5-MeO-DMT: Effects, History, And How It's Different From DMT

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5-MeO-DMT: Effects, History, And How It's Different From DMT

Less popular than its relative DMT, 5-MeO-DMT is a much more potent entheogen. How does it work, and how is it different from DMT?

5-MeO-DMT should not be confused with its better-known cousin, DMT. The former has a distinct chemical structure and history of use, as well as—and perhaps most importantly—very distinct effects. Let’s delve into the world of this mystical substance to understand a bit more about its magic!


5-MeO-DMT is short for 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. It is found in many plant species and the venom of at least one toad—the Colorado River toad (_Incilius alvarius_)—which inhabits the Sonoran desert that lies between the Southern US and Northern Mexico.

5-MeO-DMT belongs to the tryptamine class. Tryptamines are similar in structure to tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin), and act as non-selective serotonin receptor agonists. Furthermore, they are serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine releasing agents (SNDRA), which means tryptamines like 5-MeO-DMT are able to catalyse the release of serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. This action ultimately corresponds to major changes in sensory perception, mood, and thought pattern.

Unlike the better-known and more sought-after DMT, there is no suggestion of 5-MeO-DMT existing naturally in the human body.


In Central and South America, snuff containing 5-MeO-DMT has been identified, which dates back hundreds of years. Still today, indigenous Amazonian tribes hold knowledge on how to prepare these elusive snuffs from the plethora of 5-MeO-DMT-containing plants growing abundantly in the local environment. The most common source is Anadenanthera peregrina. This plant, also known as "yopo" or "choba", is native to the Caribbean and a large portion of South America.

Once the seeds are collected—which resemble small black beans—they are ground and then mixed with lime and cassava flour to create a paste. According to traditional use, the snuff is then blown by a person into someone else’s nose via a hollow bird bone.

At the end of the 15th century, accounts of ceremonial use of this entheogenic plant in the Amazon reached Europe. But only in 1936 was 5-MeO-DMT actually synthesised in a lab.

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, this substance could be legally purchased in most countries worldwide. In the US, some entheogenic sects emerged, like the “Church of the Tree of Life”, which regularly held ceremonies encompassing the use of 5-MeO-DMT as a sacrament. In fact, you could even purchase 5-MeO-DMT at this church. They would send you mail containing parsley leaves sprinkled with the entheogen.

The extraction, use, and commerce of 5-MeO-DMT remained unregulated in most countries until the early 2000s. Today, it is still unrestricted in countries like Canada and Mexico. Be careful, though! Keep in mind that it is illegal to purchase 5-MeO-DMT online in such countries, or to have it shipped to a locale wherein the substance is prohibited.


Modern Applications And Effects Of 5-MeO-DMT

The two most common ways to take 5-MeO-DMT are to vaporize/smoke it, and to snort/insufflate it.

When vaporizing or smoking, effects come on almost immediately, after about 30 seconds. The peak will be after 15–20min, and effects will last up to 30–45min. 5-MeO-DMT produces its effects beginning at very low doses. When vaporizing or smoking it, a minimum dose is around 1–2mg, while a strong dose can be up to 10mg.

When snorting/insufflating, it may take up to 5min to feel the first effects. The peak will be between 10–30min, and the effects will start weakening after 30–45min.

Swallowing 5-MeO-DMT is not recommended since the results are extremely unreliable.

Effects are potent and often accompanied by sensory overload and loss of physical coordination and control. “Trip reports” of this substance are few and far between, although some describe it as a body and consciousness explosion. There is said to be a loss of ego in which interior and exterior dissolve into one, resembling something like a near-death experience. You shouldn’t expect colourful visuals like those experienced on mushrooms or LSD, but more a shift in perception—of yourself and the universe around you.

Effects usually come in waves, and users may continue to experience them over the following days and weeks.

Pioneering studies exploring the therapeutic properties of 5-MeO-DMT are looking to see how the tryptamine alkaloid influences conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as addiction (when used in conjunction with ibogaine).

On the other hand, the slope is very slippery when it comes to medical research in this field, given the recent surge of regulations against this and other tryptamines.


Let’s make it very clear: DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are two very different substances. This distinction is vital to avoid dangerous and potentially harmful experiences. The two substances differ only slightly in their chemical structure, but the few extra elements in 5-MeO-DMT make all the difference.

DMT stands for N,N-dimethyltryptamine, and is present in numerous plant and animal species. Many believe it to be a sort of foundational molecule of life.

Moreover, some researchers suggest that the human brain may be able to produce DMT in correspondence with specific neurological states. Their thesis has yet to be confirmed or discarded.

DMT is primarily known as a key ingredient in the Amazonian ayahuasca brew. Moreover, DMT induces significantly different effects from 5-MeO-DMT in isolation. While the 5-MeO-DMT experience is more like a shift in perspective that some describe as being similar to a near-death experience, DMT is said to be much more visual, transporting you to other dimensions where you may encounter celestial beings and experience a deep feeling of love for the universe.


Where 5-MeO-DMT And Dmt Share Common Ground

Both substances share one key similarity that has nothing to do with molecular structure: DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are vastly understudied. In order to ascertain the therapeutic potential and full range of effects of these substances, much more research needs to be done. Current experiments often invoke ibogaine alongside both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT. In this respect, DMT is called the “loving matriarch”, while ibogaine is identified as the “harsh patriarch”. Both are being used to help addicts tear down barriers they have erected between themselves and others.

They may not share the same effects, but each substance is associated with the expansion of consciousness and connectivity with the universe. Speaking of both as entheogens, DMT is usually experienced as part of a long-lasting ayahuasca journey aimed at opening up the self. DMT can also be smoked, with effects reported to be more intense, but significantly shorter.

5-MeO-DMT’s effects are known to be fairly brief, and, according to 2019 anxiety and depression research conducted by Johns Hopkins, the alkaloid is associated with “higher ratings of [sic] spiritual significance and personal meaning”.


When taking either of these substances, it’s crucial to keep in mind that 5-MeO-DMT is regarded to be four to six times more potent than DMT. That said, how each substance is taken will also affect its route in the body and subsequent effects.

Hopefully, you found this guide on 5-MeO-DMT and how it differs from DMT to be useful. May it contribute positively to your discovery of the world of entheogens!

One final recommendation: Please, do not lick a Colorado River toad in hopes of getting high! It has never been a practical method to take 5-MeO-DMT in the first place, and it could actually be deadly…