psy guide header logo
July 7, 2023
Guide

5-MeO-DMT Guide

The “God Molecule” Explained

Introduction

tunnel e1688139141384

5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, commonly known as 5-MeO-DMT, or the “God Molecule,” is a powerful and potent psychoactive substance that belongs to the tryptamine class of compounds. It is naturally found in various plant species, and the toad species Bufo alvarius (also known as the Sonoran Desert Toad and Colorado River Toad), which secretes 5-MeO-DMT in the parotid glands (a type of salivary gland). Although 5-MeO-DMT is classified as a Schedule I substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it has gained significant popularity in recent years as a recreational drug, and for its potential therapeutic uses.(1, 2)

5-MeO-DMT has been in use by various tribal cultures for thousands of years, and has been popular among psychonauts for decades. Recently it has sprung into public view thanks to writers such as Ralph Metzner, author of The Toad and The Jaguar, and Gerardo Ruben, who wrote The God Molecule: 5-MeO-DMT and the Spiritual Path to Divine Light. 5-MeO-DMT is also naturally occurring in several plants, such as the acacia genus found primarily in Africa and Australia.(3, 4)

Unlike other psychedelics, such as the ayahuasca brew (which also contains DMT) 5-MeO-DMT is typically synthesized in a lab and vaped, or extracted in less humane ways from toads. When vaped, 5-MeO-DMT is known to cause powerful, but short, when compared to insufflation (snorting), psychedelic events where some users have described it as being like a “near death experience.” However, the effects of 5-MeO-DMT are highly subjective, some users report meeting “God,” while some report that they do not see anything but instead have an experience that is almost entirely based on feelings and sensation. Some say that a broad distinction between DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is that 5-MeO is highly emotional, non-narrative, and induces ego dissolution with limited visuals and visits with the “DMT entities.”(5, 6)

“Some people describe 5-MeO-DMT as being a highly emotional experience. N,N, DMT tends to be a more visual, hallucinatory, travel to other realms and meet entities, type of experience. A very sort of different experience. If you look at the nicknames for both, they call N,N,DMT the spirit molecule, taking you to spirit worlds. Whereas they call 5-MeO-DMT the god molecule. Because what often happens with high doses of 5-MeO-DMT is ego dissolution. Many people say, ‘I became one with everything and everything was me.’ There’s not a lot of narrative.”

― Axle Davids, Founder, The Pattern Project.

What is 5-MeO-DMT?

5-MeO-DMT Molecule

5-MeO-DMT is a naturally occurring psychoactive compound that is structurally similar to the more well-known psychedelic drug, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Both substances are classified as tryptamine alkaloids and have some similarities in their chemical structures, with 5-MeO-DMT being a DMT derivative that includes an additional methoxy group. 5-MeO-DMT is often synthesized in a lab or extracted from the bufo alvarius toad, whereas DMT is naturally occurring in several plants and animals. Both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are endogenous in humans. 5-MeO-DMT if most frequently vaped, but it can also be insufflated (meaning it is blown into a body cavity, such as nostrils).(1, 7)

5-MeO-DMT can be found in a variety of natural sources, including the secretion of the parotid gland (often incorrectly called venom) of the Bufo alvarius toad species, as mentioned. It can also be found in the seeds of the Anadenanthera peregrina tree and the bark of the Virola tree, as well as various members of the acacia family of plants.(1, 5, 6, 8)

What is a Bufo Ceremony

Bufo is a substance derived from the Colorado River toad (Bufo alvarius), which contains the psychoactive compound 5-MeO-DMT. Preliminary evidence suggests that 5-MeO-DMT induces mystical experiences similar in intensity to those brought about by psilocybin, a compound found in certain types of mushrooms, but with a much shorter duration. These experiences are often reported as deeply meaningful, spiritual, and transformative events, associated with positive outcomes across various psychological domains.(6)

Bufo has been used by several tribes, such as the Comca’ac (Seris) people of the southwestern United States for thousands of years. It also holds a spiritual and ceremonial place for the Tohono O’odham, Yaquis, and Mayos peoples. When used in a ceremonial setting bufo is usually consumed as a group, typically outdoors. These ceremonies are led by an experienced guide, or medicine person. In this setting, bufo is smoked, and meditation is a significant part of the experience. There is also an emphasis on music, chanting and the repetition of traditional incantations. However, some ceremonies are also held in non-traditional settings, in these situation the guides and facilitators may have developed carefully considered custom rituals.(6)

