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This article contains very useful information for anyone interested in the recreational use of DXM-containing cough medication! Read it top to bottom, as well as

Erowid's DXM Vault , before posting in /dis/!

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an over-the-counter medication used as a cough suppressant. At recreational doses, DXM is a powerful dissociative with a wide range of effects that is dependent upon the amount ingested.

The range of effects occur in "plateaus", or stages. Taken directly from William White's DXM FAQ, "The first plateau is a mild stimulant effect with a little bit of a buzz, and has been compared to MDA. The second plateau is more intoxicating and has been compared to being drunk and stoned at the same time. The third plateau is dissociative, like a lower dose of ketamine. The fourth plateau is fully dissociative like a higher dose of ketamine.".

While DXM may mimic some of the effects of PCP or ketamine, it is extremely important to remember that DXM has its own unique effects.

At recreational levels, DXM works as an NMDA receptor antagonist and sigma agonist. Its effects are similar to ketamine and PCP, however, all three have very different chemical structures. It was first approved by the FDA as a cough suppressant in 1958, removing the previous high-risk and physically addicting substance codeine phosphate from the shelves.

Regarding DXM as a "kiddie-drug" or "oh shit im dry drug" is not the best idea. Not only will experienced dexx'ers kill you, but the DXM police (given youve actually taken it) are not forgiving. Said DXM police will bait you into a nice space and immediately blow your mind until you're hallucinating your grandmothers house 200 years ago with nothing but you everywhere. DXM may or may not call DPH for backup.

Smoking marijuana with DXM is a fucking fantastic idea. Weed helps a lot with the nausea caused by most DXM products. The cough suppressant properties of DXM allow you to take larger hits, too, so that's a double bonus. Weed also potentiates the hallucinogenic effects of DXM.

Weed is to DXM as peanut butter is to jelly. Is jelly fucking awesome by itself? You bet your robotripping ass it is.

Is it better with peanut butter? You bet your robotripping ass it is.




Chart with dosages for different weights.
1st Plateau 1.5-2.5 mg/kg
2nd Plateau 2.5-7.5 mg/kg
3rd Plateau 7.5-15 mg/kg
4th Plateau 15-20 mg/kg

If you're too lazy to get your calculator, use this, or look at the chart to the right.

Guide for knowing how much DXM you're chugging.

Rule 1: RETARD, IF YOU WANT TO GET HIGH ON DXM USE PRODUCTS WITH ONLY ONE ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Dextromethorphan HBr or polistirex. Yes, that USP thing on the label is safe, as it stands for United States Pharmacopeia (they set the safety standards for medication in the US).

Rule 2: Don't break rule #1.

Rule 3: Never combine DXM with MAOIs, SSRIs, ecstasy, or large amounts of alcohol, or stimulants (including caffeine).

DXM can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2+ hours to take effect depending on how recently you've eaten, and how much. Expect a trip to last 4-6 hours (assuming you're taking DXM HBr, with polistirex it will be much longer).

There are two types of DXM: Dextromethorphan Hbr (found in all cough medicines but Delsym), and Dextromethorphan Polistirex (found only in Delsym or a generic equivalent). A reasonable saying is that Polistirex (a time-release form of DXM) is "half as strong, twice as long" when compared to regular DXM Hbr. However, it may be different for the end user. It has been said to be about 3/4 as strong as Hbr. Note that the calculator linked above is set to work for DXM Hbr. Be careful that polistirex can make your trip last a lot longer, maybe 12-13 hours before the afterglow.

The Plateaus

by Fuck Cheddlewater (a poster on /dis/)

My take on plateaus, colored mostly by what I've read but also how I've assimilated that knowledge into my own experiences:

The Four Plateaus of DXM are basically a systematized approach to defining the wide range of effects produced by the drug. Many newcomers to DXM often desire to "take more" during their first experience, making the incorrect assumption that, like alcohol, increase in dosage simply means an increase in the same general sort of effect. This is not exactly true for DXM. A First Plateau Dose will produce one sort of effect and a Second Plateau Dose will produce another which, while building from the First, will bring its own share of unique qualities which are also distinct from Third and Fourth Plateau.

