Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

While most everyone understands/knows what a Near Death Experience (NDE) is, the phenomenon is not easy to accurately define from a scientific perspective. The reason is that science does not quite know where to put NDEs yet.

There have been some tentative steps taken towards NDE research, but the very nature of the phenomenon raises ethical, moral, and practical hurdles when it comes to studying it.

The simple definition of a Near Death Experience spells out that it is a personal experience associated with the perceived or very real proximity of death. As such, it can be positive or negative.

If we are to define NDEs in a less layman-focused manner, we will have to point out that it consists of a range of memories acquired during a special state of consciousness. The perceived or physical proximity of death is what triggers this state of consciousness. The memories logged during it have shown surprising consistency across cultural and chronological boundaries.

Indeed, NDEs seem to have some common elements, to which the cultural filter of a person’s mind may give a specific twist. Still, looking past that, these elements have been reported since ancient times and even by children young enough to be unaffected by any cultural “indoctrination” through education.

These typical NDE elements are:

  • OBEs (Out of Body Experiences)
  • Life review
  • Meeting deceased loved ones/light entities.
  • Conscious return to the body.

In addition to these main elements, NDEers have also reported:

  • The awareness of being dead.
  • Well being, peace, and painlessness. A flood of positive emotions.
  • The Tunnel Experience: a sense of moving through darkness towards light.
  • Unconditional love and acceptance.
  • Indecision over whether to return to one’s body or not. Reluctance to do so.

Before we take a closer look at these elements, we should build up some context, exploring a few concepts that may make it easier to understand NDEs.

Table of Contents

Consciousness and the Brain

The Eternal, Nonlocal Consciousness

Common Elements of NDEs

Interpretation of NDEs Impacted by Cultural Beliefs

After Effects of NDEs

How Does Science Explain NDEs?

How to Induce NDEs

Conclusion

Consciousness and the Brain

The actual localization of thoughts and emotions/consciousness within the brain has been the Holy Grail of scientists for decades. Unfortunately, thus far no one has made a breakthrough in this regard.

While EEGs, MEGs, and PET scans have linked thought and focus to increased activity in certain sections of the brain, increased neuronal activity has never resulted in the pinpointing of the actual source of thoughts.

With that in mind, we can safely toss aside the “matching content” theory. According to this theory, the similarity in thought patterns/experiences reported by NDEers can be explained through the fact that the activation of certain neuronal networks always gives rise to the same thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

The bottom line in this regard is that we simply do not possess the scientific understanding that would allow us to explain NDEs through a physical model. We simply do not know where consciousness resides in the brain and whether it has the ability to leave its physical confines.

The Eternal, Nonlocal Consciousness

Instead of rigidly linking consciousness to the physical body, researchers have floated the theory of the nonlocal consciousness. The interesting thing about this theory is that it does indeed fit in well with the experiences reported by NDEers.

According to this theory, the endless consciousness is in a nonlocal space. Our brain serves as a sort of relay station which allows it to manifest, the way a radio set allows radio programming to take up an audible and intelligible form. Similarly, the body and the brain may act as a microphone, which turns audible information into electromagnetic waves.

Consciousness is therefore without a beginning or an end. It simply exists. Our sense of self, ego, and our entire waking consciousness is not linked strictly to our physical shell. The brain acts as a mere facilitator, helping consciousness manifest. It is not the origin of it.

Common Elements of NDEs

One of the universal and most commonly encountered elements of NDEs is the out-of-body experience. You have probably heard stories of people lying on the operating table, watching themselves from above as the medical crew resuscitates them. To their surprise, while outside of their own body, they retain a full sense of identity and perception.

As far as science is concerned, such reports constitute a mystery. NDE-induced OBEs contain elements that make their objective validation quite impossible. At the same time, they also deliver proof that is impossible to dismiss.

Following successful resuscitation, patients who experienced NDEs could recount details of the resuscitation procedure that would have been impossible for them to perceive. Such accounts clearly mean that these NDE-induced OBEs are not merely illusions of a brain perhaps deprived of some sort of essential function.

To try to gain objective proof of NDE OBEs, researchers placed symbols on placards, positioning them face-up, so that they could only be seen from above, from the presumed perspective of an OBEer. This experiment failed to yield any results, thus confusing the situation.

Of course, the methodology itself can and should be questioned.

A near-death induced OBE is not exactly a mundane experience. It is safe to assume that the person having this experience is surprised enough to see him/herself from above, life hanging in the balance, to look away searching for various symbols hidden here and there.

Thus, lack of proof in this regard likely has to be written down to lack of attention and intention.

Still, some scientists are not yet ready to accept the phenomenon as a true OBE. Science has come up with a number of explanations and explanatory models that attempt to create a logic-based taxonomy of NDE-induced OBEs.

The “Tunnel” Experience

Almost as common as the out-of-body experience described above, the tunnel experience entails the sense of entering a sort of darkness and moving through it, as if through a tunnel or staircase, towards a source of light.

The experience seems to signify the passing of the endless consciousness towards the nonlocal space where it is rooted. Turning back and not making it to the “end of the tunnel” seems to be a common motif linked to this experience as well.

Unlike the mentioned OBE experience, the Tunnel experience cannot be objectively proven in any shape or form. As such, no effort has been invested into research in its direction.

Life Review Experience

One NDE experience which makes non-locality exceedingly obvious is the Life Review experience.

During such an experience, a person going through a NDE is presented with a sort of tally of his/her entire life.

This tally includes every action and every thought ever done/conceived by the person, as well as their consequences for others. During such an experience, time and space do not exist.

The “all seeing eye” angle is a commonly reported element of the Life Review experience. What it means is that the person going through the experience understands every emotion and thought produced by his/her own actions/thoughts in others. What’s more, the review seems to contain all the conscious as well as unconscious elements of one’s self.

Considering the above, it is obvious that such an experience can be a cathartic and eye-opening one. It is an experience of oneness and interconnectedness with everyone else. As such, it is likely one of the major triggers of the after effects of NDEs.

Meeting and Communicating with Deceased Relatives

This is another aspect of NDEs with a massive possible impact on after effects. People have reported meeting their deceased loved ones through such experiences and communicating with them through thought transfer.

This phenomenon would be explained through the nonlocal consciousness model detailed above as well. The “selves” of these deceased people do not cease to exist, and they can therefore be encountered in the non-physical planes.

What is interesting in regards to this experience is that people have reported meeting entities they did not know, and who later turned out to have had some kind of connection to them.

Specifically, one NDEer reported meeting her grandmother and an unknown man who looked lovingly at her. Years later, she was shown a photo of the same person, who was apparently her biological father, whom she had never gotten to know.

Return to the Body

Most NDEers have reported a conscious return to their physical body, often accompanied by reluctance.

Such returns usually happen through the top of the head. The reluctance which accompanies these returns can be explained through the fact that the consciousness which has gained a tiny peek into its true, nonlocal nature, gets “locked up” in the physical body again, subject to all its limitations.

Most people who have gone through such an experience decide to make this conscious return after understanding that it is “not their time yet,” or that they have some task left to complete.

