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Yoda's DMT Extraction Action
by Yoda
Version 1.1
NOTE OF WARNING: The suggestion that people employ ziploc bags as separatory funnels may be hazardous. Such bags are not made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a plastic known to have a high resistance to chemical solvents. Ziploc bags contain plasticizers (additives that increase flexibility, and that have been implicated in adverse effects on health when consumed), which would likely leach into many nonpolar solvents; and since the solvent is being evaporated, these plasticizers will end up in the extracted DMT. The suggestion to use a "turkey baster" may present a similar problem, depending on what type of material/plastic it is constructed from. Furthermore, there the possibility of spilling caustic chemicals if the ziploc bag fails to work as anticipated. If one does not have access to an actual separatory funnel, then a glass pipette and bulb is a safer choice.
Disclaimer & Warning
The purpose of this guide is to explain the extraction of DMT from plants and its conversion to the freebase form. Common sources include mimosa hostilis, psychotria viridis,desmanthus illinoiensis and various species of phalaris. The method presented here is slightly different than the one often seen around the internet, in that it uses neither alcohol nor heat to extract the tryptamines. It is my belief that this gives a cleaner product. DISCLAIMER 1: In most parts of the world,actually following these instructions is illegal;they are presented for educational purposes only. DISCLAIMER 2: Potentially dangerous chemicals are involved. This guide will attempt to point out dangers, but common sense and some practical lab experience are advised.
There are basically two steps a) extraction of the alkaloids from the plant material b) conversion of the alkaloid salts to freebase. Additional processes to purify the material will also be suggested. These instructions apply generally to all plant sources, but the author recommends mimosa hostilis root bark or desmanthus rootbark as the best sources. Not bark,not roots, but root bark.

Required Materials
acid- .1N HCl, or muriatic acid (11% HCl) from hardware store,diluted to pH 1 with water {add acid to small amount of water, keep adding acid till pH is 1} base- NaOH, or Lye (such as Red Devil brand) nonpolar solvent- petroleum ether or dichloromethane, or "naptha", available OTC in several similar forms (Coleman fuel,Zippo lighter fluid) pH meter or papers (a meter is HIGHLY recommended, as the solutions are very strongly colored, making papers difficult to read). (Can't find pH papers? Try homebrew shops, "Science"stores {look in the yellow pages-there are like 3 in my area that sell high school science fair type things}, pool and spa stores, hydroponic stores) separatory funnel-buy, beg, or borrow one, it'll make things WAY easier and more efficient. If you must substitute, there are 2 options: a) a jar and a turkey baster (or pipet and bulb, or large syringe) b) a ziplock bag a few extra jars-with lids,very clean

Extraction from Plant Material
Pulverize material thoroughly. A coffee grinder is perfect for this. Place in jar, cover with acid. This acid is pretty strong. It could seriously damage your eyes. Gloves and glasses are recommended,as is caution. Shake jar several times a day, for one week. Filter out the acid. A vacuum setup with pump or faucet aspirator is best. A coffee filter may work, but slowly. Straining through a tea strainer first may help. Reserve acid in a separate jar,return plant material to original jar. Cover with fresh acid, shake a few times a day for 1-2 more days. Filter out acid, and combine with first extract. Optionally, extract a third time with fresh acid for an additional day or two. The acid now contains the tryptamines,in their salt form. {OPTIONAL} Defat.Since the salts in this acid solution are not soluble in nonpolar solvents, this allows the opportunity of removing some unwanted compounds. The separation process will be described in more detail below-if defatting is done, it is the same basic process: add nonpolar solvent, shake well, separate and discard the NONPOLAR layer.

Separation and Isolation
The next step is to form the freebase alkaloid. This is done by adding a strong base: NaOH. The freebase thus formed is not soluble in polar solvents, such as the acid water mix, but is in nonpolar ones. Slowly add NaOH to the acid solution-it can be added dry. NaOH is very caustic-use gloves and eye protection. Add very slowly-1/8 tsp or so at a time. Gently swirl to mix and dissolve it. If too much is added at once, it may boil and spatter, and you will probably overshoot the mark. Continue adding until pH 11-12 is obtained. This may be difficult to determine with papers. Freebase is often visible coming out of solution. The solution will change color as it becomes more basic-it will probably wind up brownish-green, depending on the starting material. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature before proceding (IMPORTANT)

