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Default plateaus
DXM, probably more than most drugs, tends to exert
its (recreational) effects in separate stages or plateaus, rather than
being linearly dose-dependent. Within a given plateau, a given set of
effects will occur. On the other
hand, once the next plateau is reached, the feeling may change entirely.


DXM and its metabolite, dextrorphan (DXO), produce different sets of
effects. Normally, DXM is converted mostly or entirely into DXO, but with
recreational doses, the conversion enzyme (P450-2D6) may saturate, leaving a mixture of DXM and DXO. Furthermore, another of DXM's metabolites - 3-methoxymorphinan - can also block this enzyme, so that taking divided doses leads to more DXM and less DXO than taking a combined dose of the same amount.

DXM's effects are in some ways much more subtle than DXO's. Whereas DXO produces a heavy "stoning" or intoxicating effect, DXM by itself is only
lightly intoxicating. DXM, however, can alter the thought processes,
leading to highly abnormal, psychosis-like mental states. It is possible
that DXM, via sigma activation, may induce a mental state similar to that
of schizophrenia. Whether or not this is fun to you is, of course, up to

DXM seems to exhibit at least four definable plateaus based solely on
dosage, and an additional plateau is notable from a specific dosing regimen
(see below, Section 5.9). I previously listed three plateaus; then four;
now I'm listing five (although "Plateau Sigma" doesn't occur at dosages
higher than the fourth plateau). Evidently, dosages above the fourth
plateau lead to full anaesthesia, psychosis, coma, and/or death.

Not everyone notes distinction between the first and second plateaus, or
between the third and fourth plateaus. Others suggest that each effect of
DXM has a dosage level at which it starts, and (in some cases) a dosage
level at which its effects are no longer noticeable (being overpowered by
other effects). Some people will disagree with this classification method,
but I think this is the best way to represent DXM's effects. Both the third
and fourth plateaus have significant dissociative characteristics, much
like ketamine.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the effects in different
plateaus are often very different. For example, on the first plateau, DXM
tends to have a stimulant effect. Upon reaching the second plateau,
however, the stimulant effect may no longer be present.

The beginning of the comedown off of a DXM trip can come abruptly. Often,
the user will know when it's starting to end by noticing the return of
normal sensory processing. Coming down from there may take a significant
amount of time. A second DXM trip too soon after coming down is not a good
idea due to the potential for side effects and psychotic episodes (227).
Wait at least three days and preferrably two weeks between each DXM trip.

The following table can be used as a general guideline for the plateaus.
For convenience I give example dosages in gelcaps and 3mg/ml syrup for 75kg
and 150lb adults; adjust up or down by the amounts indicated per 10kg or
25lb. Calculating with the mg/kg is more accurate, but it's easy to make
mistakes when using non-metric measures. These dosages are as DXM

Dosage will vary considerably from person to person, by as much as 5 times!
Also, these mg/kg figures should evidently be adjusted down for higher mass
(e.g., maybe 6mg/kg to 13mg/kg third plateau for a 150kg adult). Note that
kg = pounds * 0.45.

I have included a new category in this table: "Usenet Suggestions". This is
a combination of suggested dosage guidelines from Usenet, and may more
accurately represent the plateau dosage of DXM in regular users (the
original plateau levels were based mostly on occasional users).

Table 1: DXM Plateaus and Dosages

Plateau First Second Third Fourth
Dosage Range
(mg/kg) 1.5-2.5 mg/kg 2.5-7.5 mg/kg 7.5-15 mg/kg >15mg/kg
Usenet Suggestions
(mg/kg) 2.7 mg/kg 6.4 mg/kg 9.4 mg/kg 18mg/kg
Gelcaps (30mg) for 4 to 6 6 to 18 18 to 37
75kg adult gelcaps gelcaps gelcaps >37 gelcaps

Adjust per 10kg 1/2 to 1 1 to 2.5 2.5 to 5 5 gelcaps
gelcap gelcaps gelcaps
Gelcaps (30mg) for 3 to 5 5 to 17 17 to 34
150lb adult gelcaps gelcaps gelcaps >34 gelcaps

Adjust per 25lb 1/2 to 1 1 to 2.5 2.5 to 5.5 5.5 gelcaps
gelcaps gelcaps gelcaps
Syrup (3mg/ml) for
75kg adult 37 to 62 ml 62 to 187 ml 187 to 375 ml >375 ml
Adjust per 10kg 5 to 8 ml 8 to 25 ml 25 to 50 ml 50 ml
Syrup (3mg/ml) for 2 tbsp to 2 2 oz to 5.5 5.5 oz to 11
150lb adult oz (1/4 cup) oz (2/3 cup) oz (1 1/3 cup) >11oz

Adjust per 25lb 1 tsp to 2 2 tsp to 1 oz 2 tbsp to 2oz 2 oz
tsp (1/8 cup) (1/4 cup)

The specific effects at each plateau will be listed according to the
following categories: Sensory, Cognitive/Emotional, Motor, and Memory.
Additionally, the lower two plateaus are considered together, as are the
upper two plateaus.


