Why More People are Choosing a 5-MeO-DMT Retreat over an Ayahuasca Retreat

Those on the journey of self-exploration with psychedelics have dozens of options available to them. When bombarded with so many choices, it can be difficult to make sense of the opportunities that come your way. For instance, when choosing between a 5-MeO-DMT retreat and an Ayahuasca retreat, how do you know whether you should take one over the other?You can ask as many people as you want, but it's also important that you do some of the research yourself. Not to mention, you should ponder your decision internally for a bit before making a choice. After all, both 5-MeO and Ayahuasca are extremely powerful, and retreats can last several days. This isn't a decision you can take lightly. Therefore, we at Tandava Retreats put together this extensive article to help facilitate your research.

5-MeO Vs. Ayahuasca: The Rundown

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you're choosing either medicine because you believe that it's right for you. Neither 5-MeO nor Ayahuasca is going to resolve all your problems by themselves. You need to do a lot of inner work to reach that breakthrough you're hoping for.We mentioned that both substances are powerful, however, 5-MeO tends to leave a much stronger impression. Both in terms of the actual experience and the lessons that you learn afterward. Both of these medicines should be consumed under the auspices of a retreat center so that the experience is safe and that you can integrate the experience properly.

What Is 5-MeO-DMT?

5-MeO-DMT is a type of psychedelic medicine that is renowned for its ability to produce a "non-dual experience" in anyone who consumes it. Past retreat-goers have described non-duality as a sort of merging with God, others describe it as ego death. We have a hard time describing the feeling ourselves, but oneness with God and the universe does seem to resonate.Of course, if we were to define 5-MeO-DMT in a scientific sense, then we can say that it's a chemical compound found in several plants and toads. It's also possible to produce the medicine synthetically.

History & Background

Indigenous cultures in South America began taking doses of 5-MeO-DMT over 3,000 years ago. Usually, the medicine came in the form of crushed seeds. The 5-MeO compound is present in over 9 different plants. Various practitioners during this era were fascinated by the medicine and continued to experiment with it up until the present day.In the 1930s, a couple of scientists caught wind of 5-MeO and successfully synthesized the medicine in a lab. As a result, the medicine became more widely available for experimentation around the world. Not to mention, 5-MeO was discovered in the Colorado River toad in recent decades which has only led to the further proliferation of the medicine.

Modern Usage

In the last decade or two, 5-MeO has entered the public consciousness and reached a level of notoriety it never had before. As a result, several governments have regulated the substance in the Western world. In countries like the United States, 5-MeO is banned outright. Given how many people have reported that 5-MeO has helped them heal their mental health issues, it's a shame that these authorities felt the need to ban it. One of the consequences of these measures is that it is extremely difficult to conduct any clinical research on 5-MeO's effectiveness in treating mental health as well as its other features.

Toad Medicine vs. Synthetic Medicine

5-MeO toad medicine comes from the venom of the Colorado River toad while synthetic 5-MeO comes from a lab. This contrast leads some people to believe that the toad medicine is far more effective. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the nature of toad medicine makes it extremely difficult to obtain accurate dosages. Moreover, extracting the venom is quite harmful to these toads and conservationists discourage the practice.Therefore, we always use synthetic medicine at our retreats. There is no difference between the experience with the synthetic compound and with toad medicine or plant medicine. The quality of the experience is the same, so it makes no sense to us to deplete natural resources in this case. Hurting toads goes against our philosophy at Tandava.

Common Benefits

5-MeO-DMT is used to encourage spiritual growth, but this is difficult to quantify. A 2019 study interviewed hundreds of people who worked with the medicine. The result was that they feel much more satisfaction from life than they did before for a year following their 5-MeO retreat. However, there are also observable improvements in mental health resulting from 5-MeO that are perhaps related.Since 5-MeO-DMT increases neuroplasticity, this makes it easier for you to heal your mental health issues and grow as a person. Neuroplasticity means that you form new pathways in your brain which can help you see new perspectives quicker.Here are some specific examples of how scientists have observed 5-MeO to alleviate mental illness.

