. This value of +40mV is reached by the movement of sodium and potassium ions in and out of the axon. Sodium-potassium pumps transport 2K+ into the axon for every 3Na+ transported out of the axon. Both sodium and potassium are in the forms of positive ions here. However, more sodium is removed from the axon compared to the potassium brought. This means the overall electro negativity is decreasing in the axon, and the axon is getting closer to reaching the potential difference of +40mV. Sodium ions then begin to diffuse back into the axon naturally, and potassium ions diffuse back out. At this stage however, potassium gated channels are open, whereas sodium gated channels are closed. This means the K+ can diffuse out faster than the Na+ can diffuse back into the axon. This increases the potential difference further between the inside and the outside of the axon.
Once an action potential has been established, it “moves” along the axon in a neurone. The action potential doesn’t move in a physical sense of the word; the reversal of electrical charge is instead reproduced at different points along the axon, in a “Mexican wave” effect. One point in an axon will become depolarised (depolarisation is a change in a cell’s membrane potential, making it more positive, or less negative), and this depolarisation is a stimulus for the next region of the axon to depolarise. As the next region depolarises, the previous region returns to normal and repolarises.
Eventually, the action potential will reach the end of an axon, known as a synaptic knob. A synapse occurs at a point where the axon of one neurone meets the dendrite of another neurone.
When an action potential reaches the synaptic knob, the calcium ion channels open, and Ca2+ enters the synaptic knob. As the Ca2+ enters, the vesicles containing the neurotransmitters fuse with the membrane of the pre-synaptic neurone, and the neurotransmitters are released into the synapse. The neurotransmitter molecules attach to the receptors on the sodium ion channels, which allow Na+ ions to diffuse into the post-synaptic neurone. This influx of Na+ generates a new action potential in the post-synaptic neurone. An enzyme is then released into the synapse that breaks the neurotransmitters down into small, precursor molecules. These fragments are reabsorbed by receptors on the pre-synaptic neurone, and they are then used to remake the neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters are then ready to release when a new action potential reaches the pre-synaptic neurone. This reabsorbing prevents the neurotransmitters from continuously binding with the sodium ion channels on the post-synaptic neurone, and firing off repeated new action potentials.
Neurotransmitters can have one of two effects. Excitatory neurotransmitters/receptors make it more likely that a new action potential will fire off. Inhibitory neurotransmitters/receptors make it less likely that a new action potential will fire off. Many drugs work by affecting the way neurotransmitters work. There’s a handy table listing the effects of different neurotransmitters right here. Drugs can stimulate the nervous system by creating more action potentials in the post-synaptic neurone. They can do this by mimicking a neurotransmitter, stimulating the release of more neurotransmitter, inhibiting the re-uptake receptor on the pre-synaptic neurone or by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter. Agonists are chemicals that bind to a receptor and trigger a response, often by mimicking the neurotransmitter.
Drugs are also capable of inhibiting the nervous system by creating fewer action potentials in the post-synaptic neurone. This can be done by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitter, or blocking receptors on the sodium/potassium ion channels. This reduces the body’s response to impulses. Antagonists work by blocking or dampening signals of agonist drugs/neurotransmitters.
The Action of Different Drugs on the Nervous System
Psychedelics mostly act on serotonin receptors, and act as full or partial agonists. LSD, LSA, psilocin, DMT, mescaline and the 2Cx family all work as partial agonists. The table below shows a few of the commonly known psychedelics, and their action on receptors. The 5HT receptor system acts via the neurotransmitter of serotonin, D1 acts via dopamine, and the A-2 system acts via noradrenaline. The scale is from 0 to 4, with 4 being the highest affinity. The chart above is colour coded with a traffic light system. Green refers to an affinity of 3.5-4, representing a very high affinity. Yellow is 2-3.5, representing medium affinity. Orange is below 2. Any value that is orange/below 2 should be disregarded, as the affinity isn’t high enough to cause any great effect. Grey is 0, meaning no affinity at all to the receptor.
The current scientific consensus is that the 5HT-2A receptor is the one targeted by drugs responsible for psychedelic experiences. However, drugs like mescaline and MDMA are both capable of inducing psychedelic experiences on par with that of psilocin and LSD, but show no affinity to the 5HT-2A receptor.
LSD, for example, works by fitting into the receptors on the post-synaptic neurone. It has a higher affinity than serotonin itself for the serotonin receptors, specifically 5HT receptors, and therefore prevents serotonin binding to the receptors by competing with it.
The diagram above shows the structural similarities between the psychedelics. The three classes (phenethylamines, lysergamides and tryptamines) all contain the same chemical rings, which have been labelled. A represents the benzene ring, which all three classes contain. B represents the pyrrole ring, in both tryptamines and lysergamides. A and B together form the indole ring. C (cyclohexane) and D are only contained in the lysergamides, possibly contributing to its potency.
Dissociatives act as non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists, meaning they inhibit glutamate molecules. Glutamate is the neurotransmitter responsible for telling the body when it’s “awake”, for building up memories and for regulating awareness, mood and movement. NMDA receptors allow for electrical signals to pass between neurones in the brain and spinal column; for the signals to pass, the receptor must be open. NMDA receptor antagonists close the NMDA receptors, by preventing the glutamate from binding to it. This disconnection of neurones leads to loss of feeling, difficulty moving,and eventually the k-hole. It is also this disconnection that causes the anaesthetic properties of dissociatives.
PCP, MXE and ketamine fall into the arylcyclohexylamine class of chemicals, which possess NMDA receptor antagonist properties. DXM/DXO fall into the morphinan class of chemicals. Nitrous oxide, however, is unique, due to being an inorganic molecule. Another inorganic dissociative is xenon, which is also an NMDA receptor antagonist. However, information on recreational use is limited.
Deliriants are antagonists towards the cholinergic receptors, blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating the sleep cycle, dreaming alertness, and for building memory. The prolonged suppression of cholinergic activity and REM sleep due to deprivation or amphetamine abuse creates psychotic episodes which may be defined as bursts of dream activity erupting spontaneously into waking states. Deliriants could therefore be considered to trigger a similar state by blocking acetylcholine and suppressing cholinergic system activity. Causing trippers to begin dreaming whilst maintaining full conscious awareness. Deliriants are known for causing people to have no memory of their experience, tying in with their anticholinergic effects. Anticholinergics are split into two class; anti-muscarinic (act on muscarinic acetylcholine receptors) and anti-nicotinic (act on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors). Anti-muscarinic drugs include DPH, scopolamine and atropine. They are all competitive antagonists, meaning they bind to the receptor, but do not activate it.
Atypical drugs don’t fit into the three basic hallucinogen categories, and act in a number of different ways. MDMA is an entactogenic drug that works as a re-uptake inhibitor targeting serotonin receptors. This leads to the prevention of the re-uptake of the serotonin. More serotonin in then in the synapse, so the receptors on the post-synaptic neurone continue to be fired off. Serotonin is known for its control of mood, often being referred to as “the happy chemical”, along with dopamine. Muscimol is a GABA agonist. Salvia is a k-opioid receptor agonist. The k-opioid receptor is responsible for altering the perception of pain, consciousness, gravity, fear, mood and motor control. This explains the sensations of intense gravity, painful tingling and paranoia during Salvia trips. Ibogaine is 5HT-2A agonist, an NMDA antagonist and the k-opioid receptor agonist. The tryptamine core of ibogaine causes the affinity to the 5HT system.
This section has described the chemistry and neuroscience at the basic level of the neurone. However, I intend to write a second part to this article, which describes in detail the effects of hallucinogens, and specifically psychedelics, on specific parts of the brain, and how this translates into the subjective components of the psychedelic experience.
2C-E, broken down and described
Onset : 20 - 90 minutes
Duration : 6 - 10 hours
Normal After Effects : 2 - 6 hours
Light : 5 - 10 mg
Common : 10 - 15 mg
Strong : 15 - 30 mg
Heavy : 30 - 40 mg +
2C-E (2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine) is a psychedelic and phenethylamine of the 2C family. Its chemical synthesis was first published in 1991 within the book PiHKaL: A Chemical Love Story by Dr. Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin. This was a groundbreaking book that included detailed synthesis instructions for over 200 psychedelic compounds (most of which Shulgin discovered himself), including bioassays, dosages, and other commentary. For those who are interested, 2C-E’s specific entry, synthesis and qualitative commentary can be found here.
