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5-MEO-DMT Modern Usage
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“Within thirty seconds, there will be an onset of almost overwhelming psychedelic effects. You will be completely absorbed in a complex chemical event characterized by an overload of thoughts and perception, brief collapse of the EGO, and loss of the space-time continuum. Relax, breathe regularly, and flow with the experience. After two to three minutes, the initial intensity fades to a pleasant LSD-like sensation in which visual illusions, hallucinations, and perceptual distortions are common. You may sense a distortion in your perceived body image or notice the world shrinking or expanding. You may notice that colors seem brighter and more beautiful than usual. And, most likely, you will experience a euphoric mood interspersed with bursts of unmotivated laughter.

This ineffable episode is of extremely short duration. The hallucinogenic effects dissipate rapidly and the entire psychedelic cycle is completed within fifteen minutes. There is no hangover or harmful effect. On the contrary, a pleasant psychedelic afterglow appears quite regularly and may last several hours to several days after smoking the venom of B. alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.”


~ Albert Most, Bufo Alvarius, the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert. (1984)


5-MEO-DMT's Modern History


5-MEO-DMT“5-MeO-DMT doesn’t appear to have been in popular use during the sixties by the counter-culture, and this may be why it avoided being included—along with DMT, LSD, mescaline, and other psychedelics—onto the 1970 Controlled Substances Act’s list of prohibited Schedule I drugs, which went into effect May 1, 1971.

On November 3, 1971, founder John Mann legally incorporated The Church of the Tree of Life in the state of California. This church was created in order to declare those visionary plants and drugs that had not been scheduled to be sacraments. The church hoped to shield members who used any of their stated sacraments if the government tried to make these entheogens illegal in the future, by using a “freedom of religion” defense. In 1972, church staff produced The First Book of Sacraments of the Church of the Tree of Life: A Guide for the Religious Use of Legal Mind Alterants. The original edition of this book made no mention of 5-MeO-DMT. However, a 1973 booklet Legal Highs: A Concise Encyclopedia of Legal Herbs and Chemicals with Psychoactive Properties included 5-MeO-DMT, noting that “the Church of the Tree of Life has declared as its religious sacraments most substances in this book.”


KinakusaiSince the first scientific paper that publicized the fact that the Bufo Alvarius was a walking 5-MeO-DMT factory was not widely circulated until 1967, it is quite possible that smoking toad venom is a completely modern invention. It has also been pointed out to me that our modern civilization is probably the first one which has realized that it is possible to smoke DMT or 5-MeO-DMT – until this time we have either taken it as a snuff, a potion, or, most recently, injecting it**. Whatever the case, the Legal Highs booklet in 1973 now listed the Karma Kem Ko. in Yatesboro, PA and Terrestrial Materials in San Francisco, CA as suppliers of 5-MeO-DMT.

In a 1977 Head magazine article titled “DMT” authors Jeremy Bigwood and Jonathan Ott noted that 5-MeO-DMT “has been sold on the illicit market,” they also commented that it was not a controlled substance.  Nevertheless, Bigwood and Ott did little to promote the drug, when they quoted a description from M.V. Smith’s 1976 book Psychedelic Chemistry that described the effects of 5-MeO-DMT as being similar to “having a large elephant sit on one’s head,”* and they concluded by stating that they felt the drug “has little recreational value.”  (The exact quote from Smith is, “The effects of 5-methoxy-DMT are unpleasant for most people (smoking it gives me nausea plus the feeling that I’m being sat on by an elephant)” (Smith 1981).)

The 1978 High Times Encyclopedia of Recreational Drugs remarks that 5-MeO-DMT “has been synthesized and was occasionally available in the California underground market a few years ago. The effects are practically identical to laboratory DMT available in the 1960s.”


Galactic Toad by Queen of FablesIn 1983, one of the true classics of underground entheogenic literature appeared, promoting the hallucinogenic value of the Sonoran Desert Toad. Attributed to an author called Albert Most (probably not his real name) and published in the Denton, TX area (by ‘Venom Press’) ‘Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoaran Desert’, is an informative and practical ‘how-to-guide’ for finding this particular species of toad, for the purpose of collecting, and then smoking, its venom. In this ‘pamphlet’, Most clearly identifies the active entheogen in Bufo alvarius venom as being 5-MeO-DMT (and not bufotenine), and the enduring success of this publication is probably responsible for the culture of toad venom use that still exists in certain areas of the South-West today. (While Most and his followers advocated their ‘Church of the Light’, there is little evidence that this ‘church’ was ever incorporated.)


Albert MostBy 1985, an updated edition of The First Book of Sacraments of the Church of the Tree of Life included mention of the fact that 5-MeO-DMT was available from Inner Center, Co., in Hermosa Beach, California. It is not clear when Inner Center first started offering 5-MeO-DMT for sale, but a 1994 post to Alt.drugs, which pointed out that they still sold morning glory seeds, mentioned that Inner Center used to sell 5-MeO-DMT but that they didn’t offer it any longer, and may have stopped selling it around March of 1992.  (A 1992 edition of the booklet Legal Highs had removed vendor listings for chemicals. Apparently the government had been targeting the companies that were included in earlier editions of the booklet and pressuring them into not making sales to individuals who were not part of an established research laboratory. This may be why Inner Center stopped offering 5-MeO-DMT around that time.)