The distinct phases are mostly related to the quality of Dissociation experienced. First plateau is characterized more by a euphoria and intoxication than dissociation. Your perceptual experience of the world becomes dreamy and pleasant. Time flows differently, new connections are made in thought, etc. Second Plateau is really the entry of the Dissociative state, where a distinct dissociation is experienced, and sometimes this coincides with more intense euphoria (the high aspect) and intoxicating effects. Third Plateau is like leaving Earth's atmosphere and entering Space. Dissociation now becomes the main feature and the areas of mind which were still active in their normal functioning in 2nd are either blotted from your awareness or turned off. Fourth Plateau is entering into Deep Space.

So it's basically a progressive deepening of dissociation, and each new layer that is revealed comes with its own realm in a sense. DXM is a very "inner" drug - you can be active in an outward way on all the Plateaus but after 2nd you will find you are being pulled within into the inner space. Here you basically enter a sort of trance state which may range from simply drifting in your own mind like a vivid dream world (astral realm type experience) or entering into nondual states of consciousness typically accessed by meditators (who bring into effect a dissociation of their own from the objects of their mind during the meditative process).

DXM becomes incredibly intense around high 2nd plateau (I've known LSD fiends who were scared and totally overwhelmed even on regular 2nd plateau DXM, and utterly freaked by 3rd plateau). For newcomers to DXM, there's really no need to push the limits and try for 4th unless you are particularly adventurous, crazy, or are already an experienced inner space explorer and familiar with the territory and how to handle yourself.

Personally I was content with experiments in 2nd and 3rd Plateau for months before ever going into High Third / Fourth territory. Much to experience, much to learn.


DXM users experience a period of euphoria, talkativeness, and all around chillitude the day after a DXM trip. The length and intensity of this glow depends on the user, but is usually a good portion if not all of the following day.

Note: Some unlucky motherfuckers just get a hangover, but most do not.


See also: DXM potentiation

There are many factors that contribute to the metabolism of DXM in the body. But the most unique one has to do with ways to potentiate and repeat low doses to self potentiate.

This figure represents the effects of double and repeated dosages

People looking to extend and make a small amount of DXM worth the while try to take advantage of DXM's unique metabolism. There is a main enzyme that is utilized in order to get these effects and that is the P450-2D6 enzyme. Oddly enough this enzyme is the same one that opiate users should focus on if they develop a tolerance. There are many normal household drugs that help to inhibit this enzyme:

There is a point where potentiating starts to be either useless or starting a new tier of effects. The more you potentiate the closer you get to DXM being the main contributing factor to the recreational effects.


CoughGels contain 15mg of DXM per pill. Always check medical ingredients before consuming.
Common products that contain DXM with dosages listed

As with most drugs, users of DXM are on an everlasting quest to find how to better the experience. Namely, alternatives to drinking the nasty-ass syrup.

  • Robogels are a popular choice nowadays, more and more stores are carrying them, and it's pretty easy. Just down all the gels with some water and you're done. Some users report nausea and vomiting from the wax coating on the gels from particularly large doses. If you're taking more than one bottle of gels, make a Robodrink, or have plenty of weed to deal with the nausea.
  • Zicam Cough Max (not the other Zicam homeopathic garbage) is also a good choice, as they're merely a shot of nasty liquid with almost 400mg of DXM goodness. But, unfortunately, these are often stolen by 15 year olds and cheap bastards, forcing stores to either drop them or put them behind the counter. However, if you don't mind waiting, you can buy them online at Amazon.com.

So, sometimes you can't get a hold of some easy-to-take DXM, but there's a few methods you can use to easily consume some awful syrup. The first method is to grow some balls and just drink the shit. Failing that, you can chase it with a delicious beverage. The stronger the better. Sodas seem to be top dog, while others insist OJ and other fruity drank are superior. Another method is extraction, which seems to be the favorite of most heavy dex users (see Extractions).