The 5-MeO-DMT Trip Explained

Describing the effects of any drug, much less that of one as unique as 5-MeO-DMT, is challenging. However, vaping 5-MeO-DMT (the most common method of delivery) is known to have a very rapid onset, typically lasting for around 5-20 minutes. During this time, you may find yourself being lifted up, and out of your body, before speeding away to what some anecdotally describe as a nearly “unrecognizable state of being.” This 5-MeO-DMT space may be populated with bright colors, patterns, blinding white lights, or nothing at all. The 5-MeO-DMT event may vary significantly from one person to the next. (9, 10)

In high doses, some users report 5-MeO-DMT causes a full out of body, and highly psychedelic, experience where individuals have said they are taken to other versions of reality itself. It has also been compared to a near-death experience. Other anecdotal reports sum up the 5-MeO-DMT experience as one in which you temporarily lose your connection to your ego (the sense of oneself) while gaining vast perceptions of the universe.(9, 10)

Unlike the DMT experience, which is frequently reported to involve individuals meeting otherworldly beings, 5-MeO-DMT use is more likely to be associated with massive shifts in perspective, which can also be highly mystical in nature. Typically, users feel that this teaches them some sort of valuable lesson. However, the experience is highly subjective, and your experience will likely be dramatically different than that of someone else. That said, the dissolution of the ego is not uncommon in anecdotal reports.(8)

“I was being destroyed — all that was familiar, all reference points, all identity — all viciously shattered in a few seconds, I couldn’t even mourn the loss — there was no one left to do the mourning. Up, up, out, out, eyes closed, I am at the speed of light, expanding, expanding, expanding, faster and faster until I have become so large that I no longer exist.”

― Alexander Shulgin. TIHKAL: The Continuation.

Anecdotal reports indicate that in lower doses, the 5-MeO-DMT experience is not so extreme. Many users find that they can take 5-MeO-DMT in a relatively small (one hit from a 5-MeO-DMT vape vs. two or more) amount and have a more typical, lighter psychedelic experience than a full dose. When used this way, 5-MeO-DMT can cause one to experience brighter colors, geometric shapes that seem to “float” over surfaces, an enhanced appreciation of music, and visual distortions like objects which pulse or breathe. According to some users, 5-MeO-DMT can also provide a pleasant, uplifting body high. One study also found that 5-MeO-DMT can reduce feelings of anxiety.(11)

The Origins of 5-MeO-DMT

As mentioned, 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), and a psychedelic containing DMT, the ayahuasca brew, are both psychoactive substances that have been used for spiritual and medicinal purposes by indigenous cultures for centuries. These substances have deep cultural and spiritual significance, and their use is often tied to traditional practices and rituals.(12, 13)

The use of 5-MeO-DMT is associated with several indigenous cultures in the South Western United States, Mexico, and South America, including the Otomac and Guarani tribes. In South American cultures, 5-MeO-DMT is found in the seeds and secretions of several plants. Whereas in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico, it is primarily associated with the Bufo alvarius toad. No matter the source, 5-MeO-DMT is most often used in rituals and healing ceremonies. According to the Otomac people, using 5-MeO-DMT is an integral part of their spiritual practices and is believed to facilitate communication with spirits and ancestors. They consider the substance to be a gift from the spirit world and use it in combination with other plant medicines to heal physical and emotional ailments.(12, 13, 14)

Similarly, the Cuiva and Piaroa people also use 5-MeO-DMT in rituals and healing ceremonies, typically as a hallucinogenic snuff. They believe that the substance allows them to connect with the divine and gain insight into the nature of reality. The use of 5-MeO-DMT is seen as a way to communicate with the spirit world and to bring about healing and transformation. It is also being explored in clinical trials to treat some mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or substance abuse–more on that below.(12, 13, 14)

Ethical and Sustainability Considerations Regarding the Bufo Alvarius Toad

The Bufo alvarius toad is often used in tribal medicine, as mentioned. However, in recent years 5-MeO-DMT has exploded in popularity. One does not have to search very far online to find scores of “traditional healers,” “neo-shamans,” and the like, offering “toad venom ceremonies,” or “bufo ceremonies.” They offer fast, lasting “psychedelic healing,” but often fail to mention just how the parotid gland secretions are extracted from bufo toads. 

Typically, the toads only produce secretion by users when under duress. Therefore, facilitators often need to put the toads into distressing situations, or even cause them harm. One method of forcing the toads to produce parotid gland secretions involves the use of low-voltage electricity applied directly to the toad’s parotid glands. This practice doesn’t just make the toads afraid, it can also cause them pain, and long-term damage to the glands (the toad’s primary means of self-defense).(15) 

Another concern comes in the form of poaching, overhunting, and illegal trafficking of the bufo toads. An article published by The New York Times details how the massive increase in demand for naturally derived 5-MeO-DMT has caused significant problems for the toads. The issue has become so dire that some populations of Sonoran Desert toads (Bufo alvarius) are at risk of being decimated, and the species as a whole is on the verge of collapse. 