Entheogen ReviewOther than this, there is scant mention of 5-MeO-DMT being extracted or synthesized for modern entheogenic consumption until the early 1990s. Interest in extracting DMT and 5-MeO-DMT was sparked through the publication in 1992 of The Entheogen Review, which frequently discussed various plant sources for ayahuasca analogues. Edited by Jim DeKorne, this quarterly journal acted as a “network newsletter” to shared brew prep and extraction techniques. In the winter 1993 issue, DeKorne published “Smokable DMT from Plants,” describing a simple method of extracting “DMT” from Phalaris grasses. In the spring 1994 issue, DeKorne published a correction, pointing out that the grass he had used primarily contained 5-MeO-DMT, and the description of the effects produced by the extract therefore reflected that tryptamine, not DMT*. Further interest in plant sources of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT was sparked by the “Beta-Carbolines and Ayahuasca Potions” chapter in Jonathan Ott’s 1993 book Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History, as well as his 1994 book Ayahuasca Analogues: Pangæan Entheogens. (* Unfortunately the misidentification of his Phalaris grass as a source for “smokable DMT” also made it into the first edition of DeKorne’s more widely distributed 1994 book Psychedelic Shamanism. However, a correction was noted in the second printing of the book. And in truth, some Phalaris grasses do contain DMT as their only or primary psychoactive alkaloid, while others contain only or primarily 5-MeO-DMT.)


As of 1997, one specialty entheobotanical company started offering synthetic 5-MeO-DMT in their mail-order catalog, and in a 1998 interview, Jonathan Ott mentioned his own incipient company Pharmacophilia, which planned to sell a product called Pharmahuasca®—a two-pill combo of a Natural Herbal Relaxant (free-base harmaline) and a Natural Herbal Tonic (5-MeO-DMT)**. Apparently Ott had changed his opinion of the value of 5-MeO-DMT since his article in Head some two decades earlier. (* Although a limited number of pressed Pharmahuasca® pills were produced, and some R&D was done via human bioassays, Ott’s Pharmacophilia company either never materialized as a commercial venture, was short-lived, or has remained an extremely “underground” and unpublicized venture.)

After about five year’s absence from the market, JLF: Poisonous Non-Consumables  appears to have been the first company to start offering 5-MeO-DMT for sale commercially again. (1997) Since opening up shop in 1987, JLF’s primary product was dried Amanita muscaria mushrooms, but they also sold a wide number of other psychoactive and/or poisonous products, including the dried skins from road-killed Bufo americanus and B. marinus toads.


Over the next few years, 5-MeO-DMT became increasingly available for purchase via Internet-based companies—some of which sold other exotic non-scheduled psychedelic drugs by describing them as “research chemicals.” Yet under the Controlled Substances Analogue Act of 1986, many of these chemicals (including 5-MeO-DMT) could be considered to be analogues of illegal chemicals, and hence—under certain circumstances—they would also be illegal.

On September 7, 2001, police raided JLF, and on January 28, 2002, they arrested the owner, Mark Niemoeller, serving him with a 13-count federal grand jury indictment. The charges related to several specific chemicals that JLF sold. In order to get out of jail, Niemoeller made a deal with prosecutors not to sell any items mentioned in the indictment or in the search warrant, along with some additional items not mentioned, including 5-MeO-DMT and the skins of Bufo marinus toads. Niemoeller ended up spending a few years under house arrest. (For more information, see www.alternet.org/story/12393/.

On July 22, 2004, the DEA published an announcement describing their “Operation Web Tryp”, which resulted in legal actions against five US research chemical vendors. Charges were largely made on the basis of the Controlled Substances Analogue Act. Many of the companies selling research chemicals that were not busted responded to the DEA’s announcement by closing their businesses.”


~ James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace; 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad.

5-MEO-DMTCurrently, there are no research chemical companies offering 5-MeO-DMT in the USA; there are however ones in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and other countries which can be found via the Internet. Thanks however to the dissemination of information about 5-MeO-DMT on sites like EROWID and forums like dmt-nexus and tribe.net, the publication of books about 5-MeO-DMT (Tryptamine Palace (James Oroc), and The Entheogenic Evolution: Psychedelics, Consciousness, and Awakening the Human Spirit by Dr. Martin Ball), articles about 5-MeO-DMT’s underground use by trained psychiatric professionals (world-wide) for addiction treatment and easing fear-of-dying in terminal patients, and thanks to the increased use and interest in it’s cousin DMT and ayahuasca generally, interest in 5-MeO-DMT has also grown considerably.


Coil - Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyl (5-MeO-DMT)Perhaps because of this rise in interest – or as an inevitable result of the 2004 DEA’s “Web Tryp” operation depending on your viewpoint – 5-MeO-DMT became a Schedule 1 drug in the United States on January 19th, 2011, some forty years after its more famous tryptamine cousins, DMT, LSD, and psilocybin. Despite being endogenous to our own bodies, and one of the few known substances that can invoke a mystical experience, it is now one of the most illegal things you can possess in the United States of America, and most other countries that follow the USA’s rules.


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