Posts tagged ‘tripping’

More on DMT

So, I figure I should write something a little more comprehensive about my experience last night.

I’ve been interested in psychedelic drugs since I was a teenager. I’ve tried a few. While I’m happy to get fucked-up on codeine, tripping has never been about that for me. I’ve tried a few different psychedelics, but it’s been an occasional thing, definitely not something I do on a regular basis.

I may be a drug abuser, but I know my drugs, and the risks involved in using them. This is particularly relevant with regards to ayahuasca because there’s some reasonably serious risks associated with it. DMT is not orally active because an enzyme in the liver metabolises it before it can get to work on the brain. That enzyme is monoamine-oxidase. There’s a class of drugs that inhibit it – the monoamine-oxidase inhibitors. These were the original anti-depressants. They’re not used much these days because you have to be careful of what you eat while taking them. Eat the wrong thing and you can end in a hypertensive crisis. Take an SSRI at the same time as an MAOI and you can end up with serotonin syndrome. These are potentially fatal conditions. I’ve made sure not to eat anything that might cause problems.

The MAOI that’s usually used to make DMT orally active is a plant-derived chemical called harmaline. Traditionally, the plant that’s used for this is a jungle vine called Banisteriopsis Caapi. It’s also found in the seeds of a plant called Syrian Rue, which is what I used. It’s possible to eat the ground up seeds, but it’s not pleasant. A while back, I’d done a rough extraction, so I had this ready.

The material that I used for the DMT was from the rootbark of a plant called Jurema, which is a type of mimosa. I’d bought this ages ago, at the same time that I bought the syrian rue that I’d turned into harmaline. I’d intended to use it at the time, but not long after, I went crazy and it ended up sitting in a box for the last year and a bit.

DMT is a powerful psychedelic chemical. It’s found all over the place in nature and has a long history of use in various cultures. It’s a class A drug, but the plants that contain it fall into something of a legal grey area. Last night it completely kicked my ass.

I’ve tripped before. Nothing prepared me for last night’s experience. I’m only able to remember bits and pieces, but the visuals were far greater and far clearer than with any substance I’ve used before. It was like being able to see fifteen different dimensions at once, ow the world fit into a shimmering crystalline lattice. This was towards the beginning of the trip. After a certain point it didn’t make any difference whether I had my eyes open or closed. It was completely and absolutely overwhelming. Half the time there wasn’t even a me to be overwhelmed.

I’m not one of those people who believe that you can divine great truths from psychedelic experiences. But to some extent psychedelics do enable people to explore their own minds. Last night was like having my mind ripped apart and put back together again. Physically I was laid down on my sofa. Mentally, I was everywhere and nowhere. At the same time. Like I said before, it’s going to take some time to integrate the memories into my everyday mind.

That kind of trip is definitely not something I’d want to do on a regular basis. And it might not be the smartest thing for someone who has a mental illness to do at all. But now I’ve got over my initial confusion, I feel pretty damn good. For the first time in a while I feel hopeful.

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April 6, 2008 at 11:53 am 12 comments

N,N-dimethyltryptamine

This morning at 8am I found myself sitting on my sofa, with my headphones on, listening to music. I had no memory of what had occured during the previous 24 hours. I was feeling fine, if a little hungry. But I was very confused.

It’s now 10am. It’s taken me a couple of hours to piece together what happened yesterday. I took quite a lot of temazepam during the afternoon, which was dumb and kind of screwed with my memory. But the really interesting part took place later on.

You probably haven’t heard of Ayahuasca. It’s a psychedelic drink used as a sacrament in some South American religions, especially in shamanistic practices. The plants used in it vary dramatically, but generally there’s a plant that contains DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and a plant that contains harmaline, which is a natural mono-amine oxidase inhibitor. Without harmaline or another MAOI, the DMT is quickly metabolised into inactive compounds by the liver. With it, the DMT hangs around for a few hours and produces all kinds of visions and hallucinations.

I’ve had the ingredients for my own ayahuasca recipe hanging around for the last year or so. Last night I finally brewed some up. This took a while, but turned out to be pleasingly simple. I took some harmaline that I’d previously extracted from some Syrian Rue seeds. And half an hour later, I chugged down half a mug full of DMT laden tea.

I began to feel the first effects about half an hour later. Another half an hour and I was experiencing the most intense visual hallucinations I can imagine. Beautiful crystalline visions. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Let me put it this way: DMT. Is. Fucking. Insane. But there was also something very spiritual about it. As utterly alien and transformed as the drug made my consciousness, it also kept me safe through the whole thing. It’s going to take me a while to integrate the experience back into my everyday mind. Reality was completely shattered.

There’s still some subtle visual effects going on. Everything seems slightly strange. But in a good way. It sounds dumb, especially since I’m an atheist, but somehow I feel blessed.

April 6, 2008 at 9:28 am 3 comments


Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?

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As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.