The “Being of Light” Phenomenon

In addition to the above detailed common NDE elements, some people have also reported meeting “beings of light” with whom they communicated via thought transfer.

These encounters are a lot like the ones involving deceased relatives. These entities that people have described either consist entirely of light or they are dressed in white.

Presumptions concerning the identities of these “selves” have been made, based mostly on cultural and ideological considerations.

Interpretation of NDEs Impacted by Cultural Beliefs

NDE elements which seem to be connected to various cultural and religious beliefs are usually the results of later interpretation. It is easy to see how “beings of light” and various benevolent entities dressed in white, can be identified as angels.

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That said, the common elements listed above seem to persist over time and cultural boundaries. Exactly what this means from a practical perspective is up for debate at this point.

After Effects of NDEs

Given the profoundly shocking nature of NDEs, it is entirely unsurprising that they should elicit some equally profound after effects.

Such experiences often shake up the whole belief system of the person who goes through them.

Hands down, the most common side effect of NDEs is that the person loses his/her fear of death. Having taken a peek at the “other side” the NDEer will likely develop a strong belief in afterlife. The experience also shakes up one’s entire attitude towards life, leading to increased self-esteem and a re-evaluation of existing relationships.

A person who has been through the throes of a NDE, generally becomes more generous, caring, and less concerned with the material side of life. Of course, this process of re-evaluation may also result in the termination of some relationships. People deemed incompatible with the new NDEer’s new outlook on life may be sidelined.

Often, the entire demeanor of the NDEer changes. This may lead to some friction with family. It is not uncommon for couples where one party has experienced a NDE, to divorce.

Another side effect may involve death dreams. Some people may experience dying in dreams (or should I say nightmares) for years after a near death experience. This may also give rise to insomnia as the fear of the impending nightmares may prevent one from wanting to fall asleep…

Other side effects experienced include increased sensitivity and openness towards psychic activity. Some NDEers have claimed to have acquired telepathic skills.

Most scientists are skeptic in regards to the mentioned NDE after effects. Apparently there is no scientifically conducted study that would confirm the above detailed – mostly psychological – effects.

On the other hand, a physiological side effect has been confirmed. Apparently, NDEers become more sensitive to electricity. The study confirming this fact is the only well conducted one, concerning the after effects of NDEs.

The nature of the experience means however that it does indeed impact every aspect of the NDEers existence, whether there are scientific studies supporting this or not.

It often takes an NDEer years to incorporate the experience into his/her everyday life. Many have trouble making sense of it at all. Others are afraid to communicate the experience to others, for fear of being labeled weirdos and liars. Nothing is worse than having to lock the experience away from the rest of the world, not being able to talk about it.

It is therefore important to ask people who had a close brush with death about their unusual experiences upon awakening.

Having them talk to a therapist is an even better idea. Talking to other NDEers can also be beneficial for those struggling to incorporate the experience into their lives.

How Does Science Explain NDEs?

Scientists have come up with a number of explanatory models to try to make heads and tails of this intriguing phenomenon.

– The spiritual or transcendental model allows the theory that NDEs are exactly what they appear to be to NDEers. As such, they are true manifestations of the afterlife and proof to the immaterial existence of the soul.

– Depersonalization explains NDEs from the perspective of the extreme stress they exert on NDEers. Under this stress, the sufferer may attempt to distance him/herself from reality, and NDE-induced OBEs may be nothing more than hallucinations.

– The expectancy model also toes the hallucination line. According to it, NDEs yield the sort of visions and experiences that they do, due to the NDEer expecting to have such visions. The experience already exists in the mind of the would-be NDEer, before it is actually experienced.

– According to the birth model, through an NDE, people relive the shock and trauma of birth.

– Various neuroanatomical and neurochemical models preach that NDEs are triggered by damage to various areas of the brain.

– Low oxygen levels and altered blood gas levels have also been considered as potential “culprits” in NDEs.

– The multi-factorial model says that every component of a NDE can be explained through either chemical, psychological or physiological factors.

How to Induce Near-Death Experiences

As mentioned, the studying of NDEs is difficult on account of their nature and due to the ethical and moral hurdles they raise.

A solution to this scientific conundrum would be the artificial triggering of NDEs – itself a very touchy subject.

Is this possible at all?

Meditation-induced NDEs

Buddhists documents have apparently mentioned meditation-induced NDEs since ancient times.

Buddhism has never been a stranger to the psychology of death-related processes. As such, the amount of experience it has piled up in this regard should not be ignored.

Regarding the ability of experienced meditators to induce NDEs at a predetermined time in the future, even the Dalai Lama has added his confirmation.

Scores of Tibetan texts have also mentioned the existence of a state of consciousness preceding death, which carries all the signs of NDEs.

Such meditators “experiment” with such states of consciousness, so that when they come upon it as they are dying, they can recognize and sustain it. This state of consciousness has often been associated with lucid dreaming.

Given that the latter can indeed be induced even from a waking state (WILD) by experienced meditators, it would not be farfetched to assume that the same can be done with NDEs.

Familiarization with death is a central theme of Buddhism. The religion asserts that consciousness has to detach itself from the idea of “self” as an enduring entity. The physical body is ephemeral and thus attachment to it and to various material possessions does the soul no good.

Interestingly, there exists a study involving 12 advanced Buddhist meditators, done over 3-year period, aimed at increasing the profundity of meditation-induced NDE.

Needless to say, the study had to overcome some unusual challenges, such as determining what makes a meditator “advanced” in regards to NDE. The fact that only 12 such individuals could be located globally, speaks volumes about the difficulties met by the study. The control group was made up of the same 12 people.

The study yielded some interesting results regarding the experiences the meditators managed to trigger.

Most of them reported:

– A feeling of gradual “dissolution.” As they let go of their physical bodies, they identified with the elements. Various sensations resulted from this process, including sensations of drowning, of being stuck, and of being weightless and bodiless.

– The disappearance of time and space. Most study participants reported being able to be everywhere at the same time, as time itself lost all meaning.

– Perhaps most disturbingly, in addition to realms populated by beings made up wholly or partially of light, meditators were apparently able to visit “hellish” realms, where suffering and torture were commonplace.

– All participants stated that they were remotely aware of their physical bodies during their NDE episodes. They also all felt a sort of emptiness, a lack of true substance in everything they perceived during their NDEs.

– Some of them even stated that the whole experience was mind-made. They asserted that upon death, the unlimited potential of the human mind would be unlocked. To those untrained, such an experience can be a truly traumatic one.

With its strengths and shortcomings, the study proved the existence of meditation-induced NDEs, as referred to in the ancient Buddhists documents. It did however raise the issue of differences between meditation-induced NDEs and actual NDEs. The study recommended more research in this direction.

That said, it did find meditation-triggered NDEs as valid NDEs. With that in mind, such MI-NDEs may provide a way for researchers to assess real-time neurological activity during a NDE.

Other Methods

In addition to meditation (which requires a very lengthy training), near-death experiences can also be induced through lucid dreams and by using substances.

