|The Beginner's Guide to DXM||
The DXM FAQ: http://www.frognet.net/dxm
A picture of a bottle of Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough
What exactly is DXM?
DXM (dextromethorphan) is a psychoactive drug found in common over the counter (OTC) cough medicines. The trip is very different from the acid or psilocybe mushroom trip. This has to do with the structure of the drug. DXM is part of a family of psychoactive compounds called the "dissociative anesthetics". These chemicals are marked by their ability to dissociate the mind from the body, causing a person to feel as if they are close to death or have lost touch with being human. These chemicals can prove very beneficial for examining one's self and the world around him/her.
So you may ask why DXM is legal, yet is a powerful psychoactive drug. The answer is not very clear. There are some theories, though. Not a whole lot of people know about DXM. Those who do know about it tend to respect the drug and not abuse it. It is because of this that DXM use hasn't gotten out of hand or received media attention. It could also be that the companies who make these cough medicines make a lot of money and would rally against any bills geared toward the scheduling or limiting the substance.
As of now, DXM use is not a problem or a threat to anyone. This could change, though, if the word about DXM spreads too far and to the wrong people. People would start abusing it and doing stupid things while on DXM that could give DXM a bad name. No one wants this. The more people are educated about DXM, the less risks are involved with the use of the drug. That is why this site (and this guide) is here.
DXM is a drug that should be used with caution. DXM is more dangerous to a person than LSD or psilocybin. The dissociatives are the most harmful of the psychedelic drugs. Despite this fact, many people enjoy using DXM and will continue to do so. If this is the case, this site will be around. Make sure that when you use DXM, especially in higher doses (third and fourth plateau) have someone around who can help you if you need help. If you use DXM, do it indoors away from public places. DO NOT DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DXM!!! Use moderation in the frequency of your doses! Trip no more than once a month. My recommendation, if you have to use DXM is to trip no more than 4 or 5 times a year.
Okay. Go to your favorite pharmacy, drug store, or supermarket. Go to the cough medicine section and start looking. What you're looking for is a cough medicine that contains only dextromethorphan hydrobromide (HBr) as the active ingredient. To find this, turn the box/bottle over and read the active ingredients. The actives are the main ingredients and are usually are the ones that help with the cough. The inactive ingredients are usually sugars, or other stuff that cover up the *nasty* taste of DXM. Inactive ingredients, for the most part, do nothing to actually stop the cough.
There are a few cough medicines that contain only DXM. They are Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough (with the blue label -- the picture is located above), Robitussin Honey Cough, Vicks 44 cough relief, Sucrets 4-hour throat lozenges (they come in a blue bag), and many generic preparations.
For a list of the most popular of these medicines, complete with pictures, go to the List of DXM-Only Containing Cough Medicines.
Lately, people have be using "Coricidin Cough and Cold" recreationally. It consists of 30 mgs of DXM per pill and 4 mgs of Chlorphineramine maleate, an antihistamine. What the antihistamine does in small doses is clear up the nasal passages. In large doses, chlorphineramine maleate dries up the nasal passages so much that bleeding my occur, not only from the nose but from other places on the face. I've heard of reports of people bleeding from the eyes, nose, ears, and even the anus (yep...bleeding out the ass). The DXM FAQ states cases of people having respiratory problems from Chlorpheneramine overdosing. In all cases, I believe Coricidin should NOT be used recreationally. This is the type of thing that could cause DXM to become watched.
So you just bought some powder, eh? I must first state (disclaim) that powder is not sold or recommended (by either myself or the companies that sell it) for consumption. The following is just theoretical, not practical.
Well before you take it, you need to weight it. You'll need to purchase a scale. The best, fastest, and easiest way to obtain one is to order one online through www.balances.com. You can get a scale there for under $20. It will be ideal for weighing DXM. Check the under $85. I would also recommend using a money order or check to pay for the scale. From what I understand, they charge 15% extra if you use a credit card.
Next, theoretically, you have to ingest the powder (note: I don't recommend this!). Some have been known to drop the powder into a small glass of orange or grapefruit juice and drink it. People do this so that it kicks in faster. Ingested this way, DXM will kick in after about 30 minutes on an empty stomach. I must tell you, though, DXM consumed this way is nasty! DXM is the most vile-tasting substance ever to exist! It is extremely basic, tastes like a chemical, and is about as bitter as the most bitter food. It is hard not to gag from the horrible taste of this stuff going down!
The easiest way to consume powder is to buy empty gelcaps and fill them with the desired amount of powder you wish to consume. This bypasses the horrible taste, yet it will take an additional hour for the DXM to kick in. You may have to search around, though, for a place that sells empty gelcaps. Most health food stores should carry them. GNC carries veggicaps, which are gelcaps not made from gelatin. They are vegan (gelatin is made from animals). The thing about veggie caps is that they take an hour and a half to dissolve in the stomach. To find out where to order gelcaps online and for information on filling gelcaps, go to the Tips Section.
Another way to measure out DXM powder, using vodka, is to make psychedelic booze. To learn more about it, go to RFG's Guide to Psychedelic Booze.
