Extracting DMT from Acacia maidenii
The following events are as far divorced from reality
as the experience of the drug itself :-)
I discovered that a local plant, Acacia maidenii, was reported to contain 0.6% alkaloids in the bark, of which 1/3 was N-methyl tryptamine, and 2/3 was Dimethyl Tryptamine (DMT). (Alkaloids of The Australian Leguminosae - The Occurrence of Methylated Tryptamines in Acacia maidenii F. Muell. J.S. Fitzgerald and A.A. Sioumis Australian Journal of Chemistry, 1965, 18 433-4)
Some research of old botany books suggested a nearby location, and to my surprise I found many hundred of the trees growing along creek gullys in a nearby national park.
I took about half a kilo of vertical strips from a number of trees, trying to cause as little as possible permanent damage. The bark was thick, red, fibrous and resinous.
Smoking the bark directly gave a mild hallucinogenic effect, on the limits of the detectable. That evening, I shredded the bark by hand. This was difficult and incomplete; mechanical milling would be far preferable. I placed the shreds about 3.5 litres of analytical grade methanol from Monday night until Friday afternoon. The methanol quickly took up colour from the bark and turned a deep red colour.
As much as possible of the methanol was removed by filtering. I evaporated off the methanol using a fractionating column, a condenser, and a saucepan of boiling water as heating, for some hours, and recovered much of the methanol. I placed this methanol back with the bark and reextracted for some hours while evaporating the rest, then filtered the bark again and combined the extracts, and stripped as much as possible of the methanol, to leave a thick resinous brown liquid. A portion of the extract was evaporated using a hair-drier to give a thick brown resin. Attempts at smoking this using pipe and hot knife proved unpleasant and gave minimal effect.
It was decided to perform further extraction. To the extract was added dilute hydrochloric acid (about 20 ml 10M, but well diluted). Immediately, a large amount of tar congealed and was removed, leaving a watery brown aqueous mixture. This was basified with NaOH, although on reflection, I would use NH3 next time as it is less likely to overbasify and react with any of the compounds present. White precipitations were seen on basification, which redissolved on stirring.
The aqueous phase was extracted twice into CH2Cl2, and the solvent evaporated as before. The last stage of evaporation was accomplished with a hair drier, to leave about a gram or so of pale yellow liquid. On standing 24 hours, this liquid crystallised as circular arrangements of needles.
Preliminary attempts at smoking small amounts of the alkaloids gave varying mild effects, and a friend and I decided to try a larger dose. He took a cone in one toke, and was immediately on the ground, making strange sounds and looking odd. He hugged me and told me to meet him in that place, and said it was very strong. I managed to finish a large cone in 3 tokes, and was instantly blown apart as if by a large brick through the head. I think I was temporarily blinded, and found myself on the ground grasping my friend, and coughing for air, as I watched all of my surroundings fragment into small pieces divided by lightning bolts, and feeling all the air in the universe escape through the holes. We were both totally astounded and scared shitless. 2 minutes later, the intense part was over. We staggered out into the open, and walked in the park until we calmed down. Pleasant mild hallucinations continued for about half an hour, and there were no after effects whatsoever. The experience was extemely intense, and the smoke has an unpleasant taste. Several other people have tried it since, and the most popular adjective is "wicked." Effects have ranged from mild to intense, and some people say that while it could not be described as "good" or "enjoyable," they would be happy to try it again. My subsequent trips were more bearable, as I was not under any anxiety about the duration or outcome of the trip. Nevertheless, the trip is still extremely intense, and also physically demanding: giving strong tactile hallucinations and stimulation.
