The active ingredient in many cough medications. Also useful for getting high as a kite. See, it surpresses coughs by doing something-or-another to the sigma receptors in your throat, and if you drink a whole big bunch of it, it does the same thing to the receptors in your brain. So your brain doesn't cough. Or something like that. Do be careful with it though, and read the FAQ at before you try this dangerous and stupid stunt.

The Dextromethorphan Metanode, or, More Than You Should Ever Want To Know About Cough Syrup

Node in progress--excuse our dust. /msg me if you have suggestions.


Trip Reports

Stuff You Should Know About If You Actually Decide To Take DXM, You Fool


C18H25NO, dextromethorphan hydrobromide




  • Upset stomach, vomiting
  • Body itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Red blotchy Skin
  • Fever
  • Tachycardia (racing, pounding heart)


This is not a drug to mix with alcohol, since DXM itself will make you nauseous. If deriving from a cold medication, avoid ones which contain Tylenol or other medications. Robitussin, Delsym, Pertussin, Drixoral and Vicks formula 44 are generally safe bets, one capsule has about twenty to thirty mg. Dosing is as follows:

Threshhold: 80-90mg
Light: 100-200mg
Common: 200-400mg
Strong: 400-600mg
Heavy: 600-1500mg
Fatal: 2500+ mg


Effects at low dosage can be similar to alcohol producing carefree clumsiness with a touch of psychedelic and speedy effect. Intense and rhythmic music induces a state of euphoria and dancing becomes fun. On a higher dose imagination can become vividly experienced (not always pleasant), feelings of dissociation from the body can occur and on very high doses profound alterations in consciousness.
Each trip lasts three to four hours


In the U.S., DXM is uncontrolled, so possession, purchase and sale are fully legal. In China you need a presciption in order to purchase, and Finland requires a license to sell undiluted DXM, over the counter stuff is often laced with a laxative. If you live in Japan, DXM can be procured from your local headshop (5000-6000yen for 2 doses.)

Info borrowed from Erowid and people who will probably have forgotten it soon. Don't do any drugs until you fully understand their effects.


I found this on a personal website, the posting was done over usenet. I have no clue how reliable this is, chemically, it should work, but I wouldn't risk frying my bain to try.

"I HAVE CONFIRMED THIS TECHNIQUE, DXM HBr DOES LIBERATE ITS BASE VERY FREELY. The technique I employed utilized generic DXM based cough syrup similar in composition to the above mentioned product. It was diluted 50% with water to allow rapid filtration and easier formation of the cation. A solution of 50% sodium hydroxide was added dropwise to the 50% cough syrup solution until the pH of the solution was around 11 to 12. The solution was stirred and allowed to stand for 1 hour to completely precipitate the DXM base. The solution was decanted to remove the bulk of the liquid, and the solid sediment as well as a portion of the mother liquid was filtered and the filtrate was washed 3 times with cold water and allowed to dry. Alas, I did not weigh the product for yield. The dry product was mixed with an aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid until all went into solution, the pH was then adjusted to neutral and the solution was evaporated to dryness. The product is assumed to be the hydrochloride salt of dextromethorphan. Other possibilities are the product is the dl-form Racemethorphan HCl, which means that about 50% of this product will be the l-Form of methorphan HCl or Levomethorphan HCl. This has given me the idea of a simple one step cleavage to yield Levorphanol from the base Levomethorphan. If the product is true dextromethorphan base, a simple cleavage to dextrorphanol should as well be possible. I have no reference on dextrorphanol, but I have extensive information on levorphanol, which is a powerful schedule 2 narcotic. One bottle of Robo should yield enough levorphanol for 30 analgesic doses based upon PDR dosage recommendations.

Research is now continuing. The plan is thusly; convert DXM HBr to the base, which will be either Racemethorphan or Dextromethorphan. Cleave this product to yield either Dextrorphan or Levorphan or the dl-form Racemorphan and convert this product to the tartrate. I have no information at all on the dl-Form or the l-Form of Methorphan (Levomethorphan). Someone please post what you have.

I also need information on the dl-Form, Racemorphan and the d-Form, Dextrorphan. The PDR provides clear information on the l-form, Levorphan (e.g. Levorphanol).

