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Grow It Yourself: Different Drugs You Can Grow at Home



Everyone knows you can grow weed at home, and a lot of us are doing it. But cannabis is hardly the only drug that you can make DIY style. If you want to grow drugs at home, there are plenty of options, here are some of the best ones, whether you already thought of them or not.

With cannabis and psychedelics inching toward legality, more and more people want to grow their own drugs at home. And it’s not that hard to do, so long as it comes from a plant. Here’s a look at how to grow some of the more popular plant-based drugs out there. We’re all about bringing you everything interesting and important from this industry. To keep up-to-date, subscribe to the THC Weekly Newsletter and also get access to premium deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and a host of other products! We’ve also got great offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP HHC, which will save you plenty of $$. Head over to our “Best-of” lists, and and enjoy your products responsibly!

Grow drugs at home

A home grow is exactly like it sounds, when a person grows something at their own house. Though the term ‘home grow’ often pertains specifically to weed, there are plenty of standard plant products that people grow themselves. In any case of home growing, it goes against the standard system of buying literally everything we need at a store. This goes for weed, or any other plant grown for a purpose.

Think veggies. It’s certainly not uncommon to see people growing their own vegetables, as well as fruit trees, herbs, and spices. Not everyone wants to depend on a supermarket, or trusts the practices of the world of agribusiness. Some people just have a green thumb and enjoy making plants grow, or simply like to pick their salad ingredients fresh every day, with no fear of where the products came from.

So the idea of growing plants at home is not new (certainly), and even a part of culture today. In many locations, with the exception of places like inner cities, growing one’s own vegetables is actually rather commonplace, with some people going as far as to have their own greenhouse. The idea of doing it yourself, certainly applies to the plant world beyond growing weed, but let’s be honest, that’s one of the plants we’re most interested in growing at the moment.

Grow drugs at home – cannabis

Though there might be plenty of options if you want to grow drugs at home, the most common and popular one to do, is cannabis. Not only is cannabis a plant that can be grown in large grow ops, but it can also easily be grown as a single plant in a closet in your home. Long before cannabis laws started to soften, tons of people were illegally growing the plant, sometimes to treat a medical illness, and sometimes just to promote the giggles.

grow cannabis

Cannabis is fairly easy to grow, but there is some work involved. A prospective grower who is growing inside must buy equipment like lights (fluorescent lights, LEDs, (LECs) Light Emitting Ceramic, or metal halide & high-pressure sodium lights). They must choose the type of growing medium, and buy the equipment related, whether that’s soil, a hydroponics setup (grown with roots in water), or even an aeroponics setup (grown with roots in air). They must consider all the related nutrients, and the seeds themselves.

Not all cannabis was created equally, and this goes for growing times too. Most weed plants take between 3-5 months for the entire process, depending on the strain, with each stage requiring some tweaks to the setup, often in how long light is on the plants. However, so long as you have a nice dark place to grow, and the right lights and equipment, getting some amazing herb out of your own house, is easily a reality.

Grow drugs at home – mushrooms

Another drug that’s pretty easy to grow at home is mushrooms. Though they aren’t grown as widely as cannabis, the idea of home-growing mushrooms has also been around for decades, even as the drugs remain in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances list, federally. Much like with cannabis, mushrooms (and other entheogenic plants) have been gaining popularity, with medical legalizations starting to come in (eg: Oregon), tons of locations that have decriminalized (eg: Denver), and legislation for whole state recreational use (eg: California).

Growing mushrooms is different than cannabis, but overall requires about the same amount of energy output and know-how. The general materials include mushroom spores, vermiculite to create a mycelium network, rice flour, clean jars, rubbing alcohol to ensure all tools are clear of bacteria, foil or plastic wrap to cover air/water holes, a pan that jars can be heated in, a syringe to move the spores, perlite for the bottom of the growing container, a mist bottle for the mycelium cakes, and a dark place to allow the mycelium to grow.

The process includes creating the mycelium in one place, and then moving the cakes to another container where the mushroom spores can then grow. The whole process takes only 1-2 months, making it a shorter grow than with any kind of cannabis. These days, as mushrooms grow in both legality and popularity, there are even growing kits coming out, that have all the necessary tools included. And which make the process that much easier.

