Navigating The Psychedelic Space: Insights And Practices For 5-MeO-DMT Exploration

For over 3,000 years, 5-MeO-DMT has been a powerful tool for people to tap into the mystical realm. Today, thousands of people work with 5-MeO-DMT every year in all sorts of contexts. While some opt for a more spiritual shamanic approach, others have begun working with it in a therapeutic setting as well.With a medicine as potent as 5-MeO-DMT, there are more paths than initially meet the eye. Nobody can accurately predict what kind of 5-MeO-DMT insights you might acquire during your trip. However, we can walk you through some of the insights we've gained from years of running 5-MeO-DMT retreats at Tandava. We'll share the different paths with you in this article.

Understanding 5-MeO-DMT

5-MeO-DMT, or 5-Methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine, is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is sought after for its transformative and intense psychoactive experiences.Many seek this substance to push the boundaries of their consciousness, explore deep personal introspection, or reconsider how they perceive and live their lives. Experimenters often report feelings of interconnectedness with the universe, profound insights into their own psyche, and revelations about the nature of reality.

History of 5-MeO-DMT

Tribes indigenous to South America have long been known to utilize this medicine for millennia, typically in the form of crushed seeds. However, 5-MeO-DMT didn't gain recognition among Western cultures until much later.This compound is found in numerous plants and the Sonoran Desert Toad. Interestingly, over the years, 5-MeO-DMT has also been synthesized in laboratories, making it widely accessible.

The Therapeutic Potential of 5-MeO-DMT

Every single benefit of 5-MeO-DMT can be linked back to its therapeutic efficacy and potential, ranging from mental health to spirituality.While the research in this field is still limited, early results are promising. As the US prepares to legalize select psychedelics in a therapeutic context, there is a lot of room for exploration in the years ahead.

Mental Health Benefits

Various studies suggest that 5-MeO-DMT could be a powerful tool in creating positive mental health outcome patterns related to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Previously observed antidepressant effects include a 2019 study by Davis et al at Johns Hopkins University. The study found that a majority of participants reported immediate and lasting improvements in symptoms of treatment-resistant depression following their experience with 5-MeO-DMT. Another study in 2020 showed promising rapid and sustained reductions in PTSD symptoms, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other major depressive disorder symptoms after administering 5-MeO-DMT.5-MeO-DMT acts through the activation of serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors in the brain, akin to the effects of other psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD. Since serotonin activation is associated with improved moods and overall mental well-being, it's easy to see the relation to mental health.

Spiritual Benefits

While skeptics might dismiss the spiritual significance of 5-MeO-DMT out of hand, the sheer volume of anecdotal reports is too large to ignore.5-MeO-DMT is profound and multifaceted. Due to its transcendent nature, the medicine has been widely used to facilitate mystical experiences and spiritual awakening.The ego-dissolving effect of 5-MeO-DMT often brings about a sense of unity and interconnectedness. Individuals report they lose their sense of self, dissolve the subject-object dichotomy, and perceive a sense of oneness with all beings and the universe. This profound shift in perspective can cultivate a deep sense of empathy, compassion, and love. It can also prompt people to alter their life objectives completely, and derive more life satisfaction as a consequence.Not to mention, 5-MeO-DMT is often framed within various spiritual and philosophical frameworks. In our practice at Tandava, we have adapted the medicine to a wide range of individual spiritual beliefs and practices. Hence, this adaptability only heightens the potential for personal growth, self-discovery, and spiritual exploration.

12 Insights Into 5-MeO-DMT You Should Know Before You Start

Let's go over the things about 5-MeO-DMT that make it unique, and why it's important for you.

Unparalleled Potency

Sometimes, the effects of 5-MeO-DMT can be so profound that they are often likened to a near-death experience. Subjective experiences induced by 5-MeO-DMT often involve a perceived transcendence of the self, time, and space, which can lead to deep, transformative personal insights.