If this were to happen, humanity would not just be responsible for the loss of yet another amphibian species, but we may also disrupt the practices of native and Mesoamerican tribes that have existed for thousands of years. This disastrous situation could be prevented by doing something relatively simple, using synthesized 5-MeO-DMT instead of exhausting the limited natural source of this amazing psychedelic chemical. We should note that further research is needed to determine the safety of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT. 

How Does 5-MeO-DMT Work?

The exact mechanism of action of 5-MeO-DMT is not fully understood, but it is believed to act primarily as a partial agonist of the serotonin 5-HT2A, and 5-HT1A receptors, which are involved in the regulation of mood, perception, and cognition. Interestingly, 5-MeO-DMT has a 1000-fold greater affinity for the 5-HT1A receptor. 5-MeO-DMT has also been found to have activity at other serotonin receptors and the sigma-1 receptor. However, more research is needed.(16)

75% of participants reported mystical experiences, including feelings of unity with the universe, transcendence of time and space, and a sense of ineffability (feelings of indescribable joy or rapture).

The psychedelic and subjective effects of 5-MeO-DMT can vary widely depending on the dose, method of ingestion, and individual response. However, some common effects include:(13)

  • Rapid onset and intense peak experience: The effects of 5-MeO-DMT can be felt within seconds of ingestion and typically last for several minutes.
  • Ego dissolution: Users may experience a profound sense of unity with the universe and a dissolution of the self.
  • Intense visual and auditory hallucinations: Users may experience vivid and sometimes overwhelming visual and auditory hallucinations, including patterns, bright lights and intense colors.
  • Feelings of timelessness and transcendence: Users may experience a sense of timelessness and transcendence, with the feeling that they are outside of time and space.
  • Spiritual or mystical experiences: Many users report a sense of spiritual or mystical experience while under the influence of 5-MeO-DMT. These experiences may be transformative and have lasting effects on the individual’s perspective and worldview.

Some common (short-term) physical effects include:(16)

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Impaired cognition
  • Increased reflexes
  • Adverse psychedelic events (bad trips)

Contraindications

Specific contraindications (a reason a person should not use a particular drug or medication due to risk of harm) for 5-MeO-DMT have not been well studied. However, hallucinogens in general have a few that you should be aware of.(17)

Hallucinogen contraindications include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Hallucinogen-induced persisting perception disorder (HPPD)
  • Schizoaffective disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Currently taking SSRI or MAOI medication

If you are considering using 5-MeO-DMT and have a history of any of the above conditions, it may not be right for you. Consider consulting with a medical provider familiar with hallucinogens and psychedelics before using them, including 5-MeO-DMT. It should be noted that there are not sufficient studies on the potential dangers and contraindications of 5-MeO-DMT. Further research is needed to establish safety and good practices for its use. You can find more important safety information in 10 Tips to Having a Safe & Positive Psychedelic Experience.(17)

Studying the Medical Potential of 5-MeO-DMT

Due to its promising psychoactive properties, 5-MeO-DMT has been the subject of numerous studies in recent years to better understand its effects on the human body and mind. While research on this substance is still in its early stages, several key findings have emerged.

One study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry in 2022 looked at 5-MeO-DMT as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. The study involved 42 participants who reported using 5-MeO-DMT as part of a spiritual or personal growth experience. The researchers found that 80% of participants reported a significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.(18)

Another study published in the Frontiers in Psychology in 2018 found that 5-MeO-DMT was associated with increased levels of mystical experiences in participants. The study involved 20 participants who were administered 5-MeO-DMT under controlled conditions. The researchers found 75% of participants reported mystical experiences, including feelings of unity with the universe, transcendence of time and space, and a sense of ineffability (feelings of indescribable joy or rapture). These mystical experiences are often associated with increased well-being and life satisfaction.(6, 19)

A third case study published in the journal Progress in Brain Research in 2018 found that 5-MeO-DMT had potential applications for treating addiction, specifically for alcohol use disorder. The case study involved a 31-year-old military veteran with a history of moderate alcohol use disorder. The individual received both 5-MeO-DMT and Ibogaine. He described the 5-MeO-DMT experience as transformative, and noted that it provided a “spiritual breakthrough.” Furthermore, the 31-year-old reported cessation of using alcohol, as well as fewer cravings, with only a partial return to alcohol 2 months following the treatment.(20)

Solider meditating

Another potential medical use of 5-MeO-DMT is in the treatment of cluster headaches and/or migraines. Cluster headaches are notoriously difficult to treat and can cause intense pain, typically around one eye or one side of the head. Whereas migraines are associated with severe throbbing pain, or pulsing sensations. While there is limited research on the topic, self-reported evidence from some users suggests that 5-MeO-DMT may be effective in treating certain kinds of headaches.(21)

“For the first time in years, literally, I was not waking up with migraines anymore. Something happened in my brain that day.”