Grow drugs at home – Coca

Okay, so before I get into this, I’m not telling anyone to go out and do it. On the other hand, I’m not telling anyone not to go out and do it either. Let’s be honest though, in most places, growing mushrooms is just as illegal, so why not share a little on how a person can grow their own coca plants? Interestingly, it’s not all that hard to do. And considering coca itself is a mild plant in comparison to its processed versions, it’s really not a big deal to do it, beyond risking prosecution. Anyway, here is the basic process. Interested growers should investigate further.

  • Coca seeds, like everything else, are available on the internet, but its best to take them directly from a plant (which is obviously not possible in most places). These seeds cannot be dried out, so keep that in mind if buying them online. Dried seeds are probably not going to be the real deal, or useful at all.
  • Seeds are germinated in vermiculite, which can be done in a Styrofoam cup or plastic pot. Seeds are planted in soil, but high enough that they don’t get stuck in water. It should take 2-4 weeks for the seeds to sprout roots. It must be constantly warm – think of where coca usually grows (Peru, Colombia). A terrarium works well, though its shouldn’t be sealed as the seeds need air flow. They need a lot of light too, and might benefit from using a grow light.
  • Seeds shouldn’t be over-watered, but they should never be allowed to dry out either. Only water when necessary. Use rain or bottled spring water, as water with salts can damage the plant. The plant require sunlight, but different amounts at different stages of growth.
  • At about 2”, the seedlings can be transplanted into regular plastic pots. Clay is bad because it can dry the plant out. Pots shouldn’t be too big for the plant, and can be switched up as the plant grows. When the roots can be seen through the bottom holes, its time to replant. Soil should be something like 25% of each: sterilized loam, perlite, course sand, and milled peat. Organic compost can be added, but no more vermiculite at this stage.
grow coca
  • The plants should be fed soluble organic plant food, but only about every three weeks. Iron chelate should be added every six months as the plant matures. As you can tell by that last statement, this is a much longer process than the previous two, and can take between 1-2 years for plants to reach maturity.

Grow drugs at home – other psychedelics

There are tons of entheogenic psychedelics, even if we generally focus on just a few in popular culture. Some are not native to certain areas, and therefore not accessible to them, or require very specific climates for outdoor grows. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of psychedelic plants that can be grown. And pretty easily, even if it takes some time…and a lot of them do.

Peyote – Peyote is a cactus that naturally has mescaline in it. In order to grow peyote cactus, a prospective grower must germinate the seeds (some can actually lie dormant for around 10 years), which is done in one part sand, one part heavy grit, and one part standard potting mix. This combination is soaked and then dried before putting seeds on top (not in it). Plastic film should be put over the pot. Soil should ideally be about 22º C (71.6º F). A heating mat or placing it next to a vent can help in colder temperatures. After a few weeks, when small green spheres appear, holes can be put in the plastic.

More holes can be made as time progresses, and after 10 weeks, the plastic can come off, and the plant can be watered. It’s a cactus remember, so it doesn’t need too much. Sometimes misting is best, and in colder temperatures, no water is needed at all. It takes about a year for a full root system to grow, and at that time it can be replanted. The temperature should be kept hot, but dry, just like a desert.

Peyote isn’t quick, and can take years to mature, making this a project for very patient people. A grafting method can help speed it along. This involves cutting the peyote plant and grafting it onto another cactus plant.

Iboga Tabernanthe iboga is a plant native to Central Africa which is known as a strong painkiller, as well as a hallucinogen. To grow it, it helps to have fresh seeds, though apparently even rotting seeds have been known to work. The seeds, however obtained – (likely through the internet) should not be dried, or put in the cold. The seeds can germinate in weeks, or as much as 12-18 months. They should be put 10mm down in a tray or drainable pot, filled 5cm deep with rough sand. The sand should be moist and between 25-30º C (77-86º F). When leaves appear, it can be transplanted.

The plant can be transplanted to a pot with 90% rough sand/10% potting mix. It can be transferred once more when more leaves appear and the roots get woody.

Plants should be grown in an environment that is moist, humid, that’s well drained, and with medium light. Sandy clay soil is the best medium, and the plants should be kept from getting cold. At this point, horse manure can be used for fertilizer. The plant needs years to grow, and can gain psychoactive chemicals in about five years. You’ll know its ready when the roots become pale yellow, are bitter to the taste, and are like an anesthetic in the mouth and on the skin.