Intellectual Journey

While some psychedelics are known to produce vivid hallucinations or heightened sensory experiences, 5-MeO-DMT is more focused on the inward journey. The experience is primarily introspective, often leading psychonauts through a range of deep emotions, sensations, and thoughts. The medicine can foster significant shifts in the understanding of the self, relationships, and the broader world. This capacity for catalyzing introspection and self-reflection is what sparked interest in its therapeutic potential.

Short, Intense Experience

Even if it is intense, the duration of a typical 5-MeO-DMT experience ranges from 10 to 45 minutes. However, your usual perception of time may dissolve during the trip, with minutes feeling like hours or even an eternity. This time distortion only adds to the intensity of the medicine.

Feelings of Unity and Interconnectedness

We've already discussed this trait of 5-MeO-DMT a lot.Of course, everyone is different. But there is one experience that we heard of that rings true with a lot of people. To put it succinctly: taking 5-MeO-DMT was like giving birth to oneself.That's where the potential lies. 5-MeO-DMT could fundamentally change an individual's perspective on themselves, others, and the world.

Serotonin Activation

5-MeO-DMT's psychedelic effects are largely due to its activation of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, social behavior, appetite, sleep, memory, and sexual desire.By activating these receptors, 5-MeO-DMT can enhance mood and promote a sense of well-being. This is linked to the psychedelic and consciousness research we cited earlier.

Changes in Neural Mechanisms and Activity

5-MeO-DMT has been shown to significantly alter brain activity. These alterations can increase the connectivity between various regions of the brain that normally do not communicate with each other.By increasing this connectivity, new ways of thinking can reveal themselves, plus an enhanced creativity, and a heightened sense of empathy. It's believed that this can contribute to the profound shifts in perspective and behavior often reported following work with 5-MeO-DMT.


The legal status of 5-MeO-DMT varies widely across countries. In some jurisdictions, it is classified as a controlled substance and its use, possession, or sale is illegal. In others, it may be legal, or legal loopholes may exist that allow for its use in certain contexts, such as in religious or therapeutic settings.As a result, this uneven legal landscape can inhibit research into the compound's potential benefits and risks on healthy volunteers. More human clinical trials testing is welcome, but difficult to obtain. However, it also creates opportunities for psychedelic retreats in certain jurisdictions, like Mexico.

Deep Emotional Experiences

5-MeO-DMT can often lead to profound emotional experiences. These can include reliving past traumas or confronting deep-seated emotional issues. While these experiences can be challenging in the moment, they often lead to a release of emotional tension and a potential resolution of psychological issues. This process of revisiting and healing past traumas is part of what makes 5-MeO-DMT a potential tool for psychotherapeutic purposes.

Integration is Key

The experience of 5-MeO-DMT itself is only a part of a larger process. Integration is the post-experience phase where the insights and changes from the experience are incorporated into everyday life.Without proper integration, the potential benefits of the experience may not fully manifest and can even lead to confusion or distress. The process of integration often involves reflection, meditation, journaling, and sometimes therapeutic support. It allows the individual to understand and apply the insights gained during their psychedelic journey into their daily life.

Supervision is Critical

Due to the intensity and potential risks associated with the 5-MeO-DMT experience, it must be undertaken with the supervision of an experienced guide or facilitator. This guide should ideally have extensive knowledge of psychedelic substances and their effects, as well as experience in facilitating such sessions. Their role is to provide a safe and supportive space, helping the individual navigate the journey, manage any challenges or fears that may arise, and assist in processing the experience afterward.Ideal SettingThe setting for a 5-MeO-DMT experience plays a significant role in shaping the journey. A calm, supportive, and safe environment, often provided at retreat settings, allows the individual to fully focus on their internal experience without worry or distraction.Such settings often include nature or peaceful, comfortable spaces, providing a sense of safety and serenity that can help guide the journey in a positive direction. In these environments, the individual can surrender fully to the experience, knowing they are in a safe space and under professional supervision.

Preparing For Your 5-MeO-DMT Journey

As you prepare for a potentially life-changing journey with 5-MeO-DMT, there are several important factors to keep in mind. This process is not simply about showing up at a retreat; it's about preparing your mind and body for the experience to maximize its potential benefits.