An experienced lucid dreamer who is familiar with the phenomenology of near-death experiences (and perhaps even one who is not familiar with it) can rather easily create a dream that emulates an NDE. This would obviously just be a dream, and not a real NDE. Though some would argue that NDEs are really just dreams…

In Tibetan Yoga, lucid dreaming is practiced for exactly this purpose: to prepare oneself for death by experiencing a similar state of consciousness.

Finally, by using certain drugs and plants, one may induce an experience which resembles a near-death experience and contain at least some of the elements I have described above.

Conclusion

For the time being, NDEs are a gray area for science. There is some scientific evidence that those going through such experiences are in fact NOT hallucinating. There are scores more questions that need to be answered though.

From the perspective of the lucid dreaming and OBE enthusiast, the existence of this phenomenon is confirmation that meditation-triggered OBEs are not mere hallucinations either. They may be constructs of the mind, but by harnessing the unlimited power of the mind, they do in fact offer a true glimpse into what awaits us on the “other side.”

The after effects of NDEs entail reactions of the “I have seen the light” kind. What is certain is that NDEs trigger an altered state of consciousness best replicated by meditation induced OBEs.

There may indeed be a link between OBEs and what lies beyond death. If that is truly the case, experienced oneironauts and meditators have long been flirting with the most fundamental questions of human existence. Why are we here and what awaits us after death?

Theacrine

Theacrine is a stimulant similar to caffeine, but weaker. It increases activity in the brain while inducing enhanced alertness, wakefulness, and stimulation.

At low doses it has a sedative effect. It may improve sleep efficiency as well as reduce insomnia caused by caffeine and other stimulants.

It is consumed orally. The threshold dose is 25 mg, while a light dose is around 75 mg. A more common dose is 125 mg, while anything over 150 mg is considered a strong dose.

It takes about 30-60 minutes for the effects to begin, and they may last for up to 10 hours.

Theacrine can apparently also be consumed using a vaporizer, and for that purpose the appropriate dose ranges between 25 mg to 100 mg. This mode of administration makes the effects come much faster (in as little as 5 minutes), while they effects may last up to 3 hours. However, since the boiling point of theacrine is said to be at least 295 °C, I doubt that vaping it would be as effective as ingesting it orally or smoking it since most vaporizers don’t reach temperatures higher than 230 °C.

As I mentioned above, the state of consciousness you will attain by using theacrine can be a relaxed one (if you stick with low doses), while if you’re using higher doses, theacrine serves as a stimulant.

In addition to the wakefulness effect, you may also experience mild euphoria, cognitive enhancements, and even an increased libido.

We don’t know much about how theacrine affects dreaming. It is believed that it may act as an adenosine receptor antagonist, much like caffeine. Adenosine is a substance that accumulates in our brains during the day, making us sleepy. When the effects of adenosine are blocked by consuming theacrine (or caffeine), more acetylcholine may be circulating in the brain, causing alertness. If this occurs during sleep, it may manifest as vivid, bizarre, nightmarish, or even lucid dreams. Indeed, I came across a report of “weird dreams” while taking 100 mg theacrine for just two days.

Plant sources of theacrine include:

  • Camellia assamica var. kucha (Tea Plant)
  • Herrania (which is sometimes used as an ayahuasca admixture and in a tobacco syrup known as ambíl which is consumed orally by the Siona).
  • Theobroma grandiflorum (Wild Cacao) – sometimes used to make wine.

However, most people who want to try theacrine would probably want to get a supplement or an extract.

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If you have any questions regarding theacrine or any other topic related to sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to contact me or leave a reply below.

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Yohimbine & Yohimbé Tree (Pausinystalia johimbe)

Yohimbine or quebrachine is a constituent of the bark of Pausinystalia johimbe, which has been used since ancient times in Africa as an aphrodisiac, tonic, and stimulant. Other species which may contain yohimbine are P. macroceras and P. trillesii. Nowadays, it is used mostly as a treatment for frigidity, impotence, and as a local anesthetic.

It is also used for sexual magic rituals inspired by Indian Tantra and the work of Aleister Crowley.

How it Works

Yohimbine is believed to increase the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can act as lucid dream trigger if its levels are increased right before naturally entering REM sleep. Activation of brain norepinephrine during a lucid dream can improve focus, attention, alertness, the ability to remember the waking state, and even the mood. Increased levels of this neurotransmitter may also enhance dream recall.

Yohimbine absorbed quickly and reaches peak plasma levels absorption. It reaches peak plasma levels in approximately one hour. It also has a short elimination half-life (15 minutes-2.5 hours). And it’s fully cleared from the body in 5 hours.

When a higher dose of yohimbine is taken, the excess norepinephrine which is produced will “spill-over” from the brain to the rest of the body, thereby stimulating the sex organs. In even higher doses, mild hallucinations may be experienced along with anxiety and a host of other unpleasant symptoms, including insomnia and serotonin syndrome.

Avoid yohimbine if you’re taking any other drugs, especially MAOIs (e.g., some anti-depressants).

Effects

Besides being an aphrodisiac, Yohimbé bark is said to be mildly hallucinogenic thanks to its yohimbine content. Its effects are said to be similar to those of LSD, but with less emotional content and an emphasis of physical phenomena such as a relaxed feeling, sexual desire, slight auditory/visual hallucinations, and increased erotic enjoyment and sensations of pleasure.

Yohimbine has sympatholytic effects and local anesthetic effects (which is why it is sometimes added to “cut” street cocaine), as well as vasodilating effects, particularly upon the sex organs.

However, in much lower doses, yohimbine acts as a oneirogen, boosting the vividness of dreams and their recall. It’s important to use a low dose, otherwise sleep would be impossible.

Usage

The bark of the Yohimbé Tree can be used in aphrodisiac smoking blends. Alternatively, a tea or an alcoholic extract (tincture) can be made from it. To make a tea, boil 6 teaspoons of ground bark for 10 minutes.

Pausinystalia johimbe
Pausinystalia johimbe powder

It is sometimes used as an iboga additive.

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While the dosage for treating impotence is 5-10 mg yohimbine three times daily, achieving psychoactive effects involves a single dose of 15-25 mg.

Effects may last 2-4 hours.

For use as an oneirogen, the dose is much lower. The ideal dose as a lucid dreaming trigger is no more than about 1 mg. At this dose adverse effects including anxiety are minimized. Start with 0.75 mg and increase the dose gradually if needed.

Take yohimbine immediately before you wish to enter the dream state. If you are unable to sleep, then take an even lower dose (0.35-0.5 mg) combined with galantamine and choline.

Other Plant Sources

Yohimbine is the primary alkaloid in the Malaysian species Alstonia angustifolia. May also be present in the South Asian Alstonia scholaris.

It is also present in Africa in some species of snakeroot (Rauvolfia macrophylla, R. serpentina, and R. volkensii), Vinca, and Corynanthe, a plant which is related to Pausinystalia johimbe. The bark of Mitragyna stipulosa (Kratom) is drunk with palm wine, and is said to contain yohimbine type alkaloids.

Yohimbine can also be found in the South American aphrodisiac bark of white quebracho (Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco). In North America, Catharanthus lanceus is a plant which contains the chemical.

