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by Doom

The greatest combination of three letters in the English language.

Of all the several drugs I've taken in my abbreviated thus far life, DXM ranks amongst the most fulfilling and the most influential for me. Salvia may have given me more hallucinations, but DXM is a solid performer capable of providing limitless joy and elucidation. At this point, I don't even consider DXM a drug anymore; I consider it a friend. A friend in syrup or pill form. For those of you whose DXM experience consists of hearing mc chris' song "The Tussin", I suppose I ought to explain what exactly DXM is first. Essentially, DXM is the main active ingredient in most good cough syrup/cough inhibitors. What cough syrup does is it uses DXM to shut down the part of your brain that allows for coughing, thereby curing your cough. Such occurs in the recommended dosage taken every few hours. For the best effects of DXM, however, you need to drink/pop it all at once. It'll do a shitload more than just cure your cough.

My first DXM experience came during my first year of college. I remember that explicitly because my tripping occurred on the campus, in a sort of loft which housed a staircase and some chairs and a table. I don't remember a lot about the experience itself, but I do remember throwing up on the newspaper I then wrote for, the UWM Leader (also known as Unreadable Piece of Shit). Which is something I should now mention: Nausea. Nausea often occurs with taking DXM in a high dosage. It typically lasts anywhere from half an hour to two hours. In my extensive use of the drug, no real strategy works in combating the nausea, and due to DXM's reverse tolerance (more on that later) it gets worse and worse each time. However, I do have some tips for you. One sure-fire way to cure one of nausea: watch The Shield immediately after taking the DXM. I'm serious. Don't ask me why it works, but it does. Every time I take DXM and then watch The Shield, I never puke. Times without The Shield? A lot more of a gamble. Perhaps it's the combination of the hardcore violence and dark subject matter or its morbid humor. I suspect it must relate to the psychological component of the nausea. Usually when I drink/pop, afterward I'm awaiting the nausea I feel is inevitable. Whereas when I do it with The Shield, I'm thinking not of feeling sick but of Vic and the gang kicking down doors and violating civil liberties.

There are many assortments of DXM to choose from; all you need to do to find one is go to a pharmacy (Walgreen's, CVS, etc.) and find a cough syrup or set of pills which contain dextromethorphan as the main ingredient. Except in the case of Coricidin, which I'll delve into in a bit, do not take anything with more than one ingredient in it. Either your high will be hampered or you'll get seriously fucked up and not in a positive way. I suggest Delsym, an orange syrup, and Coricidin, a pill, if you feel inclined to try DXM. Coricidin does contain another ingredient than DXM (chlorpheniramine maleate), and that does give it more inherent danger than taking Delsym or anything else that's DXM only. However, as someone who's taken Coricidin (nicknamed Triple Cs, Skittles, Cory Matthews, etc.), I can tell you you have nothing to worry about unless you're an idiot and take an excessive amount. One box for a trip suffices and keeps you well out of the danger zone. Anything more and, well, don't say I didn't warn you. Delsym is not pure DXM either - its variant of DXM is dextromethorphan polistirex, which differs from regular DXM in that it dissolves slower and thus takes longer to work but gives a longer trip.

Getting back to Coricidin, since you needn't know anything more about Delsym (awful orange taste, slower acting just about covers it). If you search on the Internet you'll quickly become appraised of so called red devils' inherent dangers. However, I've never had trouble with Triple Cs, nor has my comrade who usually trips alongside me (Commando). We used to opt for Delsym after a brief beginning stint taking Coricidin; we figured the health risks of the latter outweighed the benefits of the easy delivery system of the drug. But Delsym eventually began to taste more and more awful; I don't think I drank it in the last year without vomiting. Such is the reverse tolerance of DXM. Unlike other drugs where you need higher and higher doses to get off once your body becomes accustomed to it, DXM works in such a way that you'll progressively find yourself taking less and less out of lacking the fortitude to do the same level or more than you used to. Hence the return to Coricidin - Skittles were a sporadic thing way back when and therefore easier to take, in terms of both tolerance level and taste. Let me be perfectly honest: chugging syrup fucking sucks. All flavors, all kinds taste awful and more often than not you'll throw it up, making the entire enterprise a waste of time. Delsym's so bad whenever I imagine drinking it, I visibly shudder, reminding myself of the horrific taste and the nausea I associate with it. I shuddered just now while writing about how I shudder when I think about it, that's how bad the instilled nausea becomes with use. Compared to syrup, popping the pills is simple. Past the first time I ever took DXM, I can't think of a Skittles-related vomit session, though I can think of plenty of syrup ones.