 Psychoactive substances as a last resort—a qualitative study of self-treatment of migraine and cluster headaches.

It is important to note that this last study was self-reported, and as such it can be difficult to verify the information presented. 

Legal Status of 5-MeO-DMT in the U.S. and Abroad

In the United States, 5-MeO-DMT is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, and is therefore illegal to possess, distribute, or use. Possession or use of 5-MeO-DMT can result in criminal charges, fines, and/or imprisonment. However, some new developments have made the legal landscape in the U.S. more complicated.(2)

Recently, the state of Colorado passed CO. Proposition 122. This new law made the possession, sharing, gifting, and adult use of certain natural psychedelics permissible for individuals over 21 years of age. It also set up the framework for establishing a legal psychedelic therapy market in Colorado. However, it is still illegal to sell any psychedelics in the state. The psychedelics legalized under Prop. 122 include psilocybin, DMT (the state does not seem to be making a distinction between DMT and 5-MeO-DMT), ayahuasca, mescaline (not isolated from peyote, while mescaline isolated from San Pedro cactus is allowed), and ibogaine.(22)

The legal status of 5-MeO-DMT varies by country, with some countries having stricter laws than others. Unlike N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, 5-MeO-DMT is not a scheduled substance under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, meaning that it is legal to possess and can be used for scientific or medical purposes as well as personal use. In some countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, 5-MeO-DMT is legal for religious and spiritual use.(23, 24, 25)

Safe Use and Harm Reduction Practices

While some research and anecdotal reports suggest 5-MeO-DMT has potential therapeutic applications, it is a potent psychoactive substance that should be used with caution. It is important to take measures to reduce risks associated with its use. One important harm reduction practice is to use a test kit to verify the purity of the substance. This can help to ensure that it is not contaminated with other drugs or impurities that could be harmful.

Another important harm reduction practice is to use it in a safe and controlled environment. This includes things like having a sober and trusted trip sitter present, using in a comfortable and familiar space, and avoiding driving, strenuous activity or potentially dangerous or distressing situations while under the influence. Start with a low dose to assess tolerance and sensitivity.

5-MeO-DMT is one of the most potent psychedelics available and should never be used in large doses while alone. You should always have support nearby. However, it is recommended that you only take large doses of 5-MeO-DMT in a therapeutic setting.

5-MeO-DMT Dosing Guide

5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) can be consumed in a variety of ways, including vaporizing, insufflation (snorting), or consuming it sublingually (under the tongue). The most common method of consumption is vaporizing the substance. Users report that it has a rapid onset and intense peak experience.

The dosage of 5-MeO-DMT can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the individual’s tolerance and sensitivity to the substance, the method of ingestion, and the purity of the substance. Anecdotal sources, such as the Erowid Foundation, suggest that typical doses of 5-MeO-DMT range from 2-60 milligrams (mg). However, it is important to note that the effects of the substance can differ based on dosage and individual response, and taking too high of a dose can result in a negative or unintended experience.(26)

“90% of the 5-MeO-DMT users surveyed reported having a moderate to strong mystical experience while under its effects.”

The following information comes from the Vaults of Erowid. Erowid is a non-profit education and harm reduction organization dedicated to gathering and preserving psychedelic science. They also provide free and open access to thousands of documents about psychedelics, psychoactive plants, chemicals and other information. 5-MeO-DMT is one of, is not the world’s most potent psychedelics on a per weight basis. As such, measuring a dose of 5-MeO-DMT should only be done with a microgram scale to ensure accuracy and safety.(26)

Vaporized 5-MeO-DMT Dosing:(26)

Low Dose:

1 – 5 mg

Light Dose:

2 – 5 mg

Common Dose:

5 – 10 mg

Strong Dose:

10 – 20 mg

Another study, published in Psychopharmacology in 2019, found that participants who used 5-MeO-DMT in a naturalistic group setting consumed a mean dose of 10 mg. The study also found that participants who used the substance in this setting reported significantly higher levels of spirituality and positive mood, compared to those who used the substance alone.(27)

It is important to carefully measure the dose of 5-MeO-DMT and to start with a low dose to assess tolerance and sensitivity. Taking too high of a dose can result in a variety of negative side effects, including vomiting, loss of bodily control, anxiety, or panic attacks. If you are using a prepackaged 5-MeO-DMT cartridge, it may be difficult to determine your dosage. Please be cautious, as inhaling too much could cause a powerful, unintended trip. 