The mechanism that produces the psychedelic effects of 2C-E is a direct result from its action as a 5-HT2A serotonin receptor agonist in the brain, a mechanism of action shared by all other hallucinogenic tryptamines and phenethylamines.
Many people have reported that the general effects of 2C-E are similar to those of the other psychedelic phenethylamines, but far more intense in terms of its physical body load and visual effects. The experience is often described as similar in appearance to LSD, and many reports indicate that the effects of this particular chemical may be overly intense for those who are not already experienced with psychedelics. The subjective effects of which I will now begin to break down and describe…
The physical sensation of a 2C-E trip is a very unusual one. It is manifested as one of the most proportionally intense body highs in comparison to the trips accompanying visual alterations that I have found within any of the classical psychedelics. This is something which is only beaten in terms of its overwhelming forcefulness by high dose AMT and 5-meo-DMT experiences.
It can be described as an intensely pleasurable, energetic pins and needles sensation that constantly encompasses a person’s entire body. It is usually felt over every square inch of the skin but occasionally manifests itself in the form of a continuously shifting tingling sensation that travels up and down the body spontaneously in waves. This feeling is accompanied by an overall enhancement of the pleasure derived from tactile sensations. In comparison to LSD, it is much sharper and feels as if it is somehow considerably less natural and more synthetic. This everlasting droning is immensely pleasurable and is capable of leaving people completely incapacitated, writhing and trembling on the floor in ecstasy. However, it can also become overwhelmingly intense and a burden at higher levels, with many people reporting that they find it to be quite uncomfortable instead of euphoric.
It is sometimes characterized by urges to shift the position of ones body and prolonged tensing of unusual combinations of muscle groups.
It is extremely stimulating at levels which do not become overwhelming, resulting in a shakiness and unsteadiness of the hands but encouraging trippers to move around, run, dance, climb and generally engage in physical activities.
An extremely unique but commonly felt physical component of the 2C-E trip is the way in which it heightens and enhances sexual arousal in a way that I have not yet found within any other psychedelic. It’s worth noting that although all other psychedelics such as LSD or mushrooms do profoundly enhance the physical sensation of sexual pleasure if it is forcibly engaged in, they do not cause people to feel sexually aroused regardless of social context or setting in the same way that 2C-E does. When experienced, this sensation is not overwhelming or out of control in anyway but simply remains as something that the tripper is constantly aware of. If sexual activities of any kind are engaged in, they are found to be immensely more pleasurable beyond anything that could be possible sober, with orgasm becoming difficult to reach but completely possible to attain. If orgasm is reached, it is consistently accompanied by an incredibly intense and overpowering but hilariously irrelevant, visual explosion of completely non sexual imagery, hallucinations and geometric forms.
In terms of the physical discomfort experienced on this substance, mild to extreme nausea is commonly reported when consumed in moderate to high dosages and either passes instantly once the tripper has vomited or gradually fades by itself as the peak sets in.
The thought patterns and mental processes triggered by 2C-E consist of two different styles of head space that depend entirely on the setting. These manifest themselves as psychedelic introspection when taken alone and an entactogenic sociability when taken with others. Its entactogenic effects are a little weaker and less sharp than those found on substances such as MDMA but can be described as general feelings of,
- Increased sociability and feelings of communication being easy or simple
- Increased urge to communicate with others
- Increased empathy and feelings of closeness or connection with others
- Reduced insecurity, defensiveness, and fear of emotional injury
These effects may be weaker in comparison to classical entactogens such as MDMA, but are still strong enough to provide a specific set of positive and therapeutic changes in perception that can last from weeks to a lifetime after the experience. If substances such as Mushrooms and LSD are exclusively for solving personal problems, 2C-E can be just as useful for solving interpersonal problems as well.
This is done through inducing strong feelings of love, and empathy for the people around you, making it useful for mending pre-existing emotional disputes and reinventing the bonds between friendships and romantic partners. This allows people to truly express their emotions and understand the perspectives of other people whilst maintaining full control over their actions.
The introspective effects of 2C-E are present but not quite as profound or as sharp as similar states of personal problem solving found on LSD and Mushrooms. However, they are considerably more intense anything found with 2C-I. They generally manifest themselves only when the tripper is alone, as the urge to socialize with others seems to suppress and overwhelm it in the company of other people. This state can be described as distinct levels of accelerated thought that consistently direct themselves towards an unbiased analysis of the self and ones actions, leading people to therapeutic and mentally beneficial changes in their perspective on themselves and the world around them.
These two separate states are both accompanied by feelings of emotional euphoria and happiness. In positive settings, it consistently triggers involuntary smiling and an increased sense of humour but otherwise relatively normal thought processes, meaning that 2C-E doesn’t impair judgment as deeply as do many other psychedelics with otherwise-similar effects.
2C-E can also produce distortions in the user’s perception of the passage of time leading to an illusion of moderate to extreme time dilation. This feels as if it stems from the fact that during a 2C-E trip, such huge amounts of experience are packed into extremely short periods of time in comparison to normal sober living.
The visuals attributed to 2C-E visuals follow a specific style which can be described as sharp, clean, angular and somehow digital, synthetic looking geometry, with bright and vivid colours. They are signifigantly more powerful when a person is by themselves and very comparable to LSD in terms of their stylistic appearance but slightly less intricate and come with a style of movement and structure that is more comparable to Mushrooms. The visuals are fast moving and change by means of flowing, swirling and morphing into themselves to create new and constantly changing geometric forms. These visuals are very high in structure, spontaneously morphing into comprehensible forms and hallucinatory objects or imagery made of a condensed closed eye visual based material. As the visuals increase proportional to dosage, they eventually give way to level 6A psychedelic visuals and feelings of experiencing everything within the entire universe all at once.
The distortions found within 2C-E are significantly smoother and more believable looking in comparison to 2C-I, with a level of generic psychedelic clarity that is completely on par with LSD or mushrooms but are much less likely to distort the environment beyond recognition even at higher doses.
The hallucinations and imagery can become extremely prevalent when a person is by themselves without external influence. They seem to fit and follow the rhythm of a person’s thought patterns, stemming from an initial ability to visualize concepts within the minds eye with a great sense of clarity. This eventually increases until a persons thought stream is manifested in front of them in a bizarre psychedelic fashion that the tripper has a great sense of partial control over. As dosage increases further, these are eventually capable of manifesting themselves as vivid hallucinatory scenarios such as contact with autonomous entities, imagined landscapes and scenarios.
2C-E’s distortion of sound is quite profound and produces more auditory enhancements, effects, distortions and hallucinations than any other psychedelic which I have come across. The auditory distortions include the flanging of sounds, echoing and pitch shifting. The auditory hallucinations can be described as the perceived synthesis of new sounds not derived from one’s immediate environment, such as phasers, scraping, drilling, and popping. Most of the more unusual distortions of sound are only experienced after the ingestion (or, rarely, insufflation) of high doses.
This is accompanied by a powerful enhancement of auditory perception. Resulting in noise suddenly becoming extremely loud, clear and crisp. Something which triggers levels of increased music appreciation that are once again completely on par with LSD. This is experienced in the form of music sounding “wider” and a profound ability to comprehend every single piece of noise throughout each separate layer of complex songs in a level of detail that is simply not possible sober. The profound sensation of being able to fully understand the emotional intent of the music being listened to is also present, resulting in states of ecstatic euphoria and mental involvement when this drug is combined with any enjoyable music of a tripper’s personal preference.
Health effects, potential addiction and tolerance:
The toxicity and long term health effects of recreational 2C-E use does not seem to have been studied in any scientific context and the exact toxic dosage is unknown. This is because 2C-E is a research chemical with very little history of human usage. Anecdotal evidence from people who have tried 2C-E within the psychedelic community suggests that there are no negative health effects attributed to simply trying this drug at low to moderate doses or using it very sparingly but nothing can be completely guaranteed.
The biggest danger with this substance seems to be confusing it with other more potent psychedelics such as Bromo-DragonFLY as 2CE which is active in the 200 - 800 micrograms range. This means that it is roughly as potent as LSD and extremely dangerous if taken in place of 2C-E, which has resulted in fatal overdoses on multiple separate occasions thanks to accidental mislabelling of bags from research chemical vendors. There are cases in the media of people ordering 2-CE, among other research chemicals, from online vendors, and receiving Bromo-DragonFLY instead.