Dosage and Plateaus
DXM dosage is measured in milligrams. A milligram is one thousandth of a gram (1000 milligrams in one gram). 500 milligrams is a half a gram.
To find out the dosage you want to take, read how many milligrams per teaspoon there are, and do the math.
One teaspoon is 5 milliliters (mL). If you find a cough syrup that has 15 mg of DXM per teaspoon, and contains 118 mL (4 fl oz) of liquid, then the whole bottle contains 354 mg of DXM. I figured that out by taking 118 and dividing it by 5, then multiplying the sum by 15. Just figure it out on a calculator. Usually syrups contain 5, 10, 15 or 30 mg/teaspoon.
DXM occurs on levels, or plateaus. Each plateau is different from another, in some way. Each of them is equally strong, yet at each plateau, different things happen. There are 4 major plateaus + a 5th one that is generally unpleasant and involves a possible trip to the hospital. Remember that dosages depend on your weight. If a 120 lb person takes 500 mg, and a 250 lb person takes the same amount, the 120 lb person will have a much stronger trip.
There are 4 major plateaus plus a 5th plateau which is really an overdose.
The list of following dosages is different for everyone. The dosages listed here are based on mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram) ratios. To figure out the dosage that you need to take (in milligrams), multiply the amount of milligrams listed below (matching the plateau you want to reach) and your weight in kilograms. To convert your weight from pounds to kilograms, divide your weight by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you weigh 68.1 kilograms. If you want to reach the end of the 2nd plateau, you will need to take 510 milligrams (68 * 7.5).
Trip sitters are essential for people starting out with DXM and for people using higher doses of DXM. The nature of the DXM trip is that one becomes increasingly unaware of the outside world -- sensory input becomes lessened. You don't know what you might get yourself into, especially at the upper plateaus. You might fall down a flight of stairs or something similar without even realizing it. Having a trip sitter present is crucial, especially if you're not familiar with DXM. Look at the ant bite story below. What would have happened if the person had been allergic to ant bites? Unfortunately, in his case, the people he was with didn't pay attention to him and didn't realize he had been bitten until after the trip. That's why it's important that your trip sitters pay specific attention to you and stay relatively close to you while you're tripping.
Here is a story where a person got bitten by ants during a trip in which he didn't remember anything (A typical DXM-burnout trip -- see below on "DXM burnout"). Here's he told me:
"Me and my friends decided to go to a deserted spot in the woods a few miles from one of my friend's house. I dosed 600 milligrams and each of them decided that they wouldn't dose anything. We were still gathering our supplies when the trip kicked in. I decided to stay in the car while they went inside the store to get the things we would need. By the time we got to the forest, I could barely walk. I don't remember much, but I do remember falling a few times and having to lean on my friends for support. The next thing I remember is my friends trying to "wake me up" a few times after sitting on a park bench. From what they told me later, it took about 2 minutes of shaking me for me to realize that I had "fallen asleep". I then remember us leaving the park at about 3:00 in the morning (after I had peaked) and going back to my friend's house. At about 5:00, I remember coming down from the trip. I was lying in my friend's recliner. I got up and noticed that my arm and sides were covered with at least 100 ant bites. Apparently, I had lied down in the forest on an ant pile, got bit, and didn't feel a thing! My friends never noticed it until I pointed it out to them once I had come down. I spent the next 2 weeks in agony as the bites healed. I'm glad I wasn't allergic! Case and point? Never do DXM in the woods and once your start vegging out on your DXM trips, stop doing DXM!"
After taking a typical 2nd/3rd plateau dose, one could experience all, none, or some of the following:
Differences in Active Ingredients
Well...there are only a small number of cough medicines that are perfect for taking DXM, i.e. have only DXM as an active ingredient. There is the classic Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough. Then there is Vicks 44 cough. And then you have generics. In finding what ingredients you don't want, look on the back of the box/label for the active ingredients. Here are some tips:
I want to try DXM. Where do I Start?
Whoa...not so fast! Take a look at the risks involving DXM use. The dissociative drugs (including DXM) are the only psychedelics that have been proven to cause brain damage through repeated use of high doses. Acids, cannabis, mushrooms, mescaline (peyote), although illegal, are virtually non-toxic and completely safe for your body. DXM isn't. DXM is the most dangerous of the psychedelics. Is it worth it?
Also remember that DXM isn't a toy. DXM isn't something that you can light up in a bowl, and have a good couple hours with trippy visuals and colorful sounds. DXM is an inner journey that can be either horrible or beautiful. Delusions are not uncommon. You may see parts of yourself that utterly scare you. You may meet entities (if you take super high dose) who completely frighten you. A vast majority of people dislike DXM.
Also, DXM should not be abused because it will seriously make you an unhappy person. If you are unhappy, don't use DXM. Like all psychedelic drugs, DXM will elevate your unhappiness if you are unhappy. It won't make you forget your problems. In fact, throughout the period of a DXM trip, these problems might surface and, combined with the empathy characteristic of DXM, will make you even more unhappy.
