“Sea DMT”, The First Psychedelic Drug of Marine Origin?

by Owen James Burke

“Sea DMT”, as they’re calling it, derives from a sea sponge which, according to the pseudononymous tryptamine chemist who submitted this report to Vice, may be the very first psychedelic drug of marine origin, and he may very well have been the first human to use it.

Smenospongia aurea (S. aurea). Photograph by NOAA

For well over a decade now (and perhaps much, much longer) research chemists and Grateful Deadheads alike have been dreaming up ways to isolate and extract the desired compound (5-Br-DMT) from the seeds of poriferan psychedelics such as the Caribbean-native S. aurea, upon which this report was based.

Smenospongia aurea is a small reef-dwelling sponge that is believed to have first come to life over 600 million years ago in Precambrian time, when oceans held twice the salinity they do today, and undersea volcanoes spouting from the floor were so numerous and widespread that life could not have come about, without one of the four stabilizing halogens of fluorine, iodine, chlorine or bromine, which is the -Br- of 5-Br-DMT.

The chemist’s decision to self-experiment is receiving skepticism and scorn from his laboratory (which would prefer he test on rats, as others have). Furthermore, his credit is also being assailed as he’s reported that the active ingredients from the seeds of his sample, Smenospongia aurea, were both economically and ecologically inefficient to extract, so he synthesized the ingredients using the compounds of the sponge as a template; here’s his report of his first experience smoking the stuff:

(with 40 mg, smoked) I closed my eyes and found myself drifting through the ocean on an ice floe shaped like a puzzle piece. There is a silkennig of my own (somewhat bristly) hair, and am thereish but not quite there. Very light and nonaggressive, nonnauseating. Drugs such as this are aptly described as “serenic.”

He also bravely (or foolishly) ingested 100 mg orally, just to see what would happen. Although he found the effects to be “indistinct and short-lived”, he did entertain the possibility that this method of oral ingestion could serve as an analeptic, antidepressant or anxiolytic.

Included in the anonymously submitted report was 10 milligrams of a pale yellow crystalline substance believed to be 5-Br-DMT, which the columnist chose not to ingest, but analyze by way of melting point, which was reportedly consistent with that of 5-Br-DMT.

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