REALITY SANDWICH IS PSYCHEDELIC CULTURE

Ultimate Changa Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety

Ultimate Changa Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
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Table of Contents

Changa (chang-ah) is a smoking blend of herbs infused with DMT. At its foundation, changa is a mix of naturally sourced DMT and ayahuasca vine/leaf (Banisteriopsis caapi). These two ingredients are then typically mixed with other herbs. Altogether they synergize to give changa its unique character and healing power. All in all, the purpose of changa is to offer a more accessible way of smoking DMT than freebase DMT crystals so that the users can get more therapeutic benefits out of it. 

Julian Palmer invented changa in the early 2000s in Australia as he was experimenting with new forms of DMT administration. Thus, changa is a relatively new substance in psychedelic culture. It first became popular in Australia and gained wider recognition through the psytrance scene. Since then, changa’s notoriety has continued to grow due to its ease of use and longer duration compared to smoking freebase DMT crystal.

What You Will Learn About Changa

  • Changa is a smoking blend that combines a DMT containing plant (typically naturally occurring), Banisteriopsis caapi and a medley of other herbs. The herbs are infused with DMT. The mix is dissolved into alcohol or any form of ethanol. Then, it’s completely dried and smoked. 
  • Julian Palmer invented changa in the early 2000s in Australia.
  • He created changa as an easier, more pleasant way to smoke DMT than freebase DMT crystals. It has a gentler approach, a longer duration, and many think that it has a broader range of psychedelic effects than freebase DMT crystals. 
  • The name for “changa” came to Palmer during an ayahuasca ceremony. It is an Australian slang word. 
  • There are many possible recipes for changa. Users around the world experiment with their own.
  • Banisteriopsis caapi is the primary herb, also used to make ayahuasca, and usually consists of at least 1/3 of the recipe.
  • A classic recipe includes: mullein (20% ), passionflower (20%), peppermint (20%), calendula (5%), and blue lotus (5% ). One can also create changa with the DMT containing plant and Banisteriopsis caapi only. 
  • DMT is classified as an illegal drug in most countries, which makes changa illegal. However, cultivating plants that contain DMT is usually legal. Check local laws. 

What is Changa?

Changa is a smoking blend of naturally sourced DMT, ayahuasca vine/leaf (B.caapi), and other herbs. The primary herb in changa is the ayahuasca vine. It typically makes up 1/3 of the recipe and activates the other plants in the mix. The experience typically lasts about 15 minutes, but there are ways of extending the high up to 30-40 minutes. (See: Common Way to Use Changa.) 

Originally, changa consisted of a blend of herbs infused with DMT sourced from Acacia obtusifolia bark. The Mimosa hostilis, however, is going to be the DMT source for most of the changa blends today. Though one could use synthetic DMT, in theory, the combination of naturally sourced DMT, the harmala alkaloids from the ayahuasca vine (B.caapi), and an “intelligent alchemy” of other herbs potentiate changa’s psychedelic, healing effects. Technically, any herb can be added into changa, and users around the world design their blends.  

Furthermore, the act of smoking versus drinking changes the way the body processes the substance. When drinking ayahuasca, the enzymes are inhibited in the stomach then the effects spread throughout the body. Changa, since one smokes it, works differently. By smoking, the lungs absorb the blend directly, and it goes straight to the brain. This system creates a unique effect overall.

The theory behind changa: very small amounts of smoked harmine can produce as much as a “50% MAO-A inhibition.”

Let’s unpack that sentence.

Vocab’ Break

An alkaloid: A member of a large group of chemicals that are made by plants and have nitrogen in them. Nicotine is a well-known alkaloid and so is morphine. 

Harmine: A hallucinogenic alkaloid found in a variety of plants around the world. Banisteriopsis caapi, used for ayahuasca and changa, contains harmine. The plant acts through the harmala alkaloids by inhibiting the MAO-A.

MAO-A: An enzyme in the brain that breaks down neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. It’s a key function is in ensuring that the brain is working properly. Drugs that inhibit MAO-A and MAO-B are used clinically to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders. The way the harmine alkaloid affects serotonin results in the psychedelic effect. This may also be how it works therapeutically.

Harmine and tetrahydroharmine from the ayahuasca vine are the key alkaloids in changa. They synergize well with DMT in lower doses. Harmine inhibits the MAO-A enzyme, which suggests that it could have a positive impact on how the brain functions overall. 

Is Changa the Same as DMT?

Smoking freebase DMT effects are very intense, shocking to the system and are short-lasting. Upon smoking DMT, it usually blasts users to another dimension, and the experience lasts about five minutes. Retaining the visions and integrating the information from the experience is somewhat difficult for many people.

Julian Palmer created changa to offer users the benefits of DMT without the intensity, shock, and difficulty of smoking straight DMT. Many users find changa has a gentler onset, a broader range of psychedelic effects, and lasts longer (15-40 min). One can smoke a little, for example, and have a more relaxed experience. 

