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Bit Off More Than I Could Chew
Huasca Combo (B. caapi & Mimosa tenuiflora)
by Brian
Citation:   Brian. "Bit Off More Than I Could Chew: An Experience with Huasca Combo (B. caapi & Mimosa tenuiflora) (exp115914)". Erowid.org. Dec 24, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115914

 
DOSE:
T+ 0:00
25 g oral Banisteriopsis caapi (tea)
  T+ 0:15 1.5 g oral Mimosa tenuiflora (rootbark)

BODY WEIGHT: 160 lb


Important Lessons on Dosing MHRB

Prelude

Over the past year I've gone down the rabbit hole of exploring psychedelic drugs. I had plenty previous experience with cannabis and cocaine, plus some use of ketamine and MDMA, but of course psychedelics are a different ballgame. I thought I was giving myself a threshold dose of ayahuasca based on what I read online. Spoiler alert: it was a large dose. I estimate I got 2-4 times as much as I bargained for. I'll start by explaining where I was coming from and the lessons for people looking for dosing info, then I'll get to the gnarly trip report.

I made the decision to make ayahuasca and test it on myself while alone in my apartment. I realize that this is not conventional in the ayahuasca community, so I want to explain where I'm coming from. I realize that this will sound overly confident to some, but I do believe I was coming to this with respect and good intentions. I hope that this report helps people with similar desires to use this more effectively their first time.

Of the psychedelics I found ayahuasca to be the most mysterious and interesting, and I felt very called to try it. While I respect people's decisions to go to churches and retreats and experience it in a shamanic setting, I wanted to learn to use it myself. I think there are multiple layers of what these drugs can be and everyone comes to them from a different place in life. I believe that the shamanic setting is one special way to do this drug with guidance while also imbuing the trip with the ideals of the shamanic reality. That's super cool, but claiming that this is the *only* way to do this sounds like drug elitism to me, and telling people that they can only have these experiences facilitated by a specific type of expert takes people's own agency away from their decisions and experiences. I know people have good intentions, but I believe that this is a misguided approach held over from our war on drugs brainwashing. I hope for a future in which people are informed and empowered to have these experiences however they choose to, whether that be in the Peruvian jungle, a medical setting, or at home with trusted friends.

It's not so simple though. An unfortunate consequence of this culture is there is not much reliable information on all the different ways you can make ayahuasca - hence why I feel it is important to share this report. Most of the summaries online report the dose in cups of something made by someone else, and a lot of homemade recipes online are inconsistent. It is very hard to tell how much harmala and DMT people are actually getting. I know this - I read probably a hundred trip reports preparing for this. I felt qualified to try and experiment myself. Without saying exactly what I do, I have experience researching new drugs and have training in dosing a wide variety of drugs to people. The pharmacology of ayahuasca, with an the combination of short acting MAOIs and DMT, is incredibly interesting, with the DMT dose controlling the intensity and the MAOI dose controlling the length. I was on a mission, so I acquired materials and got to business.

The lessons

I chose to get B. Caapi vine for the harmala alkaloids, and mimosa hostilis root bark (MHRB) for the DMT. I got them from a popular vendor in the US. I chose MHRB because it is much more potent than p. viridis, and I learned that you can dose it simply by eating a small amount rather than taking a day to extract DMT from a large bundle of leaves. I thought that this would give me more control over dosing. I made tea with the Caapi vine only, which was easy and almost pleasant to drink. I just ate the MHRB directly.

The few recipes I found using MHRB used anywhere from 1 to 10 grams, with some people eating it directly and some brewing it into tea. Most used 4 to 6 grams, but I also read one note not to use more than 3 grams. I really thought that by using 25% of the most common dose of 6 grams I would have a mild experience. To put more numbers on this, I was going for 15 mg of DMT, but I think it was higher, and it also hit me very fast, which probably boosted the peak plasma concentration.

Lesson 1, learned the hard way: when eating it start with 0.5 grams. I took about 1.5 grams and got blasted into another universe and completely lost my ego. I wish I had worked up to that.

Lesson 2, learned from the day's one success: low dose of caapi vine (25 grams) kept the experience nicely short, with a peak of less than an hour and a few minutes of incredible intensity.