Psychotria viridisthe psychedelic part of ayahuasca, can also be grown in order to make your own ayahuasca, though I’m only going over this part of it, which is only 50% of ayahuasca. The other 50% comes from the caapi vine which acts as an MAO-inhibitor. This keeps the DMT in Psychotria viridis from breaking down as quickly, which creates a much longer experience.

Seeds are best planted fresh, and germination takes place in 2-5 months. It takes a while because seeds contain immature embryos which need time to mature. Seeds should be soaked first in a bleach solution to keep mold at bay, then soaked for 12 hours in regular water. They should be planted ¼ inch deep in soil. A heating pad can be used to keep it warm. It should be kept at about 22-28º C (70-80º F), without direct sunlight.

Plants require a well-drained potting medium, making sure the pH stays around 5.5-6.1, in a minimum temperature of 20º C (68º F). Soil should be moist, but not soggy. Plants should be watered regularly and kept in partial shade. Fertilizer can be used every 2-3 months, as this plant can take 1-2 years to reach full growth. Products like wettable sulphur, natrasoap or pyrethrum can be used to keep pests at bay. The plant grows into a small tree or large bush.


These are just a few of the options if you want to grow drugs at home. Some will only be relevant to some people, while others can be done by anyone with the right equipment and time. It should be remembered that any entheogenic plant can be grown by anyone with the right materials, so when you pick your plant, and locate your seeds, there are instructions online for almost anything. Regardless of what it’s for, growing plants is an enjoyable activity, and when the plants you grow have psychoactive effects, well, it just makes it that much better. Happy growing!

Hello and welcome! Thanks for making it to, the preeminent internet location for high quality independent news coverage of the cannabis and psychedelics-related industry. Drop by when you can to stay on-top of the quickly-moving world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and remember to sign up for The THC Weekly Newsletter, so you’re never late on getting a story.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Pick Your DMT – You’ve Got a Lot of Options



As psychedelics gain steam, getting closer to legalization in the US, interest has picked up in all kinds, whether lab-made like LSD, or nature-made like DMT. In so doing, it’s become apparent just how many entheogenic options there are. Take DMT, for example. Sure, it’s one half of ayahuasca, which comes from a plant, but another form comes from a toad, and yet another from sponge fish. With DMT, there are several options, and users can pick their poison.

DMT options abound in nature, and you can find the compound and its derivatives in tons of places. Take your pick! We’re a news publication focusing on the psychedelics and cannabis fields, and everything going on within. Stay with us by subscribing to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and put yourself in first place for all new product promotions, as they become available to the public.

What is DMT?

DMT – or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a psychedelic hallucinogenic compound. Unlike fellow psychedelics LSD and MDMA, it’s found in nature, and is in plants like Psychotria viridis, which is one half of ayahuasca. DMT is processed into a white powder that is vaporized or smoked, brewed into a drink like ayahuasca, snorted like cocaine, or injected. Throughout history it’s been used in medicinal, ritualistic, and spiritual applications, in different time periods, and in different cultures. Trips are short, lasting anywhere from 10-90 minutes.

DMT is similar to other psychedelics in that its serotonergic, meaning it has a strong effect on serotonin receptors, especially 5HT2A. It exerts strength as a non-selective agonist at all (or most of) these receptors. DMT causes hallucinations which are sensory experiences that aren’t actually there, like hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or tasting something that doesn’t exist. Like other psychedelics, its also associated with euphoria, well-being, feelings of connection and spirituality, altered cognition, and bringing on life-changing experiences.

One of the most popular applications of DMT is as ayahuasca, in which DMT is one half of the concoction. Ayahuasca is a brewed drink made by mixing DMT with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine in order for the MAO inhibitors in Banisteriopsis caapi to stop the DMT from breaking down so quickly. Because of this, trips last much longer, more like 4-6+ hours. The use of DMT this way dates back at least 1,000 years (though probably longer), as evidenced by a pouch found in southwestern Bolivia’s Sora River Valley, which contained both DMT and harmine (another MAOI), which produce ayahuasca together.