Your Intentions

Consider why you are seeking this experience. Are you looking for healing? Seeking personal growth or understanding? Curious about the nature of consciousness or reality? Whatever your reasons, articulate them clearly to yourself. Remember, these intentions should not be rigid expectations, but rather guiding stars that can help shape your journey.Keep in mind, the experience may not necessarily align with your initial intentions. 5-MeO-DMT has a way of showing what you need to see, not necessarily what you want to see. Be open and accepting of whatever the journey presents.

Health Considerations

Before you embark on a 5-MeO-DMT journey, it's crucial to consider your physical and mental health. The intensity of the experience can be physically demanding, and it's important to be in good health before you begin. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart or respiratory issues, consult with a healthcare professional before working with 5-MeO-DMT. We usually consult with clients ahead of time to make sure that they are suitable candidates for 5-MeO-DMT.In terms of mental health, 5-MeO-DMT can bring deep-seated traumas and anxieties to the surface. Those with a history of severe mental health conditions, including psychosis or schizophrenia, should approach the substance with caution, if at all, and always under professional supervision.Additionally, preparation can involve abstaining from certain substances and medications in the days or weeks leading up to the journey, to ensure no adverse interactions occur. Many retreats, including ours, provide detailed guidelines on this.

Risks To Look Out For With 5-MeO-DMT

Here are some risks that retreat centers and health professionals will 5-MeO-DMT candidates for.

Serotonin Syndrome and Substance Interactions

When 5-MeO-DMT is combined with other substances, Serotonin syndrome can occur. Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an excess of serotonin, a chemical your neurons produce. Symptoms can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever, and seizures).In particular, combining 5-MeO-DMT with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as harmaline or harmine can be dangerous. Occasionally, these substances are used to enhance the effects of 5-MeO-DMT. However, this combination could lead to an unintentional overdose, raising the risk of serotonin syndrome.

Physiological Effects: Hypothermia and Hyperthermia

Animal studies have highlighted other potential risks associated with 5-MeO-DMT. In rats, the compound was shown to induce hypothermia at low doses and hyperthermia at high doses. Usually, a responsible retreat center will conduct 5-MeO-DMT ceremonies in a place where they can easily regulate body temperature.

The Nature Of The 5-MeO-DMT Trip

So, what does 5-MeO-DMT feel like exactly? It will feel somewhat different for everyone, but this is our best attempt at outlining the acute psychedelic experience.As you take your first inhale of 5-MeO-DMT, you may immediately start to visualize an array of geometric patterns and light fractals. As you lay comfortably on a pad, perhaps under the gentle guidance of a retreat facilitator, you may witness a blindingly bright white light appear before your eyes.From that moment on, you might feel physically disoriented, as if your body is beyond your control. It's important to surrender to this experience gently. It's completely normal to feel a sense of anxiety but remember, your facilitators will be there to reassure you that this journey is temporary and will guide you through any difficult phases.Although you may observe an array of colours and shapes, 5-MeO-DMT is not a highly visual psychedelic like Ayahuasca or LSD. Instead, it presents a sequence of emotions and concepts that manifest themselves in your mind and body. Moreover, the feelings might be linked to the uncomfortable aspects of your psyche, shining a light on your ego, core motivations, prejudices, limiting beliefs, and a range of emotions.At a certain point during your journey, your emotions might reach a peak or crescendo. This is the moment when you might feel a merging with the infinite, a sense of unity with the universe, and the ego death that 5-MeO-DMT is known for. For a brief moment, it may seem as though you exist entirely outside the limits of time and space.As this moment approaches, you may feel your anxieties and fears swirling inside your mind, attempting to control them. Eventually, you may release these negative emotions in a massive wave, purging them from your system. You may experience your body vibrating with intense energy as this cathartic release occurs.In the wake of this catharsis, you might realize that these fears and negative emotions are not inherently a part of you. Instead, they are internal creations that have been inhibiting your full potential. This realization is often accompanied by a sensory transition from darkness to intense light as your consciousness merges with the universe for a brief moment.As you descend from this peak, you may feel an incredible sense of clarity. Your life goals, and the things you hold dearest, might become evident. At this point, you might

Integrating The Experience Post-journey

Integration is a deeply personal process, fundamentally about internalizing the insights from your 5-MeO-DMT journey and using them to instigate meaningful change in your day-to-day life. It's not just about understanding the revelations from your trip, but about taking active steps to incorporate these realizations into your reality. This is when the true healing and transformation take place.

