They are both functional and structural analogs, a substance that is similar but slightly differs in composition, to DMT and produces a profound psychedelic experience, but the psychedelic experience heavily varies between the two substances.
These compounds are quickly growing in popularity due to the illegality of DMT and psilocybin mushrooms in most parts of the world. 4-AcO-DMT likely acts as a prodrug of psilocin, a psychedelic compound found in psilocybin mushrooms. Our body metabolizes psilocybin into psilocin before becoming an active compound in a similar way to 4-AcO-DMT. 5-MeO-DMT acts on its own as a psychedelic tryptamine with effects only lasting up to an hour when insufflated and up to 20 minutes when smoked.
The structure of the DMT molecule can be found in almost all substances belonging to the tryptamine class of psychedelic compounds, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a core tryptamine. At least 400 species of plants and fungi contain compounds within the DMT tryptamine class. As one of the most powerful and life-changing psychedelic substances in the world, DMT is one of the most popular psychedelics next to LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. It produces short-lasting, yet strong effects when smoked that only last up to 20 minutes. When brewed with an MAOI to make an ayahuasca brew effects can last up to eight hours. Despite both 5-MeO-DMT and 4-AcO-DMT being derivatives of DMT, they act in very different ways within the body and produce vastly different effects. 4-AcO-DMT likely acts as a prodrug of psilocin, making it closer in effects to psilocybin than DMT or 5-MeO-DMT.
The most common way to make 5-AcO-DMT involves the semi-synthesis of psilocin through acetylation under alkaline or acidic conditions.
The effects of 4-AcO-DMT last up to six hours whereas 5-MeO-DMT’s effects only last for up to an hour.
They also differ in the way they are consumed. 5-MeO-DMT does not activate when ingested orally and must be either insufflated or smoked. 4-AcO-DMT can be ingested orally or insufflated, but produces toxic compounds when smoked if not in freebase form. 4-AcO-DMT is a semi-synthetic substance meaning it is produced by synthesis with naturally occurring precursors. Other names for 4-AcO-DMT include psilacetin, 4-Acetoxy-DMT, and O-Acetylpsilocin.
The most common method of production is through acetylation of psilocin when in alkaline or acidic conditions. Acetylation is a reaction that adds an acetyl functional group to a chemical compound. It produces effects similar to or even identical to psilocybin since they are both prodrugs of psilocin. However, some users speculate that 4-AcO-DMT may produce its own psychoactive effects as well.
The complete mechanism of action of 4-AcO-DMT is not completely understood at this time. However, scientists currently believe it acts as a prodrug of psilocin in the same way that psilocybin does. Dr. David Nichols even suggests it could be used as an alternative to psilocybin in pharmacological studies. Some users believe it has its own psychoactive properties as well due to them reporting slightly differing effects between 4-AcO-DMT and psilocybin. 4-AcO-DMT’s chemical structure is similar to that of DMT with an attached acetoxy group. It’s made through acetylation of psilocin under either alkaline or acidic conditions. This makes it a semisynthetic compound since the precursor, psilocin, is a natural compound. One of the aspects of 4-AcO-DMT that draws so many users to it is its general lack of nausea in comparison to psilocybin mushrooms. While some users may still experience nausea after consuming 4-AcO-DMT, it is far less likely than with psilocybin mushrooms. Some users also report less of a body load than with psilocybin mushrooms. A body load consists of the feelings of your body becoming heavier or more full and is generally uncomfortable. Other physical effects include: The cognitive effects of 4-AcO-DMT are nearly identical to those of psilocybin mushrooms due to the way both compounds act as a prodrug of psilocin.
These effects will vary based on dosage, the individual, and set and setting, but can include: Reported benefits of consuming 4-AcO-DMT are similar to those of most other psychedelics, particularly psilocybin mushrooms. One user reports it helped them with their journey quitting cigarettes and understand the beneficial aspects of alone time after consistently being in long-term relationships. Another user reports a healing experience allowing them to further accept and appreciate their own individuality.