In 1931, Canadian chemist Richard Manske synthesized DMT for the first time. It wasn’t found in a plant until microbiologist Oswaldo Gonçalves de Lima located it in a plant in 1946. That it caused hallucinations took even longer to establish, and that happened when Stephen Szara, a Hungarian chemist and psychiatrist, took the DMT he extracted from a Mimosa hostilis plant.

It’s believed by some that the human body can create DMT in the pineal gland of the brain. The predominant thought is that this happens when approaching death in order to calm down the brain from death anxiety. It is currently undergoing trials for use with treatment-resistant depression.

DMT options – you’ve got plenty!

When it comes to drugs, we often lump a bunch together, even though they’re not exactly the same. Take the term ‘THC’ for example. It doesn’t actually refer to only delta-9 THC, but actually refers to several different compounds that have the same chemical formula, but different molecular structures. It’s a similar situation with DMT. There are different DMT options based on different derivatives, and these different options are very similar, but can cause different effects for the user.

DMT actually refers to N,N-DMT, which is found in plants like Psychotria viridis, Mimosa tenuiflora, and Diplopterys cabrerana. In all of these cases, it’s the primary psychoactive alkaloid. It’s a minor alkaloid in other plants like the bark pods and beans of the Anadenanthera peregrina and Anadenanthera colubrina plants. It’s also a minor alkaloid of virola bark resin, but this involves another form of DMT as well. If you noticed, I didn’t say anything about toads right now, and that’s because toad DMT is a different kind of DMT.

When dealing with toads, and the ever-growing popularity of getting high off these slippery creatures, the kind of DMT we’re speaking about is different. In toads, its called 5-HO-DMT, or bufotenine (5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). Bufotenine, much like all other similar forms, is considered a ‘DMT derivative’, so its not the same DMT that’s in the plants listed above, but closely related. It’s also an alkaloid, like regular DMT, and its found in toads like the Colorado River Toad (aka Sonora Desert Toad, or Incilius alvarius), as well as other mushrooms and plants. This kind of DMT was isolated and named during WWI by Handovsky, an Austrian chemist, from a sample taken from a toad.

Yet another of the DMT options besides the two just listed is 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine), which is also found in various plant species, and is also secreted by the Colorado River Toad, along with bufotenine. This form of DMT was synthesized for the first time in 1936, and is found in Anadenanthera peregrina seeds as well as Virola theiodora, along with regular DMT. In 2018, the research study A Single Dose of 5-MeO-DMT Stimulates Cell Proliferation, Neuronal Survivability, Morphological and Functional Changes in Adult Mice Ventral Dentate Gyrus showed that this kind of DMT promotes neuroplasticity.


It is sometime said that 5-MeO-DMT creates a more intense high than the other forms of DMT, but this could be related to subjective experience. The difficulty in assessing something like this, is that the same exact compound can produce varying effects at different times, and the effects we’re talking about have to do with distorting perception. For the most part, DMT and its derivatives are associated with the same kind of high and hallucinations, but frequent users can give more specific information about the variability they experienced between them.

Where does DMT come from?

This is where it becomes a little tricky, and when we need to remember that chemical relationships are found between different types of plants. For example, a couple more compounds that are actually derivatives of DMT are O-Phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N,N-DMT, which we know as psilocybin, and 4-HO-DMT, which we refer to as psilocin. These are the two hallucinogenic components of magic mushrooms. When we talk of magic mushrooms, we usually separate them from DMT, but in reality, the main psychedelic compounds of these fungi, are derivatives of DMT.

Other derivatives are found elsewhere in nature, like sponge fish, which contain 5-Bromo-DMT (5-bromo-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). The reason for the connection between these different derivatives, is because they are all ‘DMT derivatives’, which means they are also ‘tryptamine derivatives’, which puts them in the grouping of ‘tryptamines’. Though ‘tryptamine’ isn’t an official drug class, it unofficially is the home of many compounds that are all agonists at 5HT2A receptor sites, and is the main reason that these different drugs produce hallucinations.

What makes these connections even more interesting? Tryptamines are all derived from tryptophan, an amino acid. What does this sound very close to? L-tryptophan. If you’re wondering why that word sounds familiar, but you can’t quite put your finger on it, L-tryptophan is the amino acid in meat that makes people relaxed and tired. It’s most associated with turkey and Thanksgiving, and people getting very sleepy after their big meal.