Really, I notice no real difference between Delsym high and Coricidin high. There is some difference in terms of length and in terms of general mood (Delsym fosters more positive, 'glowy' experiences, whereas Coricidin feels colder), but not a whole lot, and definitely not enough to say the two deserve classification as separate highs. Maybe it's because my memories have faded from months of disuse, but I think it's because Triple Cs' threat is overstated. Sure, the heart beats pretty rapidly, suggesting to the tripee that the heart's about to smash out of the body like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon, but again that also happens on syrup-based DXM. My very worst Cory Matthews trip, which involved me taking 16 at once rather than my usual of 8 at a time, was nonetheless amazing, not a threat to my health (I managed to pull myself together enough to take a WW2 in the Pacific final exam that same day) and not something which would compel me to write a weepy testimonial about how I went TOO FAR and PAID THE PRICE and post it on Erowid. I never once felt my life was in danger. All the trip did was trash my short term memory (I continually queried the whereabouts of then-absent Commando and yelling "Lemmmm!" in a mimic of Shane in "Postpartum" was common), slur my speech, make me walk weird, and lead to some pretty neat hallucinations. Like, I answered a phone and as I held the receiver up to my ear I thought I heard it ticking. Then the receiver grew larger and larger. I thought the phone was about to explode!

Damn. Got a little bit ahead of myself. I began describing an experience without first laying out the typical effects of DXM to expect upon taking it. Once you get over the nausea hump, whether through puking or Shield or video games, heightened sensitivity and a sense of unease occurs. What I mean by heightened sensitivity is you can hear better, feel better, even see better in some cases. Skin feels good. Everything feels good. You're more comfortable in your body than you've ever been before. Everything has something of an itchy feeling, but it's not a bad itch. It's the kind of itch which makes you want to move around as much as possible. Euphoria's the most notable effect of DXM. The next most important change from DXM-bereft to DXM-filled is the sense of dissociation you feel. On several occasions on DXM I've literally had out of body experiences. I remember one time my view shifted into a bizarre third person view, from the back, like in a video game. Other times I just zoned out and became fixated on an item, such as a couch, a chair, a chest.

With this dissociation comes a pervading, disturbing feeling about humanity and the world in general. You feel cut off, especially during the rise of the drug taking effect. Everything is dark and cold and ugly and even the idea of human contact disgusts. But then the euphoria of DXM turns this negative into a positive, as you begin to feel good about your isolation from humanity. Well, sometimes. Other times, and this has happened during the most recent trips, you become obsessed with death, part of which I assume extends from the jackhammer heartbeat DXM gives. I find this happens especially when consuming media. When watching "Back to One", Shield ep 6x03, for example, the torture of Guardo connected to me on a scary level. I could feel the chain beating me. Same for Videodrome; I felt as though it was really happening and my mind went on an hour dirge about my imminent death and what I would do if I had a short amount of time left to live. It's freaky shit; someone of weak mental state could easily go insane from DXM use. Handling DXM requires a lot of control and a lot of tolerance for introspection which may not always be positive. If you're unable to comprehend the vision of all of your loved ones melting away, I do not recommend the drug for you. You'll just have a bad trip at best and a psychotic episode at worst.

Should you be able to handle the weight of the drug in your system and in your mind, you'll find much fun can be had with it. It's one of the few drugs in which I find ridiculousness is acceptable while on it. People bug the shit out of me when they're drunk or on weed and I'm not; not so with DXM. People seem to discard their pretension and their social contrived personalities and become realistic while under the influence of skittles/the tussin. Also, the physicality aspect changes. Some might call DXM's physical effect clumsiness, but that's too simplistic a label. You actually simultaneously become more and less adept at physical activities. It's a sort of Zen awkwardness. Take walking. Walking on DXM appears to the outsider to be stiff and mechanical, 'robowalking' it's called, but when doing it shit feels fluid and relaxed. Pure confidence, huge movements like you're 5 times bigger than normal. Running is especially fun; I liken the experience of running on DXM to be like playing a video game. In spite of all my ruminations of death in the dissociated state, I never feel in danger from any physical threat, like traffic. And that surprisingly does not lend to me almost getting hit by cars

Don't chug the racist grape Delsym. Orange is slightly more tolerable.

Upon waking up from DXM, you'll either experience an afterglow or a hangover, depending on how you view it. The comedown regardless features a few of the effects of DXM - pupil dilation, itchy skin, weird taste in the mouth. I should mention you must pay close attention to your pupils while on DXM or coming off DXM. The pupil dilation usually lasts 3 to 4 days, and at the height of the trip it's readily apparent to observers that you're indeed on some sort of drug. So don't think you can fool girlfriend, employers, associates into thinking you're not taking when you're on it. I've tried and it doesn't really work. Anyway, the comedown on Delsym and the comedown on Coricidin differs in some respects. Delsym tends to be more pleasuring whereas the Coricidin hangover is somewhat disconcerting and cold. Usually I'm prone to sleeping about 20 hours after the Coricidin effects end. Let me tell you, it can put a real crimp on your work ethic.

