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Can DMSO be used to transport drugs, particularly DMT, into the bloodstream?
Q: I have read that DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) can be used as a transport for various drugs. Would it work to transport DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) into the blood stream via external membrane (under the tongue for example)? If so, what form would the DMT need to be in and how should the dosage be modified?

A: While there are a number of theoretical reports of the utility of DMSO as a vehicle for transmitting substances through the skin into the blood stream, I have never heard of or read a report of successfully doing this. I have read a number of reports of people trying to use DMSO and a variety of psychoactives rubbed on their skin without any success. I have heard of a researcher who spilled a somewhat concentrated LSD-DMSO solution on her hand with no effects (albeit, she did wash it off right away). It is likely that this is better said than done.

Also, the ability of substances to transfer through the skin is very much dependent on their active doses. With substances with potency as low as DMT (requiring 20-50mg when smoked), the ability to transfer through the skin is minimal, because it is extremely difficult to get that much material through the skin. Skin transfer using patches is used with substances with dosages less than 2mg, like Fentanyl or nicotine.

It should also be noted that DMSO on the skin can decrease the skin's ability to resist other types of toxins and allergens and for some period after applying the DMSO, it should be kept very clean and covered so that the skin doesn't become extremely irritated.

As always, be very careful.



Someone else asked about psilocybin being absorbed through the skin and I wrote the following:

The dosages for psilocybin/psilocin are in the 5-30mg range. Oral dosages below 10mg are not really "trippy", but are detectable by most people. Alkaloid dosages over a couple of milligrams don't typically absorb well through the skin, so effective dose is a fairly good way to judge whether something can be effective through the skin.

It is possible that with very soft skin (like under the arm), very large areas of skin, and/or some kind of chemical transport that effects could be felt, but there are no current transdermal technologies that would allow 20-30mg of material to be administered without puncturing the skin or covering large parts of the body. There are products, like nicotine, which are currently sold in patches. The dosages in the patches are in the 5-20mg range designed to aborb through the skin over 24 hours. The effective dose for nicotine is below 5mg, so this route of administration can work, but it works very slowly. For something like psilocybin where the general intention is to get most of the dose up front, not slowly over the course of a day, the skin is not a very good candidate for way to administer an effective or even detectable dose of psilocybin.


Asked By : capxrula
Answered By : psilo
Published Date : 11 / 30 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 9 / 18 / 2003
Question ID : 2876

Categories: [ Pharmacology ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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