Changa: Smoking DMT infused into Ayahuasca and other Herbs
Changa is the colloquial name I gave to a smoking mix containing naturally sourced DMT, Banisteriopsis caapi and various herbs that have a synergistic effect when blended together. Very simply, changa allows people to smoke DMT more easily and to get more from their DMT smoking experience. ‘Dreamleaf’ or just ‘Dreamtime’ are perhaps more formal names that have been given to this material. Yet changa (chang-ah) is very definitely the proper Australian slang name for this blend, which may make some Australians wince and/or smile, and people from other countries to raise an eyebrow or two!
In order to make changa, DMT is simply infused into a blend of herbs that is easily dissolved into alcohol or any form of ethanol. Although it is true that a few people here and there have been dissolving DMT into herbs for many decades, it is the combination of the DMT with ayahuasca vine and the intelligent alchemy of this combination of herbs, similar to an ayahuasca brew, that gives changa its unique nature and power. My preferred method for making changa is to melt the DMT on a plate or tray over a steam bath, then adding a few dozen millilitres of high quality vodka into which the DMT dissolves. The herbs are then added to the tray or the plate and stirred extremely well. The herbs then dry quite quickly, whereas dissolving the DMT into cold ethanol or acetone, and then mixing the herbs, tends to take more time to dry. However, the result is basically the same.
A basic and standard ratio for much of the gentler changa that many people make is around 25% DMT content by weight. So, in one gram of changa at this strength, there is 250 mg of DMT; and within four grams of changa, there is one gram of DMT. This equates to 30 light experiences, 20 pretty decent experiences, 10 much stronger experiences and 5 very strong experiences. However, a 30% blend is stronger, with the 40-50% DMT blends being very strong and equating to, or even exceeding, the strength of smoking freebase DMT by itself. This initial standard ratio of 25 % DMT changa was never designed to provide a fully immersive ‘out of body’ hyperspatial experience. Although, as most people who work with DMT know, sometimes it only takes a little to really take you there. The high dose breakthrough DMT experience is something that many people may only want to visit once or a few times in their life. DMT is normally so strong, so intense, that more is often less.
With 20-30% changa, people can access DMT comfortably in a way that is likely to be beneficial, but not requiring days or years to process the experience. However, for a fully immersive DMT experience, most people generally need to freebase from 50mg to even as much as 150 mg DMT and most people find these sorts of amounts difficult to smoke in a freebase pipe. For that breakthough experience via 20-30 % changa, I would recommend people either quickly smoke two to three successive bong or pipe hits or just take one big pipe. It just depends on how much changa people use in their pipe cone and how refined or coarse the herbs are. With 40-50% DMT changa (there is no reason to go beyond 50% in my opinion), it should only take one good bong or pipe hit to really engage into breakthrough states where dying of astonishment at the nature of the inexpressible is the order of the day.
I generally recommend smoking pure DMT through a water bong and then wedging the amount of DMT you want to smoke between a layer of passionflower and/or finely shredded ayahuasca vine, so that the lighter flame does not make direct contact with the DMT. This is called ‘the sandwich method’. Then you should simply smoke all the herbs in one hit. The efficaciousness of the DMT is quite often dependent on getting the most DMT to the system in the shortest amount of time. That being said, in light of the existence of changa, many are tending to feel that smoked crystal DMT by itself is too disconnected, cerebral, ‘alien’, shortlived and difficult to remember. Whereas, the changa experience is often more integrated, connected and relevant to the human form. This is because the ayahuasca and other herbs assist the DMT to be most relevant to the human system.
Many people around the world are beginning to smoke changa through a pipe device called a ‘vaporgenie’. This pipe is a simple and inexpensive way to vaporise smoking herbs in a small, regular looking pipe. The result is a smoother smoke, that some say is ‘the best way’ to smoke changa. However, myself and many others prefer the immediacy of smoking the herbs, rather than vaporising them. However, many people do prefer to use a vapourgenie or mechanical hand held vapouriser simply because it is much easier to smoke DMT this way.