2C-E does not seem to physically addictive but could potentially become habit-forming as there is no real tolerance attributed to this drug, meaning that it could potentially be used multiple days in a row if somebody chose to do so. This can be prevented by manually limiting your usage of the drug and is practically unheard of, with most users noting that the desire to use them can actually decrease with use thanks to its powerfully introspective and mentally therapeutic effects.
- As of July 9, 2012, in the United States 2C-E is a Schedule I substance under the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, making possession, distribution and manufacture illegal.
- As of April 8, 2007 Denmark added 2C-E to the list of Schedule I controlled substances.
- New Zealand has a catch-all Analogues section in Schedule 3 / Class C of their drug laws that makes 2C-E a Schedule 3 compound.
- In Sweden, 2C-E has been controlled since Oct 1, 2004.
- As of 2002, 2C-E is illegal in the United Kingdom and a Class A controlled substance under The Misuse of Drugs Act.
Else where in the world, it is completely legal. If you want to try 2C-E despite full knowledge of the legal risks it can be purchased online through various research chemical vendors of which I cannot legally mention the names of. This means that if you want to do this, you will have to find a source for yourself using the power of Google search.
In conclusion, I was extremely impressed with 2C-E and it exceeded my expectations many times over. I was originally expecting a poor man’s LSD with psychedelic visuals but no true hallucinatory states. Instead I found myself with a substance that is more comparable to mushrooms and extremely useful for both psychonautical exploration and recreational activities such as raves, festivals and parties for those who are already experienced with the substance. It is even useful when taken at very low sub threshold dosages as a motivating background stimulant as I actually wrote this entire article on approximately 0.07mg and it genuinely helped me keep the words flowing and to maintain a strong sense of focus.
Alexander Shulgin has been quoted as saying
“Someday, the full character of 2C-E will be understood, but for the moment, let it rest as being a difficult and worth-while material. A very much worth-while material.”
This is a statement which I completely agree with and I genuinely hope that this article has contributed to increasing the psychedelic community’s understanding of this fascinating substance.
Over the upcoming months I will definitely be slowly working my through Shulgin’s magical half-dozen (which can be found here) and documenting each of their subjective effects in as much detail as human English will possibly allow me to.
Psychedelic exposure to the inner mechanics of human consciousness and its relationship to states of unity and interconnectedness
I am writing this article to formally categorize a previously undocumented component of the psychedelic experience and the information which it has revealed. Until recently, my own research had resulted in visuals being broken down into six basic levels, which are described in detail on this page here. Generally speaking, these levels start with fleeting motions, patterns and colours. These eventually lead onto indescribably complex and fast moving colourful geometric patterns, capable of becoming so all encompassing that they begin to block out the entirety of the external environment. The sixth and final level is a state in which every point across your brain feels like it has become interconnected with every other point. You suddenly find your self in an overwhelming state that can only be described as becoming and being able to feel every single thing within the entire universe all at once. This is manifested in the form of an infinite ocean of non-euclidean geometry that can be felt at every single point of detail across itself. Contained within it are innately understood geometric representations of every single concept and neurological structure within the subconscious mind.
Recent experiences with mushrooms and 4-AcO-DMT however have lead me to the conclusion that there is not one singular pinnacle of the psychedelic experience and that a state of equal intensity exists along side it. It seems that depending on subtle environmental factors and the psychedelic consumed, visuals are capable of forking off into two separate versions of their highest level. The deciding factor between the two options appears to be almost random, meaning that from this point forward, level 6 visuals will be separated into two distinct categories.
The first being level 6a - exposure to the entirety of your neurological structure, described above and commonly found on more stimulating psychedelics such as LSD and the 2Cx family.
The second being level 6b - exposure to the inner mechanics of human consciousness. A state which is commonly found on more sedating, hallucinatory psychedelics such as mushrooms or 4-AcO-DMT.
Once psychedelic visuals have reached their final stage, at level 6a or b, they begin to become structured and organized in a way that that presents genuine information to its tripper far beyond the preceding five levels. This is done through the experience of innately understood geometric representations that feel as though they depict specific concepts and neurological components that exist within the brain. This is done in such a way that the concepts can be seen embedded within your closed or open eye visual field whilst simultaneously felt through a physical sensation at every point of detail across itself.
It can be described as the profound feeling of becoming completely detached from the external environment and/or self and falling into a place that is universally interpreted by anybody who undergoes the experience as “the inner workings of the universe”. This is a place that feels as if you have literally entered the very source of existence, with the underlying programming of reality and the true nature of our consciousness presenting itself to you in the most incomprehensible manner. I have been aware of this state for a number of months but it has taken me a total of eight separate extremely high dose trips as well as the participation and input of others to even begin to formulate my words in a way that is logically consistent, comprehensive and understandable to both myself and other people. In order to do this, I will have to break this new component down into its two main sub categories and describe them separately in as much detail as human English will allow.
Becoming the organization and structure of the conscious mind,
At the lower end of level 6b visuals, the experience manifests itself as a new found and consistent ability to feel and see the organization and structure of your current thought stream. This is presented to trippers in the form of a fast moving and infinite web or network of visuals that branch off of each other in a level of organization and intricacy far beyond any possible arrangement that could be experienced within the external physical world.
The ever shifting network follows the pace and rhythm of your internal dialogue perfectly. This creates and manifests new connections in a way that is both physically felt through a powerful sensation and seen embedded within your visual field every time any piece of new insight or knowledge.
This vast network of visuals contains within it, an innately understood, thought stream relevant, geometric representations of specific and abstract concepts embedded into each and every one of the connecting points across itself. The experience of these innately readable geometric representations triggers the mind’s eye to envision the concept perfectly on an internal visual field which exists separately from this one.
Becoming the organization and structure of the subconscious mind,
At the higher end of level 6b visuals, the experience manifests itself as a new found and consistent ability to physically feel, see and become one with the architecture of the subconscious mind. This is presented to trippers in the form of extremely vast and complex, self transforming geometric mechanisms which are immediately interpreted by anybody who undergoes the experience as the inner workings of the universe or reality. This is a state that is capable of bestowing specific pieces of information onto trippers regarding the nature of reality and human consciousness through the simple experience of them. These specific pieces of information are always immediately felt and understood to be a profound unveiling of an undeniable truth at the time, but usually found to be ineffable afterwards; due to the limitations of human English, or nonsensical due to the disorientation of the accompanying ego death, memory loss and hallucinations.
Occasionally however, genuine lessons or coherent messages are innately interpreted through the experience of becoming and descending down into the subconscious faculties of the brain. It’s extremely important to note however that the scientific validity of these lessons is very uncertain and should never be accepted as fact. Every good skeptic knows that anecdotal evidence is next to worthless in terms of the physical data it provides simply, because it is impossible to distinguish between which details are fact and which are hearsay. However, this should never prevent us from acknowledging the importance that these things need to be discussed and explored on a much greater level than we as a society are currently pursuing. This makes these experiences a very good indicator of the direction that future legitimate scientific research and studies should be taking themselves into.
It’s here in this article that I am going to explain some of the specific insights regarding existence and consciousness that have been gained through myself, my girlfriend and a close friend journeying into these states and documenting the experience through means of written interviews and audio recordings in order to make sense of it.
I honestly do not understand any of this myself. They are always felt to be undeniable “truths” at the time but we should not lose sight of the fact that we are deliberately ingesting drugs which trigger imagined hallucinations. I do not claim any position of authority regarding the truth of anything that I am about to tell you. So please keep in mind that I possess no academic credentials whatsoever and have already told you on multiple occasions to disregard everything that I say. I am simply describing and documenting our personal experiences which may well be profound truths or could perhaps simply be the product of hallucinatory delusions undergone by a small group of teenagers on various psychedelic drugs, resulting in unusually elaborate stoner talk.
The first of these so called “truths” and the least important of them, was revealed in the form of being presented with and becoming the mechanisms behind an internal neurological drive which encourages a suspicion of or belief and reverence for a higher system of order than our day to day lives. This is something that was shown to have manifested itself throughout all of human history and culture in a huge variety of religions and superstitious beliefs, existing as an integral part of our psyche, simply because it is an evolutionary advantage in terms of motivation and survival for our lives to be put into this sort of context.