Lesson 3: having a sitter when experimenting with this. I often prefer to be high alone, but there's just too much chemistry going on with ayahuasca. I was safe throughout, but had it been longer or more intense I think I could have really freaked out. I think a nice setup for at home ayahuasca experiences would be to have a group of people, keep the vine dose low to keep it short, and take turns.

Set, setting, and harm reduction

Although I've dealt with some anxiety and depression in my life I consider myself to be in stable place mentally. I've spent a lot of time learning meditation, breath work, and mindfulness. I'm fairly experienced at guiding heavy cannabis experiences to positive places. I feel comfortable and safe in my apartment, and I set up a little ceremony space to try ayahuasca, with plants, pillows, nice lighting, and music. I was a little nervous about trying, but I felt pretty calm. I also had an intention set. My wife was at work down the street but knew my plans and could come home if needed. I also had a friend, V, who is experienced with psychedelics on speed dial to call. This "everything but a sitter" approach could have been fine with a lower dose, but I should have had someone present, especially since it was the first time.
This "everything but a sitter" approach could have been fine with a lower dose, but I should have had someone present, especially since it was the first time.


Preparation

Earlier that morning I had brewed up a tea of the caapi vine using water and lemon juice (3 gentle boils in about 6 ounces of water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 20-30 minutes each), and then I combined and boiled the filtered tea down to about 4 ounces. I actually just shredded the MHRB and mixed it in with a smoothie that my wife had made me that morning before leaving for work, and I took that 15 minutes after drinking the tea. The tea tasted a bit weird, probably from all the lemon juice, but it wasn't that bad. The bark was extremely bitter, a clue about the high alkaloid content.

Trip report

I drank the caapi tea and within 10 minutes felt a pleasant body high. After 15 minutes I drank the smoothie with the MHRB, chewing larger shreds of the root bark and swallowing with water. I listened to calming music and meditated while waiting for the DMT to come on.

I didn't have to wait long. Within 10 minutes I could feel a change, and I knew the brew had worked. I first felt bodily sensations of migrating tension. The imagery of Mother Ayahuasca exploring my body and discovering bad energies felt appropriate. The walls started to move. The shutters on my windows became totem poles with eyes that leaned over me, looking into my soul. Everything was happening very quickly, and I recognized a sense of impending doom. I had a strong feeling that something very bad was about to happen. Having had a series of panic attacks a decade ago, this feeling was familiar. I did my best to explore the feeling. I asked Mother Ayahuasca what she thinks of this anxiety I'm feeling. If she gave an answer, I didn't hear it.

The psychedelic visuals escalated gradually at first, then shockingly fast. I felt like I was underwater, and my ceremony room became a new space glowing a beautiful red, and everything was in some sort of gentle, swirling motion. I perceived that the plants and furniture were becoming assimilated into geometric patterns that linked the whole room together. In this moment I had a very strange feeling accompanied by the last moment of peace that I would experience for the duration of the trip. I knew that I had moved into a different reality and place in the universe, but I felt a strong sense of familiarity, that I had been here before. This still perplexes me, but it gave me comfort at the time. This serenity was unfortunately short lived. Within minutes everything progressed to a level that I was not prepared for.

Fractal patterns and colors began to appear everywhere and move. I closed my eyes and saw warm colors and triangles cascading ever more quickly. It was beautiful and exciting, but I knew I was going deeper than I had meant to and became scared. Within seconds or minutes I lost sight of the room I was in. The patterns were moving faster, showering inwards from my peripheral vision and obscuring the walls and furniture. I closed my eyes and it looked exactly the same. "Holy shit", I thought, "this is not supposed to be happening". I stayed partially grounded and remembered trip reports of people smoking DMT and going to "hyperspace", and this felt like that. Still, I was not ready to surrender into this, so I unsuccessfully tried to ground myself. I stood up and walked to the kitchen to get water. My apartment was a completely unfamiliar place. I somehow navigated towards the kitchen. As I entered each new room I would see the furniture and walls for a split second, and then the entire room would explode into cascading, brightly colored fractal triangles coming out of everything and into everything. A second later and I would be rocketing backwards through some beautiful and terrifying hyperspace. I could shake out of it momentarily but I couldn't hold sight of an object for more than a split second. In the kitchen our bright red refrigerator caused the whole room dissolve into the most intense red I've ever seen filled with patterns spiraling infinitely far away from me.

