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Smokable Dimethyltryptamine
from Organic Sources

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Phalaris arundinacea, also known as Reed Canary Grass

The implications are incendiary: a natural source of DMT, perhaps the most powerful hallucinogen on the planet, which can be grown in anyone's yard and extracted in their kitchen! DMT is one of the keys to the imaginal realm, but it isn't for everyone. If it becomes commonly available there will be some serious incidents with people being unable to handle it--i.e., it is certain to get a lot of very bad press. Yet, it could be a catalyst for a quantum leap in human awareness--something our species, not to mention the planet, could use right now.[1]


Elaborated excerpts from Psychedelic Shamanism - The Cultivation, Preparation and Shamanic Use of Psychotropic Plants by Jim DeKorne, and Pharmacotheon by Jonathan Ott. Original extraction by Mescalito Ted edited, expanded and illustrated by dimitri at deoxy.org.


C O N T E N T S


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Phalaris DMT is something brand new--derived from one of the ayahuasca analog plants, it is a natural form of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT which can be grown by anyone outside the polar regions. It has no somatic side effects (nausea, vomiting), nor is it dependent for its extractions on complicated laboratory procedures, equipment or knowledge; hence it isn't necessary to rely upon a profit-oriented monopoly of dealers to obtain. It comes on fast, is too intense, and subsides rapidly: just like the way we live our lives. Here for the first time, untainted by High Technology, Drug Dealer Capitalism, Cultural Unfamiliarity or Somatic Malaise, is the most potent entheogen imaginable freely available to anyone willing to take the trouble to grow and extract it. Since the plant resembles your front lawn, any law banning it will be virtually unenforcable.

     Given the historical context of this sudden gift, it is difficult not to see it as a potential catalyst for a quantum shift in awareness, nothing less than a challenge from the imaginal realm to take the next step in human evolution.

      May the force be with us: don't profane the light.[2]


Phalaris arundinacea lineart from Psychedelic Shamanism

Plants

      There are a large number of plants from around the world that contain DMT and other similar alkaloids. Some of these are several Psychotria spp., Phalaris spp., Acacia spp., Arundo donax, Desmanthus illinoiensis, etc. The plant we will be dealing with in this text is called Phalaris aruninacea. This plant is easy to obtain, looks almost identical to common lawn grass, has some of the highest concentrations of DMT, and is beyond easy to grow.

      Phalaris arundinacea is available from MANY mail-order companies. Here is a list of addresses and prices. Please don't contact these companies inquiring about drugs, etc. These are legitimate businesses.


      Ok, there are many more companies, but these are really all you need to know about. I recommend purchasing the P. aquatica seeds. This is a newly discovered plant and has much potential. I would also suggest growing the plant yourself as opposed to buying the live plant. It is extremely easy to grow, and you save a lot of money.

      P. arundinacae is a highly evasive grass that spreads through runners on the surface. The seeds work best if grown in a sterilized potting soil mixture, and sown in a large flat vat, or pan. Of course you can grow it in pots, but there is not as much surface area. The seeds are sown approx. 1/8" under the soil and around 1/2" away from each other. Give them plenty of light, and water them daily. You will see them sprout in less then 4-5 days. They will be tall enough to pick in about 2-3 weeks.

      There are a lot of facts about DMT you should know about if you don't already. Before trying it, do some reading on the effects. DMT flashes can become extremely intense, and could literally quickly clear your bowels if you are not mentally prepared. DMT is not normally orally active. But, through the use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's), it can become active by drinking or eating. A mixture of a MAOI and dimethyltryptamine is called Ayahuasca. This text will be dealing with smokable DMT, so don't worry about MAOI's right now.

