4-HO-MET is a tryptamine psychedelic that has been minimally researched and is primarily sold through the research chemical (RC) and novel psychoactive substance (NPS) market. However, it does have a longer history of use than a lot of RCs, having been subjectively described by the chemist Alexander Shulgin in the 1990s and somewhat widely used since the 2000s.
It is known for producing less mentally intense, though highly visual experiences relative to psychedelics like LSD, psilocin, and 4-AcO-DMT. That is a fair general characterization of the drug, but its tendency to be recreational and clearheaded should not be overstated. Some users experience strong mental effects at common doses and for a large portion of users it will eventually become intense if high enough doses are used. As is true for essentially all psychedelics, it deserves respect and should not be treated as a risk-free substance. A proper set and setting remain important factors for reducing the risks and enhancing the positive aspects of the drug.
4-HO-MET = 4-hydroxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine ; metocin
Molecular formula: C13H18N2O
Molecular weight: 218.29 g/mol
Experience Reports and Effects Analysis: Link
Effects Tally (Raw Data and Charts): Link (Note: Download and view for proper formatting.)
ROAs and Dose
Oral is the most common route of administration, followed by intranasal, and occasionally it is taken rectally or via injection (IV or IM). Because substantially more people have taken it orally than through other routes, more is known about the appropriate oral dose and usually that ROA provides reliable effects. Rectal administration is normally reported to work fine, but since it can be more of a hassle and does not offer a substantial potency difference, along with unreliably reducing nausea, it may not be worthwhile.
Intranasal use may cause temporary pain, though few reports have commented on that aspect of the administration. It also offers minimal potency benefit overall, but its faster onset is enjoyed by some.
There is a significant degree of inconsistency between users as to the drug’s potency, specifically the potency of its mental effects. Some users experience notable mental changes at common doses, yet others can use much higher doses with seemingly little risk of difficult experiences, though even if you are experiencing very manageable effects at higher doses, it is important to remain cautious since that quality of the drug may one day change.
It appears to be more easily redosed than a lot of psychedelics. As a general rule, this practice is still discouraged because it adds an extra layer of unpredictability to the experience, but the reports tend to indicate it can bring back or increase the intensity while showing little evidence of acute tolerance and it has the benefit of extending the duration of a relatively short-acting drug. Some users report success taking 0.5 to 1x the original dose 1.5-2.5 hours after the first administration.
At strong+ doses this becomes progressively riskier. For example, it could mean a jump from 30 mg to 45-60 mg, rather than a more reasonable increase from 10 mg to 20 mg, so taking 0.5x or less for the redose is safer when working with higher amounts. Multiple redoses should be more strictly avoided.
Light: 5 – 10 mg
Common: 10 – 20 mg
Strong: 20 – 30+ mg
Most people use 10 to 30 mg. Among those who find the drug particularly easygoing, the reasonable dose range can extend into the 30s or 40s, but those does should not be taken by people who have not already experienced lower doses, and the dose should only be increased by a small amount each experience (e.g. 5 mg per use) instead of making large jumps.
Users who easily handle common to strong doses can still end up having difficult experiences upon pushing the dose higher. 4-HO-MET can be considered a more recreational psychedelic, but it is not boundlessly friendly.
Light: 5 – 10 mg
Common: 10 – 20 mg
Strong: 20 – 25 mg
Total: 4 – 6 hours
Onset: 15 to 30 min
Although the duration is around 4 to 6 hours, the peak can be especially short at light to common doses, resulting in a substantial decline in the effects 3-4 hours into the experience, with more residual-level effects beyond that point. The duration is sometimes considered too short, but others find it nice to have a psychedelic whose strongest effects only stick around a couple hours, distinguishing it from drugs like LSD that use up the better part of a day.
The oral onset is faster than average. Occasionally people feel effects in<15 min, the most common onset time is 15 to 30 min, and most users feel it within 45 min. The earliest effects are normally bodily sensations, some anxiety, and a general sense that something is different, rather than visuals.
Anxiety, uncomfortable bodily effects, and a sense of being overwhelmed regularly occur during the comeup, with the experience becoming more comfortable as the effects progress. Sometimes the physical activation and GI effects kick in faster than the mood elevation and pleasurable aspects of the body high, but this uncomfortable period is brief and not everyone encounters it.