The second of these “truths” was being presented with or shown the true mechanisms behind the brain’s decision making process in any given situation. This clearly showed that the ego, and the internal thought stream which it generates, is an after product of our subconscious’s decision making processes and not in anyway the true director of it. Our current thought stream, emotions, perception of the world, sense of the present situation and what we are doing is being generated instantaneously on a subconscious level as a direct result of our current sensory input. With the ego simply being the experience of the thoughts and decisions after they have already been generated and not something which is capable of controlling itself or any other decision which we make.
The psychedelic and geometric unveiling of this “truth” resulted in the feeling that the human organism is just a complex and immediate chemical reaction to the sensory input fed into us through the external environment. Leading onto the feeling that objects within the external environment which you choose to interact with, pull you towards them as an instant reaction to their presence in a very powerful way, instead of your ego consciously deciding the actions that it is going to perform in advance.
This creates the sensation that we as human beings are comprised of multiple interdependent systems, which all direct themselves and each other as whole. Not a system which is governed by an intrinsically separate and central command centre which our egos have all been raised into thinking that they are.
The third of these apparent “truths” which multiple people throughout my immediate social circle have undergone on several separate occasions has already been documented towards the end of this page here. It has been named as states of unity and interconnectedness, a universally experienced component that is not consistently triggered every time somebody undergoes an appropriately high dose trip. Instead, it occurs spontaneously within people who are currently undergoing states of psychedelic exposure to the inner mechanics of human consciousness and seemingly triggered by very subtle environmental factors of which I do not yet currently understand the relationship between.
In terms of how this state subjectively feels, it begins by stemming from what feels like an awakening or the lifting of a great illusion that is deeply embedded within the human psyche. An illusion that feels as if it is in place to keep human beings feeling as if they are intrinsically separate from and more significant or important than, the external environment. It feels as if it exists due to the strong evolutionary need to keep a person’s perspective on the world as one that prioritizes the needs of the self over the needs of the external, as a means of ensuring the motivation for survival.
The psychedelic disintegration of this apparent illusion is commonly described as a loss of perceived boundaries between the physical body and the external environment, giving the profound sensation that you can no longer understand where your physical body ends and the external environment begins. Our central centre of self with which we identify as “ourselves” is at this point, revealed to be illusory and not any single component of our being, such as the ego, the brain as a whole or even the body in its entirety. Instead, the central centre of self with which we identify with becomes no single component of existence but all of it in its entirety, creating the sudden undeniable perspective that you are literally the entire universe experiencing itself and performing actions onto itself through the very specific point of space and time which your ego happens to reside in. The ego or self as separate from external systems of behaviour is felt to be an elaborate fabrication, that the skin is not what separates us from the universe but what connects us to it. This is a feeling that when experienced is immediately and universally understood to be an undeniable truth by anybody who undergoes it.
I am honestly still trying to wrap my head around this specific mental component and do not feel that I have come close to understanding it or processing its consequences. My current level of experience only allows me to describe the feeling of it and not in anyway the logic behind it.
Similar notions of unity seem to be discussed heavily in Buddhism, Eastern mysticism, Gnosticism, Monism, Non-duality and Alan Watts lectures, as well as basic molecular biology and physics, not to mention various trip reports across the internet that all describe sensations of “becoming one with the universe”.
I somehow feel that this will one day become the default perspective through which humans beings look at the world. In my opinion, this is by far the most profound mental component of the psychedelic experience.
Once a tripper begins to sober up and come down the sensation is usually shown to be non permanent and reduced to something that is understood through logic, but not felt. On rare occasions however, it does seem to become a fully grounded and uncontrollable perspective that can last anywhere from weeks to a lifetime after the trip. This creates obvious and powerful changes in personality that result in a completely selfless perspective which values the well being of the external as on par with the importance of the ego.
The above descriptions are based on very specific experiences and trips which me and my immediate social circle have undergone. As for the “truths” which were experienced, we have actually been through several but these are the only ones which could be adequately explained so far. I am certain that there are many more to experience and will repeatedly enter the inner mechanics of human consciousness over the upcoming months, increasing my dosage and pushing my brain to its very limits.
It’s important to note that currently, only one of these truths can be known for certain to be a universally experienced component, which is states of unity and interconnectedness. The profoundness and intensity of which is making it genuinely difficult not to get carried with mysticism and irrational beliefs. Even as a skeptical atheist, undergoing the experience of what feels like an internally embedded, chemically induced religion that has existed within human beings all along is extremely fascinating because it does not feel like an irrational perspective in any way. It consistently results in a general reverence and profound sense of awe for higher systems of order which transcends superstitious beliefs and has become so powerfully strong that I literally couldn’t ignore it if I tried. Despite the fact that it is still very difficult for me to pinpoint and explain in any adequate way to those who are not familiar with the experience.
When the importance of psychedelics is finally recognized and psychonautics becomes a legitimate field of science, I am certain that we will learn more about human consciousness and our place in the universe than many people ever suspected possible. This is getting to the point where we can begin to figure out the mechanics of human consciousness from the inside, instead of from above, which is currently the only scientific approach. The same difference between looking at a planet through a telescope and sending a manned mission to explore its surface.
If you have any personal experiences with this state or disagree with anything that I have said, there is now a section below each article which allows you to comment and provide your input, which I strongly encourage as I am extremely interested in hearing what others have to say for purposes of coming to a greater understanding of these ineffable states.
The DXM and DPH combination, broken down and described
Onset : 30 - 120 minutes
Duration : 4 - 8 hours
Low : 250mg / 250mg
Medium : 300mg / 300mg
Strong : 350mg / 350mg
Heavy : 400mg / 400mg
This article is going to serve as a complete breakdown and categorization for the consistent subjective effects that are induced across all people who undergo the DXM and DPH combination experience. This is something that I am writing because, although there are an infinite amount of possible drug combinations, almost all of them simply induce the effects of the two separate drugs on top of each other in a very predictable manner. However, these two substances do just the opposite of that, producing a very unique synergy when taken together, potentiating the positive aspects of the other substance whilst simultaneously suppressing its negative side effects; all with distinct visual and hallucinatory effects that are found on neither of these substances when taken on their own.
If you are not familiar with the effects or chemistry of either of these substances, you can learn in detail about DXM by clicking here, along with a similar analysis and breakdown of the DPH trip right here.
The body high of this combination is that of a mild glow that encompasses the body, with a tingling sensation at the ends of the fingers and toes. It is a relaxing and a completely lethargic state felt alongside the sensation that gravity has increased itself in intensity many times over, resulting in an unnaturally heavy body and consistently causing trippers to want to lay down on a comfortable spot and avoid engaging in any physical activities.
Since this is accompanied by feelings of dehydration and dry mouth, it is important for trippers to try and remember to consistently take small sips of water throughout the duration of the experience.
As a user increases their dosage, physical detachment and dissociation begins to take its toll and the body high is slowly taken over by a decrease in tactile input, along with a feeling of numbness and disconnection, which is eventually capable of becoming completely anaesthetic-like in its effects. This can be described as starting out with sensations of being somehow physically removed from the body, physical autonomy and a proportional lack of motor control. In terms of mobility this combination results in more than a simple lack of motor control and spatial awareness, creating a hilariously strange and robotic style of movement in its users every single time they try to walk or perform basic movements. This is a style of movement known by the dissociative community as the “Robo Walk”.
The greatest thing about the physical effects of taking DXM and DPH in a combination is the way in which they both lessen the negative side effects of the other substance. For example, thanks to DPH’s nausea suppressing abilities, this combination is significantly less likely to make you feel like you desperately need to vomit than simply taking DXM by itself. In return, DXM’s dissociating and anesthetic like qualities have an extremely positive effect on the unbearably strong physical dysphoria which DPH is infamous for. This completely eliminates the muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, restless leg syndrome, extreme dehydration and occasionally irregular heart beat experienced when DPH is tried simply by itself. This allows the unique delirium, hallucinations and visual effects of the DPH experience to become much more accessible to your average person.
The thought patterns of a typical DPH + DXM trip are characterized by that of a general sense of detachment and dissociation, accompanied by delirium and a partial to complete loss of ability to reason or think rationally.
As a user increases their dosage, mental detachment begins to take its toll and any thoughts present within the brain are slowly taken over by bizarre mental states of dissociation. These can be described at lower levels as feelings of detachment from the external environment, making the world seem as if it were being watched through a TV, a dream or just intrinsically unreal in some way. This creates feelings of being mentally withdrawn from the environment, allowing people to look at their lives from an almost third person perspective.
