Citation: SandSurfer. "The Perfect Mistake: An Experience with MDE (?) & 5-HTP (exp95943)". Erowid.org. Apr 10, 2017. erowid.org/exp/95943
At the time of this experience I was a 155 lbs, 24 year old male, experienced psychonaut. I had tried cannabis, psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, DMT, 2C-B/E/I, 5-MeO-DALT), stimulants (caffeine, cocaine, Adderall, methylphenidate, Provigil/Nuvigil), MDMA, salvia, ketamine, MXE, DXM, plus various opiates, benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers, the list goes onů
This experience occurred as the Sunday night culmination of a profound weekend-long seminar on relationships. The previous night I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep, and hadn't gotten more than 7 for the previous week. When I woke up at 8 AM, I took a small but effective dose of Nuvigil (maybe 25 mg) and another tiny dose of caffeine (maybe 20 mg) to get me through the 9 hours of coming seminar. By the time of the main event the caffeine was well out of my system, while the Nuvigil with its enormous half-life was still in sufficient quantity to provide wakefulness. It is difficult for me to say how exactly this affected my experience - it likely potentiated the serotonergic effects very slightly. (Note that I have combined Nuvigil and LSD once before, and that largely resulted in my center of cognitive gravity returning to my jaw tension in a highly aversive fashion.)
Because my partner and I had been driving to the event instead of flying, we decided to bring various substances along with us for people who wanted to have an intimate experience during such a profound seminar. That afternoon we located an awesome group of people who were regular users and wanted to partake in the festivities together, and I was very glad to contribute to their experience. Since I knew I was going to be using substances later that night, I committed myself to fasting to raise BDNF production and wakefulness - my last meal had been around midnight the day before.
Due to various precursors being unavailable, the 'MDMA' floating around the scene at that time was actually MDE/MDEA. The reagent tests I ran cannot easily distinguish between the two, but I tasted it and it was quite distinct from the MDMA I had used many times previously (less bitter, almost somewhat sour). I did the usual research before putting a new substance in my body, and decided that I wanted to try it. In my experience MDMA is extremely stimulating, and on stimulants I usually do not wish to connect with other people very much. I was hoping to have a largely serotonergic experience and bond with this new group of people.
The party was starting at 8 PM, with a likely drop around 9 PM, so around 7:30 PM I took 1.25 mg Adderall to give me a slight boost going into what was sure to be a long evening. (Side note: minuscule doses of stimulants seem to affect me quite strongly, and 1.25 mg produces a noticeable difference.) After that I got myself ready, including wearing my sexy leather pants that were sure to impress the crowd. Once we were ready, my partner and I went over to the hotel suite to get the party started.
In practice everything tends to run late, so we did not even drop until around 9:45 PM. From my previous experience with MDMA, I typically need about double the dose most people take to get similar levels of effects. I had pilled the MDE at 125 mg each, and took that plus a residual 80 mg for a 205 mg total dosage. Adjusting for potency, I expected this to be a moderately but not exceptionally strong experience. Due to concerns about neurotoxicity, I did simultaneously consume 2 grams of vitamin C, 1200 IU vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), 600 mg alpha-lipoic acid, and 1.8 g N-acetyl cysteine. Unfortunately I had forgotten to bring my SSRIs with me, and I hope that the measures I took were enough.
We all consumed our substances (MDE and LSD for some) in a sacred circle, whereby we all set our intentions - mine was to be emotionally open and to connect with these new people, and I was to fulfill that intention spectacularly that night. After the drop we all filtered back into the party and began socializing. Most of the people around me were already touching each other in under half an hour, before I had experienced first alert. This reminded me how much of the psychoactive experience is social and expectational in nature. I enjoyed myself talking to various people in the crowd, but never felt a strong rush. I eventually noticed some extremely faint tactile changes, but much less than I expected given the dose. It was definitely not stimulating to a significant degree at all.
At about 11:15, after waiting over an hour since dosing, I decided that I would take some 5-HTP that I had with me to synergize the effects. I went over to my backpack and fished out the bottle. This was the first time I had considered combining 5-HTP with a serotonin releasing agent, and was curious to see if I would notice any effects.
At that point I still had enough presence of mind to check the label, and even enough to notice my confusion when I saw the pills were 200 mg. Some part of my brain told me that the usual dosage was 50-100 mg. But then why would someone sell a 200 mg dosage? I decided that I must have been mistaken about that - I was on drugs after all, how could I trust my memory at that point? So I took one of the pills and went back to my partner's side.
It was less than half an hour later that I realized my state was changing - and very rapidly.
It was less than half an hour later that I realized my state was changing - and very rapidly.