5-MeO-DMT and Mystical Experiences

mystical man meditation

One of the most interesting impacts the 5-MeO-DMT has on the human mind is its ability to cause a mystical experience. One study examined the motivations of individuals who use 5-MeO-DMT. To do so, researchers recruited 515 respondents via online advertisements. Their results found that the majority of 5-MeO-DMT users did so for spiritual and self-exploration purposes. 90% of the 5-MeO-DMT users surveyed reported having a moderate to strong mystical experience while under its effects.(28)

One study conducted by the Yale School of Medicine compared the mystical experiences of participants who had used 5-MeO-DMT with those that had used psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms). They found that 5-MeO-DMT caused mystical experiences that were shorter, but comparable to—or more intense than—those brought on by psilocybin. Interestingly, 84% of participants reported feelings of awe and amazement, tranquility, and joy. While 75% experienced sensations of universality and “infinite love.” Of course, 5-MeO-DMT and divine experiences are nothing new. The same is true of DMT—Nick Hilden and Rick Strassman discuss the complexities of mystical experiences in depth in this interview.(29)

“The collective unconscious, the same as other transpersonal phenomena, is evidence that our mind is not an isolated entity but is constantly in touch with other minds as well as with the world around us. We are never entirely detached from the outside world; never entirely enclosed within our skin. Our mind and our body resonate with our environment, including other people in our environment. Our mind is coherent with the world, and when we do not repress the intuitions that link us with other people and with nature, we can become aware of our oneness with the universe.”

James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad

Preparing for the 5-MeO-DMT Experience

Unlike its cousin, ayahuasca, there is no arduous preparatory phase that needs to be completed before consuming 5-MeO-DMT. However, your set, meaning your mindset going into the experience, and your setting, which is your environment, should always be considered.(30)

There are several steps that individuals can take to help ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience with 5-MeO-DMT:

Choose the right setting:It is important to choose a comfortable and safe setting in which to consume 5-MeO-DMT. This could be a quiet room at home, a natural outdoor setting, or a trusted friend’s home. You may also be able to participate in a group ceremony or take 5-MeO-DMT with a trained guide or facilitator.
Be prepared:Before consuming 5-MeO-DMT, it is important to be prepared and have everything you need within reach. This could include water, tissues, a blanket, your favorite stuffed animal, or a pillow and a comfortable place to lie down.
Low dose v4
Start with a low dose:It is important to start with a lower dose of 5-MeO-DMT to assess tolerance and sensitivity. Taking too high of a dose can result in an unpleasant or unintended experience.
Use harm reduction practices:Harm reduction practices such as having a sober sitter present, not mixing substances, and avoiding driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence can help ensure a safe and positive experience.
Be in a good mental and emotional state:5-MeO-DMT can be an intense and transformative experience, and it is important to be in a positive mental and emotional state before consuming the substance. This could involve practicing mindfulness or meditation, and/or seeking support from a therapist or trusted friend.
Set an intention:Giving yourself a goal for the experience can help create structure and make your trip more fruitful.
Relax and let go:Once under the influence of 5-MeO-DMT, it is important to release your fears or anxieties. Resistance may lead to bad times, while surrendering to the experience may lead to something positive and transformative.
Listen to a podcast to get informed:Our extensive list of podcasts has dozens of the best and most informative shows from leaders in the psychedelic industry.

5-MeO-DMT can be intense and transformative, and taking steps to ensure a safe and positive psychedelic trip is important. Choosing the right setting, starting with a low dose, using harm reduction practices, being in a good mental and emotional state, and relaxing and letting go can help ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

“You will enter a new reality that is often described as something ethereal and unlike anything the user has ever experienced. Stars will fly by at the speed of light, and you may feel as if you’ve entered a Stargate-style wormhole, or you may see something akin to a near death experience with a light at the end of a long tunnel.”

Dealing with a Difficult Trip

During a full 5-MeO-DMT experience you will likely find yourself unable to move for the duration of the trip. However, some users may not wish to “blast off,” and in that case smaller hits may produce a lighter psychedelic experience. In that state, the 5-MeO-DMT experience can be prolonged by taking small hits every ten minutes or so. However, prolonging your 5-MeO-DMT sessions could put you at greater risk of a bad trip, or negative side effects. 5-MeO-DMT should never be used alone, or in an uncontrolled setting. If you find yourself having a difficult time, there are a few things you can do to try and turn things around. 