Alongside this, an inability to process basic information becomes present, with trippers finding themselves in states of confusion, disorientation and mild paranoia. They are often unable to process basic things such as language or events that are happening around them, resulting in the unique effect of trippers speaking in nonsensical and meaningless statements with unusually sinister undertones or complete gibberish with no decipherable words of any sort.
As the detachment increases proportional to the dosage consumed, the mind becomes sedated and the ego becomes severely suppressed and inhibited, eventually resulting in ego death. This impairs cognitive functioning and suppresses the short term memory until it begins to struggle or become completely incapable of holding onto a normal thought for any length of time. This is an effect that is worsened by this combination. Large amounts of amnesia and memory loss are experienced, with trips often becoming forgotten completely or only remembered in short snippets, even immediately after they’re over. This happens in much the same way that our dreams are almost always forgotten and rarely remembered in their entirety.
In terms of the mentally dysphoric effects that are usually experienced when DPH is taken by itself, the universal experience of extreme paranoia, panic, depression, agitation, nervousness and feelings of impending doom seem to be completely suppressed when combined with DXM. This results in a trip that is almost completely devoid of overwhelmingly bad vibes whilst still maintaining a somehow sinister or other worldly and nightmarish theme to it.
The visuals and distortions experienced during a DPH and DXM combination trip are surprisingly psychedelic in places, despite the fact that this trip is technically classed as a dissociating and delirious state, not a psychedelic one.
In terms of the specific style of visuals, they can be described as indescribably complex and intricate webs of ever shifting geometric forms which are very slow in their movements when compared to visuals experienced with traditional psychedelics such as LSD or Mushrooms. It has a colour scheme which is dark in its palette and somehow ominous or sinister in its appearance and style. They manifest themselves in a traditional psychedelic manner when the eyes are closed but appear as static, unmoving shapes and geometry which the external environment morphs into when the eyes are open and looking at any single point, always resetting once the person double takes. This is an unusual visual effect because both dissociative and psychedelic visuals do not do this, instead preferring to manifest themselves as a fast moving and flat translucent veil across the visual field which cannot be interacted with.
The distortions and alterations of open eye perception experienced on this combination are once again, surprisingly psychedelic in comparison to either of these substances when taken by themselves. The external environment begins to generally morph, melt, bend, flow and shift in an extremely fluid fashion. This has a distinctive indescribable style to it, with a large amount of blurriness, as well as significantly less detail and clarity when compared to the distortions found within LSD and Mushrooms.
Another distinct visual effect which I have not found on any substance besides this very specific combination is a distortion which exclusively effects textures. This causes textures to become 3-Dimensional, rising up out of the surface which they reside upon in a strangely intricate and static fashion that looks similar in appearance to condensed, mostly opaque and coloured smoke.
None of the above effects however, although many in number and intense experience wise are the focus of this trip when this combination is taken at anything above low doses. At moderate to high doses the trip becomes completely dominated by extremely detailed and vivid delirious hallucinatory states. These are unique in that they offer solid hallucinations which display themselves seamlessly into waking consciousness and the external environment like fully formed dreams or delusions. In contrast, classical psychedelics and dissociatives have progressive levels of multiple all-encompassing sensory effects, before reaching the level of concrete hallucination. It’s only with delirium that you can experience solid hallucinations of people, objects, forms, creatures, etc within and interacting with your external environment. As these increase in vividness and detail in a way that is proportional to dosage, they start with extremely detailed transformations of existing objects but eventually become all encompassing alternate realities and imagined landscapes of infinite possibility.
When experienced, these hallucinations are always believed to be real in much the same way that we happily accept the logic defying and nonsensical plots to our dreams. This is an unavoidable factor of delirium that can for obvious reason, go wrong if somebody perceives a negative or scary hallucination, which causes them to injure themselves or the people around them. This means that serious precautions have to be taken before anybody even considers undergoing a trip such as this.
Although this is not an experience that I wish to repeat on any sort of regular basis, the DXM and DPH combination is an extremely fascinating one, making delirium accessible to me in a way that DPH on its own never could. This is something that is owed purely to its horribly dysphoric physical and mental effects. This combination should never be taken by beginners and is not for the faint hearted, due to its very sinister undertones in its hallucinations and general vibe of the trip. If you want to try this drug however, both substances are freely available and unscheduled throughout every country in the world and easily accessible through the power of google search. Keep in mind however that neither of these drugs are 100% physically safe, especially when taken repeatedly on a regular basis. You’ll need to do some independent research on both of these substances before you even consider trying an experience such as this.
A direct comparison between Psychedelic and Dissociative ego death
Although certain pieces of information on this article have been written about before, this article is going to serve as a direct comparison for the two differing states of ego death found at the highest possible level of hallucination on both psychedelics and dissociatives. I am hoping that once this article has been written a formal distinction will truly be be drawn between the two.
To make things as clear as possible however, I should first define for people what exactly the ego is and what purpose it serves before I go into breaking down the base components that comprise these two states .
Put simply, the ego is a human being’s sense of self or “I” as intrinsically separate from and somehow more important than the external environment. It is essentially a person’s consciousness or ability to be self aware, as fueled by the constant internal dialogue that we call our thoughts.
Ego death is defined by the psychedelic community as any total suppression or loss of a person’s sense of self. It is something that occurs at both high dose dissociative and psychedelic experiences, as well as in every day life; since natural sleep, passing out drunk, general unconsciousness or death can all technically be classed as forms of ego death. However, the clear cut distinction between hallucinogen induced ego death and other more commonly experienced forms is that sensory input is not maintained through deep sleep or normal unconsciousness. Psychedelics and dissociatives on the other hand, both offer differing versions of the same experience that universally becomes triggered during these states and is perceived through all of the senses.
In terms of the thought patterns and general mental processes, dissociative and psychedelic ego death are very similar in a number of ways. Both capable of being broken down into 3 basic levels.
- Ego suppression - Partial failure of a persons short term memory. Something that can be described as a general increase in distractibility, loss of focus and an increasing inability to process anything outside of the present moment.
- Ego loss - Complete failure of a persons short term memory. Something that can be described as a person becoming being completely incapable of remembering any specific details regarding the present situation for more than a second or two. Resulting in disorientation, thought loops and confusion for the inexperienced. Long term memory however remains almost entirely intact, with people still being perfectly capable of recollecting their name, date of birth, childhood school, etc.
- Ego death - Complete failure of a persons long term memory. Something that can be described as a person becoming completely incapable of remembering any basic fundamental human concept that is stored within the long term memory. Including your name, who you are, the fact that you are on drugs, what human beings are, what life is, what existence is or what anything is. Giving the profound experience that there is no longer an “I” experiencing the intensity of the trip anymore, there is just the trip as it is and by itself.
So it’s not the ego loss in itself that differs between psychedelics and dissociatives. What differs between them, are the consistent hallucinatory experiences that they are accompanied by, both of which share many common visual characteristics with each other whilst simultaneously being worlds apart, the base components of which I will now begin to break down and describe…
Psychedelic ego death:
The final and most profound stage of psychedelic visuals (level 6) is usually the very thing which triggers ego death during a psychedelic experience. This is most likely because of the sheer perceptual and sensory overload experienced during these states, something that occurs only once the trip has reached a level of intensity in which the environment has become completely replaced with visuals. As the visuals reach their highest possible level, the mind suddenly feels as if every point within the brain has become completely interconnected with every other point, leaving the tripper under the overwhelming sensation that they are experiencing or becoming everything within the universe all at once. This is something that can be described as an infinite sea of geometry, concepts and fractals that is always perceived to contain within it, all of existence, all that there ever was and all that there ever will be. A vast ocean of mind that is not just seen in front of the eyes but physically felt through each of the senses in an incomprehensible level of detail on every single point across itself. The experience is immediately perceived by everybody who undergoes it to be “the universe”, or at least “everything”.
At its lower levels, this effect is something that fluctuates wildly, pulling trippers in and out of the room in a fashion that many find extremely disorientating. Instead of remaining constant and static it is triggered by the experience of a concept. For example if somebody were to say the word “internet” to a person who is currently in this state, they would see the mind’s concept of the internet immediately manifested in a perfectly fitting geometric form. This is a form that quickly branches out from itself like some sort of ineffable spider diagram, enveloping the concepts which you associate with the internet and then branching out to include the concepts you associate with those. This spreads out exponentially and within 2 - 3 seconds, quickly grows in a sudden flash to include every single stored concept within the entire universe. The tripper is completely disconnected from their external environment before they are re-stacked back into the room, until something triggers the process again, usually immediately. Trippers are snapped in and out of the room repeatedly as the process is triggered continuously.
