Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Experience With Cough Syrup

In the last post I wrote a few words about my experience taking LSD, and mentioned that I didn't really have any hallucinations from it, and in this post I wanted to talk about my experience using cough syrup, which did cause some hallucinations.

Keep in mind that I'm writing from memory here, about something that occurred many years ago, so pardon me if the description is not as thorough as it would be had it just happened.

Cough syrup is nasty stuff, and is most certainly bad for your health. The recommended dosage for its intended use for the treatment of coughs is like maybe a couple teaspoons worth. For accessing its psychotropic properties, you would consume between 2 to 4 fluid ounces. First of all, not all cough syrups are equal, some contain harmful additives that if consumed beyond the recommended dosage listed on the label could cause organ damage and may even kill you. But this post is neither a tutorial nor an endorsement so you'd have to find that information elsewhere, just be forewarned that if you don't know what you're doing it could kill you.

The reason why cough syrup has psychoactive properties, when used at a higher than recommended dosage, is because the active ingredient Dextromethorphan (DXM) is molecularly similar to PCP, the street drug also known as angel dust, a dissociative, which can trigger a feeling of being outside of your body. So at low doses it has been described as being similar to the drug ecstasy, and at higher doses is like a mild PCP high.

It takes between 30 and 60 minutes before you start feeling the effects, which last I think maybe six to eight hours, and similar to LSD begins with the heightening of your senses, especially your sense of hearing, but perhaps a little milder, and consequently without the feeling of terror that I got from LSD, as in regards to not being frightened by the heightening of my senses, but there was some paranoia that derived from another source, which I will describe later.

The next thing you notice is that your body begins to feel very heavy, and when you walk or move your arms they feel like rubber, almost robot-like, voices sound tinny and kind of far away, your movements clunky, almost as if your head is separated from the rest of your body, and your body feels like it's not quite you, like some kind of machine, like an inanimate prosthesis, but in my case I did not consume a high enough dose to have a true out-of-body experience, it was more like a partial feeling of separation.

The other thing I noticed is that strangely enough it really intensified my feeling of empathy, like when I watched a movie while under its influence, I could feel the emotions of the people more strongly than I normally do, and I was like picking up on this whole other dimension of the story, the unspoken feelings of the characters, that I either wouldn't had noticed or put much importance on otherwise. And also increased my appreciation for music, you feel it more, it becomes a part of you, soaking it up like a sponge.

Now this is where the hallucinations come in, and also the feeling of paranoia, while under the influence of cough syrup there is a sense that there is another world overlapping this one, (something I did not get from LSD at all) you get this feeling, even if you are alone, especially if you are alone, that there are other beings in the room with you, watching you, whispering things about you, are clearly non-human, troll-like, dark, alien, almost like their world is in black and white, and I got a bad feeling from them. But I want to make this clear I didn't actually see it with my physical eyes, or hear it with my physical ears, is more like something in a dream, astral, more of a subtle impression, a feeling, like when you're drifting off to sleep and are awakened suddenly right when you were starting to dream, and you still have this strong impression of the dream world, which you know is not based in the physical world, it's in your mind, where you've got a clear mentally visualized image of it, but in this case, I was not sleeping, and I had not been sleeping, but it was similar to that.

I had that experience of these subtle troll-like beings every time I used cough syrup, which was I don't know maybe a half a dozen times, so it was a repeatable phenomenon. It doesn't happen right away, but later, during what you would call the peak, this subtle awareness of being watched by beings of another dimension. That was the closest I came to having a hallucination. Once again, have no intention of ever using cough syrup again, just seems too dangerous, bad for your health. I also think that repeated long-term use could probably cause a person to have mental problems, where they may gradually lose their grip on reality.

But it was interesting, my experience with LSD and cough syrup showed me that our perception of the world can be drastically changed, that reality has many different dimensions to it, that what we see through the filter of our human senses is not the one true objective reality, that what looks like a flower to you, may appear as a spiral galaxy to another, and that what we consider the ordinary human experience is just one perspective out of a potentially infinite range of possible worlds.

The danger of using psychedelic drugs is that they radically change your perception of the world, but without providing you with any way of understanding what you see. It's like suddenly being dropped onto an alien planet without a guide, without a map, without a compass, without a spacesuit, or a backpack with supplies, without any preparation or knowledge about the world whatsoever. You could get yourself into all sorts of trouble that way.

You could get lost, never find your way back home, or maybe even encounter hostile natives that capture you and lock you up in a cage and eat you for breakfast. In other words, it can be dangerous, and that's why in traditional indigenous cultures, where psychedelics were used, it was the shamans and priests, who carefully oversaw the whole operation, acting as guides helping the psychedelic journeyers navigate the waters of the psychedelic realm safely without losing their minds.

They got a whole system of knowledge built up around it to prevent a person from falling off the deep end into the abyss. But when people go it alone, without any knowledge or preparation, anything could happen. It's like jumping off a boat into an unfamiliar body of water and attempting to swim across it without a life jacket and with no idea where the closest body of land is.

Maybe things will turn out okay, and maybe they won't. Either way, it's a risky operation, best undertaken very sparingly, if at all, with extreme moderation, ideally in a safe, comfortable environment, free of hostile influences, and around supportive, knowledgeable people.

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