      As far as I know, the whole idea of smokable DMT from plants is a very new area of exploration. (At least using methods that we can all handle in our household lab, aka Kitchen, heh.) James Dekorne discovered the methods that will be discussed below (he is the author of Psychedelic Shamanism and other books, and the compiler and distributor of the Entheogen Review). Here are some relevant excerpts::


 

Psychedelic Shamanism - Chapter 11[3]
Smokable DMT From Plants

Phalaris arundinacea, also known as Reed Canary Grass

DMT is a normal part of human metabolism (it is apparently synthesized in the pineal gland or "third eye") and is considered physically begnign, but while its sparking across your synapses its difficult not to believe otherwise. The onset is sudden and intense--it is already coming on before you've exhaled. Resist the impulse to resist; flow with it, breathe with it: imagine a Zen meditation at Hiroshima ground zero. Knowing that it won't last very long helps considerably. Within ten minutes or so, it is already subsiding.[2]

"For the last 500 years, Western Culture has suppressed the idea of disembodied intelligences--of the presence and reality of spirit. Thirty seconds into the DMT flash, and that's a dead issue." Terence McKenna

      An extremely potent smokable form of DMT can be extracted from the reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacae). (Presumably the same holds true for any DMT-containing botanical, dozens of which have now been discovered.) I made this discovery more than a month after the manuscript of this book was completed and sent to the publisher. Therefore I offer this added chapter as something totally new. To the best of my knowledge this information has never been published in a book before, though I make no claim that I am the first person to discover it.

      Like many such discoveries, this one was almost an accident. I had two crushed capsules of Phalaris concentrate which I wanted to salvage as an ayahuasca admixture. (See extraction chapter for details of how to isolate Phalaris alkaloids.) I placed the material in a shot glass full of alcohol in order to redissolve the extract. After removing the cracked shards of gelatin, I set the glass aside and forgot about it. Of course, the alcohol soon evaporated, leaving behind a gummy tar. This lay around for a period of two weeks. At one point I was about to throw it out, then on a sudden whim wondered what would happed if I smoked the stuff.

      Accordingly, I redissolved the tar in alcohol and added a pinch of oregano as an inert smoking medium. The alcohol was allowed to evaporate, leaving a very small amount (est. 250 mg) of Phalaris-soaked material. This sat around for several days--I had no real expectation that the mixture would be smokably psychoactive. (If it were, I'd have already heard about it, right?) Imagine my surprise when, in a very casual set and setting (the bedroom, early afternoon), I took one inhalation of this essense and found my mind immediately blasted into a cerebral hurricane of rapidly pulsing white light. Fortunately, I already knew what a DMT flash is like, so I was not totally taken by surprise. The following entries from my journal tell the unfolding story.

Journal entry, 10/1/93

Yesterday afternoon I smoked a small portion of oregano which had been soaked in about 50 mg Phalaris grass extract dissolved in alcohol and allowed to evaporate. This was material that R. made to be used in combination with harmala extract as an ayahusca analog. The consequence was an extrmely powerful DMT trip - equal to my injected DMT experience last January at UNM, though I didn't see any entities this time.


 

Psychedelic Shamanism - Chapter 14[4]
Extraction Procedures

Shamanism in Peru is like European alchemy in that it utilized psychic involvement in matter, but European alchemy became entrapped in a fascination with metals and purified elements. Psychedelic shamanism more happily centered its attention on living matter, specifically plants, where alkaloids and other biodynamic constituents congenial to the primate nervous system are encountered. Terence McKenna

Basic Principles of Alkaloid Extraction

      For me anyway, it isn't enough to just follow a recipe; I want to comprehend each operation--what it does, and why it is necessary. To have that kind of understanding, some familiarity with basic chemistry is essential. What follows is information written, I hope, in language any nonchemist can understand. A good place to start is with the concept of pH.

      pH is a numerical value assigned to the relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance, expressed on a scale of 0 to 14. A substance with a low pH is extremely acidic--like the stuff found in automobile batteries; material with a high pH is extremely basic or alkaline--like ammonia or lye, for example. (For our purposes, the terms "basic" and "alkaline" are synonymous.) It follows then, that a pH of 7 would be neutral--neither acidinc nor alkaline. The standard for pH neutrality is pure water.