5.2 Overview of the Lower Plateaus

The four dosage plateaus can be divided into two groups based on a certain
degree of similarity: the lower plateaus and the upper plateaus. The lower
two plateaus share many features and some of these will be considered here.
A generalization would be that the lower two plateaus are more
"recreational" than the upper plateaus. Specifically, they have
considerably less hangover, do not generally involve serious disruption or
breakdown of sensory processing, and are more similar to other intoxicants.

DXM in the lower two plateaus has been compared to a cross between MDA and
alcohol. It tends to intensify emotional responses and feelings of meaning
from external events. At the lower plateaus there is usually enough motor
control to be able to engage in physical activites (although, like MDMA and
MDA there are reasons why you may not want to, including dehydration and

Most find sensory input is still understandable, although there are
peculiar changes which will be discussed below (notably flanging). At the
lower plateaus it is still possible to interact extensively with the
outside world, and one can watch and follow reasonably complex plots in
movies, and have complex conversations.

Although DXM is in many ways not a good "casual" drug most people have used
it without adverse effect at the lower plateaus. Interestingly, many people
who have use DXM at the upper plateaus eventually find that the lower
plateaus no longer offer much enjoyment. There are a lot of potential
reasons for this (see Section 7.6); I think most of it is simply that DXM
at the upper plateaus changes one's expectations about its effects and
gives one familiarity with its memory inhibition.


5.3 The First Plateau

The first plateau generally occurs around 1.5 to 2.5 mg/kg (some net users
suggest 2.7mg/kg as ideal for regular users), but this may vary enormously
depending on metabolism and other factors. The first plateau is probably
the hardest to hit; many people "overshoot" it. Please keep in mind that
these effects listed are general effects, and that individual results may
vary considerably.

A general narrative of the first plateau can be constructed. At about 30
minutes to 1 hour after dosing, an "alert" sensation is noticeable; this is
simply a feeling that is unique for individual and signals the begin of
altered consciousness. The experience has only a vaguely "drug-like"
character for about 10 minutes, after which restlessness and slight
stimulant effect are noticeable. After another 10 minutes or so, movement
and position sense are altered; those with motion sickness begin to notice
nausea. Gravity starts to feel weird, and one may bounce around a lot.
Emotions may start to become intensified. There is a slight feeling of
dissociation from reality, but overall the experience is slightly
intoxicating, with intensified emotions and sense of importance from
everyday events. This effect peaks and then slowly subsides until it is

A first plateau trip usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes to start (on
an empty stomach), peaks about 1.5 to 2 hours later, and lasts between 4
and 6 hours. Gel capsules take up to 1 hour additional to dissolve.
Hangovers are very rare from this plateau, but if they do occur, they tend
to consist mainly of lethargy.

The primary effects of the first plateau are general euphoria, euphoria
specifically linked to music and motion, slight disturbances in balance,
moderate stimulation, and very slight intoxication. The intoxication and
balance disturbances are similar to that induced by alcohol, but much
weaker and without the mental confusion; there is little if any mental
sluggishness or confusion with a first plateau trip.

Some people have difficulty hitting the first plateau. It can take several
trials; as a general guideline, if you notice double vision, you've gone
way too far. A lot of the more pleasurable first plateau effects, in
particular the music euphoria, are set and setting dependent. Being in good
physical condition, avoiding excessive caffeine, and being in a good mood
are all important factors in achieving a good first plateau dose.

Positive first plateau experiences are one of the first to go with regular
use. Part of this seems to be tolerance (which builds quickly and lasts for
considerable time). Another part seems to be a familiarity with the first
plateau experience; after awhile it no longer seems quite so profound or
interesting. Some have suggested changing set and setting as a way of
regaining the more interesting aspects of the first plateau.


5.3.1 Sensory Effects

Most of the effects of the first plateau relate to the senses. The best
known, and probably the most responsible for first plateau use of DXM, is
the effect upon hearing (specifically upon music). Sounds may seem "richer"
or "deeper", and music in particular is affected (the difference between
listening to music on DXM versus sober has been compared to the difference
between music in a concert hall versus on a cheap radio). In addition to
the change in the nature of hearing itself, music can bring a sense of
euphoria, often quite intense. In comparison to the positive effects on
music reported by some users of cannabis, the DXM music effect is usually
characterized as much "speedier".

The type of music with which this effect most strongly occurs will tend to
vary from person to person. Rave music is one of the most commonly
affected, possibly due to the regular beat (at higher plateaus especially,
much of DXM's sensory effects seem beat or rhythm related). Classical and
Celtic/folk also seems to be popular. Really, though, the strongest
indicator of personal response to a given piece of music seems to be 1)
that the user enjoys it, and 2) that it has an "intense" or thematic

Not everyone notices this effect. Some notice the opposite -- DXM makes
music seem less impacting, and bass tends to be attenuated, leaving
everything sounding "tinny" and distant. There does not seem to be any
factor predicting whether DXM will improve or degrade the musical

Visual effects are not particularly strong at this plateau. If present,
they usually consist of motion trails (as if afterimages of each "frame" of
vision were not clearing quickly enough). There may be some deterioration
of stereoscopic vision (and thus depth perception). Colors may seem
slightly more vivid. Some have remarked that peripheral vision seems to be

Taste and touch do not seem to be appreciably affected, although some users
have reported that taste is enhanced and mildly euphoria-linked. Others
have reported the same effect for touch. The sense of smell, on the other
hand, is improved for some; in fact, some find scents so overpowering that
they cannot remain around scented items.