Yohimbine has also been isolated from Amsonia elliptica, Vallesia glabra, Gelsemium sempervirens, Strychnos nux-vomica, and Alchornea floribunda.

Purchase Options

The Yohimbé Tree can be propagated from seed. However, it would take a while for the tree to grow its psychoactive bark (15-20 years).

It is important to keep in mind that because harvesting the bark kills the tree, the high demand for yohimbine has made this tree endangered. Another problem is that the bark is often collected illegally by local people who are said to confuse it with P. macroceras (“false yohimbe”), a species that contains lower levels of yohimbine than P. yohimba.

Because of this and since preparations from the dried bark of even P. yohimba tend to produce mild effects, in some cases an extract (such as a tincture) or pure yohimbine (yohimbine hydrochloride) may be preferred.

yohimbine

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Alternatively, you can purchase the bark of Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco, which is not an endangered species:

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white quebracho

If you have any questions about yohimbine or regarding sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.

African Dream Herb (Entada rheedii)

Designating this plant a herb is a bit of a stretch, especially in regards to its dream-enhancing effects. The part of Entada rheedii, also known as African Dream Herb, that is a known oneirogen, is the pulp/flesh within its seeds.

With that in mind, calling it a “dream seed” would probably be more accurate.

The Entada rheedii plant is a very interesting giant climber/liana. Its seeds are massive and they are housed in pods which grow to an impressive size once they reach maturity. They can be almost as long as the height of a grown man.

Entada rheedi
Entada rheedi (pods and seeds)

The seeds too are rather large and they come with a few quirks of their own. First off, their coat is very thick and resistant. As such, they are suitable for use as jewelry and good luck charms. The coat is also difficult to break. Thus, oneironauts looking to secure the benefits of its kernel will likely have to resort to some sort of tool to get to the goodies.

Use a hammer, vise, or even a hacksaw to get past the seed coating.

The evolutionary purpose of this coat is obvious. Due to it, seeds are capable of surviving for impressive stretches of time in seawater. This way, the plant has managed to reach far-away shores, such as those of India and Australia, where it now also grows.

Interestingly, Entada rheedii has never spread to the Americas (with the exception of Jamaica).

First and utmost, Entada rheedii seeds have been used for dream enhancement. Unsurprisingly, tribal shamans have been using them for this purpose for hundreds of years.

In addition to the “gateway to the spirit world” role that African Dream Herb fulfills in tribal rituals, it has also been used as medicine. The ailments it apparently treats are jaundice, ulcers, and various muscle-related problems. Some people use it for toothaches.

Traditional Use of Entada rheedii

As mentioned, the white pulp of the Entada rheedii seeds is where the oneirogenic substances reside.

This kernel – though rather hard – can be eaten as is, or it can be dried and smoked with a combination of other herbs and plants to trigger the desired dream effects.

African Dream Herb (Entada rheedi seeds)
Entada rheedi seeds

The primary goal of tribal users is to enhance the dream world and thus to communicate with the spirits.

African natives aren’t the only ones who use Entada rheedii for ritual purposes. The same is apparently true for natives of India. In India, the seeds are consumed after being roasted and soaked in water.

In Australia, natives roast the large beans in stone ovens.

In South Africa, Entada rheedii seeds were sometimes used as substitute for coffee beans.

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Entada rheedii Effects

Like most dream enhancing compounds, the seed kernels of Entada rheedii generate more vivid dreams with cleaner imagery. Such dreams are also easier to remember.

Given these effects, it is hardly surprising that Entada rheedii seeds are apparently great for the triggering of lucid dreaming.

By what mechanism does the seed kernel produce these effects? A study into the relationship between the Entada rheedii seed kernel and the immune system has yielded interesting results in this regard.

The said study isolated two tryptophan derivatives from the pulp. It was proven that these two derivatives inhibited IDO, an enzyme involved in the kynurenine metabolism. This metabolism is in turn involved in the biosynthesis of serotonin and melatonin.

That makes it sort of obvious how Entada rheedii exerts the effects on dreams that is does. Of course, there may be other pathways through which it acts on the brain.

Saponins are also part of the Dream Herb mix and they too exert some sort of effect on dreams.

Regardless of exactly how it is prepared and consumed, it is important to remember that it may take a few days for Entada rheedii to produce any dream-wise effects.

The seed kernel is apparently a potent sleep aid as well. Of course, none of the above mentioned effects have been studied scientifically yet. Actual user reports are scarce and they are all anecdotal.

While it cannot guarantee lucid dreams, Entada rheedii has gained a reputation as a powerful dream modulator. Some say in this regard it is up to par with better known herbal solutions, such as Calea zacatechichi.

What’s more, in addition to the effects it produces on its own, the African Dream Herb will apparently enhance the dream-wise effects of other herbal supplements.

Again, all evidence in this regard as well is purely anecdotal.

How to Use Entada rheedii?

The traditional methods of preparation of the Entada rheedii seed and its kernel, are numerous and diverse. The gist of it all boils down to eating the kernel, smoking it, or making a tea out of it. Cold infusions made from the roasted seeds are also used.

To eat the kernel, simply break open the hard coating of the seeds and get to the white inner pulp/flesh. This part is fairly hard too, but you will be able to sink your teeth into it and eat it. Eating one entire seed makes sense and is quite a practical approach.

To smoke the active ingredients, you will have to get to the white kernel again. Grind and crush it up in a mortar, using a pestle, as finely as you can. When done, mix the powder with tobacco (or any other smokable herb) and roll it into a cigarette. Smoke it to achieve the desired effects.

Entada rheedii powder
Entada rheedii – ready to be smoked or orally ingested

To make a tea, the same approach is required. Get to the kernel, crush it up with a mortar and pestle, and use about one tablespoon of the resulting powder for one cup of tea. Leave the concoction to seep for about 5 minutes and you are ready to drink up!

Entada rheedii Dosage

As mentioned, when eating the seed kernel, eating a whole seed’s worth is a decent dose. For the best effects, eat the kernel about one hour before hitting the sack.

If you smoke it, about a joint’s worth of the mixture is good for one dose.

When making a tea, a tablespoon is your measure.

Entada rheedii is commercially available in several forms. Buying it as whole seeds grants you the guarantee of purity and genuineness. In that case, the mentioned dosage instructions apply. One seed will cost you around $1.

In powder form, the same dosage instructions apply. A 28g bag of powder costs around $20.

The compound is also available as capsules and various tinctures/e-liquids. In such cases, you will have to take the concentration of the extract into consideration, for proper dosage.

Prices vary wildly even within the same product category, so look around before you click that “buy” button.

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If you have any questions about Entada rheedii or regarding sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.

African Dream Root (Silene capensis/undulata)

Silene capensis, also known as African Dream Root, has been used as a dream-enhancing herbal supplement for possibly thousands of years.

It originates from South Africa, more precisely from the tribal shamans of the Xhosa people.