That’s because L-tryptophan is associated with serotonin production, which is related to sleep. Whether L-tryptophan from meat actually makes a person tired or not is debatable, but the more interesting aspect, is in how the amino acid in our meat, might resemble the alkaloids that makes us see things that aren’t there. Tryptophan is a precursor to the synthesis of different compounds including serotonin, melatonin, and DMT and its derivatives.

Tryptophan becomes tryptamine via decarboxylation of the tryptophan with aromatic-L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). This transforms into DMT by way of a catalyzed enzymic reaction using indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase (INMT). Obviously it’s not exactly a direct line from ‘turkey’ to ‘hallucination’, but this process does show a connection between the two.


Biology is cool in this way. There are tons of interconnecting factors between compounds and organisms that we might not otherwise think of as being related. Another example of this concept is with THC and hormones. We know delta-9 shares the same chemical formula with other deltas like delta-8 and delta-10, and with similar compounds like CBD and CBC.

What else shares that chemical formula? Progesterone, a hormone produced by the human body which plays a major role in things like steroid production, sex, the female menstrual cycle and pregnancy, and in brain function. In this case, the relationship is much closer, implying the ability of something like cannabis to impact the endocrine system. It’s a point of research indeed, but its still unknown just how much the two may or may not impact each other. It’s interesting with tryptophan and DMT as well, and although the connection is not nearly as close, it does act as a reminder that DMT is a biological compound, and one related to human and animal life.


DMT and its derivative options are responsible for a large percentage of the hallucinogenic plants and animals that exist. If you’re a first time user, you’d probably be fine with any of the varieties, and if you’re an experienced user, you might already have a preference. Regardless of which of the DMT options is your preferred pick, the one thing for sure is, that it’s going to be a very trippy experience.

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What is Ayahuasca? – CBD Testers



“When you drink ayahuasca, and you get to see divinity, you can almost never speak of it because it’s too big for words.” ― Gerard Armond Powell

When William Burroughs, famed beat writer, entered the Amazonian basin not long after killing his wife and in a tormented addiction to Opium, he stumbled upon a drug that would change his life.  “This is the most powerful drug I have ever experienced. Yage is not like anything else. It produces the most complete derangement of the senses.” He said in his book the Yage papers. Yage is another name for the hallucinogenic mixture of plants drunk in certain regions of the Amazon rainforest better known as Ayahuasca, an ancient psychoactive drink that has been a part of shamanic ritual for years. In this article, as part of our ‘what is drugs’ Series, we will be investigating this mysterious mixture and looking into the history, culture and science behind Ayahuasca. We’ll talk about the ceremony, controversy and preparation involved in so-called Ayahuasca retreats in South America and beyond. 

Remember to subscribe to The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and all the latest, most exciting industry news. And save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Ayahuasca is defined as “a decoction (concentrated liquid) made by prolonged heating or boiling of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine with the leaves of the Psychotria viridis shrub” by the Alcohol and Drugs foundation. In simpler terms, heat up two particular plants into a hot green broth and hey presto, you have a hallucinogen. What does Ayahuasca look like? Well, to be blunt, it doesn’t look very appetizing, nor does it taste very appetizing. The mixture looks like a mushy green tea and the taste has been described as “bitter, salty and yeasty”. Not ideal. Ayahuasca can be taken personally, but is more likely to be taken as a part of an Ayahuasca retreat.

Organised trips where a group of people will be guided through an Ayahuasca ceremony together, often led by a Shaman. You can look at some of the top rated Ayahuasca retreats here. They mostly take place in southern american countries like Peru and Mexico, but can be found across the world. Ayahuasca is also very interesting legally. The mixture itself isn’t illegal, however because it contains DMT a schedule 1 drug in the US you could be arrested for possessing it. Ayahuasca is only legally allowed for specific religious procedures in approved churches. Ayahuasca is legal in many countries in Southern America where there are indigenous tribes still using it to practice rituals.