      All the possible degrees of acidity or alkalinity are found in the range between zero and fourteen on the pH scale. This is crucial for us to know, since it is a fact of nature that to make alkaloids soluble in water we must first make them acidic. Conversely, for them to be soluble in an organic solvent, such as ether, we must make them basic or alkaline. Most of the psychoactive substances we are interested in extracting are called "alkaloids," compounds numerically above 7 in pH. Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines the word for us:

Alkaloid: any of a very large group of organic bases containing nitrogen and usually oxygen that occur especially in seed plants for the most part in the form of salts with acids..., most of the bases being colorless and well crystallized, bitter tasting, complex in structure with at least one nitrogen atom in a ring..., and optically and biologically active, many of the bases or their salts being used as drugs (as morphine and codeine).

      Here are the definitions for three other terms we need to understand:

Acid: a compound (as hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, or benzoic acid) capable of reacting with a base to form a salt.

Salt: any of a class of compounds typified by common salt... that may be formed by the reaction of acids with bases.

Base: a compound (as lime, ammonia, a caustic alkali, or an alkaloid) capable of reacting with an acid to form a salt either with or without the elimination of water.

      The object of chemical extraction is to separate the psychoactive alkaloids from the plant material. This is done by first simmering the crushed plant in an acidified water bath, which converts the alkaloids into their salt form. After filtration, the plant pulp may be discarded. To extract the alkaloids from the water, the remaining liquid is made basic and an organic solvent is added. The alkaloids will migrate into this solvent, which can then be drawn off and poured into a shallow dish.

      The solvent will quickly evaporate, leaving behind the alkaloids in pure crystalline form (you should be so lucky!), or more commonly, as a relatively impure gummy compound.

  1. If we wish to extract the alkaloids present in Phalaris arundinacea, for example, we would first pulverize the grass clippings as much as possible. One technique that helps to rupture the cellular structure of any plant material is to put it in the freezer overnight, remove it the next day, thaw it, put it in the freezer again, then remove and thaw it again. After two or three such cycles it will usually be pretty mushy and easily minced in a blender. In the case of Phalaris grass, which is limber and difficult to pulverize, it should be placed in the blender while still frozen stiff, so that the blender blades can more easily chop it up.

  2. To the resulting mash we add enough water to make a pourable soup.

  3. Next we add an acid - not too much (later on we'll turn the solution basic, so there's no advantage in taking the pH level too low) - but just enough to bring the pH down to about 5. There are many kinds of easily obtainable acids. White vinegar, lemon juice, or the acid used by photographers for their stop bath solutions are all forms of acetic acid. The latter can be purchased at any photography store, though it is far more expensive than the distilled white vinegar sold in supermarkets. The more potent sulfuric and hydrochloric acids are extremely corrosive liquids, and should be either avoided or handled with great care.

          The pH is checked with a special pH paper usually available in drug stores. It turns various colors depending upon the pH of the substance it is dipped in. This color is then matched to a reference chart on the container to determine the exact numerical pH value of the substance being tested. The acid reacts with the alkaloids in the plant material and converts them into a salt. A good way to facilitate this reaction is to simmer the acidified soup in a slow cooker overnight; leave the lid on, as we don't want any liquid to evaporate. It may take two or three such operations to get all of the alkaloids into solution.

  4. Next, we strain the plant matter first through cheesecloth, then through a paper coffee filter. The bulk roughage may now be discarded because the alkaloids we seek have migrated into the aqueous solution.

  5. At this point, we add a small percentage (10 or 15%) of a defatting solvent such as methylene chloride, ether, chloroform, or naphtha. Naphtha is easily available in the form of Coleman fuel or lighter fluid. The objective here is to remove oils and fats which are also in the solution - they will migrate into the solvent. Shake up the mixture and put it aside long enough to separate into two layers, one aqueous, the other solvent. If you've ever made vinegar and oil salad dressing, you've already observed the principle involved.

  6. While not absolutely~essential, a separatory funnel is very useful for this operation. This is a simple laboratory apparatus consisting of a tapered glass or plastic container with a tap at the bottom and a stoppered opening at the top. The two liquids are poured in the top (the bottom faucet is closed, of course); the container is corked and shaken vigorously to mix its contents. It is then set aside until the fluids separate into two distinct layers. After shaking and separating a few more times, the tap is opened to allow the lower stratum to drain into a container. Just before the descending upper fraction reaches the faucet, it is closed off. One has now reseparated the two original liquids, but they have been mixed for a while, and the substances we seek to exclude (in this case, the fats and oils) have migrated to the solvent layer. Depending on the solvent, this may be above or below the aqueous stratum - ether will go to the top, for example, while methyline chloride sinks to the bottom.