I suggest that you use mental exploration and meditation to reach altered states of consciousness, and not drugs. Although doing this requires a great amount of time and effort, it is always the most effective and the best. Using a drug to do it is the faster way out and it has it's side effects such as puking, being fucked up, confusion, pure horror, etc, not to mention the infamous DXM hangover.
I don't advocate the use of recreational DXM. I'm just relaying the facts so that people can make intelligent decisions. If you are not sure if you want to do this -- don't.
Notes on CYP2D6 Deficiency
If you feel you are ready to try DXM, first start at a 100-milligram dose. I say this become some people are CYP2D6 deficient. The CYP2D6 is an enzyme in the liver that breaks down DXM to DXO. People who are CYP2D6 deficient don't have this enzyme, which means that the DXM doesn't break down in the body and the trip drags on for a long time. A 100 milligram dose is a safe dose to test to see if you are missing this enzyme. Note that 5-10% of the Caucasian population lacks this enzyme (according to the DXM FAQ).
If you get Caught
If you get caught by the police, or other authority figures, DO NOT tell them you are on DXM. Tell them you are drunk. If you mention the acronyms "DXM" they will assume you're on some new designer drug. This happened one time to a guy and he was arrested because the police thought DXM was some sort of amphetamine. If you get arrested because you said you were on DXM, you may have to take a drug test. If you do, you may test positive for PCP. Although it's possible to fight this in court, it would not be worth the trouble if you had the option of saying you were drunk. Just tell them you had too much to drink.
Also note that, if you live with your parents, NEVER trip in a place where they can see you. If you think that you can take DXM and sneak around the house and fool them into thinking you're sober, you are wrong. DXM is a drug that will seriously alter the way you look and act. Some people can't even walk well on a second plateau dose of DXM. Some people's speech becomes slurred beyond recognition even on the second plateau, as well. If you live with your parents, the best thing to do is to wait until they're gone for at least 8 hours to trip, and even then, you shouldn't. Note that if you're a minor, I don't recommend that you do DXM recreationally.
A common occurrence among many people who use DXM over time is that the DXM experience seems to lose its magic over time. This seems almost impossible to avoid. I, myself, have stopped using DXM because of this. William White mentions the "50 trip limit". I agree with him on that issue, though I don't think there is a specific amount of trips that one can have before reaching "DXM Burnout".
An interesting thing about this, though, is that DXM seems to be the only drug that does this. It seems to be an anti-addictive drug in that once a person starts using it too much or too often, the effects of the drug become boring and the drug becomes not worth taking. Actually, in medical literature, this effect is called "hallucinogen antidependecy". Unfortunately, one can still become addicted to DXM if they rely on it too heavily and use it too often. Although this addiction is not a physical one, it's still strong and hard to overcome.
Nothing seems to bring back the original magic of the first few DXM trips. Even waiting months/years doesn't seem to bring it back. So my note to the DXM beginners would be to savor your trips and to use DXM very sparingly so that all of your trips are interesting.
Some common occurrences of DXM burnout are the following:
Notes on DXM Addiction
Although many people say that DXM is not addictive, I beg to differ. DXM is mentally addictive. You may like DXM so much that you continue to use it often. What many people realize after over-doing DXM is that the trips get repetitive and lose effect. The trips become dull and un fulfilling. DXM is something that gets old really easy and really fast. When you start doing DXM frequently, you'll find the trips are a waste of time and are very boring, especially at higher doses. Be responsible and wait a few months to try DXM again if you get to this point.
So you may ask what responsible DXM use is. Using DXM responsibly means that you trip infrequently, and in a setting that is conducive to tripping. It doesn't mean tripping while in school, or while driving, or in public places. Don't trip more than once a week. Don't fall into the trap of tripping because you have nothing better to do. Like I said earlier, if you want to get fucked up, then go get some beer or pot. If you are underage and cough syrup is the only thing available (which seems like it's always the case), then find something else to do.
Many people have the notion that if something is mentally addicting, and not physically addicting, they will be able to stop at any time. This is the wrong idea to have. When something, namely DXM, is mentally addicting, it isn't easy to stop doing. If you find yourself addicted to DXM, then when you get a craving to try it, realize that you could be addicted and focus your mind on something else. Go out for a drive, or a walk. Go see a movie. With time, you'll realize that you can do other stuff to pass your time. In a few months, you might genuinely be ready to try DXM one time. Maybe you will never be truly ready to try DXM. That's what you get for doing DXM every night.
Yep, DXM is a dissociative, which is the only group of psychedelic drugs that are proven to be toxic in any way. The evidence states, in layman's terms, that if you do a lot of DXM (like once a week for a few months) and at high doses (3rd and 4th plateau), you could end up with Olney's Lesions, which are microscopic holes in the brain where brain cells used to be. During the DXM trips, your brain becomes so excited that, after so many uses, the brain cells die. So this is another good reason for you to limit your DXM use to about once ever few months, or so. It is also thought that this could be the reason for "DXM Burnout".
You can read more about Olney's Lesions at http://www.frognet.net/~dxm/olney.html