Citation: Dreamerrr. "Oneiromantic Experiment: experience with Tryptophan - 5-HTP (ID 63818)". Erowid.org. Jun 18, 2007. erowid.org/exp/63818
Once, while talking with a friend with firsthand experience of many drugs, the topic of lucid dreams came up. My friend recommended 5-HTP as a substance with some positive effects on the lucidity and clarity of dreams. After doing research online, I decided to experiment upon myself to see what effects 5-HTP would have. I purchased the 5-HTP in capsules, completely legally, from a nutrition/bodybuilding store. Here are the notes from my 'experiment':
Day 0 - no drugs
Increased dreams over the last few days probably brought on by talking about dreams with my friend. Dreams generally indistinct and hard to remember. Stressed out from some social problems. Nervous about taking 5-HTP though the literature says it's quite safe.
Day 1 - 100mg 5-HTP (two capsules) at 11:08 PM
Nervousness and trepidation. I'm not sure what effect the drug will have on me. I'm folding socks, waiting for something to happen.
A definite ringing in my ears. Something is happening.
One of the effects of 5-HTP is to feel tired, but I don't feel tired at all. In fact I can't sleep. It might be just nerves... or it might be the 5-HTP. I try and go to bed but I feel stressed out.
Thoughts are racing through my mind. I feel as if I'm half-asleep, half-awake... like I'm getting rest but still conscious. Overall the feeling is not pleasant.
T+7:00 (next morning)
My dreams from the night were very brief and not lucid, but they did have a certain clarity about them. (Reading these notes two years later I remember the imagery quite clearly). In one I was in a great city of light blue marble and stone with a friend of mine, and thousands of people were walking through the streets. Hundreds of yellow cabs drove by, but I couldn't hail them. I worried I would be late for work.
Day 2 - 100mg 5-HTP
Going to bed I still felt very jittery and nervous, and I had a hard time getting to sleep. Before I nodded off I looked about my room and had the distinct impression my vision had become 'high-def'. It felt as if my eyes were somehow more open, that they could see more clearly, though what exactly I was experiencing more clearly I couldn't say.
The dream was fairly drawn out and highly detailed. I went to a movie theatre and watched a popular film (my consciousness dipping in and out of the movie at different points) but the projectionist had mixed up the reels making the movie's plot totally nonsensical. The theatre was huge and featured many balconies and concession stands. It was made of white stucco. When I finally left the theatre I found the building felt very familiar. I felt certain I had been here before in other dreams. The dream was not lucid, unfortunately. Still, the level of detail was intense enough that I decided to continue to take the 5-HTP.
Day 3 - 100mg 5-HTP
Once again I had a hard time falling asleep: I noticed a stiffness in my jaw, and otherwise tossed and turned like the previous nights.
The dream was once again very detailed. It centred around an angry university professor I once had. In the dream the professor was bossing around a kid whose phone had rung in class. The prof ordered the kid out of the room and on the way out the kid pulled the fire alarm. The class was forced to evacuate through a number of twisting hallways behind the lecture theatre.
The morning after I experienced a strange effect: while waiting for a bus to arrive I experienced anti-deja-vu. Deja-vu is, of course, the feeling you've already experienced something that you haven't experienced before. Thus, the anti-deja-vu was the feeling that I had never experienced something which I had experienced many times: namely waiting for the bus. My eyes fixed upon a streetlight that was different than the others on the street and I was utterly convinced that the streetlight was never there before-- that I was still in a dream and the light was a key telling me that this was just an illusion. However, I was not dreaming at all. The feeling eventually passed.
My friend had warned me that 5-HTP sometimes makes one confuse dream and reality, but I didn't expect the effect to be so pronounced.
Day 4 - 100mg 5-HTP
Still had a hard time sleeping, but not as bad as before. The high-def vision effect was still there before I drifted off.
The dream was cinematic nonsense involving a conspiracy involving the Church of Later-day Saints and zombies. My brother and I were operatives told to disable some kind of zombie-making machine in a Mormon temple. The dream felt silly and fun. Again, the dream world felt extremely detailed, and I still can recall images from this dream to this day. I have never been in a Mormon temple.
I continued on with the 'experiment' for a few more days, but I didn't take notes of the dreams, though I seem to recall they were unremarkable.
In the end I found that 5-HTP did have a pronounced effect on the detail of my dreams and added a realness I had never felt before. I also came to find the half-asleep half-awake feeling almost pleasurable. That said, insomnia continued to plague me while I took the drug, and it never made my dreams lucid as I had hoped. A higher dosage might have helped, but I was wary of making the insomnia worse, and triggering more bouts of anti-deja-vu. It did not seem worthwhile to continue.
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