          If you do not have a separatory funnel, the fractions can also be divided by carefully siphoning off either layer [try a turkey baster]. In this instance, we now discard the solvent (along with the unwanted oils and fats) and turn our attention to the remaining aqueous solution which contains the alkaloids.

  7. The next step is to add a base to our solution. One often used in extraction formulas is ammonium hydroxide, a liquid. If this is unobtainable you can substitute regular household lye crystals (sold as drain cleaner) dissolved in water to a high concentration. (Lye is a dangerous chemical. Read and follow all of the instructions on the can.) This fluid is added in small increments to the aqueous solution, shaking the mixture each time, then testing it until eventually the pH reaches 9 or 10. Be patient. It usually takes many careful applications before the pH is where you want it. If you're in too much of a hurry, it is easy to make the solution far more alkaline than necessary.

          Chemically, adding a base to the solution has the effect of "unhooking" the salt and transforming the alkaloids into their "free base" form. They are now no longer a salt, and hence no longer soluble in water, thus making them accessible to extraction by one of the organic solvents mentioned above. Most of these chemicals are not particularly easy to obtain, but ether is readily available in cans of engine starting fluid, sold in auto supply stores. (To get liquid ether out of an aerosol starting fluid can, spray it down a ten or twelve-inch length of three-quarter-inch PVC pipe into a jar; the ether condenses on the sides of the pipe and drips into the jar, while the inert propellant dissipates into the atmosphere. Obviously, you don't do this in an enclosed area or anywhere near flame or sparks.) Immediately put a lid on the jar to prevent undue evaporation of the liquid ether.

  8. A ratio of 10 percent of the aqueous solution should be enough solvent for each extraction. The easiest way to estimate this is to visualize where the 10% line is on your container of aqueous solution, then add that amount of solvent to the whole, increasing the volume to 110%. (A super accurate measurement is not necessary.) The container (if you don't have a separatory funnel, a large Mason jar works well) must be kept tightly closed so that the solvent won't evaporate from the solution.

  9. Four extractions are made to ensure that all of the alkaloids are removed. These are done at one 24-hour, and then at three weekly intervals. The solvent layer will soon take on a darker tint, usually yellowish or reddish-brown. This indicates the presence of alkaloids as they slowly move out of the aqueous solution. It will take almost a month to get most of them, and the mixture should be shaken at least twice a day to ensure that all of the alkaloid molecules come into contact with the solvent. At each weekly extraction carefully separate this from the aqueous solution by either of the methods mentioned above. Save these solvent fractions and combine them in one container. Each time add fresh solvent to the aqueous solution until the extraction series is complete.

  10. The last step is to pour the combined solvent fractions into a shallow baking dish or pan and allow it all to evaporate in an open space free from flame or sparks. The residue remaining after evaporation contains the alkaloids, and may be put into gelatin capsules. If it is unduly gummy, one may add small amounts of ordinary flour to the gum until it thickens enough to handle easily.

          It is important to remember that all of the plant alkaloids will be removed, not just the psychoactive ones we are looking for. These may include some toxic compounds, and one should always have a good idea of what a plant contains and in what percentages before ingesting any extraction taken from it. Arundo donax for example, while containing DMT, also contains several other alkaloids which caused an allergic reaction in me when I ingested its extract. These unwanted compounds can be removed, but the process requires more knowledge of chemistry than I've learned to date.