Go outsideChanging up your environment can really help shift your focus away from negative thoughts or events. Nature and psychedelics often (though not always) pair well together. So step outside, get some sunshine (or moon shine) and allow that to shift your perspective. Note: This applies for a prolonged, lighter experience, or following a shorter, and more intense trip. You are unlikely to be able to move or go outside safely while in the midst of the full blast off experience. 
Change the musicMany experienced psychonauts swear by music paired with psychedelics, and quite frankly, so do we. But sometimes you may need to change up your playlist. This can be very helpful if you need to get yourself out of a difficult moment following your 5-MeO-DMT experience, or if you are able to in the midst of a lighter dose. 
Grab a tasty snackWe’ve all been there, you’ve been riding the psychedelic roller coaster, and now you’re feeling a little off. There’s a chance you may need to eat something, particularly if you’ve been fasting ahead of the experience. Grab yourself a snack (we suggest something like fruit or a smoothie) and recharge. Your battery may be running on zero and you need a pick-me-up.
Contact supportIf you feel like things have taken a turn for the worse and you need some help, then never fear. There’s a plethora of support organizations and helplines set up for people that are having a difficult psychedelic experience. They include Fireside Project, Tripsit.me, Psychedelic.support, the Psychedelic Peer Support Line, just to name a few. These organizations have friendly, trained volunteers on hand to help you out of a hard spot and get you going again.

Again, it’s important to note that if you’re in the midst of the 20-minute trip that comes with a higher dose you are unlikely to be able to take any of these actions until you have come down. As with any psychedelic experience, safety is extremely important. Everything from establishing your set, to making sure you have support can be critical to having a good experience. You can learn more about having a great psychedelic experience in 10 Tips to Having a Safe & Positive Psychedelic Experience. 

What to Expect During the 5-MeO-DMT Experience

5-MeO-DMT is a relatively short-lived, but intense, experience when compared to other psychedelics. Usually, this will last around 5-20 minutes, perhaps a little longer, depending on the method of delivery. 

To begin your journey using vaporized 5-MeO-DMT, anecdotal information indicates you will need to take at least three hits from a standard 5-MeO-DMT cartridge to get the full experience. However, you may wish to go slow and take one hit to start. Then gauge whether or not you’re ready to proceed with a higher dose. Once you take the first hit, you’ll likely feel a tingling sensation that starts in the chest and radiates outward to your limbs. Your head may also feel a little light. 

The second inhalation is where some people begin to feel a little apprehensive. You may feel as if your attachment to this current reality is beginning to fall away. In some cases, you could feel as if you’re beginning to float or levitate. At this point, you will likely get some visuals, like bright white lights, or maybe colors, which are usually intense. However, some anecdotal reports find that it is necessary to take one more hit to get the full experience.  

On the third inhalation, you will become fully immersed in the 5-MeO-DMT trip. You will likely feel as if you are being whisked away to a place where you have become one with existence. At this point, it is very common to begin having an out-of-body experience or undergo ego dissolution.

You will enter a new reality that is often described as something ethereal, and unlike anything the user has ever experienced. Stars will fly by at the speed of light, and you may feel as if you’ve entered a Stargate-style wormhole, or you may see something akin to a near-death experience with a light at the end of a long tunnel. Or you may feel like you’ve entered a zone filled with blinding white light, where everything is dissolved and shifted away. Some users have even described reliving past memories or having powerful flashbacks to important moments in life. You may also lose control of your body and become immobile for a short time. Fear not. This is part of the experience. 

From that point, you will enter the 5-MeO-DMT “dimension.” Here, you may undergo something called “ego death.” This is where you lose your sense of what makes you a unique individual. You may also become connected with some sort of overarching feeling of universality. Many 5-MeO-DMT users report that this event causes them to feel as if they’ve become connected to a wider concept of existence. 

This phenomenon seems to be unique to each person and their subjective experience. Whatever form your journey takes, it will most likely leave you with a profound sense of being enlightened or transformed in some way. 

While in the 5-MeO-DMT space, you may gain a sense of mission, though it can be difficult to put these experiences into words. Unlike DMT, this is not usually associated with a narrative, instead, it manifests as an intense feeling. After about 10 minutes, this new reality will begin to fade, and you may feel a sense of “floating” or “flying” away from it. The return to normal awareness is sudden, and your body may feel tingly or shaky for 15-30 minutes, but most users return to baseline within an hour.

