So you want to try DXM?
A Beginner's Guide to DXM
Note: this is not the DXM FAQ! It is located at http://www.frognet.net/dxm
and should be read before trying DXM!
Dextromethorphan (dextro-meth-or-phan), or DXM, is a cough supressant
that is used in most OTC (over the counter) cough formulas. When a
dose far beyond the recommended dosage is taken, it can cause a sort
of altered consciousness. The "trip" isn't anything like acid or
mushrooms, rather, it is more like ketamine or PCP. Because of this,
it has been labeled as a "dissociative anesthetic", and not a
psychedelic. Many people, though, including myself, still view it as
It is not a cheap buzz, dispite the fact that it is legal and easy to
get. The effects lasts between 6-10 hours with a slight "hangover"
the next day. It is nothing like an alcohol hangover. Usually a DXM
hangover is just a lazy feeling for the next day. The only thing
you'll want to do that day is watch TV or sleep. Some hangovers,
though, can be positive. Many people report feeling refreshed and
energized the next day.
Okay. Go to your favorite pharmacy, drug store, or supermarket. Go to
the cough medicine section and start looking. What you're looking for
is a cough medicine that contains only dextromethorphan hydrobromide
(HBr). To find this, turn the box/bottle over and read the active
ingredients. The actives are the main ingredients and are usually are
the ones that help with the cough. The inactive ingredients are
usually sugars, or other stuff that covers up the -nasty- taste of
DXM. They do nothing to actually stop the cough.
There are a few cough medicines that contain only DXM. They are
Robitussin Maximum Stregnth Cough (in the blue label), Vicks 44 cough
relief, Drixoral Cough (the red ones), Sucrets 4-hour throat
lozenges, and many generic preparations.
To find out the dosage you want to take, read how many milligrams per
teaspoon there are, and do the math.
One teaspoon is 5 milliliters (mL). If you find a cough syrup that
has 15 mg of DXM per teaspoon, and contains 118 mL (4 fl oz) of
liquid, then the whole bottle contains 354 mg of DXM - a perfect dose
for a first trip. I figured that out by taking 118 and dividing it by
5, then multiplying the sum by 15. Just figure it out on a
calculator. Usually syrups contain 5, 10, 15 or 30 mg/teaspoon.
Dosages and Plateaus
DXM occurs on levels, or plateaus. Each plateau is different from
another, in some way. Each of them is equally strong, yet at each
plateau, different things happen. There are 4 major plateaus + a 5th
one that is generally unpleasant and involves a possible trip to the
hospital. Remember that dosages depend on your weight. If a 120 lb
person takes 500 mg, and a 250 lb person takes the same amount, the
120 lb person will have a much stronger trip.
There are 4-5 major plateaus, the 1st being the lowest in dosage, and
the 4th being the highest.
- 1st plateau (100-250mg): Great for conversation, yet
can be a powerful trip. It all depends on the mindset. Usually one
is very empathetic, and has great insights to everything. Also,
the physical aspects (robo walk, the drippy feeling, etc) are
present. The 1st plateau, when in a good, carefree mode, can be
good for a party, or concert, though you should try and act
normal, of course.
- 2nd plateau (250-450mg): All the effects of the 1st
plateau are present, with the addition of more euphoria, a
decreased sense of time and a decreased sense of surroundings.
- 3rd plateau (450-800mg): Many of the effects of the
first two plateaus are present, yet they seem to take on a totally
different "shape". This is hard to explain. Visual
(closed-eye-visual, mostly) hallucinations are present, mostly
spirals, or visions of fluid. Insights are extraordinary. One may
tend to shut him/herself away from other people in order to
explore themselves at this plateau. This is definitely not a party
plateau. I've found that this plateau could be some sort of
"transition" between the physical and the mental that occurs on
some sort of "highway". The spiraling shapes and the fluid could
be the highway that the transition is made on. This is often
comparable to space. While on this highway, thoughts and feelings
of one's life will pop up. General thinking becomes deeper and
- 4th plateau (800-1800mg): The highway can be crossed at
this plateau. What is on the other side of the highway could be
anything. Alien encounters, out of body experiences, etc are not
uncommon. I haven't had reports on any of these things, though. I
don't have to mention that the 4th plateau is not for beginners.