It can to a certain extent however, be held at bay through continuous physical movement, stopping the process from branching out into everything by not giving it the time it needs to lock onto a concept.
As dosage is increased however the process becomes easier and easier to trigger whilst extending in length and duration, eventually resulting in a stable state of complete disconnection from the external environment and a lasting sense of oneness with the universe.
In terms of a specific description of the thought patterns and mental processes found throughout this state, beyond the simple memory loss experienced during psychedelic ego death, the experience is capable of triggering a unique array of mental hallucinations, delusional scenarios and false memories throughout the duration of the trip that are in a completely different class from that of standard psychedelic hallucinations. These are not the familiar dream like states, imagined landscapes and contact with entirely imagined autonomous entities that play out in front of your eyes as they happen in a format similar to a dream or a film. These are extremely detailed yet false memories of the current situation or scenario that a person is already in and what has already happened to them. This varies wildly in its limitless number of different manifestations but generally follows two different routes depending on the trippers outlook and perspective on the world in day to day life.
For positive, well balanced people it results in scenarios with themes of transcendence and overwhelming religious or spiritual undertones that occur regardless of the trippers theistic beliefs. Feelings that your entire life has building up to the present moment, which is historically significant for all of humanity and that nothing is ever going to be the same are extremely common. People will also often believe that they have learned a reality shattering secret. A secret which once a person has sobered up is either realized to be untranslatable into human English or lost forever to the winds of short term memory loss.
On the other hand however, unprepared, negative or mentally unstable people who undergo states of extreme psychedelic ego loss tend to find themselves in delusional paranoid scenarios that have genuine potential to cause somebody to harm themselves or others. These scenarios could be literally anything but generally seem to share a few extremely common plot elements, such as:
- Thinking you are going insane.
- Thinking you are going to die.
- Thinking the people around you are “out to get you”.
- Thinking you have done something wrong.
- Thinking you are somehow tripping wrong.
- Being absolutely convinced that something is very very wrong with the situation but being unable to explain what your point is when asked because you never had one in the first place.
It’s worth noting however that with time and repeated exposure to states of ego death, as a person becomes familiar with the state and it is no longer confusing or disorientating for them, the false memories decrease in frequency and intensity until they are simply not present. Even ego death can eventually become familiar and normal to a person. So it’s my personal experience with these states that has led me to theorize that they stem directly from the person’s complete lack of short term memory and resulting inability to keep track of anything that is happening around them. It seems as if a person’s sense of the present situation, who they are, where they are, what they are doing, etc is generated instantaneously on a subconscious level as a result of our current sensory input with or without the ego. The ego seems to simply steer and direct the process with its reasoning abilities and a normally functioning short term memory, the loss of which results in the subconscious taking over, completely unconstrained and unable to reason, coming to wildly inaccurate conclusions through extremely distorted and incomplete data. Please keep in mind however, that I have no idea what I’m talking about and have nothing to cite besides my personal experience.
Dissociative ego death:
In terms of its thought patterns and mental processes, dissociative ego death is much more simplistic than those that are found on psychedelic ego death, stemming from their pharmacological ability to disconnect the brains neurons from each other, creating feelings of dissociation, detachment and disconnection from the external environment, then the body and eventually the self. It’s here at the highest level of dissociation (level 4) that ego death occurs and people find themselves without any sense of self. Constrained entirely to the present, due to ego deaths characteristic loss of short term memory but still maintaining awareness of the sensory input that their trip is producing to accompany it. Separated not only from their own sense of self, but their body and external environment as well, causing you to be pulled into a place outside of reality.
This is a place which can only be described as floating through a dark and infinite void, generally accompanied by a monolithic structure floating above, below or in front of you as it gradually zooms, rotates or pans into focus and is unveiled before your eyes at a slow pace. Structures can take any static and comprehensible shape possible but are commonly experienced as vast spires, pillars, blocks, teardrops, wheels and pyramids that are often fractal in nature and occasionally made from materials that look real such as stone or metal. They alternate between each other by morphing in a comprehensible, consistent way or by panning and rotating out of view until another structure takes its place.
As a tripper’s dosage increases, the level of detail in which these structures are seen and felt increases proportionally. This continues until the sensation of seeing the entire universe condensed into an infinitely vast and intricate self transforming machine form becomes present, accompanied by the sudden realization that you are the structure that you are staring down upon and that the structure is also you. In terms of its appearance, this state is even harder for me to describe than psychedelic ego death, despite the fact that it is definitely a less complex experience. The structure can take any form but usually appear to be consistently shaped machine-like structures or clouds that are infinite in size and felt at every point of detail across itself. This is immediately interpreted through some sort of innate instinct as “the universe” or at least, “everything” by everybody who undergoes the experience.
It’s worth noting however that, although this state is just as likely to cause a bad trip in the unprepared as a psychedelic experience, people who are undergoing a level 4 dissociative trip are by its very definition completely disconnected from their own body, making them significantly less likely to move around, bringing themselves or others around them to harm.
So put extremely simply, psychedelic ego death will cause you to become the entire universe while dissociative ego death will cause you to fly over the entire universe, leading me to believe that both of these states have enormous historical significance that is still being severely overlooked by science and society in general.
Regardless of its visual effects which are not even necessarily present every single time somebody experiences these states. The sensation of ego death can be both disorienting or amazing. It is in my opinion the most intense experience a human being can possibly go through, leaving the unprepared and the unstable in states of panic, confusion and paranoia. These stem from the fact if you do not have a healthy subconscious, and you release it from the constraints of the rational ego, the true nature of a person’s mind becomes manifest. For those who are stable and prepared however, the experience of ego death can be extremely liberating, allowing people to experience the immediate sensation of being as an organism devoid of a constant internal commentary through their biased and cultured thought stream.
If you want to experience ego death for yourself but feel that you may not be ready, the only advice I can really give you is to learn to let go and give in. Never trip in a negative state of mind and do not under any circumstances try to fight, control or understand the experience, as to do so is to trigger a bad trip.
DXM, broken down and described
Light : 100 - 200 mg
Common : 200 - 400 mg
Strong : 300 - 600 mg
Heavy : 600 - 900 mg
Risk of Death : 900 - 20,000 mg
Duration : 4 - 8 hours
DXM or Dextromethorphan is an antitussive (cough suppressant) drug. It is one of the active ingredients in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, including Robitussin, Delsym, Benylin and others, including many generic labels. It is a dissociative hallucinogen of the Morphinan chemical class with multiple mechanisms of action. These include actions of a nonselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, inhibiting the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin even after it has performed its function of transmitting a neural impulse, essentially allowing it to accumulate and be reused, causing physically euphoric effects. It is also a sigma-1 receptor agonist, allowing for its antitussive effects, and the action of its major metabolite dextrorphan as an NMDA receptor antagonist, essentially blocking the connections between neurons and creating for its dissociative effects. Instead of acting as a direct antagonist of the NMDA receptor itself, Dextromethorphan is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and converted into the active metabolite dextrorphan in the liver; a metabolite that is nearly 10 times more potent and the true mediator of this substance’s dissociative effects.
It was first patented and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1954 and subsequently sold as an over-the-counter cough suppressant in 1958, with the first record of its recreational use dating back to 1962.
Although it is often considered to be a “kiddie drug” by many people within the online drug community, to me it is without doubt, visually on par with all of the other commonly used dissociatives such as Ketamine, MXE and PCP, and an extremely powerful substance. It takes its users to impossibly deep states of detachment and rich hallucinations, the base components of which I will begin to break down and describe now…
The body high of DXM is that of a euphoric glow that encompasses the body and is accompanied by a tingling sensation at the ends of the fingers and toes. At higher doses the overall sensation increases proportionally and is capable of becoming physically euphoric. It is incredibly relaxing and results in a mostly lethargic state, consistently causing trippers to want to lay down on a comfortable spot and enjoy the trip, instead of engaging in physical activities.
As a user increases their dosage, physical detachment begins to take its toll and the body high is slowly taken over by a warm, mechanical numbness, which at higher doses is capable of becoming completely anesthetic-like in its effects. This can be described as starting out with sensations of being removed from the body, physical autonomy and a proportional lack of motor control. One of the famous characteristics of a low dose DXM trip is the way in which it causes people to move in way that the DXM community has named the “robo-walk”. This is more than a simple lack of motor control and spatial awareness but a hilariously strange and robotic style of movement that I have yet to find on any other substance.