Furthermore, people are able to communicate with the plant spirits. It is even possible, users report, to communicate with the ayahuasca spirit. Though an experience like this is possible with crystal DMT, it can also just be a portal to other information that has nothing to do with any plant spirit. “Changa,” Palmer says, “by virtue of being embedded in plants seems to be more conducive to communication with the plants.”

Vocab’ Break 

Mystical Experiences: Psychologist, Rachel Harris, observed that the bond a user cultivates with the plant spirit of ayahuasca facilitates healing. In psychedelic terms, this could classify as a “mystical” experience. Studies at John Hopkins University concluded that mystical experiences potentiate therapeutic and healing outcomes. “Although modern Western medicine doesn’t typically consider ‘spiritual’ or ‘religious’ experiences as one of the tools in the arsenal against sickness, our findings suggest that these encounters often lead to improvements in mental health.” Thus, the connection established between the person and plant spirit may support one’s health overall.

Common Ways to Use Changa

Changa is a smoking blend. One could add any plant or herb to the mix, and users customize their recipes depending on the desired effect. Mimosa hostilis and acacia species are natural sources of DMT. Most of the changa found today will include DMT from the Mimosa hostilis. Most Australians prefer acacia.

One blend consists of only Banisteriopsis caapi leaf and DMT. Users also make changa without the ayahuasca vine, called “enhanced leaf.” However, Palmer argues that the ayahuasca vine activates the other herbs, affects the duration of the experience, and smooths out the smoke.

Ways to Smoke

The blend can be rolled into a joint or consumed with any smoking device. Many users around the world prefer a device called a “vaporgenie.” Some say that vaporizing the blend is the best way to smoke changa because it leads to a less direct and gentler effect, but it comes down to a matter of personal preference. Using a pipe could result in a direct “coming up.” Additionally, some users feel that a water pipe or bong is more straightforward. However, it takes some practice to do it correctly. In short, any device could be used but some may be more effective depending on the effect one desires.

Dosage

A light changa blend consists of 25-30% DMT. A medium blend has 35-30% of DMT. 50% is a strong blend. Anything more than 50% would become more of a DMT experience. 

What draws many users to this blend is that they can decide the dosage for themself. One does not need a lot however to have a fulfilling experience. Palmer says that even a small puff of a joint is “enough to brighten color, amplify perception, and clarity the activity of the mind and bring alignments to thoughts.” Overall, the range of experiences possible on changa is broad.

Types of Experiences

One can use it to enhance one’s experience socially or recreationally, with friends for example, and to produce a powerful DMT experience that has an other-dimensional feel and field of vision. Some users report that adding a large amount of harmine or Syrian rue extract will lengthen the duration and create a “heavier” experience that involves deeper emotional processing. 

Vocab’ Break

Syrian rue: a plant that can cause hallucinations and have stimulating effects when ingested. Syrian rue is an MAOI used to potentiate psychedelic substances and extend the duration of their effects.  

MAOI: a class of drugs that inhibit the activity of one or both monoamine oxidase enzymes: monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B). MAOIs were the first type of antidepressant drugs, developed in the 1950s. They are also used to treat nervous system disorders such as panic disorder and social phobia as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

What is Changa Made of?

The ingredients include a DMT extract from a natural source and at least one herb that functions as an MAO inhibitor (B.caapi). The amount of MAOI used affects the duration of the trip. Changa usually contains a variety of other herbs of the user’s choice as well. Any herb or plant could be added to the mix. Therefore, it is important to know what herbs are in the blend and the possible effects that they might have.

In short, the DMT is infused into a blend of herbs that is dissolved into alcohol or any form of ethanol. The mixture is then dried completely and smoked. One can use synthetic DMT. However, many users find that naturally sourced DMT is richer, smoother, aligns better with the human system, and facilitates informational exchange between the user and plant spirit. 

A “classic” changa recipe:

  • 30% ayahuasca vine and/or leaf | 20% mullein | 20% passionflower | 20% peppermint | 5% calendula | 5% blue lotus.

In taking the other herbs listed and how they factor into the blend, the passionflower might increase the effects of MAOIs imprint and provide a calming effect. This is supposed to balance the stimulating effect of DMT. Mullein is a respiratory healer and has a soothing effect overall. Blue lotus has distinct psychoactive properties that are bright and pleasurable. Peppermint, in this case, smooths out the smoke and taste. A good blend should not feel like smoking at all. Other herbs that Palmer recommends are lemon balm, damiana, and cornflower.

