Experience:25mg (insufflated) - Simultaneously amazing and horrible
Sometimes people who should know better do stupid things. I knew the set and setting wasn't really right for playing with a new psychedelic, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Here's what was wrong with the set and setting:
- I'm getting over the flu
- I was on the tail end of a day spent stimmed on 4F-MPH
- I'd been awake for about 24 hours
All of which I recognised as reasons not to trip, but I said "fuck it" and did it anyway. I wasn't being entirely irresponsible - I reagent tested, and allergy tested first, and I'm experienced enough with psychedelics that I thought I could deal with any weirdness that the less-than-ideal circumstances might cause. And while the dose I went for wasn't low, it wasn't ridiculously high either.
So around 2 PM, I weighed out 25mg of 4-AcO-DMT and snorted it (the shorter duration reported for that route-of-administration being a nod towards sense and not pushing sleep deprivation too hard). Effects came on fast - but were initially fairly mild. Within five minutes there were a general swimminess to my vision. This developed into some characteristic tryptamine-style visuals - flowing colours, the walls of the room started to look like they were at odd angles. There wasn't much of a psychedelic headspace - the overall effect was pretty relaxing. I was actually more impressed with the closed-eye visuals which were interesting and quite different to the phenethylamine and ergoline CEV's I'm more experienced with. Rather than geometric or fractal forms, the CEV's were like sheets of abstract art, intersecting and morphing - it was all very pretty to look at, and I was content to lay in bed, listening to music and enjoying the show. The music itself was beautifully enhanced by the drug.
Things picked up in intensity around an hour in. I started noticing some significant time dilation, particularly in the music. I mean this literally - it sounded slowed (though not shifted in pitch) to about half its actual speed. Some annoying body-load started to show up at the same time - enough nausea to be distracting and some weirdness around breathing. As I mentioned, I'm getting over the flu, and this means I've been coughing a lot. I think that laying down on my back combined with the physical effects of the 4-AcO-DMT was a bad idea because it ended up feeling like I couldn't breathe properly, a sensation that was only made worse by the time dilation, which made it feel like the time between breaths was getting longer and longer. Thinking it through at the time, I knew that my perceptions weren't in line with the actual reality of the situation, and I knew I was in no real danger, but the sensation was nevertheless fairly unpleasant.
With the nausea worsening, I tried a small amount of vaped cannabis e-liquid to see if that would help. It did - briefly - but it also accelerated the intensity of the trip to an extreme level. It was impressive at first - the visuals were crazy and beautiful - not just patterns, but three-dimensional morphing surfaces covering everything, bright colours in purple, green and cyan (a palette of colours that was very familiar from previous experiences with Ayahuasca, interestingly). Around 1h 25m I noted that there was a bit of a body load, but it was definitely worth it. But the intensity and disorientation kept increasing and soon extended to some fairly intense somatic effects. Before long my sense of space was completely and utterly fucked - the usual three dimensions of space kept switching, which had the not entirely pleasant effect of making my body feel like it was folding through itself or turning inside out, or both at the same time. I don't think this was the cause of the increasingly intense nausea I was feeling, but I don't believe that it helped.
And then I had a conversation with a cardboard box that's on top of my wardrobe. That was the form that the eternal spirit of the drug had decided to take and it looked like an Aztec god. I was suspicious of this - 4-AcO-DMT is a chemical, not mushrooms and I felt it was a bit much for the psychedelic spirit entity of a chemical that was invented in my own lifetime to assume the form of something much older with a much greater claim to authority. Either way, the psychedelic avatar of whatever seemed to feel that I hadn't approached it with enough respect and was irked by my refusal to acknowledge it as the powerful thing it claimed to be. I rolled my eyes at it and apologised, which seemed to appease it to some extent.