Another side-effect of taking DXM is it entirely kills your sex drive for a couple days. DXM is not a sexual drug; if anything, it promotes abstinence or celibacy because it's almost entirely impossible to perform while under the pall of dextromethorphan. Don't bother trying to counteract it through some method; such an effort is pointless. You ought to just schedule any DXM trips to take place in a span in which your chances of getting laid are low to null. Ain't nothing sadder than hooking up with a hot girl and then being unable to get an erection. Quite an embarrassing situation; it happened to me once and that's why I use alcohol so often, to blot things like that out of my memory. Don't make the mistake I did. You'll both be embarrassed and lose out on a chance for some (probably) good sex. Another embarrassing nugget of information: after my first few trips on DXM, all of which occurred in the same week, I somehow became convinced DXM permanently rendered me sexually incapable. So I blew off an entire day of university just to confirm my sexual organs still, in fact, worked. It took me 3 goddamn hours of trying to jerk off before I succeeded. Man, was I ever fucking happy when I achieved orgasm.

I suppose now I ought to list a general set of experiences I have had on DXM, since I've thus far only alluded to a few choice bits. Here goes:

  • I saw a tree explode.
  • I decided to run up to some religious protestors and steal their placard. I failed since there were two of them to one of me, but I struggled valiantly and people applauded my efforts.
  • I hallucinated a blackboard in one of my classes was in actuality a portal in which some opposite to me was writing messages only I could see.
  • A viewing of Spider-Man 3 became even more pleasurable in that distinguishing between hallucinations of film events and events in the film blurred.
  • Yelling "I didn't know they made Transamerica into a TV show" when a Closer commercial preceded said viewing of Spider-Man 3.
  • I took a history final exam and had to rewrite my exam answers because the first time was in a completely alien script.
  • Countless successful attempts to steal shit, most of which were books and more DXM.
  • I saw people on the bus as demons. My mood only calmed when placated by a goldfish cracker I told was representative of positive forces.
  • A trip to the library became fueled with paranoia as I started to believe the lizards or some dark force was watching over me and could crush me at any time they so desired.
  • I watched Videodrome every day for 2 weeks, to the point where I knew the entire script.
  • Walking across a parking lot took over 40 minutes.
  • Watched a movie on my computer and after it finished I said "start the review, Jazz!" aloud - despite Jazz (or anyone else) not being in the room.
  • Hallucinated Black Goliath a) being in my room and b) turning into a vampire and trying to kill me when I said aloud some Harry Potter book 7 spoilers.

These are of course not all of my experiences on DXM, since there are a lot and there are also several my recollection of is either hazy or nonexistent (short-term and long-term memory on DXM and in regards to DXM is more a pipedream than a practice). Regardless, I believe these constitute a good sample of what one can expect to happen when taking DXM.

If anything in this article appeals to you, I advise you take it. Steal it your first time so you won't feel ripped off if you have a bad trip. Delsym's easiest to steal. (However, Corcidin stealing is possible as long as you go to CVS and steal the generic Cough and Cold CVS Corcidin. Not only is it cheaper, the staff won't feel compelled to put it behind the counter like most drug stores do with Coricidin due to rampant shoplifting of it unless you hit the same store many times in a short period of time. Like, uh, I did.) Just go to the drug store, take the big bottle, take it out of its carton, stuff the bottle in your pocket and walk out. Drink it and get ready for some fun. (It won't incite lots of nausea then because of the whole reverse tolerance thing I mentioned before.) But remember not to do it too often. Frequent use dulls the effects of the experience and you may develop a mental predilection for it which is hard to break from if established. The high is intoxicating and at a certain point you begin to think you're only truly alive when on it. I suggest, at maximum, once a week, with one per month being more preferable a dosage. Or you could just binge for a couple month period and then give it up after that. No matter the way, so long as you don't take it too far, your experience of dex will be remembered by you in the same narrative as torrid summer romances.

Perhaps I will write a sequel at a later date going into the plateaus of DXM, meticulously documenting their various different effects. But that hinges on me dropping Triple Cs again and doing so much to get to the higher, crazy-inducing plateaus, so it may take a while to come out if it indeed is to be. If not, my final word on the subject: DXM impacted my life in a positive way. It made me a sharper, smarter person. It'll do the same for you, prospective tripper. Have fun tripping.