Balance and body position sense can be significantly affected, ranging from
a mild disturbance (some call it "sea legs") to a near total loss of
position and balance sense (generally this only happens on upper plateaus).
The changes seem to relate to an anesthesia of the body senses in
particular. The effect (like the other sensory DXM effects) can be
euphoric; some users like to roll around, do cartwheels, dance, march,
whatever. People who are very susceptible to motion sickness seem to report
nausea, but most do not. Overall some have described these effects as like


5.3.2 Cognitive/Emotional Effects

Even though DXM has a slight "stoning" or intoxicating effect on the first
plateau, there are surprisingly few deficits of cognitive function.
Language is the most strongly affected, although these effects are usually
limited to occasional word and syllable repetition (especially in
already-repeated syllables, e.g., "banana" to "banananana"), spoonerism
(e.g., "share boulders" instead of "bare shoulders"), and difficulty coming
up with specific words (the "Tip of the Tongue" phenomenon).

Some users report that they feel more creative and capable of non-linear
thought on DXM, and this seems to be maximized on the first and second
plateaus. Whether this is, in fact, true, or just seems true because of the
drug, I have no idea; to my knowledge there are no studies on this. Another
cognitive characteristic that occasionally occurs at the first plateau (but
more commonly at the second) is that things can seem much more interesting,
or at least much less dull and boring, than they usually are. There may be
an overall increase in approach-related behavior.

Many DXM users report a moderate to strong stimulant effect at the first
plateau, which disappears at higher dosages. This seems to be enhanced by
caffeine. One user reported being able to stay up for 48 hours by
maintaining a first plateau level. (Note that I don't recommend this).

Another characteristic of first (and second) plateau trips is a lowering of
inhibitions related to conversation (and to a lesser degree to behaviour).
Many people find they can discuss painful or embarrassing topics without
difficulty. This is usually described as a very positive effect, and those
who have experienced it often state that they feel more comfortable with
themselves after the trip. Some have reported a strengthening of
friendships due to this effect. It's interesting that as the third plateau
is approached, recall and discussion of such topics seems to become more
and more "mandatory".

A few people seem to have problems identifying abnormal behaviour, and some
have gotten themselves into awkward social situations by saying (or,
rarely, doing) exactly what they mean. Dissociatives do seem to inhibit the
ability to unconsciously recognize and act based upon social constructs. My
personal feeling based on some observation is that if you are consciously
aware of your behaviour you are not likely to have problems; it is those
who act primarily out of instinctual adherence to social rules that tend to
behave somewhat bizarrely.

Mood enhancement is the most regular emotional effect of the first plateau;
many people find themselves fairly bouncy and happy, occasionally euphoric.
Unlike many drugs, there is not usually much "let-down" when the trip ends.
Fear is rare at the first plateau. There may be a sense of energy or drive.

The effects upon libido evidently tend to vary from person to person. Some
people report an increase in sex drive; others find that playing, physical
contact, music, etc., seem much more interesting and enjoyable than sex.
The effects on sexual performance itself are not very strong at the first
plateau, though males may have some difficulty in achieving orgasm. When
orgasm does occur, it is often accompanied by extreme muscle tension and
profuse sweating. Note that there may be problems with hypertension from
sex on DXM.


5.3.3 Motor Effects

Another identifying characteristic of a first plateau DXM trip is its
effect upon motion and motor skills. Users tend to walk and move in
specific ways (varying somewhat from person to person) characterized by
large, fluid movements. In fact, it may be difficult to perform small or
abrupt motion. Motor tasks initiated may continue beyond their targets
(this can range from fun to distracting). To an outside observer, this can
seem quite strange, especially the changes in gait. It is possible,
however, to move normally.

These changes may be related to euphoria- linking of body kinetic sense
(see Sensory Effects, above) which would make large and sweeping motions
more enjoyable. It is also possible that something more directly involved
in the planning and carrying out of complex motor tasks may be at work, and
that the euphoria is simply a general phenomenon which is not directly
connected to the alterations in motor skills. Some have suggested that
impaired processing of vestibular signals (i.e., those from the middle ear
which relay position and motion information) may be involved. Activity of
DXM in the cerebellum may also contribute.


5.3.4 Memory Effects

The memory effects of a first plateau trip are slight but usually
noticeable. Most of the effects probably come from a general deterioration
of short-term memory. Working memory (the "train of thought") can become
stuck in repetitive thoughts; other times it can be very easy to become
distracted. Recall of events prior to the trip does not seem to be
degraded. Encoding (i.e., making new memories) may be worsened, so that
after the trip there is some difficulty in recalling events during the
trip. Also probably because of the deterioration of short-term memory, it
may be easy to lose track of time.