Total: 3 – 4 hours (The effects often decline within two hours.)
Onset: 5 to 15 min
Because it has a faster onset, intranasal use has a greater chance of being intense at the beginning, leading to more overwhelming and disorienting effects early on.
Total: 1 – 2 hours
Onset: Within 5 minutes (Usually it has a near-immediate onset, developing into the core effects in a matter of minutes.)
- Open eye visuals (OEVs)
- Closed eye visuals (CEVs)
- Easygoing headspace
- Mood improvement and euphoria
- Increased sense of humor
- Minimal anxiety
- Music enhancement
- Light to moderate entactogenic effects (e.g. increased appreciation and sense of connection)
- Auditory hallucinations
- Minimal bodyload
- Increased sociability
- Pleasurable body high (e.g. warm and/or tingling sensations)
- Increased energy
- GI distress (e.g. stomachache, nausea, indigestion)
- Anxiety and panic
- Uncomfortable comeup or comedown
- Cold sensations
- Thought loops
- Sensation of overheating
- Bodily heaviness (i.e. perception of your body being heavier)
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
Mental and Cognitive
Confusion and ‘Deepness’
Most often it has a fairly clearheaded mental state that almost feels like soberly experiencing perceptual and mood changes, or it causes transient periods of anxiety and confusion that are still more easily addressed by basic calming techniques and rational thinking than if you were experiencing high-dose LSD, psilocin, or 4-AcO-DMT, for example. It is relatively easy to distract oneself and a change of scenery, company, or music may be all it takes to address the more difficult periods of a common dose experience. Thinking can still speed up and thoughts frequently become more random and tangential, occasionally leading to thought loops and negative intrusive thoughts.
This same property of causing less thought alteration may reduce the chance of therapeutic benefit and insight, or it can simply produce less interesting mental changes, especially for someone familiar with mentally stronger psychedelics. The introspective and entactogenic qualities it does have are more likely to be focused on things like your life, habits, and relationships, rather than on classically “deep” spiritual and cosmic ideas, so in that sense it’s more grounded and more easily navigable because the mental state is closer to normal consciousness. A fairly common experience is feeling more connected to people in your life or to the world–for example, some people feel a profound sense of connection while in nature, but the majority of common dose experiences don’t include those effects.
Ego dissolution is a classic part of psychedelic experiences. Some beneficial or confusing experiences cause effects like not understanding who you are, no longer identifying with your feelings, not identifying with your body, and not remembering your name. This can be frightening, but it also carries the potential for insight since reducing the boundary between yourself and the rest of the world can mean not taking your normal patterns of thinking or your normal sense of self as seriously, helping to overcome rigid ways of being and self-centeredness. At typical doses significant ego dissolution is uncommon.
While it is fairly clearheaded, you should still expect it to be more difficult doing a lot of normal tasks, like answering the phone. Being unexpectedly confronted with those tasks has a good chance of provoking some anxiety and hesitation. You should not fool yourself into thinking you can handle everything just because you feel relatively normal. A lot of users do fine in calm settings, yet spiral into negative or difficult experiences if they try to do too much, like being in public and talking with strangers, partly because trying to hide that you’re on a drug can be very unpleasant on psychedelics. At the end of the day, you are still on a significantly altering drug, and anything that is unsafe when altered, like driving, should not be attempted.
Many users report feeling 4-HO-MET would be a good introductory psychedelic, giving people a way to understand what a somewhat trippy mindset is like and what psychedelic visual distortions entail while carrying comparatively little psychological risk. It’s been likened to 2C-C, 2C-B, and AL-LAD in this regard.
Anxiety and Paranoia
Particularly early on in the effects there can be anxiety centered around experiencing a change in your mental state and sensing reduced control over how you feel and what you perceive, which can leave people questioning their choice to have taken a drug and it can be a trigger for people to fight to maintain control, which is often counterproductive. These feelings normally do not make up a large part of the experience.
Concerns about physical and psychological safety may appear, and they are a common trigger of thought loops, but most people do not report a major issue with those thoughts. Because there is still a chance of anxiety and paranoia, it is good to have a trusted sober person with you since they can help alleviate irrational concerns.