I started rocking my body back and forth uncomfortably, and told my partner that something was happening, and that I was starting to feel hot. Within just minutes of saying that, my entire body had broken out in a sweat. I was still coming up, and I was coming up fast. With horror I remembered my previous confusion, and realized that I did in fact know what the correct dosage was. I had just overdosed on 5-HTP, and serotonin syndrome was rapidly approaching.
Instead of panicking, like a good psychonaut I began executing protocols that I knew by heart. I had been sitting near the fireplace, which was my first mistake. When I stood up, I realized just how light-headed I was. I chugged the glass of water next to me and stumbled into the bathroom. The first thing I did was take off my leather pants, and felt an immediate improvement in my state. I had no idea how effectively those pants contained my body heat. Once I was completely naked I jumped into the shower and turned it all the way to cold - and prayed.
I stayed directly under that beam of deliverance until the changes stopped accelerating, and I knew that I had peaked on the 5-HTP. I stepped out of the shower and put my underwear back on, but no other clothes at this point. I didn't care if I were indecent, I knew that my life literally depended on it - and it just so happened that the people at the party liked me better that way!
At that point I was still strongly desiring to connect with others, but my body temperature was completely exogenously regulated. Multiple times I went to embrace someone, and I could feel my temperature rising continuously in response. I began alternating between going out in the crowd, and returning to the shower to lower my temperature again. I knew I wasn't in danger as long as I closely monitored my situation.
An hour later my state began to shift again. I was no longer overwhelmingly hot, but I was rapidly becoming quite nauseous. I decided to lie down on the floor, close my eyes, and let my mind wander where it would. In those long moments I focused on my sensory experience, and let myself feel the sensations without judgment or aversion. I used this intensely serotonergic state to do some emotional facilitation as well, investigating my beliefs about not being good enough, and learning to feel compassion for myself. Someone suggested that my nausea was a defense mechanism, so I observed my thoughts and looked for correlations to my physical state.
At this level of serotonin, my experience was becoming distinctly psychedelic. In between doing this personal growth, I let my mind wander into free association. I am embarrassed to admit that I had recently been playing tower defense games for long hours, and my brain kept generating new tower defense games and simulating playthroughs again and again. The most incredible part of observing my thoughts was that at a certain point, the conceptual imagery I was having would 'break through' into full-blown closed-eye visuals, the first time I had experienced anything like that on a serotonin releaser. Perhaps the MDE had begun metabolizing into a more direct 5HT2A agonist by that point? Whatever the cause, I was riveted by my internal experience.
Eventually, the sensation of nausea gave way to the distinctly different sensation of needing to vomit. I stood up and immediately walked to the bathroom, vomiting four times before recovering. I did feel better afterward, but the nausea began to rise again shortly thereafter. This time it felt different, though whether it was because of the vomiting, or the time-course of the drugs, or the self-hacking I had just undergone, I did not know. But this nausea was not aversive, and not urgent. I was able after that point to return to interaction.
It was probably around 2 AM before I was able (and desiring due to the newfound cold) to put my clothes back on, a good 4 hours after the initial drop - and even then my experience was still distinctly entactogenic. I snuggled up to my partner and we talked for quite some time, occasionally in our own world and sometimes joined by others. I was feeling connected to everyone at the party, but especially her. This entactogenic feeling lasted for at least another hour, with some sensations lingering even longer. This 5+ hour experience was a strong indicator of what I had just done to myself, when MDE is supposed to last just 2-4 hours.
When I got back to my partner, I told her that I was glad to be alive. I knew that these were the kind of mistakes that killed psychonauts. In retrospect, however, I feel like I had exactly the experience that I wanted. I have been craving more intensity from my drug experiences for some time now, but have been hesitant to push myself to the edge. After every trip I have been left wanting more, wishing I had gone further, and this was the first time in a long time that I was completely content with the experience I had. Coming off the peak was a relief, and the plateau was an intensely pleasurable and amazing experience, one of the best and most interesting I have ever had. In a perfect coincidence, my mistake had brought me to exactly the level I wanted to be at, and left me satisfied.
Without taking an SSRI, the delicious afterglow persisted strongly into the next day, and even somewhat into the second (particularly when combined with another small dose of 5-HTP). I bathed in the incredible sensations of love and pleasure.
So what lessons did I learn from the experience? First of all, to trust my cognition more - I knew there was an error and ignored it anyway, to my great peril. Second of all, I actually prefer MDE more than MDMA, because I was not too stimulated to connect with people - though admittedly this may be an idiosyncratic reaction. Third of all, I really don't need to take massive doses of MDMA to get an effect. It will be much safer for my brain in the long run if I take small doses and synergize with (much smaller doses of) 5-HTP.
I wanted to write this trip report both because it was unique for me and an uncommon combination generally.
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