DO NOT DIP A JOINT/BLUNT IN COUGH SYRUP AND SMOKE IT. Not only will you only absorb about 10mg of DXM if you're lucky, but syrups contain a ton of shit that will become toxic fumes if smoked.

Reducing Nausea

The best way to reduce nausea is to find a purer source of DXM. Pure DXM powder would obviously cause the least nausea but that is not widely available. The second best thing would be the powder from an extraction. Generally speaking, classic Robitussin or generic equivalent are the worst for nausea because they contain a lot of excess sugar and sorbitol in the syrup. Zicams are the closest to pure DXM in liquid form. Gels are also a favorite but the wax on them can cause nausea. Another good way to reduce nausea is by preparing a diet for the day before your trip. Eat only what you need to stave off your hunger. Some crackers and water is a good example. Avoid greasy foods or foods with a lot of sugar. Stick to water to drink. If you need some caffeine drink a little something early in the day. You will feel much much better when your trip gets started. This editor has never ever thrown up on DXM before out of the 200ish times I have consumed it. Your mileage may vary.

Additionally here are some techniques to avoid throwing up:

  • Smoke weed
  • If using liquid DXM drink slowly
  • This should be obvious, but pinch your nose while glorping your syrup
  • If using gelcaps, take them slowly, i.e. a few at a time every three or so minutes until you're finished
  • Be sure to use plenty of water when taking your gels, as the sensation of five gelcaps slithering down your throat can contribute to nausea
  • Use a chaser but avoid carbonated drinks
  • Take 50-75mg Diphenhydramine an hour before dosing
  • Eat a small meal 1-2 hours before dosing, but avoid sugar
  • Take Tums or equivalent antacid
  • Lay down on your back
  • Take Promethazine, a prescription anti-nausea pill, if you can find some.
  • Breathe deeply and relax
  • Try to remain as still as humanly possible
  • Wash your mouth out with Scope to remove the taste.
  • Take a cold shower
  • Get some fresh air
  • Make a Robodrink mixture
  • Chase your syrup with a bit of common yellow mustard. Little known fact, mustard completely covers the taste of the syrup.
  • Take a gram of Ginger Root before doseing

If none of these work and it has been around an hour and a half since dosing, some find the most efficient way to relieve nausea is to simply allow yourself to vomit. By that point in time, most if not all of the DXM should have already been absorbed into your body, leaving only inactive ingredients and guaifenesin (if you for some reason took something containing it). Your mileage may vary. Keep in mind that vomiting frequently isn't good for your teeth.

General Effects Summary


  • euphoria, mood lift
  • increased giggling and laughing
  • dissociation of mind from body (positive when sought)
  • creative dream-like experiences
  • increased tactile sensation
  • some users report empathic feelings, forgiveness, warm feelings towards others


  • pupil dilation
  • visual stop motion effect (flanging/strobing/"shaky cam")
  • visual and aural hallucinations
  • decreased sexual functioning (difficulty achieving orgasm)
  • confusion, disorientation
  • skin sensitivity, alters tactile (touch) and skin sensations
  • robotic, zombie-like walking, "robo-walk"
  • discoordination, reduced agility
  • loss of appetite
  • involuntary flexing of muscles
  • feelings of merging with adjacent objects like a couch or bed (with higher doses)


  • upset stomach, vomiting, nausea in general
  • dizzyness
  • body itching
  • rash, red blotchy skin
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • tachycardia (racing, pounding heart)
  • some users report feeling disconnected, isolated from others
  • some users report hangover/depression on the following 1-2 days.


Many products that contain DXM also contain other active ingredients which are undesirable and possibly dangerous. Syrups and gels often contain many "inactive" ingredients which may cause nausea. Luckily there are many different methods of extracting DXM from OTC products.