POST-TRAUMATIC stress disorder

A 2020 study identified that 3-5 doses of 5-MeO-DMT administered over 3 days can help diminish the symptoms of PTSD. The study also noticed a diminishment of other negative mental health symptoms. However, the researchers recommend further investigation of the matter before any conclusive interpretation could be made.


According to research, 5-MeO-DMT has reduced anxiety in study participants as early as two hours following their consumption of the medicine. From this point onward, participants' anxiety becomes progressively lower and lower. This is the result of new pathways forming in your brain and the maturity that implicitly follows.


5-MeO-DMT often sparks people to defeat their demons. Therefore, we highly recommend that those who suffer from depression consider whether 5-MeO is right for them. Once again, it is difficult to get a definitive answer on whether 5-MeO works directly to reduce depression. However, much like its effect on PTSD and anxiety, 5-MeO tends to reduce depression-like symptoms, for instance, suicidal ideation.

Common Misconceptions

As with any other psychedelic medicine, a lot of naysayers underrate the healing power of 5-MeO and try to emphasize some perceived downsides. Oftentimes, these naysayers are misguided at best.For instance, detractors might say that 5-MeO-DMT is too risky. Certainly, we can't say that there is zero risk to using the medicine. However, most of the common perils associated with 5-MeO can be eliminated if you experience the medicine with a skilled facilitator alongside you. They should be familiar with first aid and other safety best practices so that they can guide you through energy blockages or other potential struggles that could come up.There are unique cases wherein a participant would be deemed unsuitable for 5-MeO. If you have a prior psychiatric condition, then we might recommend another course of treatment to replace 5-MeO. Moreover, if you have a propensity toward serotonin syndrome, then we need to exercise a degree of caution there too.

Inside a 5-MeO-DMT Retreat

A typical 5-MeO-DMT retreat should last at least a few days. Some irresponsible retreat centers turn over clients within hours. This means that you're not being taken care of properly and are likely not going to receive the full benefits of the medicine. You can do a 5-MeO retreat as part of a group or as an individual. However, since the ceremony is short, we're capable of running each 5-MeO experience individually.

The Vibe

Aside from a few daily activities such as meals and yoga, you're free to do whatever you want at our retreat center. If you want to go hiking or relax in the hot tub, that's your prerogative. Moreover, our group retreats tend to spark lifelong friendships. This comes as little surprise given that these retreats attract a bunch of like-minded folks. The bond you'll share with some of the people you meet will feel so strong - it will be as though you've known them for years.

The Ceremony

Each ceremony is tailored to the individual who partakes in it. They usually last 10-45 minutes. During the ceremony, we'll lie you down on a pad and let the medicine take its course. Our facilitators will be by your side and help you out in case of any problems. However, their role is mostly to observe and not to intervene.

What Is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca, sometimes known as DMT, is a type of plant medicine that consists of a mixture of psychoactive substances. While Ayahuasca contains DMT, there is a little more to the substance than that. Aside from the resultant hallucinatory effects of DMT, the medicine is also good for detox and purging. Shamans in the Amazon area have been working with the medicine for thousands of years. They ask all manner of existential questions while under the influence of the medicine and also use it to communicate with spirits.

History & Background

We know for a fact that Ayahuasca has been around for at least 1,000 years. However, there is a good chance that it's been around for longer. There are traces of the Ayahuasca mixture that exist in Bolivian caves that date back to around 1,000 AD.Fast-forward to the 1950s and doctors began investigating the medicine to see if it could relieve opiate addiction. There is no doubt that even back then, word must have spread about Ayahuasca's profound healing capabilities. Especially when it comes to addictions.

Modern Usage

When people refer to DMT, they are not referring to 5-MeO-DMT. Rather, they're typically referring to Ayahuasca which has received widespread recognition due to its promotion by several internet personalities.Nowadays, you'll find legions of individuals journeying to the depths of the Amazon to experience an Ayahuasca ceremony for themselves. This has led to quite a bit of business for shamans in the region, but it has also given rise to several scams. You need to use your discernment to pick the right retreat center. Otherwise, the entire experience could be quite perilous.

