My friend and I hadn't slept much the night before, and we were pushing the boundaries of good sense when we decided to drive into town from our campsite and ingest what we thought was a modest amount of the unknown white powdered substance, methoxetamine.
We'd checked into a cheap motel and found ourselves in a miniature-but-tacky-beyond-words room with a saggy bed for us to sit on. I explained the basic knowledge about this new drug I'd recieved in the mail only a few weeks before, from an online research chemical vendor. I was met with total enthusiasm. I measured out a couple bumps of the white powder and we both sniffed one each.
While waiting for the effects to take hold, I put on a copy of Werner Herzog's documentary, Encounters at the End of the World. The icy and beautiful images of Antarctica–along with the sparse and disjointed dialogue–complimented our ascent into dissociative ecstacy quite nicely. However, after 30 minutes or so, the film became–at least from our altered perspective–too bizarre to comprehend. My friend excused herself and went to use the bathroom.
I laid back on the bed as my consciousness gently receded beyond the confines of ego. From this incredibly pleasant and seemingly enlightened perspective, I began to review some of the bigger decisions I had made in my life and reminisced about all the loving and nurturing souls that I'd encountered along the way who'd influenced these decisions that had brought me to that very moment on the motel bed. I realized just how incredibly happy I was. I was so thrilled to be alive; in fact, that day was to be the best of my life. Every day, for what must have been years now, had been the best day of my life. I had been on an upward trajectory of blissful existence and I was just realizing this now. Because of every decision I'd ever made (right or wrong) and because of every human being I'd ever met (good or bad), this was true. A smile of deep satisfaction found its way to my face.
Suddenly, my friend stumbled out of the bathroom, sat on the floor and asked me with worried eyes, "When's it gonna stop?!" Needless to say, we were not having the same experience. — Prince George, BC. May 2012.
The first mention I'd heard of methoxetamine (MXE) came from the Facebook status update of a well known California-based author. I can't remember exactly what he'd said about it, except that his experience was breathtakingly positive. Having an avid interest in ketamine-induced dissociative states and a respect for this particular writer, I was determined to get my hands on this apparent wonder drug. Just the name, methoxetamine, appealed strongly to me for some unknown reason. So I did my research and quickly discovered that MXE was widely available through the online research chemical marketplace. A couple of hours later, I was placing an order for 5 grams of MXE through a UK vendor, with the trepidation one might expect from shopping for grey market drugs on the internet for the first time. A few weeks later, the package arrived in the mail, and to compensate me for the slight delay in the delivery time, the vendor generously threw in an extra 10 grams. This was especially lucky considering that the very next month, April 2012, the UK government put an emergency ban on the substance. So here I was, with 15 grams of the substance, with an average dosage between 30 and 60 mg; I had been blessed, and I had quite a lot of research to do.
What is methoxetamine?
Methoxetamine (3-MeO-2-Oxo-PCE) belongs to a class of drugs called arylcyclohexylamines (the same family as ketamine and phenycyclidine or PCP) and is most commonly described as a 'dissociative anaesthetic.' Anecdotal evidence shows that, like its close relative ketamine, methoxetamine can be habit-forming, yet also effective in the treatment of depression. The main difference is probably its length of duration, which is about four to five times longer than that of ketamine. It is a product of deliberate and rational drug design by an anonymous underground chemist interviewed a year ago by Vice Magazine's Hamilton Morris. The chemist, identified in this interview as M., was first introduced to the wonders of dissociatives due to a freak accident that cost him his left hand. After attempting to medicate the pain from his phantom limb with more typical prescriptions, M. discovered that only ketamine and cannabinoids could get the job done efficiently. This fascination with chemicals, and arylcyclohexylamines in particular, led to an education in biochemistry and neuropharmacology, where M. became an expert on the subject. After three years of toying with the idea of MXE, he created a batch, and was blown away. M. used MXE daily as a treatment for the pain from his phantom limb. (MXE is not the only dissociative concoction investigated and praised by the elusive M. The underground chemist comments that, "3-MeO-PcP and 3-MeO-PCE are simply incredible drugs with a true healing capacity.")
MXE is a brand new drug with very little information available; we would do well to look into the ketamine literature to familiarize ourselves with the world of dissociative drugs. The differing natures of my trip and that of my friend is fairly typical of dissociatives. Karl Jansen's authoritative book, Ketamine: Dreams and Realities illustrates this by seperating the book into three parts; The Light Within, The Dark Side, and Unity.
Like ketamine, MXE (and other arylcyclohexylamines) is both a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist and a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and it is widely acknowledged that their effects bear a strong similarity. In Chapter 2 of his book, Jansen focuses on the duality between two prominent ketamine psychonauts. The first is a Harvard graduate named Marcia Moore who wrote the now out-of-print book called Journeys into the Bright World (1978). The second is the famed Dr. John C. Lilly who wrote a book called The Scientist, released the same year and considered by some to be a cautionary tale concerning the outlandishly bizarre states of mind one can find oneself in while engaged in a ketamine binge.