Sucrets Extraction

Sucrets are a brand of Lozenges that contain Dextromethorphan. Make sure you check the ingredients to ensure that they do not contain menthol or any other active ingredients. To extract, first you must crush up the sucrets and put them in a cup or bowl of warm water (use 70 ml of water per 1 mg of DXM HBr). Then heat the water by using a stove on low heat or by microwaving in a bowl for 30 second intervals. Stir the solution while it heats up. Once the lozenges are fully dissolved the DXM HBr will settle as a white powder at the bottom. Now you can remove the powder from the solution by straining the solution through a coffee filter and discarding the liquid.

Coricidin Cough and Cold Extraction

First a word of caution: Make sure that you buy Coricidin Cough and Cold which has Dextromethorphan and chlorpheniramine maleate as the only active ingredients, as some Coricidin pills contain acetaminophen. Additionally if you plan on using this guide I recommend ensuring that you are not allergic to CPM first (you can do this by taking a medicinal dose of Coricidin) Original Author's note: "Bad things happen if the CPM doesn't get extracted. Make sure it does."

Crush your pills into a fine powder and place it into a cup or bowl and then cover the powder in cold water (only 50ml is required for 500mg of CPM). The water will be discarded so you don't want to put more than you need, but still make sure that there is enough to completely cover the pills (you will lose 1.5mg DXM per each 100ml water). Stir the solution for 5 minutes and then let it sit for a few hours until the DXM HBr powder settles at the bottom. Strain the powder using a very fine cloth or coffee filter and the powder should be DXM HBr, dyes, and other inactive ingredients. You can then ingest this powder by parachuting or placing in empty gel capsules.

Delsym Extraction

You can very easily extract Dextromethorphan Polistirex from Delsym with just water. This only works with Delsym because Delsym Contains DXM Polistirex, a time release coated form of DXM HBr.

You will need:

  • A plastic milk jug/soda/water bottle. (1 litre and or so)
  • Tap water
  • A razor or anything thin enough to separate the clumpy DXM powder.
4 Half gallon jugs with Delsym syrup and water.
  1. Clean the milk jug/soda/water bottle with warm water and empty it out. Pour all of your Delsym syrup into the jug and then fill the rest of the jug with water until it is about 3/4 full. Put the cap on and shake vigorously until the syrup is nicely blended with the water
  2. Let it sit undisturbed for at least 2 hours. After letting it sit for a while if you are using a water bottle or a soda bottle you might be able to see that the DXM particles are slowly sinking to the bottom of the jug (At least in a soda bottle, or water bottle.) A milk jug is a bit more opaque but you'll be able to notice that there might be a foamy bubble solution at the top, this is where the syrup hasn't properly mixed with the water a lot of the DXM could be trapped in these bubbles, so you may want to gently flick at the bubbles where they meet the bottle's side, they'll start to pop, and after you've gotten about 90+% of the bubbles just about all the DXM Polistirex will seperate from the water and settle to the bottom as an orange colored pile of sludge within the course of a few hours. Remember, its not like distilling alcohol, you can't make more DXM powder magically by letting it sit longer, after 2-3 hours, you're getting as much DXM at the bottom as 24 hours. (Roughly, there might be 1-10 stray DXM crystals floating around, but that is it.)
  3. Now be careful not to shake it up again and bring the jug to a sink or bath tub and cut horizontal slices in the side of the jug to slowly drain the water without disturbing the DXM at the bottom. Do this until almost all of the water is gone without losing any of the DXM sludge.
  4. After a large majority of the water is drained, you cut off the top of the jug, and if there is any water still laying atop the DXM sludge, you can (totally optional) CAREFULLY take a eyedropper and suck the excess water off as needed. (You may lose a little DXM this way.) Or you can let it sit in your dresser for a few days to let the water naturally evaporate. At any rate this sludge is now ready to be consumed but you can take further steps to create dry DXM Polistrex powder.
  5. Leave the tray in a wooden dresser drawer for a day or two to let most of the remaining water evaporate. Or to speed up the process to a few minutes you can use a hair dryer to further dry out the powder. Make sure you put the tray in a secure position before you start blowing it with the dryer, or else you might drop the powder fuck up tremendously and push the tray off a counter or something.
  6. Now you can scrape the powder up with a razor and place them into empty capsules or mix it with your beverage of choice, though be forewarned it won't taste fantastic.