5.4 The Second Plateau

With the second plateau (around 2.5-7.5mg/kg, 6.4mg/kg suggested from
regular users) several new effects become evident. The most profound is
that DXM begins to take on a heavier "stoning" characteristic, and senses
and cognitive function are affected accordingly. Closed-eye hallucinations
start for some people on the second plateau. Some of the first plateau
effects, e.g., the music and motion linked euphoria, may diminish or stop

Second plateau trips usually take between 30 and 60 minutes to start (on an
empty stomach), peak about 2 to 3 hours later, and last about 6 hours.
Again, gel capsules take up to 1 hour additional to dissolve. Hangovers are
not common with lower second plateau trips, but some people experience

A general narrative of the second plateau: The trip beings identically to
the first plateau trip, although the alert and early effects may be noticed
earlier. After passing to the music and motion euphoria stage, the first
plateau sensations begin to be overshadowed by disruptions in sensory
processing, as sensory input begins to get "choppy". Both sight and sound
take on a dreamlike characteristic and one begins to feel increasingly
detatched from the outside world. There may be bursts of sensory
deprivation where the outside world seems to go away, but overall one
maintains contact (somewhat incoherent) with the outside world. After a few
hours of an overall "stoned" feeling, the sensations begin to subside. A
slight hangover consisting of lethargy may be noted the next day.


5.4.1 Sensory Effects

The most general sensory effect of the second plateau is "flanging".
Flanging, also called phlanging, phasing, stop-action, framing, strobing,
etc., is the sensation that continuous sensory input has been chopped up
into frames (as if you were watching a badly animated cartoon), often with
some echo effect of each frame. There does not seem to be any loss of
sensory content; instead, it is as if the ability to keep sensory input
time-continuous were disturbed. The best analogy from other drugs may be
the effects of nitrous oxide upon sound. The best analogy from non-drug
experiences is listening to a voice through an echo/delay effects box
(which is where the term "flanging" comes from).

An interesting and probably associated sensory phenomenon is that it seems
as if one is aware of several temporal stages of sensory processing all at
once. In other words, a sentence may be heard not sound for sound or word
for word, but all at once (this is difficult to describe). Similarly,
visual images may be jumbled together with previous images. This may be due
to an excessive persistence of sensory buffering.

Vision in particular is changed on this plateau. Depth perception is often
lost, and the ability to keep both eyes focused on the same thing is
diminished (leading to slight double vision). This is most noticeable in
people without a dominant eye.

Sound, as already mentioned, tends to be flanged. With the sense of touch,
there is not necessarily flanging so much as a noticeable delay between the
stimulus and recognition of it. Pain especially tends to be somewhat
dissociated. Taste is usually simply dulled. Many people report a vastly
improved sense of smell though some report that it is dulled as well.

The sense of balance is severely disrupted, as is body position and kinetic
sense. Keep in mind that dissociation of pain and the disruption of body
sense together make physical exertion somewhat risky, as it is possible to
over-exert and not notice.

Closed-eye hallucinations tend to begin at the second plateau (and in fact
are the reason I distinguish this from the first plateau). Usually these
are not "true" hallucinations, but instead are considerable enhancement of
imagination, up to fully eidetic imagery (i.e., you experience lucidly what
you imagine). This is especially powerful with memories; some users are
able to re-experience past events, or "simulate" future events, as if
actually there, interacting with the environment (I call this the "Holodeck
Effect"). Many users report this to be quite useful for introspection.

Actual hallucinations, if they do exist, tend to be abstract and
cartoon-like. There seems to be an emphasis on linear structures - long,
thin lines, or long queues of simple objects. There may also be Lilliputian
hallucinations (everything seems either way too big or way too small, or
both). Some people find considerable similarity with fever hallucinations;
this can be unpleasant.

Your experiences throughout the day will influence the hallucinations you
see and the imagery you can create. For example, if you have spent the day
playing DOOMTM, your hallucinations are likely to involve scenes and
elements from the game. Eidetic imagery works a little different - you can
conjure up images, but they are likely to have a "DOOMTM-esque" feel to
them (bitmapped textures, ugly walls, etc.). This is an interesting effect,
and my hunch is that DXM hallucinations and imagery may be very dependent
upon what's already stored in intermediate term memory. So it might be
worth planning the events of the day with your trip objectives in mind.
This may also be possible to some extent during the trip itself; e.g., if
you want to imagine yourself in space, go to a planetarium.


5.4.2 Cognitive/Emotional Effects

Higher reasoning is still not appreciably affected at the second plateau;
in fact one of the more interesting aspects of DXM at the first and second
plateau may be its ability to disturb one function of the mind while
leaving another almost untouched. On the other hand the content of one's
thoughts may become increasingly abstract as the outside world is ignored.

An interesting cognitive effect that is pronounced at the upper second
through the third plateau is a change in self-referential thinking.
Self-referential thoughts or ideas (e.g., "this statement is false") may
seem both more understandable and more profound, both in the abstract and
on a "gut level". Thoughts can, in fact, get quite abstract, sometimes to
the point of seeming meaningless to other observers. Quite a few people
have reported some sort of self-referential or abstracting aspect to
thoughts, such as a "self-creating and self-invoking meme" that consists of
the concept of itself. Another example is abstracting the concept of
abstraction (and abstracting that, and so on and so on). There may be an
overall blurring together of cause and effect, and causality may become an
alien concept (I've spoken to more than one quantum physics student who
enjoyed DXM).

Language becomes difficult, partly due to cognitive changes (as in the
first plateau), and partly due to difficulty in coordinating the mouth and
tongue motions. There may also be a direct effect on the language-producing
centers of the brain. Interpreting spoken language is difficult due to
sensory flanging. However, thinking in language is still fairly easy.