The chapter summarizes the two somewhat opposing attitudes used in approaching the dissociative world. Moore comes from a very spiritual point of view; she considers herself a sort of earth mother communicating with the ethereal Goddess Ketamine. Lilly uses a more scientific approach when he refers to himself as a space father utilizing the invaluable Vitamin K, a term he used often. Moore is the mythological priestess exploring the distant past, while Lilly is the science fiction psychonaut exploring the distant future. The two approaches become unified when both explorers acknowledge the importance of dissociative consciousness as a means of experiencing "the first emanation from the power source which the hindus call Brahman" (Moore). They also both believed that this powerful experience may have the potential to stop wars if given to influential leaders who might realize that "their essences are hooked to every other essence in the whole Universe" (Lilly).
Leaning perhaps towards the darker side, Moore and Lilly, after periods of continuously injecting ketamine on a daily basis, developed what could be termed fractured psyches. Moore describes several sub-personalities (such as Priestess and Fire Lady) which sometimes manifested themselves in pairs of opposites (such as Prostitute and Nun). Lilly eventually encountered numerous beings who warned him of conspiratorial plots on a galactic scale. His ideas of Coincidence Control Centers seem to echo many reports that those who engage in excessive use of dissociatives generally notice an increase of synchronicity. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm for the drug cost them dearly in the end. Moore froze to death one night in the forest outside her home after repeatedly injecting supposedly massive doses of ketamine. Lilly suffered severe paranoid delusions and almost lost his life on several occasions at the peak of his usage when he would inject himself with the drug up to twenty times a day.
Experience reports from the vaults of Erowid paint a similar picture of MXE. The profundity of the experience is expressed in the quotations below:
–The next day I awoke feeling, for lack of a better term, new. Everything was bright, and happy, and my interaction with those around me stood out as some of the most meaningful I've ever had.
–I usually would dissolve into a point of consciousness watching the universal mechanisms of the foundation of the universe. This time though I went much deeper. I just kept going deeper and deeper into the fabric of the universe, through the loom, the threads, the molecules of the threads, and onward. I was aghast with my unworthiness to be where I was, so deep into the secrets of everything. It was nearly unbearable in its intensity. Yet, I did not long for it to end. I was willing to cease my existence in exchange for this satori.
–I was then given a bizarre, cosmic tour through the nether-regions of my mind, Mystical architecture floating on clouds, strange rooms that I'd never seen before, unfamiliar people who somehow seemed so comforting, intense size/space distortions like nothing I'd ever felt before (one minute the entire universe felt like it had been stuffed into a small corner; the next, I was suspended above an infinite void). Manic euphoria; total detachment from any worldy concern. Atmospheric music gave a mystical, transcendental feel to the experience.
It's potential for hellish trips and chronic abuse is also a theme that comes up often in these reports. A couple of examples:
–I looked outside and it appeared to me that the sky had opened up and everything around me was flying into space, all the landscape was warping and twisting, there was fire and strange lights in the sky and a horrible sound. I felt an awful sense of impending doom and I believed the world was ending.
–This is not the kind of drug that will lure in those who love cocaine, or the numbing of feeling of heroin. MXE will delude those who consider themselves responsible psychedelic lovers, luring them in with its simultaneously psycheledelic and depressant effects.
A large portion of the more negative reports usually involves a lack of basic preperation beforehand. A few guidelines for minimizing unpleasant and dangerous experiences: always measure the dosage with a 0.001g scale (these are easy to purchase online), do not mix MXE with other drugs (especially depressants such as alcohol and opiates), and have a experienced sitter present. Undoubtedly this substance is a very sharp double-edged sword and its use demands the utmost respect if one expects to get away unscathed.
Is it illegal?
MXE was first identified in November 2010 by the European Monitering Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In April 2012, after months of increasing awareness of this substance, MXE was placed as a temporary class drug in the UK by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which would prohibit its distribution for 12 months, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. Crime Prevention Minister Lord Henley commented in a BBC Article dated 28 March 2012, "Making this drug illegal sends a clear message to users and those making and supplying it that we are stepping up our fight against substances which are dangerous and ruin the lives of victims and their families." On 18 October 2012, the ACMD issued a report to the Home Secretary, recommending that MXE be brought under the Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Although it admits that it is not aware of any one death attributed solely to the ingestion of MXE, the report declared that MXE has been shown to cause "reversible cerebellar toxicity" in at least 3 analytically confirmed cases. Due to its relatively low rate of usage "it is not a crime generator." By the end of 2012 the states of Florida, North Dakota, and Virginia had added MXE to the Schedule 1 list of drugs by emergency means. It has also been criminalized in Germany, Japan, Russia, and Sweden.
Not to sound conspiratorial, but it seems that when a government decides to single out a drug such as it has done with MXE (as opposed to the countless other research chemicals readily available online), it can sometimes be an indication that the drug probably has a valuable therapeutic aspect to it that may help some people "de-condition" themselves from destructive or spiritually stagnant modes of existence. A brief glance at the legal history of substances like LSD and MDMA, in conjuction with their roles in experimental therapy, seems to confirm this suspicion. In the case of MXE, the opportunities for scientific research were almost completely by-passed, leading to the unfortunate position of having to rely on anecdotal evidence to educate oneself about these substances. Nevertheless, there is some valuable reading material available online. In addition, my personal experience with MXE has convinced me of its important role in substance-induced self-exploration. It has the power to infuse one's life with meaning and to enable one to explore unimaginable realms of consciousness.
- Ketamine: Dreams and Realities. Copyright 2000 by Karl L. R. Jansen, M.D., Ph. D.