Other blends include:

  • Minty Blast: 40% Caapi | 35% Peppermint | 25% Mullein 
  • The Mekong: 50% Passionflower | 50% Blue lotus
  • Twisted Fruit: 50% Caapi | 20% Salvia | 30% Mugwort + Bufotenine

History

The act of smoking DMT has a significant history. Many Brazilians believe that changa is an ancient indigenous traditional blend. Taking one example out of many, yopo (a DMT source) has been smoked in Jujuy Province in Argentina for 4,000 years. In other words, smoking DMT in some form is not a new idea. 

Julian Palmer invented the smoking blend in the early 2000s as an alternative way to smoke DMT. At that time, the shock of smoking freebase DMT crystal turned off many Australian users. The “getting blasted out of cannon” experience was often disturbing and too confusing to integrate. Palmer wanted to create a more accessible DMT experience that would allow people to use it more regularly and get more out of it therapeutically. He says, “Initial prototypes [of changa] involved making joints of the ayahuasca vine, then sprinkling DMT onto them and also making joints of mullein and peppermint…” 

In making changa, Palmer had been “inspired by hearing and reading of people infusing DMT in herbs, typically parsley, but also mullein and mint.”

Typically, the DMT is naturally sourced instead of synthetic and the amount used in changa is between 25-30%. 

Commonly Reported Effects of Changa

Users claim that changa has a physically relaxing and calming effect. The effects of changa typically last about 10-15 minutes and aftereffects tend to last about 20-25 minutes. It comes on quickly and gently, and the comedown is agreeable. If the MAOI is stronger in dose, it can extend the trip up to 40 minutes and create a more grounded experience overall. 

Common Effects Include:

  • Enhanced awareness.
  • An alignment of mind, body, heart, and spirit. 
  • Heart-opening.
  • Visuals that range from brighter colors, geometric patterns, and seemingly “alien” entities. 
  • Time distortion.
  • Pain-relief.

Most users experience the effect of DMT as being very visual. If one does not want to have a full psychedelic experience, inhaling a small amount will boost your state of mind. “You may not get visuals, but you’ll likely experience an opening of the heart: a warm feeling in your chest,” Palmer says. 

Effects at Different Stages

Reports indicate that the initial stage of changa produces an expanded state of awareness, similar to LSD or another psychedelic. Reality appears sharper but visuals are uncommon. For many, this stage is followed by geometric patterns and colors. Some have visual experiences that are coherent. Some appear to be “alien” in form rather than a projection of one’s mind/body. These include entities. As Georgia Gaia observed below, the normal rules of time and space may dissolve, and the “observed and observer become one.” 

User Report

Researcher and changa-expert Giorgia Gaia said that after smoking a small amount of changa that she “…understood that linearity of time is an illusion: I saw it moving forward and backward. Sometimes in slow motion, sometimes fast forward, as you can play with an old-fashioned audio cassette. I had a look into a different timeline. I believe you can switch: you can go and see other dimensions and other evolutions of humankind.”

Users have also reported that changa helped them in overcoming addictions to substances such as crystal meth or cocaine. 

Clinical Study

Furthermore, a study from 2019, published in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, found that changa produced long-lasting pain relief. Pain is symptomatic of many health conditions, physical and psychological. The researchers observed that the way changa interacts with several neurotransmitter systems enhanced mood and produced anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and plasticity-promoting effects. 

Can You Break Through on Changa?

Julian Palmer originally designed it to be a sub-breakthrough experience. The intention behind changa was to provide a gentler way for people to approach DMT. According to users, sub-breakthrough experiences can be intense too. Breakthrough experiences, however, are possible to achieve with changa.

Safety Precautions

There are a variety of factors to be aware of. First, any amount of DMT could be overwhelming and some are more sensitive to it than others. Second, it’s hard to determine how much MAOI or DMT content is in the blend unless you made it or have an inherent understanding of how these substances work together. The other herbs involved in the mix might trigger allergies or might not have the expected effect. Furthermore, as with any other psychedelics, if one doesn’t make it themself then there is a possibility of adulterants being added. Additionally, solvents such as methanol and acetone should not be used to make changa because they can leave chemical residues that are toxic to smoke. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that users of DMT not mix it with other substances besides an MAOI. It is not advised to smoke changa if someone has taken MDMA or is taking an SSRI because there is a possibility of inducing “serotonin syndrome” which occurs when the body is overwhelmed with too much serotonin. People who have pre-existing heart conditions or mental health issues in their medical history are also at risk of having dangerous complications.

FAQ

What Does Changa Mean in Spanish?

In Spanish, changa means “woman who looks like a monkey.” 

How is Changa Made?

Changa is a smoking blend that is typically made of a naturally-occurring DMT, ayahuasca vine/leaf, and a customizable variety of other herbs. 

How do you Smoke Changa?

You can smoke changa out of any smoking device.

Is Changa Legal?

DMT is classified as an illegal drug in most countries. However, cultivating plants that contain DMT is usually legal. Check local laws. 

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