Remember to not smoke more than 25 mg your first time. You can gradually raise the dose over time as you become more experienced. -Ted

Modern Use of DMT and Entheogenic Relatives[5]

Smoking, rather than injection, is generally the preferred means of administration of DMT. Most of the black-market material appears in the form of the free base, which is more suitable for smoking than injection, and smoking is more economical--only about half as much DMT is needed to produce a given level of effect. The usual dosage range for smoked free base DMT is 20-40 mg (Bigwood & Ott 1977; Shulgin 1976), and an analytical balance is needed to weigh such a quantity precisely. Some users weigh out a reference sample, setting this aside as a visual aid in estimating doses. Such estimation and apportionment should not be done under the influence of the drug! While I use DMT as an example, the following information applies equally to DET, DPT, 5-MeO-DMT, or other short-acting tryptamines, bearing in mind that 5-MeO-DMT is some four times the potency of DMT.

      There are two manners in which DMT is commonly smoked, and each has its partisans. Some will inhale a full dose of DMT in a single, long "toke"--this will result in the maximum "rush," that is, in the strongest, most rapid entheogenic effect. Aficionados will inhale one or two such lungs full in rapid succession, which leads to the maximum visionary effects of the drug. Others prefer to inhale small amounts of DMT smoke repeatedly, resulting in a "rollercoaster" effect of changing "altitude." The disadvantage of this latter method is the rapid tolerance elicited by DMT. This is a wasteful technique, and one is unlikely to experience the maximum entheogenic effects of the drug this way. The former procedure is the more economical and takes maximum advantage of the drug's effect, but has the disadvantage of difficulty--the smoke is harsh and it is not so easy to take in and hold the 20-40 mg dose needed to experience entheogenic effects of DMT. The former way of smoking DMT has been recommended in two different popular publications on DMT (Bigwood & Ott 1977; Stafford 1983).

      As is the case with any entheogenic substance, and particularly with the short acting tryptamines which rocket the user immediately from everyday consciousness to the peak entheogenic state, set and setting is of crucial importance. DMT should not be used casually, like a sort of marijuana. One should not drive or operate machinery under the influence of DMT or other short-acting tryptamine entheogen. The psychological state of the user is crucial. DMT should never be used if one is tense, anxious, worried, tired, etc. Most users prefer to commence the experience sitting down or reclining (the alternative might be falling down!). The setting should be sheltered and peaceful, free of noise and intrusions. The consequences of failure to observe these rules are vividly described by psychologist J. Houston, who used DMT in a cluttered, filthy environment, in a state of mental and physical exhaustion (Masters & Houston 1966).

      There are two common ways of smoking DMT: 1) the crystals alone in a glass pipe; or 2) combined with some plant material in a conventional pipe or "joint." In the former case, a single dose of crystals is placed in the bottom of the glass bowl, and the underside of the bowl is heated carefully until the crystals melt. As soon as they begin to fume, the user inhales slowly and steadily, keeping the flame below the bowl and continuing the inhalation until all the material has vaporized, leaving only a dark-brown crystalline residue. Inhalation before the crystals melt can result in wasteful aspiration of some of the material without effect (Bigwood & Ott 1977; Gracie & Zarkov 1 985a), while wasting lung capacity needed for the DMT smoke.

      A regular pipe with screen is sometimes employed, the user placing a small quantity of dried herb (preferably non-psychoactive) onto the screen, with the DMT crystals carefully sprinkled above the plant material. In this case, the flame is applied to the top of the pipe, attempting to combust the herb and vaporize the DMT simultaneously. Only enough herb to serve as carrier for the DMT is used--no more than can be inhaled in a single "toke" along with the DMT (Bigwood & Ott 1977).