Locally, the plant is also known as ubulawu (together with the roots and barks of a number of other plants, creepers, and trees) or undela ziimhlophe, which translates to “white path.” This name is almost certainly a reference to its flowers, which only open at night and are apparently superb, oozing an enchanting fragrance.

For the purposes of dream enhancement, only the root of the plant is used, so it is a bit of a stretch to call it a herb in this context at all.

Traditional Use of Silene capensis

Most of the information available about the traditional use of the root comes from a couple of researchers, Jean-Francois Sobiecki and Manton Hirst. They apparently both spent actual time with the Xhosa, studying their traditions and religious rituals in detail.

Dreams occupy a central spot in Xhosa culture. They are viewed as a way for people to communicate with their predecessors. Shamans receive advice and solutions to various problems this way. Thus, dream enhancement is obviously something the Xhosa would need/appreciate.

In fact, their knowledge regarding natural dream enhancers is downright impressive. Silene capensis is just one of more than 300 herbs and plants they use for this purpose. That said, the Dream Root is a sort of centerpiece in their rituals.

With that in mind, it is quite surprising how it has thus far failed to properly permeate Western culture.

The Xhosa use the root for various rituals. One such ritual calls for abstaining from alcohol, sex, and meat for three days straight, while consuming as much dream root extract as possible. The result of such a Silene capensis binge is predictable: piles upon piles of vivid and colorful dreams, that are surprisingly easy to recall.

In addition to consuming the extract orally, during the mentioned ritual, Xhosa tribesmen use it to wash their bodies with the foamy, soapy dregs left behind following consumption.

In some Xhose traditions, the extract is used to trigger vomiting. Such rituals are about the cleansing and purging of one’s spirit.

Shamans have reportedly used Silene capensis for healing various mental disorders and for alleviating memory problems.

Silene capensis (African Dream Root)

What are the Effects of this Exceptional Root?

Outside of the research sunk into Silene capensis by the two mentioned scientists, there is a somewhat summary study available on it as well. This study draws the conclusion that the root extract is loaded with saponins. These act as acetylcholinestearase inhibitors, thus mimicking the action of better-known dream enhancing compounds such as Huperzine A and galantamine.

As far as actual effects go, you will be pleased to learn that some people have credited the root for the first lucid dreams they ever had.

It is apparently an accepted truth that African Dream Root:

  • Enhances the overall quality of dreams. Dream imagery becomes more vivid, clear, and colorful.
  • Enhances the ability to remember these dreams.
  • Expands the dream world.
  • May act as a lucidity enhancer within dreams as well.

That said, the experiences that Western users have reported regarding Silene capensis can be quite erratic and incredible. While these reports lack scientific validation, they still make an interesting starting point for research into the effects of the dream root.

Most users seem to agree that in addition to enhancing dream quality and recall, the compound also generates massive and dynamic dream journeys. The quality of reported dream imagery is exceptionally clear and crisp.

One user reported visions of crystalline lizards and spinning kaleidoscopic backgrounds. Another praised it as perhaps the most effective inducer of lucid dreaming.

Everyone seems to agree that few – if any – other psychoactive substances produce dream colors such as the ones generated by the Dream Root.

And interesting bit of information pointed out by a user is that the intense dreams seem to be the results of withdrawal symptoms, following discontinuation of Silene capensis use.

Some people apparently use the compound as a sleep aid. Whether or not it fills those shoes well is a different question. What they discovered however was that the wild dreams come about with some delay (sometimes as much as a day).

How to Use Silene capensis?

The ideal way to prepare the African Dream Root concoction would be the old-fashioned Xhosa way. Not much is known about these preparation methods however.

Thus, it is mostly up to the creativity of every user to turn Silene capensis into an edible form.

Given that the active substance in Silene capensis extract is probably in the saponins it contains, it makes sense to stir the extract to a foam and then to eat the foam.

It also makes sense to simply chew the roots as they are.

The first method of preparation is cold water infusion. For this method, the root needs to be broken up into smaller pieces. It then has to be soaked in cold water for at least a night. The resulting concoction can be stirred into a foam. Users eat this foam. Tribesmen use it to wash down their bodies in addition to eating it.

It is recommended to eat the foam on an empty stomach.

Another preparation method is to make African Dream Root tea. Simply toss the root bits into boiling water and let the concoction cool.

You may need to drink the tea/eat the foam for several days, before you notice any dream-wise effects.

Silene capensis Dosage

The dosage of the compound is a little bit of a mystery. Those who use it seem to move between extremely loose boundaries.

For chewing, a smaller root piece should probably be enough. As far as cold water infusions are concerned, users have reported putting 14g of root into a water bottle and leaving it there for a day.

When shaken, such an infusion produces plenty of foam one can then drink/eat. Similar dosages have been used for Silene capensis tea.

You can acquire African Dream Root off eBay. The root is legal all over the world, so it does not present problems in this regard.

African Dream Root (Silence capensis)
Silene capensis

Prices differ from one vendor to another, but you’ll likely be able to pick up 1g of root for about $1.

Some vendors sell 10g of what looks like dried root pieces, others sell 20g packages. 14g doses seem to be quite popular as well.

This is a Dream...

You may even run across Silene capensis tinctures. It is important to remember that tinctures should be dosed differently from roots, depending on the concentration of the active substance they contain.

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If you have any questions about African Dream Root or regarding sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.

Cannabis

Cannabis is by far the most popular psychoactive herb used worldwide. According to a UN report, some 162 million people, making up 4% of the world’s population, use cannabis at least once a year. Due to the legal stigma often associated with cannabis use, these numbers are probably negatively skewed though.

Given that sort of popularity, it is hardly surprising that the three Cannabis strains, Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis ruderalis, are known under scores of nicknames. Bud, weed, pot, Mary Jane, herb, grass, tree, and green are only some of these names.

Most of the wanted effects of Cannabis are attributed to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The plant contains scores of active constituents though, of which “only” 483 are known. As far as cannabinoids are concerned, some 84 of them are present in cannabis.

Cannabis is consumed in a variety of ways. Some people smoke it, others vape the bud, while still others simply ingest it. It delivers the expected effects regardless of the method of consumption. Though smoking or vaping weed, makes the effects come up faster and last shorter. When eating weed, it may take up to 1 hour before effects are felt.

What makes a small/large dose of cannabis?

25 mg are considered the threshold dose. Above it, up to 66 mg, the dose is a light one. From 66 mg to 100 mg, we are looking at a common dose. Strong doses span the 100-150 mg range. Anything above 150 mg is a heavy dose.

Some people have made a habit of “stretching” their bud as long as possible, by keeping their doses small. Some vapers offer a good kick out of very small doses, so that is certainly one way to make bud last.

What are the vaunted effects of cannabis?

Above and beyond effects categorized as “recreational,” cannabis may offer some real health benefits.

I wrote a complete article about the effects of cannabis on sleep. Sleepiness is usually an effect that comes about once the main effects of the herb start wearing off.  Indeed, sedation is one of its main effects. Some Cannabis strains may achieve a mildly stimulating effect even at low doses, but generally speaking, the effect is one of sedation. There’s an element of habituation involved in this sedation/stimulation duality. Thus, the first dose following a period of abstinence is likely to be more stimulating than it would normally be.