The curious detachment from painful or embarrassing topics of conversation
that occurs at the first plateau continues and is much stronger at this
plateau. Again, this is generally viewed as a positive event, although if
you're not prepared to encounter and possibly discuss your deepest, darkest
secrets, you might want to avoid higher doses until you're comfortable with

Another major defining characteristic of the second plateau (as well as
closed-eye hallucinations and flanging) may be the motivational aspect.
Repetitive, mundane, boring tasks suddenly become doable, and (if one can
avoid distraction) may be easily accomplished, even if they take hours.
There may be a considerable behavioural stimulant effect remaining at the
second plateau without other feelings characteristic of stimulants. The
euphoria from the first plateau continues but diminishes as dosage across
the second plateau increases.


5.4.3 Motor Effects

The first-plateau effects on motor skills continue to exist, and may be
considerably stronger. Some users find themselves contorting their limbs
into rigid positions (and in some cases with general muscle rigidity),
others may extend and stretch themselves. These effects are not always
immediately apparent; when they are, the user usually reports that it just
"feels right" to be in that position. It is still possible to override

Another accentuation of first-plateau motion effects that sometimes occurs
is that the large, sweeping motions, once initiated, may continue for
considerable time (looking somewhat like a cross between modern dance and
Huntington's disease). Again, it just "feels right" to do.


5.4.4 Memory Effects

Intermediate-term memory and working memory may be severely disturbed,
although experience with DXM seems to help people compensate. Possibly
because of the changes in memory, it may be very difficult to get bored,
even with repetitive tasks. At this plateau, a lot of time may get lost,
and the more mundane aspects of the trip are easily forgotten after it is


5.5 The Transitional Phase

Between the second and third plateaus lies a transitional phase. Not
everyone experiences it; it seems that about 70% of DXM users have reported
at least one aspect of it. In some senses it seems to be "programmed", in
that the content of the experience, although varying from individual to
individual, does not change much from one trip to another.

Overall these experiences are probably the crossing of a threshold in
dissociation. The hypothesis is this (although it is by no means proven).
Generally speaking, sensory input competes with "feedback" input from the
brain (you've probably noticed this from being deep in thought and not
noticing what is going on around you). As sensory input becomes
sufficiently inhibited, networks where sensory and feedback information are
combined and reconciled begin to gain a larger and larger proportion of
their input from internal feedback sources. Eventually, there is enough
attenuation of sensory input (and probably intermediate-term memory as
well) that the feedback loop becomes "free-running", leading to internal
states (or models, if you prefer) that are increasingly detatched from the
outside world.

During this time, people generally report that they can experience the
process or they can discuss, relate, write about it; it does not seem
possible to experience it while attempting to maintain contact with the
body in any way. Unfortunately, memory of the experience is often impaired,
so one gets the feeling of having taken an incredible ride without
remembering it. Fortunately, the threshold experience may repeat itself
throughout upper plateau trips (see Section 8.2.1).

If you want a very rough model for the threshold experience, get a video
camera and a television, and feed the output of the camera into the TV.
Point the video camera at the TV, turn on the date display on the camera
(to provide some sort of "sensory input"), and turn the brightness down on
the TV. Adjust the zoom on the camera to roughly include the entire TV
screen. You will notice one or two copies of the date/time digits
appearing, but overall the picture still looks like a video of a TV screen
inside a screen (or two).

As you increase the brightness on the TV, however, something interesting
begins to happen. Eventually, the feedback becomes self-sustaining, and you
can get extremely complex, self-reinforcing patterns which take hold and
maintain themselves. The entire picture begins to turn into abstract blobs
and colors. As you adjust the zoom, you will find a stable point where you
can wave your hand in front of the screen and the effects of this "sensory
input" will ripple through the system, mutating constantly but never really
leaving. This also makes a fascinating trip toy, by the way.

Overall there are some common features to most people's threshold
experiences. The first is a sensation that has been described as the
opening of nasal passages, being full of helium, losing one's body, or
having one's heart stop beating. The actual effect is most likely a sudden
cutoff of sensory input from within the body - everything from all the
little aches and pains to the awareness of one's own heartbeat go away.
This can be very disturbing if a naive user interprets it as heart failure!

The second transitional effect is a temporary loss of all sensory input
(this does not always occur), as if one were in a sensory deprivation tank.
This is often accompanied by severe Lilliputian hallucinations, probably
because there is no internal size reference (since the rest of the universe
has just gone away). One person reported feeling as if he shrunk down to
the size of a proton, and the rest of the world were light-years away.

This transitional phase often repeats itself between the third and the
fourth plateaus.


5.6 The Upper Plateaus

The upper plateaus are considerably less "recreational" than the lower
plateaus, and are more introspective, spiritual, and shamanic. Most people
who use DXM for psychonautical exploration or spiritual work do so at the
upper plateaus. The upper plateaus generally take more out of the user,
with more frequent hangovers and moments of dysphoria.

Unlike the lower plateaus, most upper plateau experiences do not lend
themselves to moving around much. Most people find it better to find
someplace comfortable and stay there. Trying to move too much can induce
nausea in some people.


5.7 The Third Plateau

The effects at the third plateau itself tend to be very intense, and often
very different from earlier plateaus. Keep in mind that a third plateau
trip can be terrifying to people who are not psychologically comfortable
and prepared. Because the third plateau is so individually variant, I don't
feel comfortable in trying to come up with a narrative.