The primary herb to be used in changa is Banisteriopsis caapi, which should consist of at least 25% of the herbs used in order to be truly effective. Both leaf and vine from the plant can be used, with leaf providing a smoother, cerebral smoke, and the vine itself providing an earthier, often more potent effect. The basic theory in using caapi in changa, is that you are making something of a smokable ayahuasca brew, combining the vine, the DMT and other admixture plants into the whole works to provide a synergistic effect. The admixture plants in ayahuasca brews are typically activated by the presence of the caapi, as by themselves they are not nearly as potent.
I figure that any herb used in changa has its potency increased by a factor of ten. So the herb mullein (a potent lung herb normally drunk as a tea), when smoked in a changa blend, has the potential to give the most fantastic and instantaneous lung healings. This sort of healing has traditionally only been possible with ayahuasca brews.
When available, I prefer combining ayahuasca leaf and vine in various ratios. It is important to shred the vine finely enough so that it burns properly, although powdered vine may often be too fine when combined with other herbs. Good vine will provide a nice afterglow when the experience has worn off, whereas vine leaf will not normally provide this. Cielo or yellow ayahuasca vine is recommended, although any type of caapi will work fine, as long as it is over three to four years old and thicker than a human’s thumb.
The basic theory behind changa is that very small amounts of smoked harmine, even 100 micrograms to 1mg, can effect as much as a 50% MAO-A inhibition and beyond. Furthermore, it is known that caapi extract is 100 to 1000 fold more potent than isolated harmine as an MAO-A inhibitor. (Schwarz et al. 2003) This is why when you use 300mg of Vine or Leaf in 1g of Changa, it can still have a potent effect, not something that many people understand. Because they still think they must always boost the harmine content of changa in order for it to be effective. But if your vine is 1% harmine, 300mg of vine would contain 3mg of harmine. Say if there is 15 medium smoking experience in 1 gram of Changa, this means that 200mcg is in each smoke, plenty enough to effect more than 50% MAO-A inhibition. Even using 300mg of vine per gram of Changa, you can still get 30-40 minute experiences at times. Much of it also depends on the strength of your vine in the first place as well, which of course can vary greatly. This MAO-A inhibition appears to occur as instantaneously, as say, the effects of smoking freebase recreational drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine. This MAO-A inhibition enables what previously would be a 5 to 10 minute experience to become more like an 10 to 20 minute experience, or even an experience lasting half an hour to an hour.
Changa has been commonly reported to consist of simply Banisteriopsis caapi leaf and DMT, and this recipe works very well and can have a very smooth quality to it, but this blend, I think, tends to lack the colourful alchemy and flavour of the other admixture herbs. Any herb or plant can be used in changa, and many different herbs are being used by different people around the world in different ratios and blends. It should be kept in mind that the ayahuasca element activates the herbs used, and each new herb may not have the desired effect, or may have an unpredictable effect. As an example, we have noticed that the addition of skullcap at 20 percent of the herbs used tends to put people to sleep immediately after smoking changa!
So, a ‘classic’ and ‘original’ changa blend that has stood the test of time looks something like this:
30% ayahuasca vine and/or leaf
5% blue lotus
Both calendula and blue lotus must be added after combining the DMT in order to preserve their colour and texture. Mullein can also be substituted with coltsfoot, another powerful lung herb that tends to have more of an expectorant quality. This can be good for people’s lungs, but can also become a bit snotty and noisy for many people. In general, I prefer mullein because of its fluffy consistency and more benign effect. The passionflower provides another MAOI imprint as well as a nice calming, sedative effect, which counteracts and balances out the awakening and brightening effect of DMT The peppermint is added to smooth out the smoke and give the blend a more pleasant taste. In fact, a good blend should be like not smoking anything at all – it is that transparent. Calendula or marigold is a classic nurturing and all-round healing flower, and is added for the quality of its vibrational support. Blue lotus or lily (or any other psychoactive lilies or lotuses) gives the blend a ‘top note’ and also adds a smoother taste, and can be used to up to about 20% of the mixture. Damiana is another herb that can be used, adding a pleasant warmth and euphoria to the blend. When available, Justicia pectoralis is very nice in changa and is effective at around 10 percent of the herbal content. Justicia seems to have a balancing and smoothing effect upon the body’s utilisation of tryptamines, and its flowers are traditionally added to tryptamine snuffs used in the Amazon.