As physical detachment continues to increase, it eventually ends with a complete disconnection from the physical senses and out of body experiences, leaving people in a conscious catatonic state.
The thought patterns of a typical DXM trip are characterized by that of a child-like sense of glee, a vastly enhanced sense of music appreciation and a bizarrely profound drunkenness.
As a user increases their dosage, mental detachment begins to take its toll and any thoughts present within the brain are slowly taken over by bizarre mental states of dissociation. These can be described at lower levels as feelings of detachment from the external environment, making the world seem as if it were being watched through a TV, a dream or just intrinsically unreal in some way.
This creates a feeling of being mentally withdrawn from the environment, allowing people to look at their lives from an almost third person perspective and analyze it without bias, surprisingly resulting in an enjoyable state of deep introspection.
As the detachment increases, the ego becomes severely suppressed and inhibited, something that eventually results in ego death. This impairs cognitive functioning and suppressing the short term memory until it begins to struggle or become completely incapable of holding onto a normal thought for any length of time.
The perspective distortions on DXM do not seem to feel particularly different from those found on other commonly used dissociatives such as MXE and Ketamine. These most commonly include Alice in Wonderland syndrome, the feeling of becoming impossibly giant or tiny in size. Changes in noise volume, sounds seeming either extremely loud or very quiet and muffled are often experienced, as well as distortions in distance, making specific objects or the entire external environment seem physically closer or further away.
At lower levels of dissociation, the visual effects of DXM are extremely simplistic and shallow, generally manifesting themselves as blurred and double vision and only becoming deep once a person has been partially or completely disconnected from their body and sensations. This results in out of body experiences in which trippers fly through a distinct and unique hallucinatory world.
This starts at lower levels with the dissociative equivalent of visuals, which for DXM, can be described as morphing geometric patterns which are super imposed onto a dark background. This doesn’t feel as though they are on a flat two dimensional veil in front of your vision as with LSD or mushrooms but instead completely surrounding and encasing your visual field. In comparison to other dissociatives such as MXE, they are extremely colourful, complex and fast moving. They only present themselves when the eyes are closed and generally seem to consist of soft round edges with a pastel colour palette and flat simplistic imagery that is usually comprised of basic shapes such as bubbles, squares and triangles.
In comparison to the classical psychedelics they are not nearly as intricate but still extremely impressive. They do not seem to increase in complexity as a person reaches higher levels of dissociation, but are instead taken over by and replaced once complete and total disconnection of the body is reached, causing trippers to slip into what is refereed to as a dissociative hole. This can be described as the sensation of silently floating through a dark and infinite void. This void is often interpreted as traveling through space or the night sky. This is usually accompanied by monolithic, solid and physical structures of a vast scale that pan, zoom or rotate into and out of view as you float above, below or inside of them. This is a common characteristic among all of the dissociatives but can be described as particularly colorful in appearance with this substance, especially when compared to the likes of other dissociatives such as MXE.
These structures take a huge variety of forms but can be described as spires, towers, tear drops, columns, cubes and shapes of any kind that are huge in size and often thousands of miles wide. They alternate between each other by morphing in a comprehensible, consistent way or by panning out of view until another structure takes its place. As a tripper’s dosage increases, the level of detail in which these structures are seen and felt increases proportionally. This continues until the sensation of seeing the entire universe is condensed into an infinitely intricate form becomes present. This is accompanied by the sudden realization that you are the structure you are staring down upon, a feeling that is so overwhelming and vast it consistently triggers complete ego death.
At this level of dissociation, hallucinatory states not unlike those found within common psychedelics come into play, these are extremely diverse imagined scenarios in which contact with autonomous entities are completely possible. They look perfectly solid in appearance and are not constructed from an incomprehensible visual based material, as with psychedelic substances such as DMT and mushrooms. Reports of memory replays are extremely common and these often overlay themselves onto the external environment in the form of people you have recently seen becoming present in your field of vision.
The afterglow is a feeling that is long lasting and as equally enjoyable as the trip itself to many people. It can be be described in terms of its physical sensation as one of euphoria, rejuvenation, relaxation and a light bounciness. In terms of its mental thought processes however, it can be described as a complete loss of anxiety, contentedness and an extremely high appreciation for music.
It’s worth noting that grapefruit juice is extremely efficient for potentiating and enhancing the DXM trip if approximately 1 glass of white grapefruit juice or more is drunk every hour throughout the day before the trip. The effects will be considerably stronger and more intense. For people who are drinking store brought syrup, this is extremely useful as it means drinking less foul syrup.
The Grapefruit juice acts on DXM by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes of the 3A and 1A groups. DXM is converted to DXO by this same enzyme, only with different groups. Therefore, with enough grapefruit juice, your overall trip should be more intense, as the DXM is converted into DXO at a faster rate.
Health effects, potential addiction and tolerance:
The biggest speculation regarding the long term health effects DXM abuse was that it may cause a form of brain damage know as Olney’s lesions or NMDA receptor antagonist neurotoxicity (NAN), due to similarities with Phencyclidine (PCP). Despite this however, studies show that in rats oral administration of dextromethorphan did not trigger Olney’s lesions in laboratory tests. Oral administration of dextromethorphan repeatedly during adolescence, however, has been shown to impair learning in those rats during adulthood.The occurrence of Olney’s lesions in humans, however, has not been proven or disproven. William E. White, author of the DXM FAQ which can be found here, has compiled informal research which can be found here from correspondence with dextromethorphan users suggesting that heavy abuse may result in various deficits corresponding to the brain areas affected by Olney’s lesions; these include loss of episodic memory, decline in ability to learn, abnormalities in some aspects of visual processing, and deficits of abstract language comprehension.
The biggest risk of DXM use is the potential accidental misuse of multi-symptom cold medications, rather than using a cough suppressant whose sole active ingredient is dextromethorphan, carries significant risk of fatality or serious illness. Multi-symptom cold medicines contain other active ingredients, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), chlorpheniramine, and phenylephrine, any of which can cause permanent bodily damage such as kidney failure, or even death, if taken on the generally-accepted recreational dosing scale of dextromethorphan.
Combining dextromethorphan with other substances can compound risks. Stimulants such as amphetamine and cocaine can both cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure and heart rate. CNS depressants such as alcohol will have a combined depressant effect, which can cause a decreased respiratory rate. Combining dextromethorphan with other serotonergic drugs such as the 2Cx family, MDMA and AMT could possibly cause serotonin toxicity, a dangerous excess of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
Dextromethorphan generally does not produce withdrawal symptoms characteristic of physically addictive substances such as alcohol or benzos, but there have been cases of psychological addiction. This is because in comparison to psychedelics such as LSD and mushrooms, DXM has no real tolerance and can be taken multiple days in a row if it is desired with tolerance only manifesting itself at different speeds within people and only through regular long term usage. This is something that can easily be prevented by manually limiting your usage of the drug.
Antitussive preparations containing dextromethorphan are legal and uncrontrolled to purchase from pharmacies in most countries, with some exceptions being Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. As of January 1, 2012, dextromethorphan is also prohibited for sale to minors in the state of California, except with a doctor’s prescription.
No legal distinction currently exists in the any part of the world besides the state of illinois between medical and recreational use, sale, or purchase. The sale of dextromethorphan in its pure powder form has incured penalties towards people in the past, although no explicit law exists prohibiting its sale or possession.
If you want to try DXM, your easiest bet is visiting your local pharmacy, supermarket or buying it in pure form online. Pure powder is cheaper and signifigantly more efficient than syrup, it can be found with a quick google search for the term “DXM powder buy”, “pure dextromephorphan buy” or other similar phrases, usually being sufficient to find a supplier in the top 3 or 4 links.
In the UK specifically, Benilyn non-drowsy cough syrup is sold behind the counter in Boots, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco’s and ASDA for under £5 with 225mg of DXM contained within every 150ml of liquid. You need to be atleast 16 years of age to purchase a bottle and they will not sell it to you if you look like an irresponsible teenager or have piercings / dyed hair.
