When the Drop Joins the Ocean: An Evidence-Based & Personal Exploration of 5-MeO-DMT

The revival of psychedelic science and research has produced a fascinating wealth of information about their therapeutic potential. From treatment resistant depression to PTSD and addiction, psychedelic medicine is proving to be a powerful tool for healing the human race. One of the most surprising discoveries is the incredibly powerful psychedelic known as 5-MeO-DMT. 

Produced naturally in some plants, and most notably, in the venom of the Sonoran desert toad, Bufo Alvarius, 5-MeO-DMT was discovered only 30 some years ago. Since that time, it has been reported to produce one of the most powerful and profound psychedelic experiences known to man. This guide will explore the mystical 5-MeO-DMT experience, it’s potential therapeutic applications and spotlight advanced 5-MeO-DMT practitioner Joël Brierre of Kaivalya Kollectiv, who I had the pleasure of partaking in the 5-MeO-DMT experience with.

What is 5-MeO-DMT?

5-MeO-DMT is a powerful psychedelic in the tryptamine class of compounds found in many plant species and at least one toad species. Seeds containing 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin have been used in South American entheogenic rituals in a snuff preparation known as yopo. However, recent studies have shown the bufotenin is largely responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of yopo due to the extremely limited amount of 5-MeO-DMT. 

It was only recently that significant quantities of 5-MeO-DMT was discovered in the secretions of the Sonoran desert toad. A fascinating account of this discovery can be found in this episode of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia

Fan of Hamilton Morris? He was in attendance at our first Molecular Masterclass virtual event spotlighting ketamine therapeutics. Check out his presentation in our video recording of the event here!

bufo alvarius

What Does the Research Say About 5-MeO-DMT?

 

The state of clinical research around this compound is still very limited. However, early results do show great promise. In fact, a recent study found that:

 

“A single inhalation of the psychedelic drug 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is associated with sustained improvements in satisfaction with life, mindfulness, and a reduction of psychopathological symptoms, according to preliminary research published in Psychopharmacology.”

 

It is also important to note that such a powerful mystical experience is paired with a period of significant neuroplasticity and neuronal growth. Another study found that:

 

“A Single Dose of 5-MeO-DMT Stimulates Cell Proliferation, Neuronal Survivability, Morphological and Functional Changes in Adult Mice Ventral Dentate Gyrus”

 

Essentially, a single dose of this powerful psychedelic stimulated cell growth, survivability, and changes to the shape and function of brain cells in adult mice. Thus, the importance of an important integration program and conscious activities immediately before and after working with the medicine is particularly important. 

 

Read Going Beyond the Psychedelic Experience When Treating Addiction: Exploring the Holistic Treatment Model 

5-meo-dmt psychedelic treatment drop joins the ocean

Comparing and Contrasting DMT and 5-MeO-DMT

While the name may imply this newly discovered compound is similar to the classic psychedelic DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, the 5-MeO-DMT experience is robustly different and distinctly unique. Both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have an incredibly rapid onset, are fast acting and have a short duration, sometimes lasting only seven minutes. However, this is where the similarities end. 

While the DMT experience is highly visual, full of colorful fractals and sacred geometries, your thoughts still remain coherent. On the other hand, the 5-MeO-DMT experience shatters all senses of self, any concept of “I” that may exist and fully merges your being with the universe itself. The unique separation of self from the mind in the 5-MeO-DMT experience removes the element of fear that is often present in the regular N,N-DMT experience. 

However, managing fear before one’s first experience can certainly be a normal part of the process and something I certainly experienced before my first time smoking 5-MeO-DMT. This is where an experienced guide really comes in handy. Unlike regular N,N-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT cannot be safely administered alone and requires a skilled guide who can safely tend to your physical body while one is in the experience. 

5-meo-dmt psychedelic treatment drop joins the ocean

A Note About Utilizing Natural Toad Venom Versus Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT

It is important to note that currently, no evidence supports the idea of that consuming toad venom is any more or less beneficial than the synthetic molecule. Phenomena such as the “entourage effect” have not been established in secretions from the toad. Hamilton Morris in his riveting series, Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, connected with the first human to smoke toad venom, Ken Nelson (also known as Albert Moss). Their fascinating dialogue about sustainability with 5-MeO-DMT supported the idea that the pure synthetic molecule is the ideal path forward. He states that the only reason to milk the toads is to analyze venom and find a way to fully recreate it synthetically so we don’t have to bother toads. Indeed, expert 5-MeO-DMT practitioner Joël Brierre of Kavilaya Kollectiv utilizes the pure molecule with remarkable results. 

5-meo-dmt psychedelic treatment drop joins the ocean

My Personal Experience Smoking 5-MeO-DMT Under the Care of Joël Brierre of Kaivalya Kollectiv

While I feel now that there is no way one can truly prepare for such a powerfully divine experience, I believe that Joël Brierre of Kaivalya Kollectiv and his beautiful partner, Victoria Wueschner, do an incredible job. I had a considerable amount of pre-flight anxiety and fear around engaging with this medicine. DMT comes on fairly strong for me, so I felt that something even more powerful would be truly overwhelming. Indeed, the experience was the most overwhelming moment of my life, but in the best and most necessary ways. 