      Another method occasionally employed for smoking DMT is to dissolve the DMT in a suitable solvent (such as absolute ethanol) and infuse some dried herbal material with the solution, later evaporating the solvent prior to smoking in pipes or joints 'Parsley infused with DMT has sometimes been sold on the illicit market, and PCP-laced parsley (PCP=phencyclidine, Sernyl) has been misrepresented as DMT as well (Bigwood & Ott 1977). The DMT free base is in this case dissolved in ethanol, about 20 ml ethanol to a gram of DMT is typical, shaking or stirring until all the material dissolves. This DMT solution is then decanted into a small, clean glass dish, such as a petri dish. Typically, one gram ofDMT in 20 ml ethanol, is added to 9 grams of dried herb, to attain a product that is 10% DMT by weight after evaporation of the ethanol. Often commercially-available "herbal smoking mixtures" (containing herbs like mint, catnip, parsley, damiana, etc.) are employed, as these may be quite flavorftil and may help disguise the unpleasant taste of DMT. The herb is usually first sifted rather fine, and sprinkled into the DMT solution, then stirred until the plant material soaks up all the DMT solution. The wet herb is then spread out to allow the solvent to evaporate at room temperature, or with gentle heating. The herb is ready for use when the solvent has evaporated and only the sticky herbal material remains, with no scent of alcohol. Every hundred milligrams of herb prepared this way is equivalent to 10 mg of DMT, and this method has the advantage of enabling accurate weighing of DMT doses with an OHAUS 2610 triple-beam balance or equivalent, rather than a much more expensive analytical balance with 1 mg sensitivity. A 300 mg dose of DMT-laced herb contains agood 30 mg dose ofthe drug, and can be smoked as is in a normal pipe. Some make joints of DMT-laced herb, and the contents may be weighed out. A one-gram joint containing 100 mg DMT is typical. This treatment is ideal for the second method of DMT use~repeated small inhalations, though it is uneconomical. As much as half the DMT may be wasted in "sidestream" smoke.

      DMT is usually smoked by one person at a time. After apportioning a single dose of DMT (whether pure or with herbal matter), this is smoked by the first user in a group. The person in charge of loading the pipe is generally the last to smoke, for the effects are often incapacitating. Casual passing of the pipe, as in Cannabis smoking rituals, is unsuitable-the doses will not be uniform, and by the time the pipe comes around for the second round, some tolerance to the effects will have developed (Bigwood & Ott 1977). Many users like to have a refreshing beverage at hand to cool throats burned by the harsh DMT smoke.

      After inhalation of a full dose of DMT is a single breath, the effects will be experienced in ten or fifteen seconds, usually before exhalation of the smoke. The initial "rush" sensation is similar to the feeling of rapid acceleration and may be accompanied by vertigo. Users often describe high-pitched sounds, which may be perceived as being insect noises. The peak effect occurs within two to three minutes, during which most users are stunned and speechless. Arabesque or geometric colored patterns seen with eyes opened or closed, similar to those experienced with LSD, mescaline or psilocybine are commonly reported effects of DMT. T. McKenna has vividly described presumed contact with intelligent "machine elves reported by some DMT users (McKenna 1991). Paranoia and panic reactions are probably more frequent following DMT adminstration than with other entheogenic drugs--a consequence, doubtless, of the extreme rapidity with which the user is torn out of his everyday consciousness and thrust into a swirling, screaming, visionary state. This makes set and setting extremely important. Ten minutes after smoking the user invariably feels a diminution in the effect, and by the time fifteen to twenty-five minutes have elapsed, the effect has dissipated completely (Bigwood & Ott 1977). Generally there are no after-effects, although mild headache is occasionally reported. Although it has been suggested that the experience may be repeated at four-hour intervals without noticeable tolerance (Brown 1968), smoking no more than once daily will result in optimum results. The differences between DMT and its entheogenic cousins like DET, DPT and 5-MeO-DMT have been summarized above. The distinct and intriguing effects of orally-ingested potions containing DMT (ayahuasca) will be discussed in Chapter 4.

      In conclusion, the words with which Jeremy Bigwood and I ended our 1977 article on "DMT: The Fifteen Minute Trip" are apposite:

It is unfortunate that such a unique and desirable drug as DMT is not freely available and widely used. We feel that anyone who likes entheogenic drugs would do well to try DMT, if given the chance. Not only are the effects enjoyable, but most users are astonished to learn that a drug can so rapidly produce such profound effects which have such short duration. DMT may be the quintessential "wonder" drug, for the initiate cannot help but wonder at its awe-inspiring potency.


    Footnotes
  1. DeKorne, Jim. Psychedelic Shamanism - The Cultivation, Preparation and Shamanic Use of Psychotropic Plants, p.104
  2. Ibid p.105
  3. Ibid p.103
  4. Ibid p.125
  5. Ott, Jonathan. Pharmacotheon, pp. 189-192

DMT
Chemical Experiences of a Hyperspatial Nature
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