5.7.1 Sensory Effects

The flanging of visual effects, coupled with the loss of stereoscopic
vision, becomes so strong that the brain seems to completely give up trying
to process vision, leading to a sort of "chaotic blindness". Simple images
(e.g., a candle flame) are still recognizable, although given the loss of
stereoscopic vision one tends to see two of everything. More complex
images, especially images that are not sharply defined, are difficult if
not impossible to recognize. Vision, when possible, has a very dream-like
quality to it.

Simple sounds are still understandable, and one can usually comprehend
language, although it may be necessary for the speaker to phrase it in a
complex rhythm (see Section 5.7.2). Music euphoria is rare. Touch and taste
are subject to considerable anesthesia, and pain especially may be
completely dissociated (it's still there, it just doesn't seem to apply).
Body position, kinetic, and balance senses are similarly disrupted.

Some people continue to report an enhanced sense of smell on the third
plateau; in a few people almost all smells are overpowering, and subtle
elements of scents may be recognizable. This can affect taste, and ordinary
foods or drinks can take on peculiar tastes as previously unknown odors are
noticed. Even the type of container can affect the smell, with faint scents
from paper cups, plastic, and even metal noticeable.

Hallucinations may continue, although they tend to be more abstract and
"pre-sensory" rather than being predominantly visual. Oftentimes there is
an overall sensation of being surrounded by "grey-ness", which brightens to
white light as the dosage increases. There do seem to be more frequent
moments of "virtual world" experiences, where one can construct an
imaginary sensorium with the eyes closed.

At the third plateau, the flanging of sensory input occurs both on a raw
level (sounds, images) and on higher levels (words, phrases, faces, etc.)
This is, to my knowledge, unique to DXM. Flanging may slow down and speed
up, leading to periods of lucidity alternating with periods of


5.7.2 Cognitive/Emotional Effects

Cognitive function becomes severely disrupted at the third plateau. Complex
tasks, such as arithmetic, may be very difficult (though some report little
or no difficulty with simple skills). Reaction time is significantly
delayed. Decision-making is somewhat degraded, although conceptual thought
is less affected than concrete thought. Generally speaking, mental tasks
which do not require changing context are far less impaired than tasks
which require one to change one's decision-making approach.

Those who study this sort of thing will be interested to know that I have
done some preliminary tests which show impaired results on the "Brain Warp"
toy in "combo" mode (which is a basically a simplified Wisconsin Card Sort
for kids). This probably indicates impaired prefrontal lobe function, a
hypothesis supported by some research (226,326).

Language changes can be quite significant. Sentences may stretch on and on,
or alternately be very terse (I call this the "Hemingway Effect"). Words,
syllables, and phrases are commonly repeated. This may be related to
problems with working and short-term memory. Speech may occur in a very
rigid (but not necessarily simple) rhythm, and the user may not respond to
speech unless it is in a similar rhythm.

The normal "chatter" that goes on inside everyone's brain tends to slow
down or stop at this plateau, leaving a feeling of mental peace and quiet.
One person reported this as "it felt like the top of my skull was opened
into a clear blue sky".

Mood can range from absolute mania to panic. Many people have independently
reported feeling as if they were dying, with some sense of fear, although
some people do not seem to associate fear with this. Some people report a
great increase in approach behavior, as if every event and object were a
new experience; others find irrational fears occurring (possibly due to
body load).

Panic attacks have occurred at the third plateau. This can be a scary
experience, especially if one finds one's heart rate skyrocketing due to
the panic attack and doesn't know why. The best way to cope with this is to
try and calm down, much the same as one would with a bad trip on any other

DXM on the third plateau has a very "shamanic" feel to it. Part of this is
due to the sense of rebirth, part from the recall of suppressed and/or
partially forgotten memories (some similar effects which I formerly placed
on the third plateau (e.g., feelings of contact with other beings) I now
place on the fourth plateau as they tend to occur at substantially
different dosage levels). Complete annihilation of self can occasionally
occur (rarely up to the point of forgetting one's identity, but more
commonly just psychedelic ego-annihilation).

Note that, to sober observers, the effects of a third plateau trip can seem
very unusual and unpleasant (often much more than to the person tripping).


5.7.3 Motor Effects

At the third plateau it may be impossible to perform coordinated movements.
The large, sweeping motions of the first and second plateau are no longer
present. Instead, many users lack both the desire and ability to move at
this plateau.

Well-learned motor tasks (e.g., speaking and typing) are still possible at
this plateau, provided the user doesn't attempt to think about them. In
particular, some users have reported that they were able to express their
thoughts via typing, without even thinking about it or realizing they were
doing so; however, when they looked at the screen or keyboard, they were no
longer able to type. This is evidently a phenomenon unique to dissociative


5.7.4 Memory Effects

Short-term memory is seriously impaired; working memory is less impaired.
Thoughts may get stuck in a loop. Memory encoding of the more mundane
experiences of the trip tends to be very bad; expect to forget a lot of the
trip itself (a few people report that they begin to recall events from the
trip a few days after it has ended; I know of no mechanism for this). The
sense of time can be quite distorted, both in terms of chronological
placement of events and in the sense of the passage of time.