As far as dreams are concerned, cannabis suppresses them. Apparently, it suppresses the REM stage of sleep, and as long as it is actively taken, it effectively eliminates dreams. It also triggers a rebound effect however, so when consumption is discontinued, dreaming flares up at an increased intensity.

Cannabis enhances emotions. According to many, this is its most significant cognitive effect.

This is a Dream...

It has the ability to stimulate appetite. Higher doses will trigger an appetite-suppression effect though.

It suppresses nausea. It offers effective relief to the nausea resulting from chemotherapy, and it is apparently used quite frequently to that end.

The herb induces a bodily “high” which is quite inconsistent in both frequency and quality.

Cannabis decreases blood pressure. It causes muscle relaxation and some loss of motor control. Despite its anti-nausea effects, at very high doses, cannabis can be nauseating.

Pain relief is yet another potentially important medical benefit of cannabis. It is especially effective for chronic pain and certain types of headaches.

Physical euphoria may not be a medical benefit, but it is certainly one of the most sought-after effects of cannabis.

Marijuana with high CBD and low THC content has apparently been successfully used for seizure suppression.

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If you have any questions regarding cannabis or any other topic related to sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to contact me or leave a reply below.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in our body. It is produced in our liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and transported to the brain and muscles, when rapid energy deployment is needed. It basically acts as a quick reserve energy boost when we’re running low in oxygen and blood sugar.

When taken as a supplement it serves as a nootropic, supplying energy to the whole body, as well as enhancing cognition and physical performance and protecting the heart and brain.

Creatine supplementation may be especially beneficial to boost the brains of vegetarians. A study showed that 4 days of creatine consumption produced improvements in memory for vegetarians compared to those who consumed meat, while for meat-eaters, creatine was associated with poorer memory.

A light dose consists of a maximum of 5 grams of creatine, while a strong dose is anything over 10 grams. Effects may be felt 30 minutes after consumption and last for up to 36 hours. Creatine’s half-life is 3 hours.

Creatine is a mild stimulant. The state of consciousness produced by the supplement can be characterized by a relaxed wakefulness and a sense of rejuvenation accompanied by enhanced thought connectivity and organization, focus, analysis, motivation, and memory.

The main risk associated with creatine is that the supplements of some brands may contain toxic impurities, including organic contaminants and heavy metals, which is why if you are considering trying creatine, look for a product that has been tested for contaminants.

This is a Dream...

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If you have any questions regarding creatine or any other topic related to sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to contact me or leave a reply below.

Datura

Datura is a plant with psychoactive effects, which qualifies as a deliriant. Datura plants have been known to be poisonous. Despite that, it has been used throughout recorded history in the Americas, Europe, and India, for various ritual purposes and as medicine.

There are some 9 species of Datura. The plant is also known as jimsonweed, moonflowers, thorn-apple, hell’s bells, and devil’s trumpets.

The active substance is mainly contained in the flowers and seeds of the plant. The potency of the anticholinergic substances (tropane alkaloids) of the plant depends on the strain, as well as on the age of the plant and the spot where it grows.

This makes dosage a tricky affair.

Besides the aforementioned 9 strains of Datura, tropane alkaloids can be sourced from the plants Atropa Belladona and Brugmansia as well.

Given the fact that potency can differ significantly from one plant to another, even within the same strain, it is difficult to put a precise time-stamp on when the effects of Datura kick in.

The onset of these effects can come as early as 20 minutes and as late as 2 hours. Effects take about 5-12 hours to culminate. After a further 2-3 hours, most effects wear off, although side effects can linger on for 6 to 24 hours.

Eating Datura seems to yield the most impactful effects. Anecdotal reports say that a person who once ate a whole Datura tree flower, tripped for 72 hours afterwards. Ingesting the tea brewed from flowers/seeds results in similar levels of psychoactive alteration. Brewing a few dozen seeds into a several cups of tea supposedly results in decent “trips” though. Moderation is definitely key here.

Smoking seems to be the safest way to take Datura, as it delivers less of the active substance to the brain. Smoking a whole dried flower has been reported to yield major results, with headaches as a side effect. Smoking just a small part of a flower has apparently generated satisfactory results.

What are Datura‘s effects?

Given the nature of the plant, there isn’t really any science underpinning its anecdotal effects observed by users.

That said, there is quite a bit of subjective knowledge out there in this regard.

The tropane alkalioids in Datura provoke a series of rather unpleasant side effects that accompany overall stimulation.

Such effects include constipation, abnormal heart rate, dehydration, dizziness, high blood pressure, increased perspiration, muscle cramps, spasms, nausea, overwhelming physical fatigue, tactile hallucination, and the dilation of the pupils.

As if the above weren’t enough, the compound also induces painful jolts through the body, which occur with hiccup-like frequency.

Users have reported feeling that their bodies become extremely heavy. Performing any movement under such circumstances is very uncomfortable.

Urination is affected by Datura as well. On one hand, it induces the urge to urinate frequently. On the other, the actual act of urination becomes extremely difficult and unpleasant.

Hallucination is one of the most prominent effects of Datura, even in very small doses. It encompasses every sense: it affects touch, taste, smell, and vision. Users have reported very confusing and intense experiences in this regard.

Datura‘s effects on the reproductive system are just as contradictory. On one hand, it increases libido. On the other, it causes erectile dysfunction.

This is a Dream...

Given its hallucinogenic effects, it is hardly a surprise that Datura also affects dreams. It may cause more vivid dream images, but it is doubtful that it helps with dream recall. After all, it does decelerate thoughts and it disorganizes the thought process.

It also suppresses language, focus and memory.

Cognitive fatigue is another one of its effects, as is cognitive dysphoria and amnesia.

Anxiety, photophobia, and the suppression of visual acuity are all after-effects of Datura.

Adding feelings of impending doom to the above picture does not do much to further tarnish Datura‘s already sketchy reputation.

Natural Plant Sources of Tropane Alkaloids

  • Atropa belladonna
  • Brugmansia arborea
  • Brugmansia aurea
  • Brugmansia candida
  • Brugmansia sanguinea
  • Brugmansia suaveolens
  • Brugmansia versicolor
  • Datura discolor
  • Datura inoxia
  • Datura insignis
  • Datura metel
  • Datura stramonium
  • Datura wrightii

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If you have any questions regarding datura or any other topic related to sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to contact me or leave a reply below.

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Dextromethorphan (also known DXM) is the active ingredient in some OTC cough suppressant medications, such as Robitussin. Little do some people who use this medication know that it can also produce powerful dissociative effects with psychedelic properties not unlike those of ketamine and PCP, which are controlled drugs.

Dosage

Light dosages range from 75 mg to 200 mg, while a strong dosage is upwards of 400 mg.

In general, for recreational use take 2 mg of DXM for every kg body weight for a mild experience. If you’re looking for a stronger experience, multiply your body weight by 5, while for a very strong experience, multiply it by 10.

For example, I weigh 70 kilograms. I would need to take around 140 mg DXM for a mild experience, 350 mg for a medium strength experience, and 700 mg for a strong “trip.”