3-Methoxy-17-methylmorphinan => 3-Hydroxy-17-Methylmorphinan
A Schedule Narcotic Racemorphan HCl should by this procedure be a simple and reliable narcotic produced easily from Dextromethorphan HBr bearing products."

Dextromethorphan is used in nearly every brand of cough syrup- i.e. Benelyn DM and the like. Like all cough supressing drugs (codeine, heroin, etc), DM is a mind altering drug. If one were to drink half a bottle of the stuff (not easy), one would be well on their way to an interesting psychedelic experience.

But first, there is some unpleasantness. You first have to suffer through half an hour of strong nausea. DM acts as a purgative, loosening up your bowels and generally causing intestinal nastiness. Puking and nasty farting are par for the course.

But about 45 minutes into things all this becomes irrelevant. Your body begins to feel strange and alien. All the movements which previously seemed so natural are suddenly revealed as mere habit. Fluid and insectlike modes of motion seem much more interesting and efficient. Time stretches and sounds become altered. In dark settings visual hallucinations may begin - melting textures seem particularly common. At higher dosages true 'vision' style hallucination may begin.

The hangover is not physically awful, but more like a weakened version of the state itself. Avoid coffee, nicotine, and marijuana if you wish to avoid intense flashbacks. You may feel spacey and somewhat emotionally disassociated from your surroundings.

DM, like all disassociatives such as ketamine, PCP, and large doses of alcohol, can cause brain damage if used habitually. It can also be physically addictive. It is often mixed with guafisenine and acetimenophen, which respectively cause intense puking and painful bloody death if you overdose on them. If you feel the urge to experiment, for god's sake do some proper research to avoid these unpleasant consequences.

Many thanks to (DanceSafe) for allowing the reprinting of this article with information on the dangers behind DXM. The original is at

What is DXM?

DXM is dextromethorphan. It is a legal cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough syrups. In high doses it acts as a "dissociative anaesthetic" like ketamine ( or PCP. A high dose will cause you to feel very spacey and "out of it," and you may lose motor control (your legs may feel wobbly, for example, or at very high doses you won't be able to move much at all). It can also produce audio and visual hallucinations, and can sometimes cause nausea and itchy skin.

Some people use DXM recreationally. When they do, they nearly always do it at home, in bed or on their couch. DXM is definitely not a dance drug, and getting scammed with a DXM tablet when you are expecting ecstasy is no fun at all. It can also be quite dangerous.

Watch Out!

High doses of DXM have contributed to numerous cases of rave-related heatstroke. Most heatstroke emergencies DanceSafe volunteers have witnessed around the country have resulted after an individual unsuspectingly consumed DXM rather than MDMA ( Many drugs can increase the risk of heatstroke in a hot environment by inhibiting the body's ability to regulate its temperature. Both MDMA and DXM carry this risk, but anecdotal evidence suggests DXM is much more likely to contribute to life-threatening heatstroke reactions at raves (especially when taking multiple tablets).

Correction: In previous literature we reported that DXM had "anti-cholinergic" effects. Upon a more careful review of the medical literature, this appears not to be the case. The pharmacological activity of DXM that increases heatstroke potential is less cut and dry, and is likely related to its effects on serotonin. Also, while DXM tablets are more likely to induce medical emergencies in dance environments when they are being passed off as "ecstasy" to unsuspecting consumers, serious adverse reactions are rare among purposeful DXM users who consume the drug in home environments.

Don't Mix different brands of E together.

It is even more dangerous to combined DXM with real Ecstasy. Both drugs are metabolized through the same liver enzyme, CYP-2D6 (pronounced "sip-two-dee-six), which means that if you combine them together your liver will not be able to break them down as efficiently as it should. This can lead to significantly heightened effects from the DXM, and a much greater chance of suffering a heatstroke reaction.

What if you think you have accidentally ingested DXM?

Taking breaks from dancing, and staying hydrated are always the best ways to reduce the risk of heatstroke at a rave. If you think you may have accidentally consumed a pill containing DXM, however, you should probably not dance at all, and should stay in a cool environment. Have some friends watch out for you, and chill out for the evening. Remember, your chances of heatstroke are greater if you have consumed DXM, and greatest if you have consumed both MDMA and DXM together.