They also realized that they had too many possessions and were too involved with negative news. This led them to live a happier more fulfilling life after the trip. After an extremely high dose one user also reports they felt the heavy trip helped them overcome a wide range of substance addictions. With the limited research available on 4-AcO-DMT, a comprehensive set of risks cannot be determined at this time. However, The largest risk of taking any psychedelics includes the potential to develop HPPD, PTSD, or psychosis. HPPD, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, involves a user experiencing hallucinations well after a trip has ended.
These hallucinations vary from minor to severe. Some individuals suffering from this disorder experience light visual snow while others experience full-blown hallucinations. A particularly difficult or negative trip can cause HPPD or PTSD. Psychosis particularly effects individuals with a history of schizophrenia or psychotic breaks. Most users never experience any of these disorders, but they can occur. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act does not list 4-AcO-DMT as a controlled substance. However, it can fall under the analogue act if its purpose is for human consumption. Australia lists 4-AcO-DMT as a schedule 9 prohibited substance under the Poisons Standard as an analog of psilocin.
The United Kingdom lists it as a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Italy and Sweden also list 4-AcO-DMT as a controlled substance. 5-MeO-DMT can be found in a wide range of plant species and has even been found in in a toad species, Sonora Desert toad.
The first synthesis of 5-MeO-DMT occurred in 1936. In 1959 it was isolated from the Anadenanthera peregrina seeds which were commonly used to create Yopo snuff. Its psychedelic effects are likely produced by it binding to serotonin receptors in the peripheral and central nervous system, primarily binding to the 5-HT2 and 5-HT1A receptors. This produces a short-lasting psychedelic experience.
The CYP2D6 enzyme metabolizes it in the liver, which also metabolizes a wide range of other psychoactive substances.
The 5-MeO-DMT molecule’s structure is a methoxylated derivative of DMT. This means it has an attached methoxy group to the DMT compound. It produces psychedelic effect by binding to various serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine, receptors, primarily the 5-HT2 and 5-HT1A receptors. Other mechanisms of action have not been confirmed, but may include the inhibition of monoamine reuptake. Effects of 5-MeO-DMT slightly vary depending on whether the user consumes it through insufflation or smoking. Generally, insufflation produces a longer-lasting, more gentle psychedelic experience. Smoking it produces a short-lasting, intense psychedelic experience. Physical effects of consuming 5-MeO-DMT generally include: 5-MeO-DMT’s cognitive effects produce a similar experience to that of pure DMT.
These effects generally include, but will vary based on dosage, the individual, and set and setting: Users who consume 5-MeO-DMT generally report similar benefits to users who consume pure DMT. One user reports their worries and fears fading away after smoking an undetermined amount of the substance. They sat on the substance for three months before trying. This could be some insight into the extent to which they worry about things to only realize it was an entirely positive experience for themselves. Another user with a similar experience goes as far as stating “it was a cleansing experience to the highest degree.” They felt after consuming 5-MeO-DMT for the second time they were reconnected with themselves allowing them to finally be the person they truly desired to become. With the limited research available on 5-MeO-DMT, a comprehensive list cannot be determined at this time. However, The largest risks of taking any psychedelics includes the potential to develop HPPD, PTSD, or psychosis. HPPD, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, involves a user experiencing hallucinations well after a trip has ended.
These hallucinations vary from minor to severe. Some individuals suffering from this disorder experience light visual snow while others experience full-blown hallucinations. A particularly difficult or negative trip can cause HPPD or PTSD. Psychosis particularly affects individuals with a history of schizophrenia or psychotic breaks. Most users never experience any of these disorders, but they can occur. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act lists 5-MeO-DMT as a Schedule I controlled substance since the start of 2011. This makes it illegal to possess, consume, and distribute for any reason. China listed 5-MeO-DMT as a controlled substance in 2015. Australia lists it as a structural analog of DMT making it a schedule 9 prohibited substance under the Poisons Standard. Sweden made it illegal to sell or possess in 2004. Turkey listed it as a controlled substance in 2013.
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