Shrooms vs. DXM

By David Jenison on December 30, 2017

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an ingredient in certain over-the-counter cough medications, and when taken in high doses, it can have hallucinogenic effects. DXM is different than purple drank and lean—another commonly abused cough medication—though both involve considerable risks. Nevertheless, a study in Psychopharmacology isolated psilocybin (the hallucinogen in psychedelic mushrooms) and DXM to test the different effects they produce. 

Twenty healthy participants who previously took hallucinogens participated in the double-blind study that involved taking DXM, psilocybin or a placebo. Higher doses produced similar profiles of subjective experiences, but the differences in effect were fascinating. 

Per the researchers, psilocybin produced "significantly greater and more diverse visual effects" that included "greater movement and more frequent, brighter, distinctive and complex (including textured and kaleidoscopic) images and visions." The shroomers also enjoyed "significantly greater mystical-type and psychologically insightful experiences and greater absorption in music." By comparison, DXM produced a greater sense of "disembodiment, nausea/emesis, and light-headedness."

No offense to fake lean, but we'll stick with shrooms, especially when paired with pop art and '90s-era Radiohead. 

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