So you want to try DXM?
A Beginner's Guide to DXM

Note: this is not the DXM FAQ! It is located at 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 a psychedelic.

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.

Determining dosage

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.

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 vomiting.

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 really good.

After taking a typical 2nd/3rd plateau dose, one could experience all, none, or some of the following:

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 hangover.

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 sure.

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 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 night.

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: that you know a little bit about DXM, you HAVE to read the DXM FAQ located at 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