Can I Tell if a Pill has DXM in it Before I Take It?

Yes. The Ecstasy Testing Kit ( can identify pills which contain DXM.

Why are people selling DXM as "Ecstasy?"

DXM is cheap, legal and easy to obtain, while making MDMA is expensive and risky. This is why people are selling DXM as ecstasy: to cash in on the high demand for MDMA without undergoing the risk or expense. The manufacturers of these fake pills are trying to make money, but they may not be aware of the dangers they are inflicting upon users. Help spread the word about the dangers of DXM being sold as ecstasy.

Here are some informative websites on DXM:

For more information on the adulterated market and the need for adulerant screening, visit
DXM, in addition to neurotoxicity issues common to all disassociatives, has some health issues specific to its interactions with MDMA.

Both DXM and MDMA are broken down by the same enzyme (CYP-2D6), and it puts an incredible load on your liver, often causing heatstroke and/or liver failure. More than a few E'd up ravers have died after accidentally taking a pill they thought was MDMA, that turned out to be DXM.
Tripping from DXM can be a highly enjoyable experience. Each experience is different, but if you follow the guidelines outlined below, your experience should be at least mildly pleasant. I have witnessed many people robotrip for the first time, and nobody has ever had a bad experience with me.

If this is your first time tripping, brace yourself for a slight shock and try desperately to have an experienced user (of DXM, LSD, Ketamine, or shrooms) trip with you. And only try the 4 oz. bottle. You can move up to the 8 oz. bottle later.

General guidelines:
1. Buy Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough or a generic equivalent. This variant has Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide as the only Active Ingredient. Other variants WILL make you sick and/or dead. This is very important.

2. Trip with AT LEAST two other people. If you are all inexperienced, also have a sitter with you.

3. Have marijuana on hand for the coming down.

4. Expect the trip to last at least six hours. The intensity will not last that long, but do not expect to be able to do much of anything for six hours.

5. Find a place where you will be undisturbed for the first four hours of the trip.

6. Make two play lists of music or get two CD's. One set should be very relaxed, chill music. The other should be intense, trip-enhancing music. Tool's Third Eye is very effective during the intense trip. Not everyone can handle the intensity though. So be sure to have the calm music available.

7. The trip will begin within an hour of ingestion. Do not attempt to move from your location after that hour.

8. Read the DXM FAQ.

These guidelines are not necessarily the best way to trip. Many people enjoy going outside and doing numerous other activities during the trip. However, if you are coming into this world for the first time, these guidlines will ALMOST ensure a pleasurable trip.

Dextromethorphan, usually in the form of Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide, is the only pharmaceutical cough supressant available in the USA over the counter. (There are probably a number of herbal remedies and a few local anaestics such as menthol, but these are not true cough supressants). It provides suppression of the cough reflex directly in the central nervous system for a period of several hours.

I know that many people reading this may think of the idea of using DXM to suppress coughs in the same way they would think about reading Playboy for the articles. And while it is true that DXM's rather strange and dangerous intoxicating effects may overshadow its use as an antitussive, its use for suppressing coughs is quite important.

Although dextromethorphan is indeed a synthetic opioid, and it has a similiar cough suppressing effect, it is not considered a narcotic, that is, its route of action is different from that of codeine or morphine. According to the DXM FAQ :

Sigma receptors are evidently involved in this pathway (42,49,55,56). This may be a direct involvement - sigma activation may directly inhibit the cough reflex signals - or it may be an indirect one. The cough suppressant effect of opiates (such as codeine) is not related to the same effect of non-opiate morphinans like DXM (49); instead, it seems to be governed by traditional opiate receptors (mu, kappa, or delta).

This perhaps doesn't mean anything for those of us not schooled in the difference between the four types of opiate receptor, and who haven't fully delved into the mysteries surrounding the Sigma opiate receptor, but the upshot of all this is that, unlike Codeine, at the recommended dosages for cough supression, DXM does not cause drowsiness, analgesia constipation, and has no potential for abuse.

DXM is usually sold in a syrup form, usually mixed in with Guaifenesin, an expectorant, or drug that causes mucus to become less thick. The combined effects of these two drugs is to make the user cough less, but makes the coughing they do perform more productive.