Eating grapefruit or drinking its juice may make the “trip” more psychedelic and with less body load. Drink around 16 oz (0.5 L) of grapefruit juice or eat an equivalent amount of grapefruit about one hour before ingesting DXM. This is especially important if you’re using dextromethorphan polistirex, an extended release form of DXM which produces a longer lasting trip that is less psychedelic, weaker, and with more pronounced physical effects.

Do not combine DXM with other drugs and medications, especially with alcohol, MAO inhibitors, painkillers, antihistamines, antidepressants, and stimulants.

Effects

It may take up to 2 hours for the effects to come up and they can last between 6-12 hours. The peak is reached 3-6 hours after consuming the drug, while the aftereffects may be experienced for up to 24 hours (or even 36 hours in the case of DXM polistirex), including appetite suppression, euphoria, and a sense of content relaxation and rejuvenation.

This is a Dream...

The state of consciousness on DXM can be characterized as a bizarre and disorienting delusional hallucinogenic state, involving internal hallucinations (but also external ones in extreme dosages), including auditory and visual hallucinations as well as synaesthesia. Déjà vu, time distortion, and confusion may also be experienced.

When a low dose is taken, the experience tends to be stimulating, while at the higher dosages, dextromethorphan produces a sedating experience. Physical euphoria may be felt along with a sense of lightness in the body to the point of not being able to exert motor control over the body.

Like MDMA, DXM may make you experience a mood lift and an increased sense of empathy and enhancement of emotion and sociability, an increased sense of humor and libido, as well as significant disinhibiton, and suppression of analysis and anxiety. Though for some people the experience is asocial and libido is decreased in higher doses.

Listening to music greatly intensifies the experience and produces strong euphoria.

While lower dosages may involve ego inflation, higher dosages may bring about ego death and other transpersonal and mystical experiences, such as an enhancement of spirituality, existential self-realization, and a sense of unity and interconnectedness. Some people report that DXM promotes self-reflection and personal growth.

Cognitively, DXM may facilitate conceptual thinking. However, in higher doses it may cause thought deceleration, cognitive fatigue, and suppression of motivation, focus, and memory (to the point of amnesia).

DXM is a dream potentiator. Some people report out-of-body experiences and a sense of merging with adjacent objects especially when using higher dosages reminiscient of Salvia divinorum trips.

Other effects of DXM may include experiences of detachment and dissociation, enhancement of creativity and immersion, and derealization, a sense that the physical world is unreal.

Experiences

Since DXM is legal, it’s easy to find many reports from people who tried it on sites such as PsychonautWiki.org and Erowid.org.

I chose to quote here a couple of experiences that I found especially interesting.

One person took 2 ounces of Robotussin Maximum Strength, containing 177 mg DXM. On this dose, he reported that music “sounded glorious! Every note seemed to reverberate through me, and it seemed to have a hidden dimension that was now revealed to me.” He also experienced a “drunken-stoned-like buzz” and a mood lift that lasted into the next morning. On a different occasion he took 705 mg of DXM. Here are some fragments from his trip report:

I now had the ability to concentrate thought enough to change my surroundings, totally fooling my senses into thinking I was somewhere I was not. I began staring at the wall across from me. I noticed how the paneling (although I didn’t know it was paneling at the time) was in the shape of a window, so I thought it must actually be a window instead of a wall. Just then, the white wall slowly faded into a blackish-blue night sky color, and I could see billions of stars out beyond the now-transformed wall. I resolved that if the only thing I could see from this window were the stars, that I must be somewhere very high up in the night sky. Then I felt as if I was seated at the top of a very tall clear-window elevator. The perception of it seemed absolutely realistic, and the entire room seemed to be equally transformed to this delusion. […] I decided to go to sleep. It felt like it had been about 2 days since I first started. When I closed my eyes, I was still hallucinating. This didn’t bother me, however — I was having a blast. Suddenly, right in the middle of some other hallucination, I noticed I was able to separate myself from my body, and was truly able to view myself from the third person.

Another person tried Robotussin maximum strength cough syrup. He drank 8 oz and reported:

What was even more interesting were the short periods of time (felt like 2 minutes each) where I would float over my own body, in the top corner of the roof and watch my body stare at the wall as my friend would try to talk to me. He would give up, then come back 10 minutes later and try again in vain.

Another person reported a near-death experience on 700 mg of DXM:

I felt an incredible rush of life escape from my body as my soul was torn from deep within my core. I knew at that euphoric state I was in that I was experiencing death. As my inner being left my body, my identity that I had assumed to be real for so long was ripped from me. I was submerged with this extreme sense of freedom as my soul finally escaped the boundaries of the physical body. Then it came. That transient moment where the universe made complete perfect sense, and I was connected spiritually to all things in life. All concept of time was lost, as the past, present, and future had morphed into one single moment of eternity. Everything opposite suddenly became parallel to each other and joined in unison. I was intoxicated with an incredible surge of overwhelming chaos and peace. I had found life in death, meaning in triviality, sensation in numbness, and an entirely different world in DXM. I had not expected a personal god, but a universal god of some sort emerged from deep within me. I sought an eternal moment, and a dying eternity unfolded before me. It was this unity between my soul and the cosmos that gave me the shocking awareness that this entire time I was a prisoner of the physical world, held captive to the boundaries of the flesh. In both losing myself and finding true existence, I lost my fear of death, as death merely became a passing moment into a higher level of existence. And I had realized all this in less than three Earth seconds. I had not been out of my body more than a few moments when a female deity, who I somehow recognized as being related to me in a past life, approached me. I was blinded with visions of deja-vu; memories of my previous lives and identities came flowing back to me in short frames and waves (though oddly enough I could not remember those lives or identities the second I snapped back to reality). She was both old and young at the same time, and she seemed to be a god of some sort with intentions of protecting me. Concerned with my well-being, she asked me what had happened to “that girl” (referring to me), and I explained that she was no longer. I had transformed into a higher being in an alternate dimension of reality, and “that girl” had merely become another lifeless body. Like all physical things in this world, she was destined to evolve into nonexistence. The deity, the guardian angel, whoever or whatever she was, instructed me to re-enter my body because my time to leave this world had not yet come. At this point, the world I had been previously living in had become so meaningless in retrospect that I did not care to go back. But trusting her character, I obliged and lay back down, whereupon she kissed the breath of life into me, and I immediately opened my eyes.

Procuring DXM

It’s not that easy to get pure dextromethorphan. If you visit your local pharmacy, you most likely will find DXM products such as capsules, lozenges, and syrups that are often mixed with other substances, such as paracetamol. You want to avoid those.

There are basically three options.

  1. You can use a product with the least harmful additive.
  2. You could extract the DXM yourself from the product.
  3. Get pure DXM.

Let’s take a closer look at these options.

DXM Additives

Dextromethorphan additives include paracetamol (acetaminophen), antihistamines, chlorpheniramine, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, and guaifenesin.

