5-MeO-DMT vs. DMT: Learn The Differences

When you enter the world of psychedelics, like in any other domain, making distinctions can be challenging. It's easy for someone unfamiliar with psychedelics to confuse 5-MeO-DMT for DMT. Especially since both medicines are touted for their potential to create life-changing experiences for those that work with them.As chemical compounds, 5-MeO-DMT and DMT are related. In fact, 5-MeO-DMT is considered related in a chemical sense. They are not related, however, in any biological sense. You can be forgiven for not realizing the difference since confusion about the origin of these two medicines proliferates widely.These two medicines possess little else in common. While both are of interest to those pursuing a path of growth and enlightenment, the physical experience differs. Moreover, not everyone is compatible with both medicines and might choose one over the other to serve their needs. This article from Tandava will help you understand which medicine is the best fit for you.

What Is 5-MeO-DMT?

5-MeO-DMT is a medicine capable of producing experiences of great spiritual intensity. The medicine often enables you to reach an altered state of consciousness and as such, it is coveted for the insights it can offer.While most psychedelics are sought out for the powerful revelations they often entail, 5-MeO-DMT is a little unique. The psychedelic experience with this medicine is a lot more mental than physical. Not to mention, the intensity of the experience far surpasses that of any other psychedelic, according to anecdotal reports.

The 5-meo-dmt Experience

Unlike most psychedelics, your 5-MeO-DMT trip is sure to last less than an hour. That won't diminish your perception of the trip though. You'll likely lose all sense of time during a 5-MeO-DMT ceremony.The medicine is almost always smoked, this is what makes it so fast-acting. Minutes after your inhalation of 5-MeO-DMT, you will have likely entered an entirely different world. One that is replete with geometric visions and flashing lights. However, as we noted earlier, it is not the visions that will take center stage.Rather, you might feel as though you are resisting something, some call it a force, others call it God or the universe. Either way, it appears that joining this force will require you to sacrifice yourself, or your ego. This is the epitome of the 5-MeO-DMT experience, and the revelations that might follow your decision are what make this medicine so valuable.


5-MeO-DMT began its history in South America, where it has been found present in 9 different plants. Back then, experimenters typically crushed the seeds and smoked or chewed on them to receive the benefits of the medicine.Since then, 5-MeO-DMT's consumption has evolved quite a bit. In 1936, two Japanese scientists successfully synthesized 5-MeO-DMT in a lab, allowing it to proliferate at a rate far faster than it did before. This helped usher in a golden age for the medicine in later decades.So far, we haven't mentioned anything about 5-MeO-DMT and toad venom. Indeed, it seems that these days 5-MeO-DMT is usually linked to the Sonoran Desert toad. However, this is far from the only source of 5-MeO-DMT, and given that the extraction of venom harms the toads, we strongly discourage the practice and prioritize more sustainable methods of gathering 5-MeO-DMT. Especially when you consider that the quality of your 5-MeO-DMT trip is not affected by the source of the medicine. Plus, it's quite helpful that synthetic 5-MeO-DMT is easier to administer in regimented doses than any other format.

What Is DMT?

DMT is the name of a chemical compound, but many plant medicines, Ayahuasca being the notable one, take the name DMT in common parlance. In reality, DMT is only one ingredient of Ayahuasca and other mixtures such as Changa.Given its notoriety, DMT is often the first medicine that comes to mind when people think of psychedelics. There are a fair number of celebrities that are quite outspoken about their DMT experience. You'll note that they often mention their experience having taken place somewhere like Central or South America. Most times, you are accompanied during these ceremonies by a shaman, who employs their own knowledge of DMT to help make the experience as fulfilling for the group of psychonauts as possible.

the dmt experience

DMT is often consumed as part of the beverage known as Ayahuasca. It takes around 20 to 60 minutes for you to begin feeling the effects, after which point, they last about 4 to 6 hours. On the other hand, you could smoke DMT and receive the effects instantly as the experience will typically last around 5 to 10 minutes.The nature of Ayahuasca means that you will usually wind up working with it in a group setting rather than a one-on-one setting with a shaman. For some people, this is all right. But many find that the experience of others will distract from their own. Everyone experiences the medicine differently, and some will be quite loud and rambunctious during their experience. Not to mention, there will be varying degrees of consciousness that you will cycle through during your trip, you might be more sensitive to the movements and noises of others at times. Keep in mind that DMT is often associated with purging, but this is not by any means an essential part of the trip.Given its visual character, the Ayahuasca experience is notable for its habit of showing you a scene from your life that you need to see. For instance, those who suffer from addiction or mental illness might relive some trauma with Ayahuasca, but this might be exactly what they needed to see to solve their predicament. Ayahuasca is an incredibly popular medicine for facilitating detoxes.


