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How to Build a Better Spaceship

teafaerie | Musings | Thursday, May 29th, 2014

“Do you want to see my spaceship?”

Phoenix leaned back against my deflating air mattress and flashed me a mischievous grin. My tent door was hanging wide open and I wondered exactly what it was that he was about to whip out of his pants; but the festival that surrounded us had long since devolved past the point where it really made much of a difference, so I just raised an eyebrow and waited to see what his game was.

To my surprise he produced what appeared to be an innocuous e-cigarette. It was the refillable kind that has liquid in it. He handed it to me with an exaggerated flourish. I shrugged. “I’ve heard that you can put hash oil in these”, I said. Phoenix silently shook his head and indicated that I should try it.

It had been a long night and it took me a second to figure out how to operate the darn thing. (Find the little button, then push it and suck on the nipple end, duh…) And when I finally did manage to hit it, I almost dropped it. I did the smoking version of a spit-take, in fact, which my friend seemed to think was hilarious. My breath tasted like burning lawn furniture. “Holy shit!” I exclaimed. “Did you make this? Does it work?”

He told me that he did, and that it does. The one that I handed back to him, he told me as he took a long slow toke, was loaded to pass around socially. It just colored things up a little bit. “This one”, he said, proffering a second, apparently identical, device, “is the Real Deal.”

I could tell that we were puffing on the Next Big Thing. I’ve tried a lot of different methods for smoking DMT, and each of them has its pros and cons. A good old-fashioned crack pipe works just fine, for instance, but it really does look rather naughty. Plus it’s always just a little bit sketchy to pass out within arms reach of recently red-hot glass. Sprinkling the spice on top of a bowl of marijuana or some other smokable substrata is hit and miss, in my experience. It works well enough for pop-ups, which is my term for the under-rated practice of intentional threshold dosing, but its not a very effective method if one is actually trying to hit the center of the target.

Kerosene Lamp

Kerosene Lamp

I’ve used old light bulbs, and I ended up cutting myself once. I’ve taken knife hits of DMT, which was technically challenging and seemed wasteful. Traditional vaporizers like the glass and tube “dab machine” work great, but they are big, conspicuous, and will forever smell of DMT if used even once for smoking tryptamines. As for the Volcano and its cousins, the machines that result in a plastic bag full of smoke are simply too much equipment for the job, though they do amusingly make that crumpling bread wrapper sound that Terence McKenna so infamously associated with the opening phase of the breakthrough experience.

I’ve personally tended towards repurposing top of a kerosene lantern. I just put one end of it to my lips and hold my hand over the other end, slowly sucking a little bit of air through whilst heating it from the bottom with a torch lighter until the entire chamber is full of smoke. Then I just take my hand off of the gigantic carb and slam a whole big lungful all at once. With a friend holding the hot glass for me, of course.

This funny little electronic vaporizer was definitely the best thing yet! I cautiously test piloted the second spaceship, too. The hyperdrive seemed to be fully functional, as advertised, and the takeoff was unexpectedly smooth. Phoenix thinks that the glycerin carrier liquid slows down the DMT absorption rate. Regardless of the reason, the e-cig was an unsettlingly delightful, instantaneously convenient, and marvelously inconspicuous launch vehicle.

I convinced my friend to download his alchemical secrets to me, and I’m naturally quite keen to share what I learned. So here you go!

A Spaceship

A Spaceship Ready to Fly

Gramma Phoenix’s Spaceship Recipe

The DMT is first dissolved in warm ethanol, using the minimum alcohol to get all of the DMT into solution at around 150 Fahrenheit. It is best to use a double boiler on an electric burner to avoid risk of fire and overheating. Everclear or equivalent food-grade ethanol works well. The alcohol will be boiled off/evaporated in a following step.

To the ethanol and DMT solution, a mixture of 40% glycerin and 60% propylene is added. Apparently glycerin by itself is too thick to pull into most syringes and it doesn’t quite flow right in e-cig tanks.

Gently heat and stir the resulting mixture until no alcohol smell remains. Once it has cooled to below 100F, a graduated syringe is used to insert the thick liquid into the refillable e-cig reservoir, just as one would do with nicotine liquid.

For the lighter, social dose, 0.25 gram of DMT are used per 4 ml glycerin/glycol. For the hyperdrive potency, the ratio is 1g per 2.5ml.

Phoenix also notes that the spice crystallizes out of the solution over time. If this happens just gently warm the whole cartridge in a double boiler with water in it and shake it up. The carts are designed to be boiled clean and are watertight. This process should keep it liquefied for at least 12 hours. The more concentrated solutions crystalize more quickly and may need to be warmed in order to liquefy it again.

Having tested the results myself, I can personally speak to the efficacy of this particular method directly. This is obviously still an evolving practice, and your mileage may vary. It seems to me like it’s worth a bit of experimentation to try to dial this thing in, though. Please let us know what you find.

Safe and happy travels!


[Erowid Note: While we were preparing to publish this essay, a couple of Reddit posts were published with recipes for making DMT solutions for e-cigarettes. The huge increase in availability and variety of portable nicotine vaporizers and their development for use with cannabinoids has lead to them being used for many other smokable drugs as well.

The Nook has a thread about recipes for this type of spaceship fuel from 2012, but it requires registration to view:

Other recipes include ethyl alcohol in the final smoking mixture to varying degrees to slow recrystallization, though this leads to a harsher smoking experience.]