5-MeO-DMT is one of the most powerful psychedelics commonly available. As such, it’s important to note that the mental experience of 5-MeO-DMT can be intense, but this is a natural and necessary part of the journey. It’s crucial to fully embrace this, as fighting a challenging psychedelic event can sometimes make it worse. Remember that the feeling is temporary and will wear off. What you’re going through is part of the process, and you will come out on the other side with new knowledge.

This information has been gathered from a range of anecdotal and community sources, such as the Erowid Foundation. However, it is important to note that user reports are highly varied. Some individuals may not have the same experience.  

Integrating Lessons Learned From 5-MeO-DMT 

Integration is a crucial part of the psychedelic experience. After a transformative and intense journey, individuals may struggle to understand what they have experienced and incorporate it into their daily lives. Integration allows individuals to reflect on their journey and explore their insights, ultimately leading to personal growth and healing. Research has shown that integrating psychedelic experiences can have long-lasting positive effects on an individual’s well-being and quality of life.(31)

Some ways to integrate your 5-MeO-DMT experience include:

  • Identify a handful of important lessons from the 5-MeO-DMT trip and incorporate them into your new gestalt. These could be things as simple as being thankful for what you have, acknowledging your profound gifts and talents, or even just being grateful for your family. There is no right or wrong. 
  • Pursue follow-up therapy to explore any insights.
  • Identify a handful of important lessons from the 5-MeO-DMT trip and incorporate them into your new gestalt. These could be things as simple as being thankful for what you have, acknowledging the profound gifts and talents you have, or even just being grateful for your family. There is no right or wrong. 
  • Create and maintain a journal.
  • Engage in traditional ceremonies intending to incorporate the wisdom they can teach.
  • Develop daily rituals to incorporate learned lessons, this could be in the form of a mantra, daily writing, or some other way to take those lessons into your regular life.
  • Discuss experiences with facilitators, counselors, family, or friends.
  • Engage in traditional ceremonies with an intent to incorporate the wisdom they can teach.
  • Meditate on the experience.

Integration means looking at and analyzing your trip to see what you can learn, which is where real change can occur. Talking with a counselor or guide familiar with 5-MeO-DMT can be a great way to understand and incorporate your experience.

Remember, bad trips with pure 5-MeO-DMT can arise due to improper set and setting or because you’re encountering something psychologically or spiritually difficult. Working through these challenges has the potential to lead to the most important lessons of your life. 

This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.