A similar number of reports specifically mention no anxiety and even relaxed effects as those that mention some degree of anxiety or panic.
Normally it causes mood improvement and elation, with those effects appearing early in the experience. It can also feel life-affirming such that people are happy to be alive and happy to be having the experience. Psychedelics in general have an elating effect, but it is frequently covered up and distorted by anxiety and confusion, so the lower rate of those downsides with 4-HO-MET helps the mood elevation come across. It’s not entirely consistent with producing joyous experiences, but it appears more consistent than average. The general mood elevation is also often accompanied by a sense of freedom and a desire to explore, sometimes described as child-like curiosity.
Like with anxiety, periods of low mood can occur. As it is very much a psychedelic, those periods of low mood may come up spontaneously or be associated with an emotional response to difficult things in your life, and in that sense the low mood might not be entirely negative, but rather a trigger for personal growth.
A very common effect is being more easily amused, as well as laughing for no reason. Some users end up laughing hysterically in an uncontrollable manner, though that effect is almost always positive. Similarly, smiling is a common effect, sometimes occurring without any laughter or amusement being present.
These properties exist with other psychedelics, but appear more common with 4-HO-MET.
It is impairing enough to make communication more difficult and stressful, but socializing with people you trust can be more enjoyable. The drug can promote talkativeness and its pro-social effects tend to be brought out the most by calm environments and small groups, not large crowds.
Conversations may be more meaningful, producing some entactogen-like experiences.
Even if you are in the mood to socialize, it can be harder to communicate your thoughts. A lot of people report having essentially unimpaired, coherent thinking, but difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings to others. You may also find yourself getting confused by the act of talking, in part because it can be harder to hold things in your working and short-term memory. Impaired communication is more common with higher doses.
A minority of users see or otherwise sense the presence of entities, with some qualitative similarities to entity experiences on psilocin or DMT. This almost exclusively occurs at strong+ doses and even using high amounts normally does not cause this effect. Normally the experiences are not frightening and the entities are described as seemingly benevolent, sometimes with the intent of helping the user.
In some of the experiences it seems the perception of entities may just be how users are perceiving a sense of detachment from an inner voice or the sense that there is a dialogue between two internal voices, such as a rational voice and an irrational voice.
It is common to enjoy music more and to find songs more engaging than usual. Music also has a greater influence on your mood and thought processes, and some people find the songs they’re listening to partly sync up with the visuals.
Most users do not experience a substantial change in the perception of time, but a notable minority report time dilation. Things can feel like they are taking much longer than they really are. Often this is a neutral effect, but it can contribute to negative experiences because people feel like they are stuck experiencing bad effects and despite rationally knowing they are on a short-acting drug, it does not feel that way.
A minority of users report an increase in sexual thoughts and imagery, but actual enhancement of sex has rarely been discussed and whatever effect is has on sex may not be reliably good, as is typically true for psychedelics.
Visual distortions are one of the most common effects and they will usually occur beginning at light doses, becoming very intense by strong+ doses. At common doses it causes open eye visuals (OEVs) and some closed eye visuals (CEVs). Rarely does it produce frank hallucinations, i.e. seeing things in the external environment that do not exist, but high doses can distort your perception enough as to nearly create novel items in your environment. High doses may also allow environments and scenarios to be witnessed with eyes closed, e.g. fanciful situations or scenes from your memory. Those internal hallucinatory experiences can feel a bit like a dream state.
It is known for its very colorful OEVs, which are normally fun to look at and which may be enjoyable enough to make up for an otherwise shallow experience. Surfaces breath and otherwise move, everything in your visual field can vibrate, boundaries between objects and the environment are reduced, and everything takes on a more lively appearance. Typically the visuals are bright, color saturation and intensity increase, and the colors can have a neon-like appearance. Geometric patterns are often seen and a number of reports specifically describe the visuals as Aztec or Mayan-like. Some users see scribbling in the shape of what appears to be letters, so it can seem like you are seeing words in an unknown language.
Usually it is worthwhile to look at nature or the sky rather than just viewing the inside of a building, though both experiences can be satisfying.