Adding lemon juice to the DXM Polistirex powder will not change the powder into DXM HBr but it will help to break down the plastic coating resulting in a shorter stronger trip more similar to DXM HBr. Note that DXM Polistrex powder is not soluble in lemon juice so you will need to shake the container periodically and especially when you drink the shot make sure you dont miss any of the white powder at the bottom. The Delsym bottle itself is a good container for this purpose.

Agent Lemon Extraction

See: Agent Lemon Extraction

Buying DXM-Containing Products

Buying DXM gets harder and harder every time some stupid kid kills himself with syrups containing acetaminophen or something equally hazardous. While sometimes you might run into a cashier who is cool with it or doesn't know that cough medicine can be abused, more often they will stare at you or make a fuss (right after selling someone in a wife-beater ten cases of beer and wishing him a nice day).

Using DXM recreationally may or may not be illegal. While this may seem stupid because there's really no way for the man to check and make sure you took 30mg of your DXM instead of 300, stores have every right to refuse to sell you anything. So there are a few things you can do to make this process as pain-free as possible.

  • Don't be a teenager, or look like one. No teenager buys cough medicine to cure their cough. This is a dead giveaway. If you are though there is still a decent chance that they won't give a fuck and you will get away with it fine.
  • Make sure you have your ID, as most stores will check to make sure you're over 18.
  • Don't return to the same store too often, as they will eventually catch on to what you're doing - if you need to go to one shop, try to go on different times and dates, and space out the time in between buying syrup.
  • If you're buying lots of syrup or gels, consider going to more than one store. While this may waste more gas, it lowers suspicion and therefore your chances of being rejected.
  • Whatever you do, DO NOT fake a cough. Claim that your entire family has compromised immune systems and gets sick very often.
  • If you have the option, buy it at a convenience store or supermarket, because it is more likely that the employees will be 'in the know' and that you can also buy your DXM products with the rest of your shopping list.
  • If your local store has a self checkout, use it for buying your DXM. However, most self checkouts will beep when you scan a DXM product and an employee will come over to see your ID.
  • Take the information leaflet out of the packet when you get your DXM, then the next time you go to buy some, just hand them the leaflet and say that's what your after. Shows that you've bought it before so you seem more legit. Additionally, you can spin them a story like "My gran asked me to pick her up a couple of bottles of this" or some shit and you can just play innocent like you don't know what it is.
  • Local "Mom & Pop" stores and pharmacy's are less likely to give you a hard time when buying DXM than big corporate chain stores and pharmacy's (IE. Wal-mart, CVS, Walgreen's, Ect.)
  • Look for generic versions of the syrup. These contain the same product but are often less viscous (physically easier to chug) and are cheaper.

Fucking fantastic stuff to do on DXM

  • Ride a bicycle or skateboard (you'll feel like you're flying and the subsequent faceplant is almost painless)
  • Ride the swings or spinners at a playground
  • DANCE! (do not let anyone record you dancing on DXM, no matter how awesome you think it looks at the time)
  • Smoke weed
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music - beat-based music or folk music works well, but any music you enjoy is fine too.
  • Jump up and down on a soft surface
  • Swim, not recommended with high doses. Feels like being on the moon, 0 gravity, etc
  • Almost anything you enjoy sober
  • Squeeze Shit...as hard as you can
  • Sit in a completely, absolutely, 100% dark place with your eyes open
  • Watch a favorite animated movie or television show; the higher the animation fluidity, the better.
  • Brush your teeth. Simultaneously dancing is optional, but makes it more awesome.
  • Take a walk at night, if possible through a forest.
  • Bond with friends who are also on DXM. You will have a newfound respect for each other.
  • Play Audiosurf (That game is magical!!)