Experimentation with Ayahuasca has a long lineage that dates back at least 1000 years. In pre-colonial South America, there is some evidence that this tradition dates back far longer.However, until the 20th century, the plant medicine was largely unknown to Western scientists. Two events marked the so-called "discovery" of DMT. Firstly, Richard Manske was able to isolate and synthesize the compound independently. Then, in the 1950s, Hungarian scientist Stephen Szara began administering DMT to human volunteers and noted the strong hallucinatory effects of the medicine. As a result, DMT increased its reputation in the psychedelic community and further research followed.With all this being said, it seems that jurisdictions around the world have little appreciation for 5-MeO-DMT or DMT. As their popularity increased, governments began cracking down. Since 2012, both have been classified as Schedule I substances in the United States.

What 5-MeO-DMT And DMT Have In Common

Both 5-MeO-DMT and DMT have some traits that we have yet to discuss. Here are the commonalities that you won't miss out on no matter which medicine you decide to choose.

They Can Both Come From Natural And Synthetic Sources

As we mentioned earlier, both 5-MeO-DMT and DMT got their start as plant medicines. They were not concocted and invented in a laboratory. Rather, the fact that we know their chemical structure has made it possible for scientists to synthesize them after the fact. DMT is mostly found in plants, while 5-MeO-DMT comes from both plant and toad sources.

Intense Psychedelic Experiences

Of course, both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are extremely intense. While the experiences themselves might be different in nature, both psychoactive drugs significantly alter your normal state of consciousness. You will often hear terms like "mystical experience", "otherworldly" or "ego death" thrown around in both cases. Though each descriptor is tied to one's individual perceptions.


5-MeO-DMT and DMT have been an important part of traditional ceremonies for shamans across indigenous cultures in Central and South America for several centuries. In some cases, the medicines were used for healing, and in others, they were purely implemented for experimentation.

Acts On Serotonin Receptors

Both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT can activate the 5HT1A and 5HT2A receptors in your brain. An important component of this is the 1A receptor, which is typically the receptor that SSRIs and other depression medications target. The nature of these medicines is very different from SSRIs, but it's easy to see why both types of medicine can be used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and so on.

Regulatory Obstacles

Since both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been identified by the American administration for prohibitive legislation, that makes it difficult for individuals to experiment with these medicines. However, as psychedelic research has demonstrated that these medicines can be quite useful in a therapeutic context, the chances that these medicines are deregulated have increased.

Integration Is Required

Since both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT produce such intense and often insightful trips, it is highly recommended that you engage in integration work following your experience. Simply put, you won't be able to fully apply the lessons that you learn from the medicine to your daily life without stopping for a moment and considering them.Integration is often done with the assistance of a psychedelic retreat facilitator or a therapist. They'll use their experience to guide you through the hurdles of integration. Moreover, they can help you prepare sufficiently for the experience beforehand, which will make integration much easier.

Physical Effects

While DMT tends to be a much more physically involved experience than 5-MeO-DMT, both will still affect your heart rate and blood pressure. For this reason, it is also necessary that you do your due diligence regarding the medicines ahead of time so you know that it is right for you and your specific health situation.

Popular For Spiritual Exploration

Both medicines have been tied to spiritual exploration. Even if they don't produce the exact same effects, the spiritual component of each medicine is undeniable. As shamans and psychonauts alike praise these medicines, it's clear that some spiritual component exists for some people. Especially when you consider the sentiments of interconnectedness that result after a trip.

Positive Mental Health Outcomes

Recent studies have shown that both psychedelics, along with high-dose psilocybin, have been instrumental in helping individuals overcome their mental health difficulties. For instance, a John Hopkins study recently revealed that around 80% of participants who had tried 5-MeO-DMT saw a reduction in symptoms of treatment-resistant depression for several months after their experience. Other studies have followed up on these findings with their own similar conclusions.

Assistance From A Facilitator

We've already mentioned it quite a bit, but it's important to drive the point home. If you want to make the most of your 5-MeO-DMT or DMT experience, you need integration and preparation. Facilitators can provide both of those things in a professional manner. They have a lot of experience working with people like you and will be able to tailor your experience to your values and needs.Not to mention, both types of psychedelic trips require a high degree of supervision too. You will be in a fairly vulnerable state during the trip, so having someone to guide you through energy blockages or any physical complications is a must. This is why we typically recommend working with psychedelics in a retreat environment rather than

Where 5-MeO-DMT And DMT Differ

Naturally, these two medicines do diverge quite a bit. Knowing the differences as follows will help you make a choice between the two.

The Degree Of Potency

So it's true, we noted that 5-MeO-DMT and DMT are both extremely intense experiences. That said, most who have tried both would say that the intensity from 5-MeO-DMT is far greater. Just look at the average dose for the two: 5-MeO-DMT has a threshold dose of 1-3mg while DMT is between 10 and 20.

