Have you ever wondered what the most potent hallucinogenic substance is? Many people feel as though they know the answer to this, but some of them, like we were, may be surprised to hear what makes the top of the list.
Exploring an altered state of consciousness by means of hallucinogenic substance is a very powerful experience. For many individuals, it can be profoundly eye-opening and life-changing, leaving them with a modified outlook or even an improved understanding of existence. However, there is a considerable variety of known hallucinogenic substances, which brings us back to our question: which of the hallucinogens is the most potent?
Determining a hallucinogen’s potency by the resulting experience would be an inaccurate reference point, as each substance effects the mind and body differently, not to mention that every individual’s experience is entirely subjective. So, in order to determine the most potent of the hallucinogenic substances, we will be looking at their potency by weight.
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) coming in third may come as a surprise to some, as it often associated with some of the most powerful, out of this world experiences ever reported. However, what most do not consider when referring to its potency is that the amount required to achieve said experiences is considerably large compared to other substances. For example, DMT doses are typically measured by milligrams (mg) whereas most of the other hallucinogens are dosed using micrograms (ug or mcg). 5-MEO-DMT requires a minimum of 2-5 mg for even the most preliminary psychoactive effects. While not the most potent by weight, few would deny that it is among the most profound of the hallucinogenic experiences.
Salvinorin A is the primary psychoactive constituent of the hallucinogenic plant Salvia Divinorum. What many do not know about this quazi-legal substance is that it is the most potent, naturally occurring hallucinogen ever to be isolated. It becomes active with doses as smalls as 200 ug, where 500 ug and beyond is often considered alarming, even frightening.
Despite the potency of its main ingredient, small amounts of the Salvia Divinorum plant can produce some tame and relatively pleasant experiences. This is contingent simply on the manner in which the chemical is absorbed. For example, smoking salvia administers a considerably small dose of Salvinorin A, though smokable Salvia Divinorum extracts that are available for purchase can have varying amounts of Salvinorin A for enhanced potency, the strength of which should be clearly defined. Chewing the leaves administers the dose gradually, making unlikely for one’s experience to get too out of hand.
What separates Salvinorin A from the other substances, however, is that it is not an alkaloid, but a diterpene. For some people, this chemical reaction in the brain can result in an intensely outlandish and unmanageable experience, making an individual reluctant to ever try it again.
This may or may not come as a surprise. Beyond the doubt, gram for gram, LSD is by far the most potent hallucinogenic substance discovered by man. Ingesting a dose as little as 20 ug can have an active effect on the body, often described as mildly euphoric with some physical sensation. As with anything, the effects correlate directly with the dosage, the most common and desirable being 100-150 ug as this is believed to induce the most ‘normal’ kind of LSD trip that most people are looking when taking it. 300 ug is considered an expert dose that many veterans are not even willing to exceed, though it is not unheard of for some to take it even further. This, however, could land someone in both a physically and psychologically dangerous situation if not carried out with the utmost caution.
What is interesting to take from this is that the potency of a given hallucinogen is both literally and subjectively quantifiable. Considering the intensity of the experiences produced by DMT are often regarded as being the most powerful, many might assume that it is therefore the most potent. LSD, however, rains supreme in producing discernible effects at the smallest dose.
Please note that the doses mentioned here are a gathering of information and not be taken as recommendations. We are not advising anyone to ingest any hallucinogenic substance, nor should they use this as a guide for doing so.
Ott, Jonathan. “Ethnopharmacognosy and Human Pharmacology of Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A.” Sage Wisdom. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
Thompson, Mark. “Abstracts regarding Low Doses of LSD (Less than 50 Mcg).” Erowid LSD (Acid) Vaults: Bibliography on Psychotomimetics 1943-1966. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
“Erowid DMT Vault : Dosage.” Erowid DMT Vaults. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.