I recently learned first-hand the stark differences between DMT and 5-MEO-DMT while doing some research on the subject from the comfort of my living room recliner. In retrospect this information would have potentially come in very handy a few weeks prior when I convinced a few of my dearest friends to take a trip with me to smoke 5-MEO-DMT as part of my birthday celebrations. I was under the impression that these drugs were one in the same, just the natural versus the synthetic. I had no idea that the drugs were not only structurally different, but that the experiences would be so dramatically intense and life-altering. If you are looking for some beautiful visions and the potential of encountering and perhaps communicating with otherworldly beings then DMT might be your jam. If you are searching to experience the intense dissolution of your world, the death of your ego and the knowledge that time and space are not at all as you have experienced them, then 5-MEO-DMT might be what you are seeking.
I was offered an opportunity to try 5-MEO-DMT and of course I jumped at it. Both DMT and 5-MEO-DMT are illegal substances in the United States and therefore require travel to ingest legally. I have felt moments of isolation in my experience since completing my MDMA therapy, so I wanted to have some contemporaries join me in this opportunity. Thankfully three of my friends were excited to come along. I (foolishly) consider myself somewhat experienced in the realms of psychedelic use. Since my completion of MDMA therapy, I have traveled to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony, additional to my own personal use of psilocybin and LSD when I was younger. Being a person who loves to hear about the experiences of others, I often sought out DMT stories. Knowing I had ingested this compound through my use of ayahuasca, I craved the knowledge of how it affected others when smoked. I was curious and was often met with stories of recreational use that made me laugh, “The last time I smoked DMT was in the bathtub of a shitty motel with a Natty Light sitting beside me.” I figured if people could find meaning in experiences such as these, I surely would be able to gain something too.
5-MEO-DMT is a psychedelic drug that is part of the tryptamine class. It is found naturally occuring in a wide variety of plants and also can be harvested from the venomous secretions of the Bufo alvarius toad native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is said to be three to six times more powerful than DMT. Although it became a schedule 1 drug in the United States on January 9, 2011 it has been used as an entheogen by South American shamans for thousands of years. 5-MEO-DMT works on the serotonin system meaning that people using MAO inhibitors or SSRIs should not engage with the substance due to danger of serotonin syndrome. Limitations of documented human usage have made it difficult to find clear information on toxicity and potential for harm, but death is listed as an extremely rare occurrence.
I decided that I was going to go first. At nearly the age of thirty-nine, I commented on how rare it was to have many firsts left in life. I was prepped with the knowledge of how to smoke the drug, about how many minutes I would be “gone” and how long before I would feel “normal” again. There was more dialog exchanged but out of respect for the healing traditions of this ceremony I am going to respectfully omit that information. I stood up and declared, “Well, I’m pretty fucking scared right now, I am afraid I’ll be locked in a state of fear and anxiety and time won’t exist. But I’m here with people I love and I know y’all got me, so let’s do this.” I held the hands of my friends, then took my place standing on my blanket under the canopy of trees in the sunlight. The guide placed the pipe in my mouth and instructed me on how to breathe in. Once I had fully inhaled the guide covered my nose and mouth and began counting backwards from twenty. The words started to stretch out “Twenty, niiiiiiineteeeeen, eiiiighteeeeeeeen…” and then before my very eyes the entire world fractalized into nothingness. Wait, what? I know I can write that and you, as the reader may be able to imagine it, but until you see the complete dissolution of what you have always known as reality, it’s completely impossible to convey just how spectacular, overwhelming and for some – absolutely terrifying this experience is. I remember the guide’s hand coming off my face and with the first breath of air I took in, I let go.
I felt like a fat pat of butter on a hot pan. I melted into everything. I became everything. I believe I can recall a sensation of falling and then I was in complete ecstasy. I felt as if every cell of my being was exploding in an orgasm all at once. I was one with the universe and in that completeness the only thing that existed was extreme pleasure. I was surrounded by warm colors and enveloped in a sustained sensation that felt like it went on forever. Time ceased to exist, I ceased to exist. In this realm the only thing was euphoria. It was the most intense sexual experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. Dear universe, I hope you wore a cosmic condom. So how did this look from the outside?
My cohorts said I rapidly went down onto my blanket and began writhing around omitting what was lovingly referred to as “the voice-over of a porno.” It was VERY apparent that I was in the throes of ecstasy as I repeated “Oh my God. Oh, fuck. Oh, yes.” This orgasm lasted approximately seven minutes, at which point I rudely snapped back into my body. I remember the fear and confusion that came with “putting back on my meat suit.” I was disoriented and still experiencing a very heightened psychedelic state. The world was once again the world, and I knew where I was and who I was with. But sounds and colors were incredibly intense. The people around me appeared to be a mere few feet away and then as if I were viewing them through binoculars. I had an intense moment of fear and shame as I had no idea what I had physically done. I was disheveled, covered in sweat (later realizing I had wiped off one of my drawn-on eyebrows) and knew I had orgasmed. There was little talking, and finally I busted out in a giggle fit with the realization that it didn’t matter what I had done, and that I couldn’t really do anything but lay where I was because I was still so in the experience. I had the distinct feeling that the universe (creation, god, everlasting energy) had decided to reward me for every time I had faked an orgasm or given my sexual power away to please another, by giving it back to me all at once. Bliss retribution. I had delightfully received.
I watched silently as my other friends ingested the smoke. Their experiences started the same as mine, with the grand dissolution of the world, but from there each of us had incredibly different journeys. Within thirty minutes of initial ingestion, I was happily shoving food in my mouth. I felt giddy and excited and couldn’t stop laughing about the absurdity of it all.
After we had all returned back to ourselves we talked amongst each other about the experience. The word that kept coming up was “wild.” I have to admit that smoking 5-MEO-DMT was one of the most profound and definitely the wildest experience I have ever encountered. The after effects lasted over a week and at times I feel I can still access some of what I experienced that day. Even the members of our group who had terrifying experiences feel as though they have gained an incredible amount of knowledge from the ceremony. While we all agreed that we would probably use this substance again in the future if the opportunity presented itself, there was no desire to seek it out. I think 5-MEO-DMT can provide an invaluable experience, but it is not something I would suggest lightly. Ego death is no walk in the park. There is also an ongoing discussion about the ecological ramifications of the popularity of use. Please inform yourself in regards to the respect of not only ceremonial tradition but also the treatment of these plants and toads. It is surely not worth the harm or eradication of a species for a psychedelic experience. We chose a very ethical group to work with and I would wholeheartedly recommend you do the same.
After this life-altering encounter we headed home. I returned to New Orleans right before my birthday. Before going on the trip I had been worried about turning 39. Luckily I learned first hand that time doesn’t really exist so age doesn’t even matter.
For more information on psychedelics and 5-MEO-DMT please check out: