Dose: Two 7mg hits separated by about 15 minutes.
Context: The writer of this trip report suffers from anhedonia. One of the main motivations for trying 5-MeO-DMT was to see if it could help with such anhedonia.
Oh my god. The emotion. Pure intense pain. The situation was so moving. I knew I was in a state where I couldn’t not empathize with the pain. Coming out of it I felt like I was being let in on the lesson. My social barriers weren’t formed yet and I felt like we’re all melded in one family of empathized minds. There was no hiding or not acknowledging the immensity of pain. The lesson was “This is what is possible. This is what is happening to someone. This is very serious.” But it wasn’t just that recognition. There was a social experience, almost like an induction.
The come up was physically pleasant but very fast and then became very negative and high intensity. I think if I had my normal connection to my body, I’d be gripping the chair arm in pain and grunting, possibly weeping, but one thing I noticed about the experience was that there was a lack of strength to any aversions or fears or rejections, let alone expressions thereof. In ordinary sober life, something that negative would lead me to react with aversion.
Unlike the (less) painful experience of eating habanero peppers, I regarded the experience very sincere and true. Ordinarily I’m very wary of fanaticism and sentimentalism and social pressures and tragedies of the commons etc… to the point of social and emotional non-participation in society. I realize this is pathological so I try to get past my social cynicism and inhibition. This experience definitely put me right into a state of embracing a social consensus and I had very little ability to squirm or object to whatever indoctrination I could have seen it as. From the outside a social experience looks like indoctrination, but from the inside it is genuine and true. Beneath fanaticism is genuine empathy and significance, and I realized this when coming out and crying and sighing and making other social expressions at the message I had just received, having the sense of empathy transcend all social transactions of which I’m cynical.
There was a sense of magnetism and attraction both to this blazing core of serious suffering in the peak of the experience and the beautiful blue drawing undercurrents of the high valence, lovely come down, which lasted a good 15 minutes. The content of the experience was very unified and simple. “General” is the word that I think best describes the content. It includes the ontologies normally attributed to specific concepts. It includes these but isn’t reduced to them. Very general state of thinking. “Feeling” might be a good word for the general state underlying particular “thoughts.” And perhaps it was this general freedom which added to the impression that it broke through my social cynicisms.
The part that stood out for me was the emotion. I’ve never experienced emotion that strong before and it was useful to be reminded of what emotions feel like. There are levels of intensity and depth of emotion that mustn’t be forgotten. I dream of the life where I can tap into an infinite river of significance-rich, intense emotion. I felt in the trip an endlessly self-powering current of pure emotional energy blasting away (negative in the peak) and then undertows of deep oceanic bliss emotions of wellbeing and peace in the come down. Sometimes when I’m coming off a long, multi-day fast with a meal and my hormones and neurotransmitters are changing I feel emotional. Sometimes when I’ve gone a long time without hearing music and I play some great Bach cantata really loudly, I feel a bit of that moving emotional significance again. Interestingly I didn’t really separate the intensity from the significance during the trip. They felt one and the same. All meaning and sense of echoes and ramifications and contexts seemed to simply be unified in that general unified blazing entity of pure undifferentiated intensity. Yet, it didn’t feel insignificant, even though it lacked more specific content.
I think this might help with suffering because it does two things. One is that in my experience one has little choice to resist. Embracing an experience rather than struggling with it prevents unnecessary suffering. It also gives a state of pure, undifferentiated feeling which sort of envelops pain. This is good because it shows you the “unreality” of your thoughts. When you’re in an emotional state there’s a feeling behind the thoughts and different thoughts come in to support that feeling, but contending with them individually only multiplies them. It’s easier to just address the entire feeling at once. It’s hard to say how bad that experience was when all my aversion and struggling and resisting and fighting were disabled… I couldn’t protest the experience—does that cause me to infer in my memories that it must not have been worthy of resistance and therefore dispose me to take more when really it would be suffering that I would otherwise resist and avoid in the future? All I can say was that coming out of it I was very grateful, and not grateful that it was over but grateful that I had seen such truth for the sake of truth, and then the comedown incidentally turned nice and quite pleasant.
The come-off felt very slow and beautiful. Imagine taffy hanging over a rotating disk, like a lazy Susan. It felt like I was this taffy and passing beneath me was this undertow and after a delay it would pull me under in a pulse of pleasure. Or say there’s a car and a string tied to it and on the other end your tooth, and as soon as you’d have a thought the car would start running with that string and as the slack gets pulled with the car you might get distracted but then you’d eventually have your tooth pulled and you’d have your attention brought back to a string you might not have realized was there all the time. That’s what the long delayed slow crescendo pleasantnesses of the comedown of it would do for all kinds of thoughts and images and experiential events. To find out after a long delay that all this time a thought you had several seconds ago is still going on is quite reassuring—well, in this case it was. And these tooth pulls were quite pleasurable for some reason. And along with it came the bodily sensation of being magnetically drawn toward this thing.
Since going on an SSRI in 2015 (which I discontinued after 10 months in 2015), I’ve suffered chronic anhedonia (note that this paragraph was written over a week after the experience, where most of the report was written the day after, such as the exclamatory first sentences “Oh my god. The emotion,” which I was able to express because my body was still giving me a fresh enough memory of the experience from the night before. I’ve since lost emotional connection/recollection of the experience). I find I do suffer, but I lack any sense of it mattering. In particular, there’s a lack of a coordination between my frontal lobes and my limbic system (and SSRI’s can reduce the connectivity between the limbic system and the cortex… kind of like a mild chemical frontal lobotomy…), so any complex understanding of things like life situations or future plans or anything that takes the “high road” in the fear/emotional response through the cortex, get’s processed by the cortex but not communicated to the limbic system. So I can suffer, and I can verbally understand I’m suffering, but I can’t see why that matters or why I should do anything about it. I can’t emotionally reason. I can’t envision things that excite me. I can’t come up with reasons to alleviate ongoing anxiety like I used to. Before the SSRI, I’d have a pessimistic or anxious or sad thought and then I’d intervene with reasoning and “take perspective” and realize why things are ok after all or why something IS worth doing. None of that thinking reasoning gets through now. It seems only very immediate physical things with little dependence on the cortex get a somewhat appropriate level of emotional arousal out of me, like a car accident or crudely apprehended social threats/stress. I also have lots of indecision and waste time in dull thought loops. My thoughts lack emotional potency and they fail to support decision making. The experience of 5-MeO-DMT reminded me that suffering does matter, that things do matter, there is emotional significance. Because of the state depends of memory, I can’t really access that much, though in the days following the experience my body did find a certain posture that would trigger a strong recollection of the experience. It feels like I’m in flatland and this experience is in the third dimension, the dimension of emotional significance, and my frameworks presently don’t allow me much access to these memories, but I am grateful for the experience and the long come down which allowed me to take into my cortex the verbal/generic memories of the fact emotional stuff is real, and is out there. It restored hope and reminded me of the goal of getting out of this anhedonia. It’s better to live in hope and some optimism, even if success is futile. Just look at very old or obese people who still take care of their appearance with grooming.
See also: Trip reports by anonymous Qualia Computing readers for LSD, 2C-B, and 4-AcO-DMT.
Also, I want to inform that I decided to change my username to Kesther.
I’m not sure the trip seems to have done the poor fellow much good. Or if it did then he seems to have failed to express that fact.
The fellow told me via email that s/he is grateful to have tried it because it provided a sense of what emotion feels like again (which they have not had access to since becoming severely anhedonic). That said, I worry about the ethics of using this particular compound. From my research (consisting of reading hundreds of trip reports and interviewing a couple of people who have tried it a number of times) it seems that this compound in particular can give rise to the highest and most exalted notes of valence of all humanely possible states of consciousness. But at the same time, its effects are unpredictable and can also give rise to some of the absolute worst possible valence states.
From a negative utilitarian point of view, nobody should use this chemical until we have figured out how to guarantee a good trip. It also seems that if we take an Empty Individualist point of view for personal identity, it really doesn’t matter if a person says that their experience was good “in retrospect”, because the “moment of experience” who inhabited the very negative space cannot be rescued.
I posted this as a cautionary tale, in part, and as something of academic interest with regards to the thoughts of someone with anhedonia about the emotions caused by the chemical.
Is this stuff so under used and under researched compared to basic DMT? Or indeed psilocybyn. And no one can guarantee a good trip on the latter unless the dose is kept low? Hence John Hopkins talking of a sweet spot for dosage?
One could say that DMT is a relatively fringe chemical. I believe many more people have tried psilocybin or LSD than DMT. And among those who have tried, say, LSD and DMT, most of them agree that DMT can be “more intense” and it certainly “feels more alien”. That said, it should be noted that ego-death and “merging with the cosmos” type experiences are not very common on DMT. Somehow DMT allows one’s sense of self (at least one’s “cognitive self”) to stay relatively intact on doses below “breakthrough” levels (https://qualiacomputing.com/2016/12/12/the-hyperbolic-geometry-of-dmt-experiences/). Anyhow, despite the relative friendliness of the compound with one’s ego, it is still nonetheless the case that DMT tends to increase one’s “energy” by at least 2 or 3X as much as LSD or psilocybin are capable of.
All of the above leads a lot of people to conclude that (1) DMT is the most powerful psychedelic known to humanity, and (2) that the peak of the psychedelic state somehow or other involves contacting alien entities and such.
But here is the crazy part – just as DMT is more powerful than LSD, 5-MeO-DMT is still way more powerful than DMT (!). And unlike “regular” DMT (more technically known as “N,N-DMT”), 5MeO is indeed a total and complete “ego killer”. It feel perhaps “less weird” in the sense of being thrown at an alien reality and more “true” in the sense of feeling that you are coming into contact with deep knowledge that “you have already always known on some level somehow”. A lot of people call it the “God molecule” because it gives powerful impressions of Open Individualism (i.e. “we are all one consciousness”).
My interest in 5MeO should be easy to infer from my writings and the above: It increases “amount of consciousness” like nothing else, it increases the range of possible valence (makes bliss orders of magnitude better, suffering orders of magnitude worse), and it makes people buy into Open Individualism (which could be important as a coordination technology and for ethics). Hence it combines a lot of core interests of Qualia Computing: consciousness modulation, valence modulation, and personal identity.
And yes, it is still super obscure.
I hear all you say. With interest. I have experimented with psilocybyn for over 6 months with success and pleasure. I am about to lightly try out DMT. For much the same reasons. Yes, I entirely understand the reason for your interest in psychoactive compounds as research into consciousness. That is also part of my interest. Another reason for my interest is lifelong depression. I have having aome measure of success on both fronts. Although I have never had the courage to take an ego busting dose. Nonetheless from my limited experience as a low grade pyschonaut I can see the potential.
I am always fascinated by your posts and your research. I should come over to Burning Man…. 😊