5-meo-dmt psychedelic treatment drop joins the ocean

Experiencing A Deep Understanding of the “Oneness” of All Things

Although my mind wasn’t present during my journey, I still had a deep understanding of the “Oneness” of all things. My inner knowing that I was merging with the infinite, like when the drop joins the ocean, made the experience incredibly cathartic and moving for me. There was a moment where I realized that we as humans had “forgotten” our true nature and our deep connection to source energy. This realization made me intensely sad and I cried more deeply than I ever have in my life–perhaps all my lives. Such powerful moments were intertwined with an intense patchwork of love and connectedness that I had never felt before. 

 

Purging Ancestral Trauma & An Important Note About Safety During the Trip

This medicine requires caretakers who can help the user during their trip, which is one of the biggest differentiators from DMT. In my second session (I went in 3 times total), I had to purge and I’m incredibly grateful Joël and Victoria were able to care for me in that vulnerable moment of mine. Indeed, I had gone in the second time with the intention of releasing deep ancestral trauma and it truly felt like that was happening in my purge. 

This purge highlighted an important note about safety when working with this medicine. While I was laying on my back for most of the trip, it was necessary for those caring for me to make sure I could be rolled into a recovery position to vomit to prevent aspiration and choking. Unfortunately, there have been deaths before due to this happening when the medicine is taken under the supervision of unskilled providers, or perhaps, taken alone, which is much more dangerous. I’m grateful for the presence of Joël and Victoria during this process who helped me smoothly overcome this moment during my process.

 

Round Three Culminates Perfectly In the “Cosmic Joke”

Joël and Victoria set up what they call the “lily pad”, a comfortable altra where the medicine is administered, right by their swimming pool. This pool is filled with highly amusing inflatable animals with very animated expressions. In particular, there is a shark Joël calls “Drago” who has a smile I find genuinely amusing. 

This is significant because after coming out of my last trip, overcome by powerful emotions of love, gratitude and awe, I looked over the pool only to see Drago the inflatable shark flying across the water as if he was coming right at me. The three of us saw this happen and burst out laughing in the most satisfying laughter I’ve experienced in a while. Described as the “cosmic joke”, this occurrence reminded not to take life, even such a profound experience, too seriously.

The Value of an Experienced Practitioner Cannot be Overstated

Smoking the 5-MeO-DMT was the most deeply mystical and profoundly spiritual experience of my life. Having worked with several plant medicines, including ibogaine, ayahuasca, peyote, kambo, and more, I believe the value of an experienced, compassionate and skilled practitioner cannot be overstated. Joël and the team at Kaivalya certainly have this delicate and powerful process down to an art. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to sit with him for this ceremony and get his insights for this piece. 

5-meo-dmt psychedelic treatment drop joins the ocean

Joël Brierre Shares Deep Insights on Working With 5-MeO-DMT

One of the main things that keeps me inspired to serve this medicine is how relevant the experience is to what we’re going through as a collective. This is a medicine that unlike any other psychedelic, produces a full cessation of self activity, or a total dissolution of ego, allowing the participant to experience a real, palpable oneness with not just everything in this world, but seemingly with source, or the Godhead itself. This merging into the infinite has been a tenet of nearly every faith and spiritual practice since man first looked to the heavens, this mystical experience has been described throughout many cultures under many different names, whether it be Samadhi to the Yogis, Nirvana to the Buddhists, the Beatific Vision to the Christians and Catholics, or Fitrah in Islam, this experience has had entire religions built around it. The ancient alchemists, sages, and mystics referred to this great mystery as the ineffable, or that which cannot be known or described, thus a religion or spiritual practice can only serve as a lens through which one can take in, or experience this great mystery.

Why I find this so relevant to the current state of the world, is that once someone has been immersed in the waters of the infinite, one is able to feel the perfection of the universe in a completely new way, the chaos and order flow and dance together as two parts of the same whole, upon returning to self, worries and anxieties are seen through a whole new lens. We can understand non-duality and oneness conceptually, however to be initiated into this great remembrance in a real and experiential way is to remember our wholeness, to remember the immense beauty in this play of existence. To remember this truth requires a sacrifice of all that allows you to feel separate, a sacrifice of all that is familiar, with this death of the assumed self comes a falling away of inner turmoil, and thus comes rebirth, and what a beautiful time to be reborn.

Want to learn more about Joël and Kaivalya Kollectiv? Check out this PsyCap Recap from their engaging Psychedelic Capital Presentation!

Gaurav Dubey

Gaurav Dubey

Gaurav Dubey is a dynamic clinical biologist, evidence-based branding professional and entrepreneur with a passion for scientific writing and traveling the world. He earned a dual bachelor’s degree in biology and philosophy from the University of Miami in 2011 and his Master’s in Biotechnology from Rush University Medical Center in 2015. Gaurav was recently published as lead author in the world's leading transplant journal, The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, for a study investigating second-time lung re-transplantation. He is passionate about psychedelic medicine and recently accepted a position as content editor at Microdose, an opportunity he is very excited about. He is also the Founder & President of Karmik, LLC, an evidence-based branding firm for extraordinary life science brands.