All the herbs should be ‘groomed’, so that all sticks and inconsistent stems are removed. A coffee grinder can be used on ‘burst’ setting to ensure that the herbs are consistently sized. Some prefer a very fine blend so that more can be smoked in a cone, whereas some prefer a more full-bodied blend with larger herbal bits and pieces.
Some have reported that small amounts of Salvia divinorum leaf in a changa blend brings out the best of this plant. However, I feel this plant is best left to people’s individual relationship, rather than adding it to a blend that many may partake of, as Salvia can tend to take over, with people having full scale salvia experiences, rather than anything like a changa experience. I would say the same regarding the addition of cannabis, which many do not want to partake of. Some people have been adding small amounts of brugmansia or datura flowers to their blend. Interestingly, this flower is added to the ayahuasca brews in the Amazon and is said to increase the visual aspect of the brew. Most curanderos would not even consider taking this plant on its own and consider the usage of this plant in brews as something one must be very careful with, because if you add too much, the effects can be variously undesirable, though not likely dangerously so.
I definitely think that synthetic 5-MeO-DMT should not be combined with MAOI’s at any stage, and again, 5-MeO-DMT is quite strong enough by itself. I am yet to be convinced that any other research chemicals or additives in a changa-like blend are useful or better than natural DMT. However, a herbal blend I dubbed ‘cracker’, containing 5 to 10 percent 5-MeO-DMT, has been found to be a very effective way to dose and smoke 5-MeO-DMT, as it contains classic changa herbs such as mullein, mint and blue lotus. I have not found 5-MeO-DMT to be at all positively affected or enhanced by beta-carbolines from ayahuasca vine or Syrian rue and have personally had very negative experiences combining beta-carbolines with 5-MeO-DMT. The Erowid web site has received several reports of people experiencing very troubling side effects with this combination, and there have even been a few reports of deaths when people take far too much 5-MeO-DMT with an MAOI. I personally think that Syrian rue is an unnecessary addition to changa and the seeds will be quite unpleasant to smoke. Friends have reported that the addition of a simple Manske extract of crystalline harmaline has additional benefits, but this may be too strong for many people, and I have never seen why this would be necessary. I have found that changa blends with added harmalas can be more scattered and less focused than those blends which contain extracted harmine from ayahuasca vine.
Harmine and of course, tetrahydroharmine from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine are the key alkaloids in changa which have a wondrous synergy with DMT in low doses. Friends have been reporting very pleasant effects, by soaking shredded vine and/or leaf in ethanol or alcohol and then making something like a 10X ayahuasca leaf blend with the alkaloids, say from 100 grams of leaf infused into 10 grams of leaf. Again, many find the resulting effect to be too strong or weighted towards heavy, overt body sensations. I personally think that a 2x blend is strong enough, and may be too strong for many. A 2x blend is where for example, you are using 300mg of vine in 1 gram of changa and use the extracted alkaloids (say via soaking the vine in ethanol) from another 300mg of vine infused to the blend. One friend has reported that making a 10x extract from Passionflower is however, a very pleasant and smooth smoke, as the harmine content in passionflower by itself is too weak to be noticeable.
In Australia, we can obtain DMT from many different acacia species, such as the two rather common Australian wattle trees species – Acacia obtusifolia and Acacia acuminata. Acacia obtusifolia is quite strong and visual in its effect and Acacia acuminata is often more gentle and relaxed. People from outside of Australia will generally use Mimosa hostilis root bark, although a friend said to me once quite cheekily that he thought using this DMT source in changa would be like ‘kissing your sister’! Synthetic DMT could be used in changa, although most find naturally sourced DMT to be richer and have a smoother and more integrated imprint of a living organism, which tends to align with the human system and provide the most relevant informational interchange. Each source of DMT is entirely different, with different qualities and ‘teachings’ – simply because each plant species has a different spirit and communication. Don’t take my word for it though. Try half a dozen DMT- containing species a dozen times each and then get back to me!