The History of Ayahuasca

One of the oldest hallucinogens, Ayahuasca has its origins among the Amazonian tribes of South America, for whom the plants needed were readily available. It is believed that in early Aztec tribes, Shamanic figures within the group would use Ayahuasca to communicate with ancestors and spirits. In fact, a pouch containing Ayahuasca was discovered that dated back over a thousand years.

However, this compound may be even older. There are some claims that the drug has been in use in Southern American tribes for over 5000 years. Of course, it is almost impossible to accurately know this. Many guesses have been made based on the fact that Ayahuasca is so integral to many Amazonian tribes, but many tribes have no or little written history. What we do know is that Spanish invaders encountered the drug and deemed it the work of the devil.

How Does it Feel?

An Ayahuasca trip is often described as very intense, but quite a spiritual experience. Described as being different to other psychedelics as it often incorporates the natural sounds occurring around the user. The trips can lead to revelations, and often lead to a feeling of acceptance about events that have happened in the user’s life. Ayahuasca trips are unique though and sometimes people can have bad experiences. It’s impossible to predict whether you’ll have a good or bad trip, but making sure that you’re ready mentally and in a safe environment can help.

How Does it Effect the Brain?

So where in the brain does Ayahuasca affect? There is a growing amount of research that seems to suggest Ayahuasca has quite a widespread effect on many brain areas. The active chemicals that create the psychedelic effects of Ayahuasca come in two parts, each from the different plants used in the mixture. Psychotria viridis contains DMT and the other component plant, Banisteriopsis caapi, contains chemicals called Harmine and Harmaline. DMT (a drug that we have discussed before) seems to bind to serotonin receptors in the brain, perhaps leading to the hallucinogenic effects experienced in Ayahuasca ceremonies.

Haemine and Marmaline are known as Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), which act by inhibiting the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, Dopamine and norepinephrine, all of which in high levels can lead to psychedelic outcomes. MAOIs are sometimes used in the treatment of depression as well, which could explain some of the therapeutic benefits of Ayahuasca. 


Perhaps not surprisingly considering the growing research into Psychedelics and mental health, Ayahuasca has been linked to improving depressive symptoms. A recent study by Jiminez-Garrido and team looked into a sample of 40 participants, some of whom had mental disorders, including depression. They were then sent on an Ayahuasca retreat and their mental health measured after. They found that  “Remarkably, at the 1-month follow-up, 61% of participants who initially met the diagnostic criteria no longer met the criteria for any psychiatric disorder.” and that “overall, 83.2% of participants reported a clinical improvement. This improvement lasted until the 6-months follow-up.”

All rather incredible findings that suggest Ayahuasca has a rather potent medical potential. It has also been shown to have benefits when used to treat some substance abuse issues. Research shows that, in the correct and safe environments, Ayahuasca can reduce dependency on certain substances, even more evidence of its potential medical benefits. Scientists seem to be in agreement that Ayahuasca and DMT need more research done into them. From a more holistic approach, analysis was conducted on what the leaders of Ayahuasca retreats believed to be the benefits of Ayahuasca, particularly for treating disorders such as depression and eating disorders.

Some of the leaders believed that it was Ayahuasca “facilitates physical, spiritual, mental and emotional healing; enhances and reorganizes relationships with symptoms, self, community and creation”. A very interesting interpretation of the many benefits here.


A very obvious down-side of Ayahuasca is that it can often produces quite… unpleasant side effects when ingested. Many people after taking Ayahuasca will start vomiting and even sometimes be prone to diarrhea. This is likely due to the plants being used having a slightly toxic effect on the body. Some people have described these initial side effects as hell. Ayahuasca can also cause a significantly increased heart rate as well as feelings of dizziness.

Some also claim that there are problems with the way Ayahuasca retreats are run. People claim that they are not only forms of cultural appropriation, but also exploitative of Native peoples. Writer Kevin Tucker believes that Ayahuasca retreats are endemic of colonialism, in that we lack meaning in our world so will create a market of using another’s culture to find an artificial meaning. Damaging their culture in the process. This is a compelling argument and something I think each person considering an Ayahuasca retreat must consider first.