The day after a third plateau DXM trip, some users feel as if there were a
break in the continuity of their memory, almost like the close of one
chapter and the beginning of another. Some find this a very positive
feeling, like a rebirth or rite of passage. It can be disconcerting if
experienced without adequate foreknowledge and preparation.

One of the most significant memory effects that can occur at the third
plateau is the spontaneous recall of memories, often memories which were
hidden (consciously or not). This can be a positive experience if one is
prepared to review the darkest secrets of one's past; otherwise it range
from somewhat embarrassing to very unpleasant and disturbing. The user may
also feel compelled to tell her or his companions about these memories (not
always a good idea).


5.8 The Fourth Plateau

Information pertaining to the fourth plateau (roughly, above 15mg/kg) is
limited, and what I have gathered will be presented as a general overview.
Fourth plateau doses are similar to fully dissociative (but
pre-anaesthetic) doses of ketamine.

Please note that dosages in these ranges are approaching the danger zone,
and under no circumstances should anyone take this much DXM without a sober
assistant who can take you to the hospital if the need arises! Many people
neglect "trip sitters" with psychedelics. While you can probably get away
with this with LSD (provided you remain in control enough not to do
something stupid), with DXM there may be moments of such total confusion
that you can wander into trouble without knowing what's going on.
Additionally, the danger of adverse physiological effects, although not
great, is worth paying attention to. Finally, psychotic breaks are most
frequent at fourth plateau doses (and of course increase as the dosage

Generally, people entering the fourth plateau report that they lose all
contact with their bodies, often suddenly. This can be somewhat
frightening. In particular, the sense of breathing is one of those missing,
and people have occasionally interpreted this as evidence that they were
dead. The surrounding environment may be evenly colored (usually grey or
white), or it may appear vividly realistic, or cartoon-like, or anywhere in
between these.

Many users have reported experiences very similar to "out of body" and
"near death" experiences. In such cases, many report that they have
contacted other beings, whose reaction to the user is usually somewhere
between curiosity and amusement. Contact with "superior being(s)" has also
been reported, sometimes as a raw force, sometimes personified in some way.
In the reports given to me, the "superior being" image is more often female
than male.

Delusions can become fairly involved at this plateau; the crucial factor
seems to be whether or not the individual realizes that the belief or
thought is drug-induced. Some people, especially those more experienced at
this level, have reported that although they were aware that their thoughts
were delusional, they didn't really care at the time. In general these
delusions are fairly harmless (e.g., "I am a flower in the middle of a

Typically an individual in this plateau won't be moving at all, which can
be frightening to observers. In many ways this state resembles dreaming. If
someone in this plateau does attempt to move, his or her attendants should
be very sure that he or she is conscious of these actions, and not
responding to a delusional environment.

Somewhat surprisingly, many cognitive abilities are still intact. Basic
computational skills and long-term memory recall do not seem to be
particularly affected. It is also possible for the "body" (actually body
and some parts of the mind) to undergo fairly complex tasks while the
conscious mind is dissociated.

One individual wrote the following of the fourth plateau trip, and I think
it is a good explanation both of the trip and of its possible origins:

I've come to the conclusion that DXM is almost unique in it's
ability to create a truly "alien" experience - one in which major
aspects of one's humanity can become entirely irrelevant. Most
obviously, one's body can be left behind; even forgotten. The
experience of becoming or encountering bizarre life-forms seems
at least somewhat common, as are weird, horizonless landscapes or
space-scapes. I think alot of this "alieness" comes from having
so many of one's ties to the familiar severed. When your body is
gone, your mind loses its sense of how "big" or how "small" you
are in relation to your surroundings. Hence hallucinations of
huge things like galaxies, or of being as large as a mountain, as
small as an atom, etc. I think the brain also misses subtle clues
like the sensation of breathing, blood flowing through the veins,
etc. - things which help remind you that you're human. And at
some point, even your memories of the familiar may be suppressed.


5.9 Plateau Sigma

A few people have independently contacted me about an additional plateau --
one reached not by increasing the dosage but by prolonging the experience.
I searched for some time for a name before settling on "Plateau Sigma",
both because it seems to be related to sigma activity (see Section 10.2)
and because it occurs as one sums up small doses (sigma being the
mathematical symbol for summation). This summation may lead to a strong
potentiation of the psychotomimetic effects of DXM (227). Over half the
people who had a Plateau Sigma experience have said it was extremely
unpleasant and that they would never repeat it.

The most commonly reported dosage regimen for Plateau Sigma is given below.
However, before giving it, I warn you strongly against making this sort of
attempt. DXM at high dosages is probably hard both on the brain and the
body, and extending the experience is likely to increase the chance for
dangerous side effects. Furthermore, one must be experienced enough with
DXM, with the psychedelic experience in general, and with one's own mind,
to be able to understand the experience. Everyone who has reported a
successful experience with this dosage regimen has been at least 23 years
of age. While I do not doubt that some younger people may be capable of
having a good experience at this plateau, most seem to be unable to
understand it and unable to control it, and there may be a real danger of
psychotic breaks. Finally, the experience is in some ways acutely
uncomfortable, as one's contact with inner and outer reality seems to break
down entirely.