Note that anything above 1200mg is really dangerous and should not
be done without close access to a hospital and a smart
trip-sitter. Actually, for all intents and purposes, it shouldn't
be done over 1000mg.
- 5th plateau (1800mg-????): There have been some reports
of a 5th plateau. They include nothing of what is typically a DXM
trip. It involves profuse sweating, extreme nausea, and blackouts.
After effects can last up to 2 days afterwards. This is pretty
much a DXM OVER-overdose. Obviously, this is not fun. I've only
included it here because there is a distinct point beyond the
fourth plateau where all the fun effects of DXM are replaced by
negative effects. I call it "the point of no return". Unless you
want to go through a physical and mental hell, don't try and hit
The toxic dose of DXM is around 3000 mg. I've heard of people taking
this much and living, though they went into a sort of coma in which
they tripped for about a week, involving profuse sweating and
A good first dose is about a 4 oz bottle of robitussin, or around 354
mg. Most people, after being experienced with DXM, level off at a
prefferred dose of between 450 mg and 600 mg. Then again, some more
experienced psychonauts prefer stronger doses.
Most DXM experiences are good, though some can be bad. DXM is
something that an experienced tripper should use, and is generally
not a good first psychedelic. The bad experiences are the ones that
generally are the first and last experiences. The causes could be
that a person took too much on the first try and became overwhelmed,
or that a person wasn't ready for the trip. Another cause of a bad
trip could be that a person was in a bad mood when he/she took it.
Never use ANY psychedelic as a mood-lifter. Psychedelics are
enhancers. If you are in a bad mood when you take a psychedelic, you
will feel worse during the trip. Only use psychedelics when you feel
After taking a typical 2nd/3rd plateau dose, one could experience
all, none, or some of the following:
- A (sometimes very unpleasant) feeling of knowing one's true
- Possible recollections of sweet/painful memories, feelings,
etc. that one hasn't remembered in years, possibly childhood
memories. Though they usually aren't specific (not one particular
memory could be exhibited), they are still powerful.
- Empathy is a common DXM trait. It can be very
- Strange things really seem to make sense. Though most seem
stupid, I am positive that they are somehow connected to the
sub-conscious. This is comparable to a dream. Most dreams seem
pointless and stupid at face value, but all dreams hold symbols of
- . Connections can be seen throughout many things. If a person
remembers these connections after the trip, they will make even
greater connections when applied to everyday (sober) life.
- Disoriented feelings of being very small, surrounded by a huge
world around you. This world is an enhancement of the
room/environment you are in.
- Various physical/visual/auditory feelings. Sound seems very
strange. Some people think sounds are remarkable on DXM (crystal
clear, and very ambient), others think sounds sound cheap and
"plastic". Sounds can be comparable to having ears all over the
body, thus sound can be heard from every part of the body and from
every direction. This can be frightening if you don't know how to
- Dilated pupils, the (in)famous robo walk, the drippy feeling
(feeling like you are a thick fluid), and other typical DXM
I want to take DXM, where should I start?
Whoa...not so fast! DXM isn't a toy. DXM isn't something that you can
light up in a bowl, and have a good 3 hours with trippy visuals and
colorful sounds. DXM is an inner journey that can be either horrible
or beautiful. It depends on the type of person you are. A vast
majority of people dislike DXM. DXM should not be abused
because it will seriously make you an unhappy person. If you
are unhappy, don't use DXM. DXM will elevate your unhappiness. It
won't make you forget your problems. In fact, throughout the period
of a DXM trip, these problems might surface and, combined with the
empathy characteristic of DXM, will make you even more unhappy.
For some (I emphasize some) people, DXM is a beautiful thing that
they can learn from. If used occasionally (best results are at
most once a month), and responsibly, DXM can be beneficial.
You generally need to be a positive, happy person who wants to use
DXM to explore the mind, and not to get "fucked up". If you want to
use DXM to fuck you up, you should not use it. If you want to
get fucked up, drink a couple beers.