Common Integration Practices

Integration practices can vary widely, depending on the insights and realizations from your 5-MeO-DMT journey. Here are some common practices that might assist you in deriving personal meaning from the medicine. You can blend these approaches as you see fit.


Writing about your experience can help you process it and remember important details. You can write about your emotions, thoughts, and feelings before, during, and after your journey. This practice can aid in revealing patterns and highlighting the areas that need attention

Meditation and Mindfulness

These practices can help you stay grounded and focused, aiding in the process of bringing your newfound understanding into your daily life. They can also help you connect with your inner self and maintain a sense of peace and balance.

Therapy and Counseling

Working with a therapist or counselor who understands psychedelics can be beneficial. They can provide a safe space to discuss your experience and insights and offer guidance on how to implement changes.You can also have less formal discussions with people close to you. At Tandava, we include 4 post-retreat integration sessions on Zoom where you can discuss your thoughts and feelings in a safe space.

Joining a Community

Connecting with others who have had similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and understanding. Psychedelic integration circles, online forums, or retreat groups can offer support and a space to share your experiences and learn from others.

Artistic Expression

Creating art, music, or dance can be a powerful way to express your experience and insights. Artistic activities can often communicate feelings and thoughts that words cannot.

6 Reasons Why A Retreat Is The Best Way To Experience 5-MeO-DMT

Choosing to experience 5-MeO-DMT within a retreat setting has several distinct advantages that can greatly enhance the quality, safety, and long-term benefits of your journey.A retreat provides a safe, supportive, and enriching environment for experiencing 5-MeO-DMT. The professional guidance, integration support, and community that a retreat offers can significantly enhance the overall journey and its long-term benefits.

Safety and Supervision

One of the primary advantages of a retreat is the presence of experienced guides and facilitators. 5-MeO-DMT is an incredibly potent psychedelic, and navigating the experience can be intense and even overwhelming. Having a trained and experienced facilitator present can provide emotional support, monitor your physical well-being, and help guide you through any challenging parts of the experience.

A Relaxed Setting

A retreat provides a calm, supportive, and controlled environment, free from distractions or potential disturbances. This allows you to focus completely on your journey and the insights it provides. This can play a significant role in determining the outcome of a psychedelic journey.

Integration Support

Many retreats offer post-experience integration support. This could be in the form of group discussions, one-on-one counselling, or other therapeutic activities that help process the experience. As integration is key to realizing the long-term benefits of 5-MeO-DMT, having professional guidance during this stage can be invaluable.


Participating in a retreat often means joining a community of individuals who are undergoing similar experiences. This shared experience can foster a sense of connection and mutual understanding that's difficult to achieve elsewhere. Such a community can provide support and companionship, during the retreat and often long after it has ended.

Professional Guidance

Retreats are often led by professionals with deep knowledge of 5-MeO-DMT, its effects, and its therapeutic potential. They can provide advice tailored to your personal situation and help you prepare for the experience, enhancing its potential benefits and reducing potential risks.

Complementary Practices

Many retreats also incorporate complementary practices like yoga, meditation, breathwork, and nature immersion. These practices can enhance the psychedelic experience, making it more profound and beneficial, in addition to enhancing integration afterward.

Ask Tandava Anything

Want to learn more about 5-MeO-DMT? We have the knowledge you're looking for. We host 5-MeO-DMT retreats every month at our facility in Mexico. The expertise we have acquired from our work with 5-MeO-DMT can help inform your own journey.Note that when you contact us, there is no initial commitment. In fact, to be eligible for a retreat, we would need to vet you due to the risks associated with 5-MeO-DMT mentioned in this article.