Researchers have recently shifted their focus to a mind-altering molecule called 5-Methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine, as interest in the medicinal potential of psychedelics grows (5-MeO-DMT). Although 5-MeO-DMT, which is found in the gland secretions of the Sonoran Desert toad, has yet to be studied in clinical trials, a new paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has highlighted the unique effects of this powerful psychedelic, revealing how those who consume it tend to enter an existential “void.” Overall, “users indicate that smoking/vaporizing 5-MeO-DMT provokes more strong effects compared to most other psychedelics,” writes the scientists, evoking the overwhelming nature of the experience of nothingness.
They go on to explain that 5-MeO-DMT has been used by many indigenous cultures throughout South America for millennia, after reviewing the available scholarly literature on the subject. Snuffs containing the chemical are prepared from psychoactive herbs such as Anadenanthera peregrina in certain traditional situations (locally referred to as yopo or cohoba). However, in the 1980s, a strange underground pamphlet appeared with instructions for smoking the milky secretions of the Sonoran Desert toad, and this has since been the most popular way for Westerners to consume 5-MeO-DMT.
We still do not know how the chemical interacts with the central nervous system, according to the study’s authors, however, we do know that it binds to the same serotonin receptors as other psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin. Surprisingly, some researches have revealed that our systems may manufacture 5-MeO-DMT, which has been found in human blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. The effects of the drug, according to the researchers, have a very quick onset when smoked, reaching peak intensity after a few minutes and causing a trip that lasts 15 to 20 minutes. When taken by snorting, the effects are usually milder and last a little longer.
“The subjective experience is typically described as transcending,” they write, “frequently incorporating ego-dissolution, non-dual consciousness, and an enhanced range and intensity of feelings, ranging from love, unity, and wonder to panic and dread.” “Notable is the lack of visual effects on a regular basis.” This final point is especially intriguing because psychedelics like N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) are known for causing vivid visions. “Users of 5-MeO-DMT frequently describe content-free experiences, associated[d] with loss of sense of self and body awareness, and sensory deprivation (described as all-white light, or all-black), with common descriptors such as ’emptiness,’ ‘nothingness,’ or ‘void,'” according to the authors.
Despite the paucity of large-scale clinical trials, a small number of researchers have suggested that 5-MeO-DMT could be useful as a psychotherapy adjuvant. According to a study published in 2019, a single dose of the medicine can result in a 68 percent reduction in depressive symptoms and a 48 percent reduction in anxiety, with effects lasting at least four weeks.
Although the authors of this current review study indicate that decreases in depression and anxiety are often connected with the intensity of the drug’s “mystical experience,” the mechanism behind this cathartic effect has yet been completely investigated. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that more research on 5-MeO-DMT is necessary; meaning that stepping into the void could have significant psychological benefits.