On a second occasion, I took 1.7 kg of bark, and pulverised it as best I could using a circular saw. The result was mostly a fibrous powder. Some pieces had to be shredded by hand. Methanol extraction was performed as before. Since the amount was larger on this occasion, the quantities were somewhat unwieldy. Stripping the five litres of solvent (aprx) took approximately 14 hours. On attempting to acidify, filter, and basify, considerable difficulty was experienced; the acidified residue seemed unfilterable, and when basified with NH3, a thick pink gel was formed which was impossible to extract. By a painful process of trial and error, I found that at very low pH, most of the resins became dissolved or suspended. At slightly low pH, the residue separated nicely into a tar and an aqueous phase. At slightly high pH, the mixture became a thick gelatinous solid. At very high pH, this solid redissolved. The result of this seems to be that much of the tar can be separated by successive extraction at moderately low pH (dilute HCl), and then that the addition of strong hydroxide will leave the amphoteric resins in solution, but make the alkaloids insoluble. These are then extracted into dichloromethane as before, and the organic layer is back extracted with salty NaOH solution to remove impurities. The dichloromethane is then stripped as before, to leave the alkaloids which crystallise in 24 hours or more.
Myself and a friend experimented with repeat doses of DMT at close intervals. A base pipe was used for smoking the alkaloids. This pipe allows minimum combustion and maximum vaporisation, and thus is the most economical way to smoke DMT. Because there is little combustion, the smoke does not taste quite as bad, and also the base pipe allows more accurate metering of the dose. After the initial physical rush, it was found that taking small tokes at intervals of a few minutes was sufficient to maintain an extremely pleasant trip, not unlike that of psilocin. There was minimum physical discomfort associated with the cruise. However, while in this mild state, I took two large tokes of the substance, and a few seconds later, without warning, I was blown apart. I was walking, but staggered and choked, gasping for air. The effects were totally overwhelming, like being thrown out of the universe, and I watched my visual sphere being pixelated at successively lower resolutions, until I could see merely individual elements of colour. The intensity was such as to make it very unpleasant.
A few more experiences should be related. It seems that the response of various people to this extract varies greatly, and even a single individual can have a variety of responses, from no effect to total dissociation. One girl tried a single toke for the first time, and was completely thrown out of the universe (from her description). She was begging for it to end; the duration was longer than usual: about 15 minutes of heavy peak, and at the end of it she vomited while gasping for air when beginning to return to some normality and bodliy control.
On one occasion, I first ate a whole bottle of the 4:1 extract of Passiflora incarnata which is available over the counter in Australia. Each tablet contains 500 mg of extract, and I ate 60 tablets. Supposedly a single tablet is supposed to be a herbal sedative, but I was not sedated after consuming the 60. My reason for doing this was that Passiflora incarnata is supposed to contain a variety of beta-carbolines which are mono-amine-oxidase inhibitors, which have been used to potentiate the effects of DMT, and make it orally active. About 40 minutes later, I smoked some DMT, the effects of which were not greatly different from what I am used to. I then had a slightly larger amount, and without warning, felt an intense incredible rush of physical pleasure through my body. Within seconds, I was riding on the most intense unimaginable pure total body orgasm. I was unable to control myself, and I was screaming at the top of my voice until the effects subsided. The visual and auditory enhancement were mild, but the physical hallucination is was by far the most enjoyable thing I have ever experienced. Observers, who were taken aback by my behaviour, claim that I was in this state for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, I felt intensely euphoric, and both very excited and very relaxed. I tried eating a significant quantity of the DMT after this experience, and found no effect. This would indicate that the Sedacalm passionflower extract is insufficient to orally activate DMT at these doses. It may be that higher doses would have some effect, or that Sedacalm does not contain appreciable quantities of beta-carbolines. Harman, harmol, harmalol, harmaline, and harmine have all been reported in Passiflora incarnata over the years, but one paper claims that only harman, which is not particularly active, is the only alkaloid present.
I intend to experiment further with this plant.
I am planning to attempt to side-step the methanol extraction, simply by attempting to extract directly into hydrochloric acid. Freezing and thawing the bark might serve to burst the vesicles containing the alkaloids (if this is the case - I am not a biologist). The advantage of doing this would be decreased cost, easy availability of all raw materials, and decreased time involved. The disadvantage would most likely be a reduction in yield, but larger amounts could be processed. The acid extract would have to be boiled down from several litres to a few hundred mills, then filtered, and this process could destroy the alkaloid. Comments on this method would be welcomed.
My references tell me that N-methyl tryptamine is most likely inactive at these doses. Does anyone have any information regarding the physical and psychological effects of this compound? Also any information regarding the hazards of DMT use would be appreciated.