Following on from the earlier report about there being 3 million US users of dextromethorphan (DXM) – an over-the-counter drug, which at high doses can lead to ostensibly paranormal and spiritual experiences – an article published recently in the Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies investigates the spiritual aspects of DXM use. Based on reports from users about their use of DXM, the author of the article, Joseph Gelfer, argues that some DXM users specifically use the drug for spiritual and neo-shamanic purposes, qualifying the drug as a sacramental, or "entheogen". Whether or not this substance can induce genuine (i.e., scientifically-tested) paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, as claimed by some users, remains to be seen. What remains apparent, however, is that with the criminalisation of traditional shamanic inebriants, such as psilocybin-containing mushrooms, would-be urban shamans in developed nations are finding new ways to circumvent the law to maintain archaic traditions, proving that necessity breeds ingenuity.
Towards a sacramental understanding of dextromethorphan
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is an ingredient of some cough suppressants which, when consumed in large amounts, can have dissociative and psychedelic effects. Some people within the DXM-user community use DXM to facilitate what they perceive to be spiritual experiences. This paper argues that DXM can therefore be understood within the DXM-user community as a sacrament, and its use located within the neo-shamanic tradition.
Abstract taken from the full article - Gelfer, J. (2007). Towards a sacramental understanding of dextromethorphan. Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 3, 80-96.