Changa makes DMT more accessible and available to people, it is not addictive (as DMT is not addictive) and it is largely safe. I have not heard of anyone running into any real trouble with it (whereas, inexperienced and normally uninformed people can sometimes terrify themselves by smoking too much pure DMT). Some people tend to keep reaching back for it, but most people tend to not pursue changa on a regular basis. I think changa is best smoked irregularly to get the most out of it. For some, changa remains purely recreational. Yet we find that, just with DMT, it will continue to take you deeper and deeper the more you smoke it. Some amount of respect is required to get the most out of DMT, which many learn in response to using it. My personal experience is that there is a limit to the number of times I can smoke changa in a row (usually about three or four times), and after that the experience tends to experientially degrade. This does not appear to be at all an issue of physical tolerance, as some people are able to keep smoking for many hours on end, without any lessening of effects. When smoking by oneself, it is good to sit up or lie down and just experience the state. When smoking with other people, it is best to be silent and just experience the state – although dancing or singing is highly appropriate behaviour.
For most people, the initial state will be an expanded state of awareness, similar to the state of LSD or any psychedelic. For many, the next step into the experience will consist of geometric patterns and colours. Others will have visual experiences that tend to be coherent and appear to arise from an ‘alien’ realm rather than being a mere projection of the individual body or mind. For some people, this may involve contact with entities not ordinarily visible to the human eye. These experiences tend to be highly vivid and possibly very transformative, representing one of the more liberating possibilities of smoking DMT. I believe that smoking DMT in this form is particularly beneficial to those from Western cultures, where the existence of other realms or planes of being is generally not considered ‘real’. Changa does combine well with many common psychedelic substances such as LSD, and it can also help a weak ayahuasca brew ‘kick in’ (likely due to the MAOI’s), although I would suggest people who rely on changa for a boost to their ayahuasca experience to simply increase the amount of DMT they are using in their brews.
The general effect of changa is normally quite healing, and the mind, body and psyche tend to become more integrated. DMT, as a meta-neurotransmitter, appears to allow the transmission and modulation of more information between neurons. The mind is stilled, the body quietens, and contact with the ineffable is often made. All this generally works to clear the mind, align the psyche, and fulfil the spirit. People are then able to get on with their lives with more perspective and perhaps more motivation.
It is quite common for people to give up decades-long addictions to substances such as crystal meth or cocaine after smoking changa for the first time. Other individual reports of benefits are quite varied and vast. Precautions related to the presumed toxic effects from taking an MAOI are generally overstated as a danger within the West. In some rare instances, people will report strange reactions and feeling ill from smoking changa with no known MAOI contraindications, and these reactions are as yet unexplainable. However, people who have taken MDMA or those who are taking an SSRI may wish to avoid changa, as there is the possibility of ‘serotonin syndrome’, which occurs when the body is overwhelmed by too much serotonin and in rare instances could be life threatening if not treated.
Smoking changa is probably no more or less detrimental than any other form of smoking, yet I would highlight this as a possible negative aspect which people should be aware of. That being said, DMT is a very powerful catalyst of change. Many people will have their eyes opened in a way they may not feel they have been prepared for. There is normally no way to go back to the previous way of viewing the world, once a new way of perceiving the world has become apparent. Changa can open people’s eyes and allow them a special and novel experience – but it is over the few hours that ayahuasca or other DMT and MAOI preparations lasts where often the greatest amount of inner work can be carried out. That being said, a strong changa journey can take people into places that ayahuasca will not normally be able to. Smoked DMT will almost always result in a clearer and deeper experience than the peak of an ayahuasca journey. I think that this DMT preparation is indeed quite special, and represents a user-friendly medium that can allow access to the medicinal power of plant alchemy and visionary states of great personal value