The dosage of DXM is usually somewhere between 10 and 20 milligrams every four hours. Note that since psychoactive effects don't start until around at least 50 milligrams, it is quite possible to use DXM to relieve a cough with no impairment of function (although driving or operating machinery is probably not a good idea).

The exact mode of action of DXM is hard to explain. My own experience seems to show that it causes a reduction in both the subjective and objective urge to cough. While it is not analgesic at these dosages, it does seem to cause a decrease in the amount of irritation that the cough reflex subjectivly causes.

I went to the Student Health Service at Portland State University yesterday, complaining of some upper respiratory symptoms. The nurse said I didn't have either bronchitis or pnuemonia, and that I just needed some rest. She gave me a bottle of generic Robotussin, even though I hadn't complained of a cough. However, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I took it home and took it at slightly greater then recommended dosages. The Guaifenesin has really helped clear out my throat, and the DXM has greatly reduced the constant irritation that my throat was giving me.

So, to summarize: Dextromethorphan is a safe, effective and side effect free way to reduce both the objective symptoms and subjective discomfort of a cough.

Over the past few months, I have been very bored, and therefore experimented with many substances, including dextromethorphan. I will try to relate my personal view of these experiences with DXM rather than explain technical aspects of recreative DXM use; it's been done it in other places way better than I could do it, Google "DXM FAQ" and you'll learn everything you might want to know about sigma receptors and Olney's lesions. The purpose of this retrospective is to give you a subjective but detailed view of the evolution of my DXM (ab)use and what it changed in my life, so to help you make up your mind about it.

It all started like it must have started for many other DXM users: "Cough syrup can get you high!?!". Since the beginning of this year of 2008, my interest for drugs was growing every day as I would spend hours reading the Vaults of Erowid, from Absinthe to Zolpidem; I inevitably stumbled upon dextromethorphan, and after reading up a bit more, it quickly became clear to me that I had to try it.

A few recon trips to the drugstores around my house confirmed what I first feared: there are no DXM HBr-only preparations available in my area, and I didn't want to risk guaifesin (projectile vomiting? no thanks) or home extraction. There is however one brand of DXM polistirex-containing preparation, but since polistirex use is somewhat less frequent (and less documented), I was at first reluctant, and let's open a parenthesis explaining why:

(To sum up for those who do not want to go through the trouble of doing the research themselves, and hoping that I have it right, DXM in most preparations is found in the form of a hydrobromide (HBr) salt. However, in some preparations, the DXM molecule is linked to an edible plastic (polistirex), that is slowly digested and therefore slowly releases the DXM in the bloodstream for longer cough relief... And this whole principle can be transposed to recreative DXM use: slower onset, maybe less intense plateau (for a same dose) and much longer overall duration of effects. Also, the slower the metabolization, the more "saturated" the digestive enzymes become before the rest of the dose is metabolized; therefore, less DXM is metabolized to DXO and the effects are more dissociative and psychotomimetic, making for a weirder and potentially less pleasant experience. Add to that the fact that the indications on the bottle are obviously not designed with trippers in mind: "one tablespoon (5ml) contains a dose of DXM polistirex equivalent to 15 mg of dextromethorphan hydrobromide" left me confused as to whether the dose was considered "equivalent" in terms of cough relief or of quantity of DXM... And I still don't know how much DXM is in polistirex preparations, mind you.)