5-MeO-DMT Is Faster-Acting

Since 5-MeO-DMT is usually smoked, and not imbibed like Ayahuasca, it's clear that 5-MeO-DMT will be the faster-acting option. Furthermore, the effects of 5-MeO-DMT only last around 30 to 45 minutes, which makes the logistics of enjoying a 5-MeO-DMT trip a lot simpler than with a DMT trip which can last 4 to 6 hours.As a result, it's common for a DMT experience to be done in a group, while 5-MeO-DMT ceremonies are easy to conduct individually. It's just the nature of things.

Caution Required

Both 5-MeO-DMT and DMT have a history of adverse effects. However, with proper screening done by experienced facilitators, the likelihood of an incident occurring is greatly reduced. Ensure that you conduct your experience with a retreat center that handles things in a responsible manner.Generally speaking though, 5-MeO-DMT implicates taking a few extra precautions. Given that the experience is more intense than DMT, more complications could potentially arise. It's best to nip these in the bud ahead of time with proper vetting.

DMT Is More Visual

5-MeO-DMT isn't really a brilliant visual experience, replete with colors and lights, but DMT is. 5-MeO-DMT tends to concentrate more so on the mental side of things instead. Bodily sensations and feelings are what make the experience so brilliant. Many describe the feeling of energy coursing through their body during their experience. Add to that the sensations of unified consciousness and non-duality, and you have a trip that is wholly different from DMT. Consciousness research seems to confirm this.

Which One Is Better For You?

We've compiled some questions you should ask yourself when making the choice between 5-MeO-DMT and DMT. Of course, you should understand that these two medicines are not mutually exclusive. But to make the most of your experience with each of them, you should strongly consider spacing your experiences out by months, rather than working with the two medicines within weeks of each other.The realizations that you could get after working with one medicine can make working with another an extremely tempting proposition. Be disciplined and do the proper integration work with 5-MeO-DMT first, don't waste the experience.

Consider Your Motives

Why is it that you want to work with 5-MeO-DMT or DMT? Assessing the reasoning behind your decision will help you make the best choice between the two. If you're looking to resolve some past trauma, then perhaps DMT is the best route, but 5-MeO-DMT could work equally well. On the other hand, while 5-MeO-DMT helps deal with addictions, DMT is far more reputable for its detoxification abilities.If you're intrigued by the stories you've heard about rebirth and spiritual renaissance that 5-MeO-DMT can potentially offer, then of course, it is likely the best fit for you. We find that 5-MeO-DMT is something that penetrates your personality deeper, so if you're looking for great spiritual meaning, then look no further.

Sharing The Experience

Are you willing to take a 5-MeO-DMT or a DMT retreat with a bunch of strangers? For some people, this can be quite fulfilling. After all, 5-MeO-DMT helps promote a feeling of connectedness with the universe. That said, the actual ceremony is tough to do in a group, for reasons we noted earlier. Most DMT retreats are done in a group setting unless you pay extra to get time with a shaman one-on-one.

Mental Preparation

Before your DMT or 5-MeO-DMT experience, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Don't think that you can just jump in without getting properly screened and vetted first. Plus, you'll want to be prepared for the physical toll that DMT can take and the psychological toll often associated with 5-MeO-DMT.

Post-Retreat Integration

If you want to extract the fullest advantages of either medicine, it's best that you take a psychedelic retreat that offers integration services after the retreat is over. So how much time do you have to invest in this experience? How hard are you willing to work to ensure you make the most of it? Once again, 5-MeO-DMT is usually more rewarding but it could also be more demanding.

The Ideal 5-MeO-DMT And DMT Candidate

Regardless of their differences, both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are medicines that can be used for treating mental illness, major depressive disorder, and many other ailments. Your choice between them depends on which types of experiences you are open to.Frankly, we would say that you can't go wrong with one or the other, so long as you have realistic expectations about what both medicines entail. Plus, you should realize that not every facet of your experience is predictable. Go into either experience with an open mind.There is no clear-cut answer to the question of what makes an ideal candidate. Generally speaking, DMT tends to be valued by people who are facing addiction issues. Meanwhile, 5-MeO-DMT has shown great therapeutic potential as evidence points to it being an effective treatment for all sorts of mental health conditions, perhaps more so than DMT.In either case, more clinical trials are required if we're to isolate the exact scope of what each medicine offers, and who can benefit the most from them. That will only come with further legislation that liberalizes the use of 5-MeO-DMT and DMT in a clinical setting.

Ask Us Anything!

If you're considering trying one of these two enlightening psychedelics, you have a major decision on your hands. And one you shouldn't take lightly. It's best to continue your research by talking with someone with first-hand experience in the field.For any 5-MeO-DMT-related information, we at Tandava are happy to provide you with advice and assistance. We've been running 5-MeO-DMT retreats for years, and we have detailed first-hand knowledge of how 5-MeO-DMT works and how different people experience it. Reach out to us below!