I unfortunately found no enjoyment in this. I made it back to the bedroom and collapsed on the bed. Thankfully the hyperspace sensation had quickly faded. I think it lasted only minutes. I could now recognize the objects around me, but they were still intensely moving and swirling. At this point new psychological sensations arose. I felt confused. I realized that didn't know who I was. Specifically, I couldn't remember if I was myself or my wife. Am I at home or at work at a hospital? Is it 2021 or is it ten years ago? Am I alive or dead? I felt nauseated but couldn't purge. After this intense feeling of ego loss I became slightly more grounded. I was able to tell myself that the come down will be soon, and not to be too scared. But the nausea was intense, and another wave of psychedelia hit me. Not as strong as the first but I was tripping hard and again lost my sense of who I was. That lasted only a minute or so before the real come down began. I think this peak experience lasted from only 20 to 40 minutes after eating the MHRB.

At this point I could feel my ego returning, and I had an insight. As I was returning into my own head I felt a surprising resistance. "It's so hard", I thought, "that we have spend our whole lives stuck inside the head of single person with no escape". I understood how I, as an introspective person, can indulge in my thought loops to the point where they bring me down and make me feel bad, and I didn't want to go back to doing that again. This realization has changed me. I'm more aware of my ruminating and more frequently push myself towards being mindfully present in the moment.

It was at this point I decided it was time to call my friend, V. "Hey buddy how are you doing?", he asked. I was so happy to hear his voice. "I'm having a tough time. This is really intense and I want it to stop. Also I am both of us," I said, still pretty ego dissolved. He said ok and asked me to tell him what I was feeling. This gave me the strongest sense of relief. I realized that I understood what was happening and could explain it. I was also starting to noticeably come down. At this point I didn't remember that I had just been in hyperspace, but I could tell him that I went deeper than I meant to and it felt like I was lost. Talking to him I processed what it was exactly that I was feeling. I was feeling so scared. I experienced sheer terror and deep despair at the loss of myself. I was overwhelmed by the sadness and profundity of our finite lives which so briefly exist inside this infinite, chaotic emptiness.

We talked for an hour and a half, and this conversation guided me back to Earth and to my own life, and what this meant for it. I felt pity for myself and all people. I talked about how hard it is to experience the pain of existence, and how we so quickly succumb to the temptation to push it down and distract ourselves with the routines of our lives. I explained how it's so difficult for us to be stuck in one mind, constantly, with no escape. I related a fear that western society has reached a psychological breaking point, and the American dream has to change. We can no longer go on seeking our individual self actualization without asking harder questions about our places in society and the world. I also told him I understood that I think about how society should change to avoid thinking about how I should change. V had so much to share as well, and I listened and embodied his perspective. We see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Integration

Over the rest of the day I continued to feel better and reflect on my experience. I took care of myself, drinking a few of my favorite beers and eating my favorite candy while cleaning the apartment. I felt really stupid for a few days for accidentally traumatizing myself. I have a new respect for how hard it is to integrate these experiences.
I have a new respect for how hard it is to integrate these experiences.
On one particularly difficult day the following week, I was stuck in a loop of feeling so much shame over what I did, and this line of thinking blocked my ability to feel anything but fear and anxiety when I related back to my trip. I even started to fear that I was going crazy. But I knew from learning about trauma therapy that when people relate to a traumatic experience with extreme shame and blame themselves they often get stuck like I was. I worked hard to change my narrative. I tried to move from "I'm such an idiot and can't handle my shit" to "Ok, I took a risk and bit off more than I could chew, but I'm grateful that I am a person who does take risks and I've learned lessons that will serve me well."

I've always sought out risks and adventure, and the moments when my decisions lead to the most intense experiences are also where I learn the most. Now this feels like one of those moments, and I wanted to share those lessons today. You can give yourself an ayahuasca experience, but it should be done with an especially careful approach. Also, if you do go too far with this drug or others, as long as you're physically safe, it's going to be ok. I learned that I was more mentally resilient than I realized. I did actually sort of stay grounded and get myself through moments of complete terror, and after the trip when I felt traumatized I was able to get myself through it and refocus on the beautiful moments and the useful lessons.

Exp Year: 2021ExpID: 115914
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 29 
Published: Dec 24, 2021Views: 360
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Huasca Combo (269) : Combinations (3), Difficult Experiences (5), First Times (2), Alone (16)

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