Of course that didn't stop me from trying. One day of mid-June, coming home from school, I went to the drugstore and bought the 8 oz bottle. Then, at home, I first took a dose you would take to relieve cough and nothing more (5 ml, 1 teaspoon?), to make sure that if I was allergic to an ingredient or another, I wouldn't have ingested a whole bottle of it. It obviously doesn't taste good, but it is not horrible. 15 minutes later, persuaded that any allergy would have been noticed already, I drank down maybe a quarter of the bottle. Half an hour later, I drank half of it, and shortly after that, in sheer horror, I wondered if I had drunk too much; I wasn't feeling anything yet, but what if it hit me very hard later and my parents came home only to see me dead on the floor with a bottle of cough syrup in my hand? So I did the only thing that seemed reasonable at the time: proceed to make myself vomit. I only had an apple for lunch, so I mostly puked weird-tasting bile. After that I laid down on my couch, still scared but also still very curious, waiting for any effects to manifest themselves, with some good music turned on. And soon I was convinced that DXM was not a hoax. A weird relaxing feeling washed over me, and I understood fully what the "concert hall effect" related by many users was all about: never had Gogol Bordello sounded so incredibly profound! The music seemed to come from inside my being, as if I was feeling it and not hearing it! I could hear all the instruments and vocals independently while still listening to the rest of the music, and my imagination conjured up images of great landscapes and invisible revolutions to the beat of the music (not as true visuals, mind you; simply enhanced imagination). I have never been able to distinguish clearly the "plateaus" of effects as many other users do, and that may be because of the slower digestion of DXM-polistirex (and therefore smoother "curve" of effects), but the effects I felt were clearly consistent with descriptions of lower "plateaus": heightened musical appreciation, slight feeling of "alieness" and strong desire to move around yet very relaxed state of mind. I managed to avoid my family the whole night by pretexting a bad stomachache (which wasn't totally a lie), and listened to music in my bed until I drifted into deep sleep. I awoke the next morning feeling like a million bucks plus tax, a mix of the excitement from the discovery I made and of the weird energizing effects of a low dose themselves. I was also relieved for a few hours of the chronic headaches I have almost every single day of my life, or rather they felt "irrelevant"; those are not very intense headaches but they make my whole life feel tiresome at times. After this first experience, DXM became the most fantastic thing on Earth for me, but little did I know what dirty tricks DXM still had in its sleeve for me.

I obviously had to talk about my first experience to some people I knew; none of my friends were really thrilled by the discovery, but they were obviously as surprised as I first was to learn that most cough syrups contain a powerful dissociative anaesthetic. My little brother, however, was quite interested. He is in some ways pretty mature for his age, and I wouldn't have told him about DXM if I didn't think he was ready for it. He might very well be more emotionally and socially stable than me, in fact. So, about a month later, one weekday I wasn't working (I have a summer job), we both drank our 8oz bottle in the morning and waited for the trip to come. He got the "robo-itch", a quite common reaction to DXM, badly enough to have some scars from scratching the next day, while I never had that problem. He also puked a bit of bile and water, but since it happened as he was starting to trip, he said it didn't feel that bad actually (DXM really makes your body feel different, or, rather, irrelevant). And there we went, listening to music, enjoying the sunny day, swimming in our pool, watching patterns creep out of TV snow, walking like maniacs around the neighborhood and basically having as much fun as one can have on the lower plateaus. We were feeling very close to each other (in a brotherly way, you sick psycho!), as DXM really modifies relationships with people, objects, even concepts and thoughts; I feel it brings you closer to some things and further to others. At the end of the day, as we were coming down, he confessed to me that it was the most fucked up thing he ever did, and that it had been quite enjoyable. We left it at that, referring to that day every now and then as you would refer to any great time you had with somebody. And as any other fun experience, we wanted to do it again sometime.

About a month and a half later (beginning of August), I crossed a treshold that may seem trivial, but that definitely marked a new "step" in my story of DXM use: I first used DXM alone, except obviously for my first experience. I was by no mean alone that night, but I was the only one in a bunch of pot-smokers and alcohol-drinkers to instead chug an 8oz bottle of cough syrup, in fact without any of them knowing. They noticed that I acted quite weird, but attributed that to the marijuana (I don't smoke marijuana often, but it was an occasion). It was the first time I tried the marijuana-DXM combination, and I enjoyed it pretty much. Music took an almost epic quality (especially System of a Down), random thoughts raced in my head and I felt much more aware than usual of all the little "white lies", body language and unspoken meanings scattered over the conversation of the drunk and stoned people around me, a phenomenon I obviously found quite interesting to watch. I attributed that at the time to the DXM-induced loss of social "conditioning", making all the non-spoken aspects of communication consciously noticeable. The stimulant quality of DXM and 5-6 CDs kept me up all night; I watched the sunrise on a pier and then went to bed, fell quickly asleep and bolted straight up a few hours later. I noticed a quite weird hangover-like effect, that was more like a weak continuation of the effects but for the whole day. It was a very interesting day: I visited a Cold War nuclear bunker, and the already strange atmosphere of the place became truly eerie in the haze of a DXM hangover. I was however quite happy to finally get home and have more sleep. Smoking marijuana the day after brought flashback effects, and I couldn't really call them enjoyable; I was feeling very confused, hot and cold at the same time as one would with a fever, and my thoughts raced in every direction possible.