Everything was getting a bit intense, but I was coping. I pulled my blanket up over my head and tried to maintain a sense of bodily integrity until things calmed down. This was actually by far the most fascinating part of an already interesting (in the sense of 'may you live in interesting times') trip. The blanket above my face was an infinitely detailed hyper-dimensional surface on which some other entities decided to come along and say hello to the monkey with a head full of way too much psychedelic drugs. They were friendly and curious and incredibly diverse in form, ranging from something that vaguely resembled a classic 'grey' alien with the huge eyes (that one felt a bit threatening, but I declined its offer of abduction and probing, and it lost interest when it was clear I wasn't going to go full-on out-of-body experience with it) to the completely abstract and rather lovely entity that reached out calming and gentle tendrils of energy towards me, which felt borderline erotic. They were all a bit too close to my face for this to really be that comfortable, but it was a truly extraordinary experience to go through. I'm not of the opinion that these things are 'real' in the sense of having an existence independent of the union of human and drug, but that certainly didn't detract from the hyper-reality of the experience for me.
I pulled the blanket off of my face again. From my notes, I know that no more than 15 minutes had passed since the sudden increase in intensity had begun - it felt much, much longer than that. I was still feeling quite nauseous, and also, I needed to use the bathroom. The movement didn't make nausea any worse, but the brightness of the corridor and bathroom were almost overwhelming. I wondered if being sick would help with nausea, but it was clear that it wasn't going to happen by itself and I didn't feel up to the logistics of actually forcing it, so I returned to my bedroom. I was a bit wary of throwing more cannabis at the situation, but I was feeling more in control at this point and decided that I'd rather cope with increased intensity in exchange for alleviating nausea and this actually worked out fairly well. The overall feeling at this point was that I'd been poisoned, with something incredibly interesting and entertaining, but a poison all the same. It was a strange feeling - to be simultaneously having both an amazing and a horrible time. It felt like a high cost to pay regarding body load, but ultimately one that was worth the price of admission. Even as I noted the toxic feeling, I knew that given the opportunity I would try this again (though in circumstances less likely to lead to trouble).
I'm glad I have as much experience with psychedelics as I do because without the cast iron certainty that I could cope and was going to feel okay again soon, it would have been very easy to freak out completely. It was challenging, but not terrifying, but only because I know how to navigate this territory. I'm pretty sure that without the resources I have to draw on, I'd have been a crying mess on my bathroom floor for most of the trip.
Two and a half hours after I'd dosed and after alternately enduring and enjoying a full hour of completely off-the-charts intensity, I started to come down. The comparison was stark - I was still tripping hard, and things would remain visually intricate and impressive for another couple of hours, but the feeling of being poisoned was gone, and the spatial dimensions had returned to their normal places. I was online and processing the experience by talking about it and trying to work out what the fuck had happened. Had I screwed up my dose? Am I just sensitive to this chemical? Or had the combination of lingering flu symptoms and the other drugs potentiated it massively? I'm not sure. Visual effects lingered, and it was only 8 hours after dosing that I really felt back to baseline.
It wasn't a bad trip, but it was definitely among the most challenging experiences I've had with psychedelic drugs and a reminder that sometimes throwing caution to the wind is not the best idea. But even so, it was an incredible experience, and while I'll try to learn the lesson to remember that right set and setting should not be disregarded quite so casually, I don't think I regret having done so on this occasion.
- Drifting - " flowing colours "
- Perspective distortions - " the walls of the room started to look like they were at odd angles "
- Sedation - " the overall effect was pretty relaxing "
- Internal hallucination - " the CEV's were like sheets of abstract art, intersecting and morphing "
- Increased music appreciation - " The music itself was beautifully enhanced "
- Time distortion - " I started noticing some significant time dilation "
- Nausea - " enough nausea to be distracting "
- 3-Dimensional textures - " three-dimensional morphing surfaces covering everything "
- Spatial disorientation - " the normal three dimensions of space kept switching "
- Tactile hallucination - " making my body feel like it was folding through itself or turning inside out, or both at the same time "
- Autonomous entities - " then I had a conversation with a cardboard box that's on top of my wardrobe "