If using a sep funnel, add the basified solution. Or put it into a tallish jar. Whichever, only fill it about 1/3 full. Now add an equal volume of nonpolar solvent. Note that DCM will sink, most others will float. This will become crucial shortly, so pay attention as you add it. Stopper the container and shake it. Especially at first, vent the container occaisionally to relieve any pressure. Shake the hell out of it. Let it sit a few minutes, then shake some more. Repeat several times over the period of a couple hours. What you see next will depend on your choice of plant and solvent, but a likely scenario is that there are 3 layers, the middle of which is sort of foamy. This is called an emulsion-when imiscable liquids sort of mix. The emulsion layer can cause problems-there might be goodies tied up in it, but they will be harder to isolate. What we'd like to see is 2 well defined layers with little or no emulsion. The first and best way to achieve this is simply wait. When you're done shaking, you may see ONLY emulsion, but it will soon start to resolve. Waiting overnight is often required for good resolution. The pH you basified too has a big influence on this, but the best pH will vary with different ingredients. If you patiently waited, and it still won't resolve, there are a few tricks. Add more nonpolar solvent, shake a bit, continue waiting. Or put a straight wire in and break up the emulsion. You can chase down any leftover blobs that are stuck and they will usually migrate to the proper layers. The container must be scrupiously clean. If there was,for example, an oily smudge on the side in the area that should contain the polar layer, then nonpolar gunk may stick there where you don't want it. As a last resort add some salty water (not so salty that the salt won't all dissolve), and agitate again. This makes the polar layer MORE polar, and may do the trick. First,though, just be patient and it will hopefully separate just fine.

We now want to remove the nonpolar solvent, which contains the dissolved freebase. If you have a sep funnel, it's a piece of cake, as long as you remember which layer is which. (Don't forget to remove the stopper before you start draining). You want JUST the nonpolar layer at this stage-any emulsion should stay with the polar layer.

If you are using a jar, then regardless of which layer you want to keep, I'd advise removing the top layer, rather than trying to reach through and draw off the layer beneath it. A syringe, pipet and bulb, or baster may be used. DO NOT SUCK WITH YOUR MOUTH!-these solvents are poison! Test any non-glass items with a little plain solvent first to make sure they wont melt.

Another option, again provided it is compatible with your solvent, is a large (new) ziplock bag. Fill, seal, shake, and hang it up so that one of the non zipper corners is at the bottom. Have an extra jar ready. Pinch the corner almost at the bottom, then poke a hole or snip off a very tiny bit. Using your fingers as a clamp, drain each layer into a separate container.

Whichever method you use, put aside the separated nonpolar layer. Add fresh solvent to the remaining polar layer. Shake, separate, and combine the nonpolar fractions. I'd recommend keeping ALL the layers (separately) untill you're sure everything went OK.

Before going further, I'd suggest taking a bit of the collected nonpolar solvent, say 5-10%, and letting it evaporate on a small glass dish. This will give you an indication of how clean your product is. If you're lucky, you'll wind up with a dish of crystalls, and you can go ahead and evaporate the rest. Often you'll get a thin layer of oil once the solvent evaporates. This may take a day or 3 to start to crystallize. If nothing is happening, or it is especially gunky, you have 2 options.( And you might consider a defatting step next time you try with the same materials). If you are POSITIVE that your solvent will cleanly evaporate (test some in a dish to be sure), then your product, though gunky, is probably OK. Perhaps some water or emulsion layer got carried over into the nonpolar layer. It can still be smoked, either like hash oil, or dissolve it in alcohol or nonpolar solvent, add a little of your favorite herb, mix well and let the solvent evaporate.

Option 2 is cleaning and purification. To do this, you wash it with whatever solvent the DMT WONT dissolve in. A thourough cleaning would involve (starting with the freebase dissolved in nonploar solvent): Add equal volume of salt water, agitate, separate, discard the water layer. Add HCl/water to the nonpolar layer, agitate, separate, discard nonpolar layer. You just converted the freebase to a salt, DMT HCl, which is water soluble. {Optionally, wash with fresh nonpolar solvent, then discard it}. Rebasify, and extract back to nonpolar solvent like you did in the first place. This is not always necessary, but if you want to get it really clean you can.

Whatever you wind up with, remember this: this process is fairly specific for alkaloids in general, not just N,N-DMT. If you used phalaris, you'll have mostly 5-MeO-DMT, which is 4-5 times more potent by weight. If your plant contains bufotenine,then you extracted that too. Large amounts of nonactive tryptamines (such as NMT) will make you product weaker. Always assay cautiously-starting with a ridiculously small amount, especially if you don't have a good scale.

Good luck!

Revision History #
  • v1 - Yoda
  • v1.1 - Feb 4 2011 - Erowid Added "Note of Warning".