A few days later, I got an e-mail from one of my friends: he was back from his summer job (quite far from the hometown) and willing to try DXM with me. DXM tolerance builds up every time a dose is taken, and then slowly degrades in a few weeks or month, depending on frequency and intensity of past trips, or so I read. I thus thought that my next trip would be lessened by the tolerance built up from the week before, but a joint of good-quality marijuana sent me as far as I've been before. The trip with my friend was much similar to the one I had the week before, but we stayed more in silence, listening to music and sometimes discussing the effects we felt. The next day, he was suffering from severe tiredness while I felt, as usual after a DXM trip, very energized; despite that, he wanted to try again, and this time at a higher plateau. The higher plateaus are much more alien; short-term memory is nearly inexistent (it is easy to end up somewhere and only realise it later) though judgement itself isn't too much affected, crazy visuals jump out of complete darkness, and true visions of other worlds, feelings of uncarnate conscious beings surrounding our universe and other self-referential abstract thoughts are common. Obviously, reading this and understanding it are two different things; I obviously thought the same as I read such descriptions over the net, and we were both determined to see it for ourselves some day.

Three weeks later came that day. Those three weeks were spent with both great expectation for the next trip, an expectation that made me feel uneasy when I thought about it: was I becoming an addict? No, of course not, I was not craving for DXM, and I never had any withdrawal symptoms. The day arrived, and with it relief, great excitement but also a lingering feeling that I would in fact become an addict if I kept doing DXM. We bought three bottles for the two of us, and had some good marijuana rolled. We did as usual: we started with a bottle each, a good joint, and lots of music. When we were well into the lower plateaus, it hit me: I did not enjoy the effects as much as I used to. I did not tell this to my friend, who was only having his second time with DXM anyway, and when he proposed that we each drink another half bottle, I accepted. Maybe half an hour later, it hit us full force: we both retreated into a selfish dissociative universe; I recall visions of a dimly lit gate of white marble, but I don't remember much since DXM is the worst thing you can ever inflict to your short-term memory. I spent the whole night in a state I could neither describe as "awake" or "asleep", lying on my bed in the dark with earphones on, or suddenly realizing I was standing in the bathroom talking to myself, or exchanging life energies with floating entities outside of any space or time. The experience was definitely mind-blowing; I can only describe certain moments of it as the feeling of reaching the Absolute, of Being One. Still quite dissociated the next morning, we didn't discuss the experience much except that it was the craziest thing we've both ever done, and my friend left.

This is two weeks ago from now. The past two weeks have been somewhat hard. The expectation I feel for the next trip feels really unhealthy; I found myself craving it so much that I had to smoke pot, take a shower, run around the block, anything to keep my mind busy. I cannot listen to the music I listened to while under the influence of DXM without feeling deeply "moved", somewhat nostalgic of the other consciousnesses I visited and at the same time very tense. I will probably never be able to enjoy marijuana the same way as before; it now has a touch of DXM to it everytime I smoke. Days are long, common tasks are a real pain, long-term motivations are inexistant; I have always been a bit that way, but it is now exacerbated the way it was during some depression phases I have had earlier in my life. I am considering now that the next trip might be my last, and that I will have to stop DXM forever after that to avoid becoming a real addict. DXM addiction is something that crawls up on you very slowly, very slyly; I would have never suspected anything like this from a drug like DXM, but here I am now, knowing that I should stop before it is too late.

I hope that my story of DXM use will help you make up your mind about DXM: if you choose to use it, you'll know the risks; I wish you mind-blowing fun for the time it will last, but keep it as occasionnal as possible. If you choose not to use it, you might very well be doing the wisest thing; you might never experience the crazy times DXM induces, but maybe you just don't need that either. I know my life has found a weird sense now that I have had a "glimpse of God", as I like to refer to it, but it raised a hell lot of questions and dilemmas, most of which yet unanswered, and DXM is on my mind night and day; I just can't stop thinking about it. Whatever your choice, take care of yourself, and thank you for reading.

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