Common Benefits

Ayahuasca can help you heal a wide range of mental and physical illnesses. It's not a silver bullet, but just like 5-MeO, it can help you cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and even drug addiction. We would also postulate that 5-MeO or Ayahuasca could be far more effective in this regard than most pharmaceutical drugs on offer.Anecdotally, many report that Ayahuasca helped them resolve past trauma, which is a major feature of the medicine. You might experience several vivid hallucinations that will lead you to a resolution.

Common Misconceptions

For some reason, people believe that 5-MeO and DMT are the same substance. This is a common mistake, but you shouldn't confuse them. We'll go over the differences between the two medicines shortly.Another issue that people seem to have with Ayahuasca ceremonies is that they involve purging. While it's true that most people will detox during the ceremonies, it isn't so severe as to invalidate the entire experience.

Inside An Ayahuasca Retreat

An Ayahuasca retreat is serious business. Typically led by a shaman, you can find these retreats conducted wherever Ayahuasca is not explicitly banned. Moreover, most of these retreats are done in a group given the nature of the medicine.

The Ceremony

Each ayahuasca ceremony has a shaman that gives their own unique spin, there will usually be a spiritual element to it. There are a few things that are standard with every retreat though; You will begin to feel the effects around 20-60 minutes after you drink Ayahuasca.Ayahuasca ceremonies last around 4 to 6 hours. However, it's more than likely that you will lose track of time during the ceremony. You could experience a wide range of emotions ranging from terror to bliss. Of course, your experience will depend heavily on your personality, and your current stage in your spiritual growth.There is quite a bit of purging involved in Ayahuasca ceremonies including vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea.

The Difference Between 5-MeO And Ayahuasca

Now that you have a good idea of how 5-MeO and Ayahuasca retreats work, and the nature of the two medicines, let's compare their characteristics.


Ayahuasca is a beverage made of a mix of medicinal plants whereas retreat participants smoke 5-MeO. Hence, the effects of 5-MeO set in quite a bit faster than Ayahuasca which could take nearly an hour to set in.

The Length Of The Session

Once again, 5-MeO is the more "efficient" medicine in terms of time taken during the experience. Ayahuasca takes around 4 to 6 hours to process while 5-MeO averages around 10-45 minutes. That said, you won't feel time pass while under the influence of either medicine.

The Feeling Of The Experience

Many would report that 5-MeO feels more so like a surrender that immobilizes you while Ayahuasca leaves you mobile enough to explore. Indeed, the exploration is also visual as Ayahuasca is known for its hallucinations.By contrast, 5-MeO is known for the experience it provides in your mind. It feels as though you're being fed some incredible revelation and your job is simply to sit there and watch - it's a spiritual renaissance.

4 Reasons Why We Choose To Work With 5-MeO Over Ayahuasca

At Tandava, it's our opinion that 5-MeO is simply better than Ayahuasca for spiritual growth and self-discovery. The Ayahuasca journey undoubtedly has its place, but you won't get the same change in perspective on your entire life as you would with 5-MeO. We've worked with both. Here are our insights into 5-MeO's advantages.

Spiritual Breakthrough Vs. Healing Process

First and foremost, Ayahuasca retreats are part of a healing process. The purging aspect of their ceremonies helps with physical detoxes. Plus, the hallucinations can help you resolve past trauma. We must acknowledge that those two things are valuable. However, 5-MeO is simply capable of doing so much more.As we mentioned earlier, 5-MeO has an observable positive impact on neuroplasticity which allows your brain to form new pathways. Your brain can create entirely new mental patterning. Not only will that serve the same purpose as Ayahuasca in terms of resolving past trauma as you assume new perspectives, but it will also help you mature and grow as a person. Resolving past traumas is nice, but 5-MeO helps you transcend them entirely and begin finding who you truly are.Of course, we have noted the several mental illnesses that both of these medicines help with. Most of the data in these cases are anecdotal, but it also makes it hard to say that Ayahuasca has better healing properties than 5-MeO when both of these medicines exhibit healing properties.

A More Profound Experience

Simply put, a 5-MeO-DMT retreat may offer a more profound experience than Ayahuasca. As we mentioned earlier, most Ayahuasca ceremonies are conducted in groups because they take a few hours to complete. This limits the amount of personalization that retreat centers can add to their offerings. If you want an individual Ayahuasca ceremony along these lines, then you'll need to pay top dollar.