All of these additives are highly dangerous in the dosages required for the DXM to affect you. The least dangerous additive which is contained in many syrups, guaifenesin, an expectorant, may cause severe nausea, vomiting, and headaches, but it probably won’t kill you.

So if you cannot find pure DXM at your local pharmacy or don’t want to extract it yourself, your best option would be to get a syrup containing DXM and guaifenesin only as active ingredients. Though in this case, you will probably need to settle for a mild experience in order to avoid vomiting the drug.

DXM Extraction

I’m not sure that this is legal and I’m not going to get into the details of this process. The main idea is that using a relatively easy chemical process of acid-base extraction, which anyone can perform at home, it is possible to separate DXM from the additives included in commercial products.

As in the first option, a syrup containing DXM and guaifenesin is often used. Ammonia is added first as well as lighter fluid (naphtha). All the “junk” gets absorbed in the ammonia, while the DXM becomes concentrated in the naphtha. In the second step, adding lemon juice makes the dextromethorphan separate from the naphtha.

You can learn about this process which is known as “Agent Lemon” here.

There are some YouTube videos demonstrating this process, such as this:

The problem with this option is that not everyone wants to bother with going through this process, even though it’s rather simple.

Buying Pure DXM

The third and final option I’m aware of is to purchase pure DXM from chemical manufacturers. I can guide you on how to do that, so drop me a comment below if you’re interested in that. Alternatively, you could purchase a product containing just dextromethorphan as an active ingredient, such as RoboCough.

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If you have any questions regarding DXM or any other topic related to sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to contact me or leave a reply below.

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)

The generic antihistamine dimenhydrinate is available under different brand names such as Dramamine. It is used for the prevention of various forms of motion sickness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

In addition to that, it is a decent dream modulator, although – based on anecdotal evidence – the experience it generates in this regard is often less than desirable.

As far as being used as an anti-emetic, dimenhydrinate is a fairly run-of-the-mill drug. It is recommended that you take a dose 30 to 60 minutes before traveling and you should be OK.

Its side effects are where the “fun” begins. You need to be aware of these side effects if you ever decide to use it as a dream enhancer. Some of these effects might be scary.

Drowsiness is definitely not a scary side effect. Blurred vision on the other hand may onset with surprising intensity, based on anecdotal user reports. Constipation is less pleasant as well and so is the dry throat/mouth that some users have mentioned.

This is a Dream...

Please note that some dimenhydrinate users have reported breathing difficulties after the drug began to act.

Given that it is a fairly modern product of the pharmaceutical industry, it is safe to say that dimenhydrinate does not have any traditional uses.

Dimenhydrinate’s Effects on Sleep and States of Consciousness

The dimenhydrinate trips reported by some users entailed such intense hallucinations that the subjects had difficulties telling whether they were asleep and dreaming or awake and hallucinating. With that in mind, it is somewhat difficult to limit effect reports on dreams alone.

In most cases, the reported trips were triggered by massive doses of Dramamine, or other dimenhydrinate-based drugs. In at least one case, a user reported having taken 18 pills, equaling some 900mg of active substance.

At any rate, dimenhydrinate trips have been likened to temporary mental retardation and designated as “unlike anything else.”

It is unclear from user reports whether such massive doses of the compound really did help bring about lucid dreams

Apparently, to give your lucid dreaming a push, a smaller dose (4+ pills of Dramamine for instance) may be required.

With such lower doses, some users have indeed had success with lucid dreams. A lower dose induces a sort of dreamlike state of mind, akin to how wake induced lucid dreams (WILDs) begin.

From that point on, all the user needs to do is to close his/her eyes and relax. Slipping into a lucid dream is very likely at this point.

Users who have experimented with dimenhydrinate for lucid dreaming have reported outstanding results when they mixed a little bit of alcohol into the equation. If you are not an alcohol drinker, this is obviously not an acceptable path for you. It is somewhat dubious for alcohol drinkers too, to mix things up with a drug as potent as dimenhydrinate.

Another lucid dreaming-related recommendation is to not try to stay up after taking dimenhydrinate. Not only is such an exercise a tedious one, it will not stave off dreaming. It will on the other hand ruin the lucid dreaming experience.

A person who tries to stay awake with dimenhydrinate in his/her system, will slip into a dream-like state anyway. Instead of dreams however, he/she will be met with hallucinations, over which it is impossible to exert any kind of control.

The same is not true for the lucid dreams induced by the substance. Apparently, dreamers can exert perfect control over these.

Dimenhydrinate for lucid dreaming is a real option.

While the compound is not addictive (unless one gets addicted to the lucid dreams it triggers), it is possible to overdose on it, so care should be exercised in that regard.

The main danger of dimenhydrinate use seems to lie in the fact that during hallucinations and lucid dreams, it is almost impossible to discern between what is real and what is not. While this may seem like an asset in a lucid dream, during a dimenhydrinate trip, it is quite impossible to tell whether you are in a lucid dream or an elaborate hallucination.

Some people have reported acquiring superpowers within their dreams and hallucinations. They also reported being tempted to try out these superpowers within the dream, but possibly, also in real life. Such an exercise cannot end well.

Some users have even reported sleepwalking episodes while under the influence of Dramamine.

The conclusion in regards to dimenhydrinate use for lucid dreaming is: be mindful of how you use it.

The Bottom Line

  • Keep your dosage on the lower end of the spectrum. Higher doses seem to push the experience into the realm of uncontrollable and scary wakeful hallucinations.
  • Do not make an effort to stay awake. Just close your eyes, relax, and drift away.

People who have reported unpleasant trips on the substance have almost always used massive doses.

How to Use Dimenhydrinate

The substance does not require any preparation on the part of the user. It is a modern drug, which can mostly be acquired OTC at the pharmacy.

Just take the pills the same way you would if you were using them to stave of nausea before traveling. Be mindful of the fact that besides Dramamine, dimenhydrinate may be available under different brand names too, in different concentrations.

Dimenhydrinate Dosage for Lucid Dreaming

Dosage is one of the most important parts of successfully using this antihistamine for lucid dreaming. As mentioned, lucid dreaming requires lower doses.

What exactly does a low dose mean?

If you stick to Dramamine, some 4-5 pills will likely suffice. Some users may require more, based on their body weight. Obviously, there are no official recommendations in this regard.

Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)

For intense wakeful hallucinations, higher doses are apparently needed. Some people reportedly took as many as 20 Dramamine pills.

It looks like 600mg to 900mg of dimenhydrinate is enough to trigger massive hallucinations in some people. This means between 10 and 20 Dramamine pills however.

It is possible to overdose on the substance, so going overboard by this much is definitely not recommended.

Conclusion

Several scientific studies have found that hallucinogenic substances trigger experiences with a high semantic similarity to dreams. That would explain why dimenhydrinate works as well for lucid dreams as reported.

It may also explain to a certain degree why the wake induced lucid dreaming method works as well.

If you are going to use dimenhydrinate for lucid dreaming, just remember to stay on the safe side dosage-wise. This approach is walking a really fine line between heaven and hell…

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If you have any questions about dimenhydrinate or regarding sleep, dreams, and other altered states of consciousness, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.