Combining suggestions from others I have come up with the following dosage
regimen. Start relatively early in the day (the experience degrades if one
is too fatigued), at about 6 to 10 hours after awakening. It helps
tremendously if one is in good physical shape and not under emotional
stress. Take a low second plateau dose. In three hours (or about 1 hour
after the peak), take a second low plateau dose. At three more hours (or,
again, 1 hour after second peak) take a high second plateau or low third
plateau dose. After coming down from the third plateau, instead of going
back to the second plateau and down to baseline, you may be left in Plateau
Sigma. Drugs which inhibit cytochrome P450-2D6 seem to enhance the duration
and intensity of the experience. Nicotine is reported to inhibit it, and
may even prevent it entirely.

At Plateau Sigma interesting things happen to reality. Some have reported
vivid, entirely realistic contacts with alien entities, spirits, gods and
goddesses. Unlike the fourth plateau, these contacts often take place with
eyes open, immersed in everyday reality. Although none of the people who
reported these experiences to me had bad trips, most related that the
experiences were so real that they felt they easily could have.

Vision suffers a curious change, seeming to consist of well-processed but
highly strobed images; so strong is the effect that it seems as if one is
looking at the world under a fast strobe light. The eyes don't seem to
track in synch with the inner 3D model of the world, so that when one looks
to one side or another, the world lurches back and forth for a moment.
Interestingly, it almost seems as if one is looking at the world from an
inner vision with the eyes closed (see Section 5.11).

Finally, thoughts can be totally deranged. Connections between entirely
unrelated ideas form, causality goes out to lunch, and one's personality
seems pretty much dissolved into the universe. Expect to hear a lot of
voices; some people find themselves totally obedient to them. There seems
to be a "tireless" quality to the experience, as if one does not feel
either fatigue or emotion directly, but only receives information from the
inner voices ("sit down now, you're tired"). There are interesting
comparisons both to accounts of acute schizophrenia and to Jaynes'
postulated bicameral mind (350).

Again, let me warn you of the dangers here. You are probably stepping head
first into psychosis, and unless you've got a very good trip sitter, you
might end up coming back to reality in a padded room. Or, if you're really
unlucky, you might freak out, have a hypertensive crisis, and end up in the
hospital. Chronic high-dose use of PCP has been implicated both in
deterioration of some brain areas and in cerebral hemorrhages. While PCP
stands somewhat alone among dissociatives due to its additional and
peculiar pharmacology, one should always be cautious when blazing trails in
uncharted territory.

One last time: Be Careful!


5.10 Is There Anything Beyond the Fourth Plateau?

There may be yet another plateau beyond the fourth. One individual took
3000mg (I don't know his weight) and survived, although he regained
consciousness in a strange location and remembered nothing of the trip.
Beyond the fourth plateau probably lies full anaesthesia, then respiratory
collapse, coma, hypoxic brain damage, and death. Given the toxicity of DXM
at doses much higher than the fourth plateau, I don't think anyone should
try and go there. You might not be able to come back.

More recently, one user accidentally went beyond the fourth plateau and had
a rather unpleasant (to say the least) experience:

Now, and interesting experience to relate. several months ago, I
accidentally took 3060mg of dxm, which at my weight then of 150lbs,
translated to about a 46.6mg/Kg 9I believe) dose.

Now, I won't go into the details of how I managed to take this much, but in
a nutshell, I took 1100mg and three hours later felt nothing, so I took
another 900mg. Then, once it hit me, I somehow cleaned out the rest of my
stash, for what reason, I don't know.

Anyway- for the first 6 hours following my first dose, I felt normal. Then,
I experienced a normal high 2nd trip until the point when I took the
remaining 1060mg. After that point, i recall the following things:

1. falling face down on the floor in my room.
2. wondering why my rug tasted like burned nylon, when it was cotton.
3. feeling myself float past the 3rd and even 4th plateaus, they were
clearly defined for me, with differing emotions and feelings for each
one. The last thing I remember before passing out was looking up and
seeing a 5th plateau, which was very dark and most definitely not
happy looking. :) Then darknss.
4. dropping in and out of consciousness for a period of 15 hours, while
hearing the voice of what I thought to be some higher being telling me
repeatedly "do not do this to me again"

Approximately 25 hours after the first ingestion, I woke up, for the first
time realizing where I was and what I'd done. I crawled to the bathroom,
and found I'd lost about 4lbs due to sweating, and was severely pale and
shaky. I crawled back to my room, and found the floor absolutely soaked
with sweat, which smelled like coricidin. I then passed out again, and woke
up 6 hours later completely refreshed, but with a slight stomachache. I
grabbed come chocolate milk and that gave me some energy back. Enough to
reflect, at least. It was then that I counted the empty foil wrappers and
learned what I'd done. I laid back and thought about this, and couldn't
remember much, but did come to believe that the 'divine voice' I'd heard
was nothing more than my brain screaming at me.

Since then, the trip has faded from my mind, but every time I look at
coridicin, be it in a friend's hand, or in the store, I hear that voice
again, and almost always puke instantly. As such, this dose is NOT
recommended,and will probably prove fatal to someone not as lucky as I.

Created by nigtv, 08-08-2009 at 09:57 AM
Last edited by nigtv, 08-15-2009 at 08:19 PM
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