Olney's lesions, also known as NMDA receptor antagonist neurotoxicity (NAN), are a potential form of brain damage caused by some dissociative drugs; these manifest as vacuolization (formation of very small holes) in some areas of the brain. These vacuoles accumulate byproducts produced by the immune system and form irreversible lesions.

William White, a DXM researcher, concluded that Olney's lesions were forming in humans, but retracted his statement in 2004. A year earlier, Cliff Anderson, a researcher and critic, wrote an article that illustrated that the tests conducted by Olney and Farber did not provide any conclusive evidence that lesions develop in human brains after exposure to dissociatives. Anderson quoted Karl L. R. Jansen's book, Ketamine: Dreams and Realities, which cited unpublished studies on monkey brains. White's opinion that DXM caused Olney's Lesions therefore came under fire.

Roland Auer injected monkeys with MK801 and was unable to produce any vacuoles.

Rats have rates of brain metabolism that are almost twice as high as those in humans to start with. It is because of this higher base rate of metabolism that ketamine causes over-excitement in rats at doses below those at which it activates shutdown systems.

Frank Sharp also works in this area. I discussed with Sharp how this issue stood in 1998. His view was that reversible toxic changes in the rat started to appear at 40mg/kg and reached a level at which no further changes occurred (a plateau) at 100mg/kg, when a little cell death could be seen - but matters would not progress beyond this point. Extensive attempts to produce toxic changes in monkeys had been a total failure at doses up to 10mg/kg i.m. These monkey studies are unpublished.

I sought the view of Olney's colleague, Nuri Farber. The work of his team indicated that N-P receptors must be blocked for at least 2 hours to cause reversible changes, and at least 24 hours to produce some cell death, in rats.

He thought that the methods used in monkey studies so far were unsatisfactory, because the animals were probably too young. Only adult rats show the toxic changes. He was not prepared to accept a clean bill of health for the drug in primates until this work with older monkeys had been done, and until the drug companies published their monkey studies to support their claims of harmlessness.

There is thus no published evidence at this time (January 2000) that ketamine can produce toxic cell changes in monkeys. The unpublished monkey data that we know about, that of Frank Sharp, actually shows that there is no damage at doses up to 10mg/kg.

White therefore concluded that based on some fundamental differences between rat biology and human biology and because there have only been very few studies done on the occurrence of Olney's lesions, no connection can currently be proved or disproved.

Common Sources


  • Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough (generic equivalents available, usually 300mg per bottle)
  • Robitussin Cough Gels (generic equivalents available, usually 300mg per bottle of 20)
  • Robitussin Dry Cough Forte (For the Australians) 200ml bottles, 600mg in each.
  • Delsym (3oz - 532mg; 5oz - 888mg. Polistirex)
  • Zicam Cough Max (hard to find because of cheapass 15 year olds, available on Amazon.com in two-packs; roughly 400mg per bottle)
  • Sucrets DM
  • Benylin's Non-Drowsy Dry Coughs (usually 7.5mg HBr per 5ml. As far as I know, it's the best syrup for the Brits. Costs a little under £5)

Not so good:

  • Coricidin Cough & Cold (not recommended)
  • Vicks 44 Cough Relief
  • SymptomPaK Dextromethorphan. Despite being sold by Target it is not available in Target stores, available on Amazon.com. (Warning: Nausea is heavy with SymptomPaK.)
  • Mucinex (60/1200 dxm/guafinesin; Nausea is really heavy.)
  • Generic Mucinex (usually 20/400 of dxm/guafinesin; 3 of these is worth one mucinex. Family Dollar sells bottles of 30 pills, totalling 600mg DXM and 12g guaif.)
  • NyQuil or Dayquil and generic (Note that these products contain other substances which are fatal if taken in high quantites)

Fortinos in Brampton, Ontario caries Exact cough which is 250ml of 15mg/5ml DXM and only that for 9.59 including tax, just a heads up (750mg per bottle).

See Also

External links

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