My Own Experiences 

I’ve never taken Ayahuasca, but a friend’s dad once recounted the experiences he had on his retreat in Brazil to myself and a group of uni friends. He described the entire experience as equal parts odd and magical. Meeting with a group of strangers, all there for an Ayahuasca experience and then carted onto a minibus out to the rainforest. When there, they sat in a make-shift marquee made from bamboo and leaves. Listening to the rain falling about them as a man in a shaman outfit poured them each a glass of Ayahuasca.

He said that he wasn’t sure if the man was a genuine Shaman, or someone being paid to play the part, either way he said it was convincing. Once the ceremony had been blessed they all drank their Ayahuasca. He said the trip was incredible and that the shaman was an incredible guide, making sure everyone was safe and ok. He said he felt totally connected with his past, accepting of all the events that had led up to where he was right now. He also said he was sick… A lot.   


Ayahuasca is a mysterious, powerful and spiritual drug with a long and ancient history. Ayahuasca retreats may have their issues, but it’s clear that the therapeutic and recreational benefits of this compound are many. It is a drug that I hope to one day try, in the correct and safe environment and with the right people. As always it is important to note that this is a very powerful hallucinogen and should be treated with respect. If you are considering taking it, make sure that you are in the correct headspace and have thought about this decision thoroughly. Where better to finish than with another quote from William S. Burroughs’ Ayahuasca experience: “You see everything from an hallucinated viewpoint.  Ayahuasca is not like anything else”

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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Everything You Need to Know About DMT



DMT…  few letters in the world of drugs have such an impressive following, reputations and devotion. Nicknamed the spirit substance due to its link to out of body experiences and incredibly strong trips, DMT is truly one of the most fascinating hallucinogens available, and one that deserves a thorough examination.

As part of our What Is (Drugs)  series, examining different compounds and presenting their histories, effects and legality around the world, we’ve looked at a plethora of substances that can truly alter one’s experience. We will now look at DMT, perhaps best known for providing most intense trip a person can experience, but also for being the only known psychedelic substance to be naturally produced within the brain. So strap in as things get intense and we dive into the wonderful world of DMT.

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What Is DMT? 

Brittanica defines DMT, an abbreviation of its longer, chemical name Dimethyltryptamine, as a ‘powerful, naturally occurring hallucinogenic compound structurally related to the Drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide).’ It is the “naturally-occurring” part of this definition which is particularly interesting as DMT can be found in many plants and animals, including humans. DMT is a type of chemical called a tryptamine, a family of compounds that cause hallucinogenic experiences.

Another member of the Tryptamine family is Psilocin, found in magic mushrooms. Due to the fact that it can be produced by plants and is naturally occuring in the human body, DMT has a long historical connection with humans and has been used in Southern American countries for thousands of years in the plant based drink Ayahuasca, given at some shamanistic ceremonies. DMT can also be synthesised and produced artificially. In many European countries you are more likely to use synthetic DMT as fewer plants that produce it are grown there. DMT is known for giving users an intense and often spiritual trip that many have described as the most intense trip possible. 

What Does It Look Like?

DMT can be consumed in a number of ways, but it cannot really be taken orally unless consumed in a mixture as Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is a plant based mixture of which DMT is the main active ingredient. Apparently it tastes like cigarette butts and stale beer, so enjoy.  Pure DMT is white and crystal like in its form but is often found as a yellowish powder or mixed with other substances. DMT can be smoked, snorted or injected. Regarding the smoking of DMT, it can either be vaporized as its pure substance, or smoked instead as a powder, often in its salt based form. 

The History of DMT

DMT has been present within some cultures for many years, due to it being the main active ingredient in Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca has a long history associated with many South American tribes, including the Aztecs and a pouch containing the substance was found on an Aztec archaeological site dating back to over 1000 years ago. It was likely used in shamanic practices, allowing chosen members of the tribe to experience otherworldly connections with gods and spirits (an experience even users today may have on the drug).

In terms of modern use, the drug was first synthesised by a Chemist called Richard Manske in 1931. The hallucinogenic properties of the chemical weren’t discovered until the 1950’s when another chemist called Stephen Szará injected himself with DMT and experienced the first artificially created DMT high. The drug very quickly became illegal in the US, being listed as a Schedule 1 in 1970. This didn’t stop further research into DMT though, people began to find DMT produced by plants and trees and eventually a scientist called Rick Strassman began to formulate ideas about human genesis of DMT in the brain after finding the presence of DMT in rat brains.