The perfect script for casually purchasing DXM from any of these shops can be,
“so what is the difference between benilyn non-drowsy cough syrup and benilyn drowsy cough syrup?”
to which the person behind behind the counter consistently replies,
“well the drowsy cough syrup also contains diphenhydramine which will help you sleep and the non-drowsy cough syrup simply contains only one active ingredient.”
which can be replied with,
“ok great, I’ll take the non-drowsy cough syrup please.”
This simple script has worked for me and many others every single time.
In conclusion, DXM is an extremely powerful drug, capable of taking people to incredibly rich induced mystical and transcendental states. This is despite the fact that it is nothing more than the active chemical in generic over the counter cough syrup and legal in every country across the world.
Using hallucinogens responsibly and avoiding bad trips
This article is technically a repost but the previous version of this article was extremely uninformative and in need of a complete overhaul. Not to mention that I have received emails from a few different people over the past week requesting and suggesting that I dedicate a section of this website to the art of tripping responsibly and avoiding bad trips. Something that is extremely easy providing the following factors are all taken into consideration before a trip…
It is important to know the desired effects and the side effects of the substance or combination of substances that the person will be taking. There are too many to discuss here, however, there are many online resources to use for education and reference. Including whichever of my three detailed explanations of the effects attributed to psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants that is most relevant to your trip. If I’ve written a dedicated guide for your specific hallucinogen of choice, be sure to find and read it here, because if you know the exact effects of the drug, then you will know what to expect. Something that prevents confusion throughout the experience completely and significantly reduces the chances of a negative experience by a huge margin.
For further research on the effects of any substance that people are considering, a combination of Erowid and Google for information on personal trip reports, duration, pharmacology and potential adverse effects should be used.
An extremely important rule when it comes to tripping responsibly is to avoid dosages which you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with at all costs. An inexperienced tripper should always be starting at very low dosages with the goal of working their way up in small increments, as they feel comfortable doing so, trip by trip and never taking great leaps into the unknown. This method of dosage selection allows people to get a feel for the substance that they are tripping on before they dive in, minimizing the risk of an accidental negative experience enormously.
It’s also worth noting that many people naturally have tolerances to these substances so should not undershoot repeatedly or assume a substance “does not work for them” and give up if it fails to have an effect the first 2 – 3 times. A general rule to follow is that if it does not work the first time, take more next time! For information on the appropriate dosage for any hallucinogen further research should be done using a combination of both Erowid and Google.
Choosing an appropriate and safe place for a person to trip is extremely important and plays a huge factor in determining the outcome of a trip. The best place to trip for an inexperienced user is a familiar, safe and indoors environment that is completely devoid and free of certain factors which can cause a direct negative influence.
For example, on the day of your trip you should also be certain that you have nothing that needs to be done, the simplest of tasks will become incredibly difficult and sometimes stressful during even mild trips. You should be lying down and listening to music, not performing chores. This includes driving and operating heavy machinery for obvious reasons.
It’s also important to remember that people who are irrelevant to your trip should not be present throughout the duration of the experience. This includes parents who are sleeping in the same house and close friends who are anything but extremely trust worthy and understanding. The mere presence of people can be downright annoying, with their consistent worrying and lack of understanding. Drunken people should also be avoided at all costs, as their primitive behavior is full of bad vibes. Another factor which should be avoided at all costs is any sort of potentially dangerous, loud, unfamiliar and public environments. This should be fairly obvious but is often overlooked, you should not be tripping in a town center, house party or bar as an inexperienced tripper under any circumstances. The people will be generally irritating at best and horribly distorted at worst.
The easiest avoidable factor that can contribute to a bad trip are general bad vibes of any sort. This may seem obvious but do not watch scary or unpleasant films and do not listen to unpleasant music. If bad vibes are encompassing your trip they can easily be escaped by quickly changing your environment, if you’re sitting down with the light off stand up and put it on. Change the music you’re listening to or move to a different area and any negative thoughts will immediately reset to base level.
Once a person has become familiar with their substance of choice and aware of their own limits. It becomes entirely down to them as an individual when it comes to whether or not they would be comfortable tripping in more recreational environment such as nature, social gatherings, parties, raves, etc. The inexperienced however, should always seek out a safe, comfortable room be it at home or a friends house. With privacy, relaxing music, comfortable seating and readily available food / water. Deliriants should never be taken outside at any dosage and dissociatives only with extreme caution. Psychedelics on the other hand are possible to take in low to high dosages in a great number of recreational situations, although this depends entirely on the experience and abilities of the tripper.
One of the most important factors to consider as an inexperienced tripper is your current state of mind. All hallucinogens enhance a persons currents mind state, emotions and general perspective on the world many times over which is a process that can go in either a positive and euphoric direction or a negative, terrifying and anxiety ridden direction. This is instead of simply inducing euphoria, which is the case with almost every other class of commonly used recreational substance. It’s because of this that psychedelics should not be used by the inexperienced during stressful or negative periods of a persons life and users should be fully aware of the ways in which hallucinogens, particularly psychedelics, consistently force a person to face and deal with the personal introspective problems that all human beings are plagued with. Something that would only become a problem should the person tripping be in denial or generally unwilling to face the true nature of their situation without complete openness. We are all complex people with our own tragic little back story, insecurities, depressive tendencies, regretted actions and past or present relationship problems. No human beings are completely stable and tripping tends to cause people to unavoidably dwell on these aspects of life, especially during a persons first few trips. However, this is assisted by an extremely powerful process of unbiased drug induced self analysis. Helping people solve personal problems, come to terms with problems in their life that they may not have previously realized were there and become a generally more open and positive person, but only if the tripper does not fight it.
Throughout the trip itself the person needs to let go and allow the trip to take charge. Taking the passenger seat and never trying to control any part of the trip. It is extremely important that people simply relax and take things as they come. Understanding that the act of tripping is often ineffable and incomprehensible at appropriate dosages, meaning that an acceptance of not being able to understand what is happening should be present at all times. Embracing the fact that their thought processes, although more insightful in places, will always be impaired along with motor control, conversational skills and general functioning. Something that the tripper should be sure to not feel self conscious about, as it should not be a problem in the first place, providing the tripper has made sure not to have any complex tasks to carry out throughout the duration of the trip.
A sober, responsible trip sitter is definitely recommended to be present during an inexperienced individuals or groups first two to three trips. It is this person’s responsibility to assist the individual or group by maintaining a rational and responsible frame of mind. This should be done by simply watching over the trippers and calmly reassuring them if they experience any anxiety or stress, whilst also preventing them from coming to any harm. There is an obvious correlation between the name trip sitter and babysitter; this is because at many times, trip sitting can be like babysitting. And it is definitely a responsibility that must be taken just as seriously.
A good trip sitter needs to be sure of a number of things throughout the experience. They should remain (mostly) sober and should be able to empathize with the group members’ situation through personal experiences with tripping or at least considerable amount of research on their effects. Understanding that when a person is tripping, they might not be able to communicate like they usually do. Also, their balance and spatial judgment may be off. The trip sitter should contribute to the conversation but also remember to leave them to explore the experience without too much external influence.
Once a person is familiar with the experience after at least two to three trips, it becomes down to them whether or not they feel comfortable enough to trip without a sitter.
Tolerance and over use,
If a person is to use hallucinogens responsibly, the frequency in which they use them should be monitored closely. Although many of the classical psychedelics such as LSD, Mushrooms, DMT, Ayahuasca are physically benign no matter how frequently they are used and come with a built in tolerance that prevents using them more than once a week. This is not the case with all hallucinogens, dissociatives, deliriants and certain psychedelics such as the 2Cx family and AMT all come with potential adverse health effects that need to be individually researched before use. Not to mention that every hallucinogen in existence can cause problems with a persons psychological health if over used. Keep in mind that drugs become an addiction once the downsides start to outweigh the positives but you continue to use them anyway.
However, I’ve been through this myself more than anybody else I know and have come to the conclusion that you must pay attention to more than just making sure that drugs do not get in the way of your responsibilities. It’s about understanding that life should not be comprised of any single interest. If your life becomes about any one thing including drugs or anything else, it starts to become meaningless. The goal is to remain interested in these substances but at the same time keep your hobbies and interests broadened across other areas as well such as personal, intellectual and creative pursuits. Drugs should be for helping you to learn to appreciate the things that already exist in life, not for replacing them.
In conclusion, careful consideration should be taken before undergoing a trip with any class of hallucinogen. Following these simple instructions however should minimize the risks by a huge margin, allowing people to trip safely and responsibly with little danger or fear.