I suggest that you use mental exploration and meditation to reach
altered states of consciousness, and not drugs. Although doing this
requires a great amount of time and effort, it is always the most
effective and the best. Using a drug to do it is the faster way out
and it has it's side effects such as puking, being fucked up,
confusion, pure horror, etc, not to mention the infamous DXM
I don't advocate the use of recreational DXM. I'm just relaying the
facts so that people can make intelligent decisions. If you are not
sure if you want to do this -- don't. Don't do it until you are
If you don't want to get "fucked up" and have a legitimate use for
DXM, then you are ready to try it. A good starting dose is around
150-300 mg. If you start at a high dose, you will become overwhelmed
by something you don't understand. If you try and learn rocket
science before learning algebra, you will not succeed. If you try a
high dose of DXM without understanding it first, you will not like
it. It will be 6 hours of confusion...you won't know what the hell is
going on. On the other hand, if you start at a low dose, you will get
very slight taste of yourself and the drug...this usually is good,
but can be unpleasant. Use your best judgement.
Notes on DXM Addiction:
Although many people say that DXM is not addictive, I beg to differ.
DXM is mentally addictive. You may like DXM so much that you continue
to use it often. What many people realize after over-doing DXM is
that the trips get repetitive and lost effect. The trips become dull
and un fulfilling. DXM is something that gets old really easy and
really fast. When you start doing DXM frequently, you'll find the
trips are a waste of time and are very boring. Ecspcially at a higher
dose. Be responsible and wait a few months to try DXM again if you
get to this point.
So you may ask what responsible DXM use is. I can't quite explain
that because it's different for everyone. A good general rule is to
trip about once a month, when you really feel like exploring. Like I
said earlier, if you want to get fucked up, then go get some beer. If
you are underage and cough syrup is the only thing available (which
seems like it's always the case), then just go to sleep.
Many people have the notion that if something is mentally addicting,
and not physically addicting, they will be able to stop at any time.
This is the wrong idea to have. When something, namely DXM, is
mentally addicting, it isn't easy to stop doing. If you find yourself
addicted to DXM, then when you get a craving to try it, realize that
you could be addicted and focus your mind on something else. Go out
for a drive, or a walk. Go see a movie. With time, you'll realize
that you can do other stuff to pass your time. In a few months, you
might genuinely be ready to try DXM one time. Maybe you will never be
truly ready to try DXM. That's what you get for doing DXM every
Differences in Active Ingredients
Well...there are only a small number of cough medicines that are
perfect for taking DXM, ie have only DXM as an active ingredient.
There is the classic Robitussin Maximum Stregnth Cough. Then there is
Vicks 44 cough. And then you have generics. In finding what
ingredients you don't want, look on the back of the box/label for the
active ingredients. Here are some tips:
- Acetaminophen is a HUGE no-no! It will destroy your
liver and will kill you in a slow, painful death. This
means No Nyquil!
- Pseudoephidrine will make the trip feel a lot speedier. Some
people wouldn't recommend this due to high blood pressure or heart
problems. It is used to clear nasal passages in low doses. I'd say
avoid this if you can.
- Guaifenisin (sp?) will make you vomit, usually before
all the DXM has been absorbed into the system. It is an
expectorant, which means that in low doses, it loosens flem. In
higher doses, it loosens a lot more than flem.
- Diphenhydramine will make you fall asleep (refer to the
dramamine/marezine connection at the bottom of the main page).
- chlorpheniramine maleate is an antihistamine. It is
usually found in Coricidin Cough and Cold. It could make a trip
feel edgy and jittery. Some have said that it destroys the quality
of the trip and can even cause panic. Avoid this if you can.
- Dextromethorphan polystirex, found in Delsym, is okay
to take. Polystirex is an edible plastic coating developed to make
certain medicines time-released. The trip could be longer, but
usually the hangover is longer, instead.
- Benylin has been known to contain castor oil, which is
supposed to be an expectorant. It will cause a person to have
his/her trip on the toilet with vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid
Benylin at all costs.
- Usually the multi-symptom cough medicines have lots of bad
stuff in them. Stick with the DM syrups, or the ones that
concentrate on one thing.
Alright...now that you know a little bit
about DXM, you HAVE to read the DXM
FAQ located at http://www.frognet.net/dxm.
It explains everything about what you might experience during a trip,
and explains in detail about what it does to the brain and how it
works. No no no no...don't argue with me! You have to! Don't make me
come over there! I'm telling you! You have to read it! What do you
mean you don't have time? You've had time to read this site!!! Okay,
okay...fine. At least bookmark it, okay? Go Ahead...right click on
the link and select "Add Bookmark". Got it? Good!
©1998 The Third Plateau