‘Strassman became obsessed with the chemical, even going as far as to explain near death experiences as a bi-product of DMT production in the brain, supposedly coming from the pineal gland. DMT’s fame has risen considerably over the past few years and the intensity and spirituality of the highs it produces has made it one of the bucket list drugs for many psychedelic fans. 

How Does It Feel?

There is no one way to describe a DMT trip, and indeed many users argue that words can;t do it justice. It is perhaps this complexity that makes the drug so compelling. Each person’s trip seems to be unique to them. The universal experiences seem to be a sense of euphoria, strong visual hallucinations, the feeling of floating and depersonalisation. The experience of a very strong DMT trip is described as ‘breaking through’ and is often accompanied with the feeling of moving through some kind of vortex, with fractal patterns and bright shapes.

Many people describe having intense encounters with ‘beings’ or ‘entities’ and having profound realisations and feelings of oneness. It all sounds quite incredible, but of course with all Psychedelics there is the risk of a bad trip. For some comprehensive accounts of DMT trips, good and bad, I highly recommend the youtube channel ‘Tales from the Trip’. 

DMT & the Brain

DMT, like many other hallucinogens, affects Serotonin receptors. DMT has a very similar structure to Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is linked to mood control, hunger and inhibition. What this means is that DMT will bind to serotonin receptors. DMT also seems to alter the waves that our brains produce, moving people into a biological altered state. Some psychologists actually hypothesise that humans can naturally produce DMT within there own brains. This is where things get kind of crazy.

DMT has been found to be potentially present inside human brains, suggesting that it is indeed produced naturally. Researchers began investigating this phenomenon after DMT was found to be present in the brains of dead rats. Locating exactly the amounts of DMT and indeed where it comes from is very tricky and lots of the research is preliminary, but still the idea that we have a naturally occurring source of one of the most powerful Hallucinogens in our own brains is quite incredible.


DMT is often described as the most intense tripping experience one can have, and for some people that’s already enough for them to hunt down their nearest supplier. The intensity of the stories people tell after tripping on DMT shows that if you want a profound, potentially life altering experience, this may be the drug for you. Another benefit is the relatively short amount of time it takes to wear off.

The effects supposedly wear off after 30-45 minutes, with many people saying that they feel completely sober as soon as the trip finishes, potentially even more clear minded than before. There also seems to be potential evidence of DMT’s therapeutic benefits, with a small dose of the drug possibly producing antidepressant effects in a sample of rats. This evidence, combined with anecdotal reports of the anti-depressant effects of DMT in humans, suggest a future avenue for research (though it must be re-stated, this is very preliminary evidence).


Bad trips. Always the fear with any psychedelic, but particularly with one so powerful. A bad trip on DMT often includes: anxiety, feelings of paranoia and scary hallucinations that can feel as though they stay around for a while. Also, DMT can cause a very rapid increase in heart rate, which could be dangerous for someone with an already unstable heart-rate. Flashbacks as well can cause some users psychological stress, if they are reminded of a particularly bad situation. For all of these reasons above, it is essential that if you choose to use DMT you must do so in a safe, comfortable environment, surrounded by people you know and trust. With the right precautions, you can ensure a good DMT experience. 

My Own Experiences 

I personally haven’t ever tried DMT, but know of people who have and swear by it. It’s a drug that I am very keen to try one day, but know that I have to be in the right mindset and with the right people. Friends have told me stories of seeing great, god-like figures on their trips, which both fascinates and scares me. I am a skeptical man, but am always open to experiences that may change my attitude to life and perhaps DMT might be one of those experiences. 


DMT is clearly an incredibly powerful drug with a reputation for spiritual and intense trips. If taken correctly it seems that an unforgettable almost life altering experience can be had. Of course, you must be cautious and certain that you want this type of experience before taking the drug, because there is no going back. The research around the potential of DMT’s synthesis in the brain is tantalising and may mean that taking the drug is the closest to a near death experience we can safely have.

I think it’s fitting to close with a quote by Rick Strassman, author of ‘The Spirit Molecule’ and one of the pioneers into DMT’s spiritual effects in the brain: “I thought I had died, and that I might not ever come back. I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden, BAM!, there I was. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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