Transform Your Mental Patterning

The result of increased neuroplasticity is that you can begin eliminating mental patterns that are harmful to you in living a healthy and fulfilling life. We think that 5-MeO is far more advantageous in this regard. And since 5-MeO offers more opportunities for personalization, we can meet with you before the retreat to find out what kind of mental patterning you need to break and how best to frame the experience. This process is called developing your "container" and we're willing to adapt the 5-MeO journey to your perspective.


Non-duality is probably the greatest part of the 5-MeO retreat. Simply put, 5-MeO concentrates mostly on what you are as a spirit, unlike Ayahuasca which is far more physically involved. Purging with 5-MeO is quite rare, so if you prefer a more spiritual or even intellectual experience, 5-MeO is probably your best choice.Some of our past retreat participants have compared taking 5-MeO to the birth of their first child. One even said that it was as though he had given birth to himself. This is the type of paradigm shift that you can expect with 5-MeO. It gives you something like a fresh start but with more maturity and amazing insights into your personality.

Inside A Tandava Retreat - The Best Choice For A 5-MeO Retreat

At Tandava, we successfully run 5-MeO-DMT retreats from our center in Tepoztlan, Mexico. Our team of skilled practitioners has been working with 5-MeO and other plant medicines for decades. Moreover, they come from diverse training backgrounds that include both shamanic practices and clinical psychology.

Our Commitment To Safety

You'll notice how committed we are to safety starting from your first screening call with us. As you should be aware, certain participants could be at risk when they take 5-MeO-DMT. Consequently, you must submit a saliva swab test to ensure you don't have a propensity toward serotonin syndrome and other conditions.Don't let these tests deter you, they are for your own good. We are quite confident in saying that you are unlikely to suffer from any condition that prohibits you from participating in the retreat.Each facilitator you could work with is first-aid trained and can respond to medical issues should they arise at the center. We also have nearby medical professionals on call to help you out in more severe cases.

Preparatory Work

Our preparatory calls serve another purpose - we want to get to know you better so that we can design the right container for you. We want to understand your reasoning for participating in a 5-MeO-DMT retreat and detect any potential issues or red flags. Furthermore, we want to build trust with you so that you can make the most of your retreat experience.You should be able to relate to the experience to the best of your ability. That's why we'll try to minimize your nervousness by outlining how the experience will go down and some of the strategies you can use to incorporate the lessons from 5-MeO-DMT.

The 5-MeO Ceremony

We always start our 5-MeO ceremonies on the morning of the second day - the first day is devoted to settling in.[caption id="attachment_1655" align="alignnone" width="640"]

5-MeO-DMT ceremony room

5-MeO-DMT ceremony room[/caption]During the 10-45-minute experience, we will lie you down on a soft pad as two of our professional retreat facilitators guide you through the journey. There is not much physical work to be done here, but the facilitators will be present should things go awry. Aside from this, we will burn incense and engage in other activities to make you feel as comfortable as possible. This will help you surrender to the medicine completely.

A Wide Variety Of Activities

At our retreat center, we also offer the opportunity for more activities than the 5-MeO ceremony. You have the option of going on hikes or into the nearby town to partake in their craft market. We also try to incorporate a variety of medicines such as Kambo as well as preparation strategies such as sound healing to prime you for the 5-MeO ceremony.Our facilities are quite relaxing; we have a pool and a hot tub for your enjoyment. Plus, our chef prepares 3 healthy and delicious meals every day for our retreat-goers.

Integration And Aftercare

The integration process is essential to the 5-MeO experience. We offer 4 follow-up calls to give you the chance to raise any concerns you have. Fortunately, many of the lessons that you can learn from 5-MeO-DMT will apply long after the retreat is over. Any time something in your daily life goes wrong, you'll be able to approach it with a more relaxed demeanor.

Contact Us For More Information

Now that you've learned a bit about 5-MeO-DMT vs. Ayahuasca, you can start contacting retreat centers to get information about specific retreats. Your level of experience with psychedelic medicine doesn't matter, all that matters is your enthusiasm and openness to new ideas and experiences. Drop us a message today if you have any questions and have a look at upcoming programs to find the right 5-MeO retreat for you.