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    5-MeO-DMT (short for 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a powerful mind-altering substance found in the venom or poison of the Bufo alvarius toad. It is known as the toad, bufo, the God molecule, or just 5. It can also be made in a lab, producing a white and odorless powder.

    Usually vaporized or inhaled, 5-MeO-DMT effects are felt only seconds after it is used. It acts on the receptors in the brain, which control mood and perception. Similar to other psychedelics like LSD and mushrooms, it can cause intense sight and sound hallucinations, but its effects only last about 20 minutes, while other psychedelics like LSD and shrooms can last for hours.

    Besides recreational use, some early studies and personal reports or personal stories and experiences suggest that 5-MeO-DMT might help with anxiety, depression, and PTSD.[1] However, further research is needed to know if it’s safe and effective,[2] as it has been linked to deaths.

    Key Takeaways

    1. Potential mental health benefits: Studies indicate that 5-MeO-DMT, and possibly other 5-MeO substances, may hold promise in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD although more research is needed.
    2. Legal and safety concerns: Despite possible mental health benefits, 5-MeO substances are illegal and may result in charges for possession and use. Also, their use poses significant health risks, including problems when mixed with other medications, negative physical effects and even death.
    3. Responsible usage and harm reduction: Open communication about reasons for use, awareness of potential dangers and creating a safe environment are essential when considering or using 5-MeO substances.

    What about other 5-MeOs, like foxy and moxy?

    5-MeO-DMT is just one type of psychedelic in a big group of similar substances called 5-MeOs. They’re all part of a family called tryptamines, which are substances that produce hallucinations and that can be counted in the hundreds.[3] Most of them are not found in nature but can be made in a lab.

    5-MeOs are also part of a group called novel psychoactive substances (NPS). They can alter our mood and how we see the world, similar to other well-known psychedelics like magic mushrooms, LSD, and MDMA or ecstasy.[4]

    Some of these 5-MeO compounds might also have the potential to help with mental health issues, although they haven’t been studied as much as 5-MeO-DMT.

    One of the more well-known substances in this group is 5-MeO-DIPT, also called foxy or foxy-methoxy, followed by 5-MeO-DALT and 5-MeO-MIPT, known as moxy. They can all cause hallucinations and physical sensations, but their effects can vary widely.[5] Plus, the length of the trip can vary a great deal – for example, foxy can last for several hours.[6]

    Why are 5-MeOs increasingly popular?

    Plants with 5-MeO-DMT have been used for a long time in South America for rituals and spiritual reasons. Generally, they don’t contain the substance in concentrations high enough to produce hallucinations. But it’s not as clear if the toad’s secretions were used in the same way by native people.[7]

    5-MeO-DMT was first made in a lab in 1936, but it became known as a psychedelic in 1983 with the publication of the book Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.[8]

    A decade later, foxy became popular as a recreational drug at parties.[9] People thought 5-MeOs would become the “next-generation designer drugs” since they weren’t regulated at the time..[10]

    But in 2011, the federal government classified 5-MeO-DMT as a Schedule 1 substance, the same group as other harmful drugs with no apparent research potential.[11] Other 5-MeOs could be considered analogs (like cousins) of 5-MeO-DMT.

    However, given that some 5-MeOs aren’t technically illegal, people can find them online sold as “research chemicals.” In Canada, 5-MeO-DMT is allowed for personal use, though its sales and distribution are illegal.[12]

    Recently, the famous boxer Mike Tyson said he had a significant spiritual experience after using 5-MeO-DMT. This resulted in increased attention from major news outlets.[13] [14]

    One reason people like 5-MeO-DMT is that it can give them a very intense mystical experience. It makes them feel connected to everything around them like they’re part of the whole universe.

    Can 5-MeOs improve mental health?

    Some studies suggest that 5-MeO-DMT might be helpful for people struggling with depression and anxiety.[15] These studies were based on surveys of people who took 5-MeO-DMT in a controlled way, which means taking the substance in specific amounts and with someone experienced guiding them.[16]

    In one survey of 362 adults, 4 out of 5 said their depression decreased, and almost the same number said they felt less anxious. People who had stronger mystical experiences during their trip tended to feel better.[17]

    Another study asked 42 people in Europe how they felt after trying 5-MeO-DMT just once. They said they felt happier with their lives, and their depression, anxiety, and stress went down over the next month. People who felt a strong sense of being connected with the world reported the most improvement.[18]

    Some research even suggests that 5-MeO-DMT might slow down the aging of brain cells.[19] while another concluded that it creates a mystical experience similar to psilocybin but shorter in the length of time it lasts.[20]

    Other 5-MeO substances haven’t been studied as much as 5-MeO-DMT. But moxy might have potential as a therapy. In March 2024, the company Mindstate Design Labs asked the government for permission to test it as a potential treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.[21]

    However, more thorough scientific studies are needed to know for sure if 5-MeOs can really help with mental health. Surveys of people who’ve used the substances might not give us the whole picture since many of them may have been biased, especially if they expected to feel better in the first place.

    What are the risks?

    Given that 5-MeO-DMT is illegal, possessing it could result in arrest, fine, or other serious legal trouble. Having foxy and moxy or 5-MeO-DALT might carry similar penalties.

    There are other considerable risks associated with 5-MeOs.[22] Although none of the studies based on surveys warned of severe adverse effects on the participants, people have died with traces of 5-MeO-DMT in their bodies.

    Two of them also had harmaline, which is found in another strong psychedelic called ayahuasca.[23] Harmaline contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), also present in some prescription antidepressant medications, like the ones sold under the brand names Marplan, Nardil, Emsam, and Parnate. Mixing 5-MeO-DMT with any MAOI can be deadly.[24]

    5-MeO-DMT can also make people pass out and lose control, which could lead to choking on vomit or getting hurt accidentally.[25]

    With foxy, some people have felt paranoid (e.g., extreme fear of being watched) and confused, ending up in the emergency room.[26] Moxy has made some people’s hearts beat rapidly and their blood pressure increase, landing them in the ER too.[27]

    Besides these effects, 5-MeO drugs can also make people feel sick, sweaty, or shaky, with a racing heart. They can also cause problems with other medications or drugs people are taking, making things worse.[28]

    Because these drugs are illegal, buying them is risky. They might be mixed with other harmful substances, like the powerful opioid fentanyl, which can be deadly. Even though 5-MeOs aren’t addictive, using them frequently might make people crave and become dependent on them.

    Reducing the risks of using 5-MeOs recreationally

    It’s important to talk openly with your loved one about why they’re using 5-MeOs or any other substance. LINK

    They might be using them to help with mental health problems like feeling sad, anxious, or stressed. If that’s the case, it may help to suggest seeing a healthcare provider who can recommend proven treatments. Also, let them know about the dangers of mixing 5-MeO-DMT with certain antidepressants, which could be very dangerous.

    If you decide to try 5-MeOs for yourself or your loved one as a potential treatment for a mental health disorder, you can find a clinical trial here.

    If they’re using 5-MeOs for fun, it’s crucial to let them know that 5-MeO-DMT can result in an extremely intense experience Be sure they understand the risks.

    Moxy and foxy might not be as strong as 5-MeO-DMT, but it’s still important to use any kind of mind-altering substance in a safe place with a trusted person. It’s best if they’re with a person who can look after them or an experienced person who knows what to do in the event of an emergency.[29]

    If you are not sure about how to talk with your loved one about the risks of using 5-MeO-DMT or any other substance, you are not alone. Get free and confidential support services here.

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