  1. Sherwood, A. M., Claveau, R., Lancelotta, R., Kaylo, K. W., & Lenoch, K. (202AD, December 2). Synthesis and Characterization of 5-MeO-DMT Succinate for Clinical Use. ACS Publications. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsomega.0c05099 
  2. U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). List of Controlled Substances. Controlled substance schedules. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/ 
  3. Strassman, R. (2001). Dmt: The spirit molecule. Park Street Press.
  4. Encyclopedia of Psychedelic Plants. Psychedelic_plants. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.bionity.com/en/encyclopedia/Psychedelic_plants.html 
  5. Dean, J. G. (2018, March 23). Indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase polymorphisms: Genetic and biochemical approaches for study of endogenous N,N,-dimethyltryptamine. Frontiers. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00232/full 
  6. Uthaug, M. V., Lancelotta, R., van Oorsouw, K., Kuypers, K. P. C., Mason, N., Rak, J., Šuláková, A., Jurok, R., Maryška, M., Kuchař, M., Páleníček, T., Riba, J., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2019, September). A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms. Psychopharmacology. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6695371/ 
  7. Rodríguez, L., López, A., Moyna, G., Seoane, G. A., Davyt, D., Vázquez, Á., Hernández, G., & Carrera, I. (2022). New Insights into the Chemical Composition of Ayahuasca. ACS Omega, 7(14), 12307–12317. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.2c00795 
  8. Pagán-Jiménez, J. R., & Carlson, L. A. (2014). Recent Archaeobotanical Findings of the Hallucinogenic Snuff Cojoba (anadenanthera Peregrina (l.) Speg.) in Precolonial Puerto Rico. Latin American Antiquity, 25(1), 101–116. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43187107 
  9. Alamia, A., Timmermann, C., Nutt, D. J., VanRullen, R., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2020, October 12). DMT alters cortical traveling waves. eLife. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7577737/ 
  10. Michael, P., Luke, D., & Robinson, O. (2021). An encounter with the other: A thematic and content analysis of DMT experiences from a naturalistic field study. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.720717 
  11. Cameron, L. P., Brian, C. J., DeFelice, B. C., Fiehn, O., & Olson, D. E. (2019, October 7). Chronic, Intermittent Microdoses of the Psychedelic N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) Produce Positive Effects on Mood and Anxiety in Rodents. ACS Publications. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00692 
  12. Rodd, R., & Sumabila, A. (2011). Yopo, Ethnicity and Social Change: A Comparative Analysis of Piaroa and Cuiva Yopo Use. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs43(1), 36–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2011.566499
  13. UNODC – Bulletin on Narcotics – 1965 Issue 2 – 005. (n.d.). United Nations : Office on Drugs and Crime. https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/bulletin/bulletin_1965-01-01_2_page006.html
  14. Nahoum, A. V. (1970, January 1). Selling cultures: The traffic of cultural representations from the Yawanawa. Biblioteca Digital de Teses e Dissertações da USP. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/8/8132/tde-15012014-102023/ 
  15. Sonoran Desert Toad – Incilius alvarius. (n.d.). Californiaherps.com. Retrieved May 17, 2023, from https://californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/i.alvarius.html 
  16. Reckweg, J., Mason, N. L., van Leeuwen, C., Toennes, S. W., Terwey, T. H., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2021). A Phase 1, Dose-Ranging Study to Assess Safety and Psychoactive Effects of a Vaporized 5-Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyltryptamine Formulation (GH001) in Healthy Volunteers. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.760671 
  17. Frecska, Ede. (2007). Therapeutic guidelines: dangers and contra-indications in therapeutic applications of hallucinogens. 10.13140/RG.2.1.2364.8888. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260515659_Therapeutic_guidelines_dangers_and_contra-indications_in_therapeutic_applications_of_hallucinogens 
  18. Reckweg, J. T., Uthaug, M. V., Szabo, A., Lancelotta, R., Mason, N. L., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2022, February 11). The clinical pharmacology and potential therapeutic applications of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT). Journal of Neurochemistry. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jnc.15587 
  19. Barsuglia, J., Davis, A. K., Palmer, R., Lancelotta, R., Windham-Herman, A.-M., Peterson, K., Polanco, M., Grant, R., & Griffiths, R. R. (2018, December 6). Intensity of mystical experiences occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT and comparison with a prior psilocybin study. Frontiers in psychology. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30574112/ 
  20. Barsuglia. J, A., et al., B. (2018, October 25). A case report SPECT study and theoretical rationale for the sequential administration of ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Progress in brain research. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30471678/ 
  21. Andersson, M., Persson, M., & Kjellgren, A. (2017). Psychoactive substances as a last resort—a qualitative study of self-treatment of migraine and cluster headaches. Harm Reduction Journal, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-017-0186-6 
  22. Proposition 122: Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances . Legislative Council Draft [Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/initiative%2520referendum_proposition%20122%20final%20lc%20packet.pdf 
  23. Dubley, P. (2023, March 6). Canada’s newest laws on psychedelic drugs. Tripsitter. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://tripsitter.com/legal/canada/ 
  24. Dubley, P. (2023, March 30). Are psychedelics legal in Mexico? (updated for 2023). Tripsitter. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://tripsitter.com/legal/mexico/ 
  25. Dubley, P. (2023, March 30). Psychedelic drug laws in Brazil. Tripsitter. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://tripsitter.com/legal/brazil/ 
  26. Erowid 5-MeO-DMT Vault : Dosage. (n.d.). Erowid.org. Retrieved May 16, 2023, from https://erowid.org/chemicals/5meo_dmt/5meo_dmt_dose.shtml 
  27. Davis, A. K., So, S., Barsuglia, J., & Griffiths, R. R. (2019, March 1). 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) used in a naturalistic group setting is associated with unintended improvements in depression and anxiety. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30822141/ 
  28. Davis AK, Barsuglia JP, Lancelotta R, Grant RM, Renn E. The epidemiology of 5 methoxy N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) use: Benefits, consequences, patterns of use, subjective effects, and reasons for consumption. J Psychopharmacol. 2018; 32(7): 779–792. 10.1177/0269881118769063. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29708042/  
  29. Palmer, R., & Barsuglia, J. (n.d.). Characterization of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT Containing Toad Bufotoxin and Comparison with Prior Psilocybin Studies. Www.academia.edu. Retrieved May 17, 2023, from https://www.academia.edu/35441866/Characterization_of_Mystical_Experiences_Occasioned_by_5_MeO_DMT_Containing_Toad_Bufotoxin_and_Comparison_with_Prior_Psilocybin_Studies 
  30. Dieta Guide. (n.d.). Soul Quest Ayahuasca Church of Mother Earth. https://www.ayahuascachurches.org/dieta-guide/ 
  31.  Bathje, G. J., Majeski, E., & Kudowor, M. (2022). Psychedelic integration: An analysis of the concept and its practice. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.824077
SHARE