Facial features are frequently distorted in cartoony or otherwise unrealistic ways. For example, components of a person’s face can change size and hair may look a different color. Inanimate objects can also morph in a way that makes them look like faces, which is a common psychedelic effect. Seeing faces in objects can be unnerving, even frightening, but normally it is not. A lot of things that come off as somewhat creepy on 4-HO-MET are still relatively easily ignored, preventing the creepiness from triggering fear.
Heavy doses can cause visuals that are more immersive and a bit closer in their appearance to what is produced by DMT, but those effects are usually out of reach with normal doses. And the “breakthrough” dissociative quality of DMT is not really an element of 4-HO-MET, the visuals can just saturate your normal visual field.
After images are common, so moving an object or body part can produce a temporary trail of more transparent images across the movement path. The colors, patterns, fractals, etc may also stand out more when viewed in the dark, though your actual night vision is also likely to be impaired, so be cautious if you are trying to navigate in the dark. Viewing the CEVs or OEVs in the dark comes with a somewhat elevated risk of making the visuals more distressing and frightening.
Among the CEVs are colors, basic geometric patterns, and at the more intense end, complex fractals, but at common doses the CEVs are usually simple.
Despite not being mentally intense, it can be visual to the extent of being described as one of the most visual psychedelics. It is a bit unclear whether the intensity of the visuals is actually that unique or if the visuals simply receive more attention because the mental effects are comparatively tame. With other psychedelics the mental effects may be strong enough to make the visual component of the experience an afterthought.
The visual effects are not universal, but it is only a small minority of users who do not get substantial visual effects at common or strong doses. Though, for some people the distortions produced by lower doses are not very noticeable when you are not paying attention or when an object is moving, so focusing on still objects should make the visuals stand out more.
It commonly distorts sounds, with effects like making things sound closer or farther, making them sound metallic, and changing voices such that they are perceived as slowed down or less human-like and generally weird.
Tactile hallucinations are not a major aspect of the drug. Usually this effect just presents as making things you touch or wear feel a bit different, such as smoother or rougher. At high doses, a minority of people experience a sensation of bugs or other things moving on them or within their skin, but this is normally an element of psychotic experiences triggered by overdoses, so it is not something most people have to worry about.
The bodyload is relatively minor compared to many other psychedelics and the effects that exist are not always bothersome. GI issues like nausea are common, but the intensity of those effects is normally low. Vomiting is rare throughout the duration and nausea tends to be more present during the comeup.
Some of the other potential effects are muscle aches or tension (especially in the jaw, legs, and neck), sweating and cold sweats, shakiness and jitteriness, cold extremities (potentially from vasoconstriction), alternating between unpleasant sensations of hot and cold, and a sensation of your body being heavier. Heart rate and blood pressure likely increase moderately and users certainly perceive an increase in cardiovascular activity. A minority experience heart palpitations and chest tightness, but those are far more likely the result of stress than being from anything that could affect safety.
It can cause you to feel physically impaired, particularly when moving around. Some users report it is difficult to walk properly, with that aspect being compared to the effect of sedatives. A small portion of users get allergic or sick-like symptoms, sometimes exclusively during the comedown period. Those effects include a stuffy nose, itchiness, swelling, and skin rashes.
There are a handful of reports of users feeling like they need to urinate frequently, despite not actually needing to. This may merely be a sensation or there could be an effect on your ability to fully empty your bladder. For some users this sensation seems to be a manifestation of stress, so it can even go away during the experience if they calm down and reframe what they are dealing with.
While a bodyload may occur, it can also produce a body high, and the sensations experienced on the drug can often be part of a good body high or negative bodyload depending on your mental state. Among the more positive feelings are tingling and a sense of warmth, though in the cozy blanket way, not the overheating way.
The drug’s energy level is more stimulating than sedating. It is not as stimulating as some of the psychedelic amphetamines and phenethylamines, but it is usually energetic enough to produce wakefulness, a relative lack of drowsiness, and sometimes enough energy to be active for things like hiking or dancing. Though it gives enough energy to do those activities, it is not typically coupled with a strong need or desire to be active, unlike with stimulants. Some users receive enough physically manifesting energy that they become restless and cannot get comfortable.
It is frequently said to have a wave-like nature where the visuals, euphoria, and other effects are at a high level of intensity for around 30 to 45 minutes, followed by a period of feeling fairly close to sobriety only to be swept back up in another wave soon after.
A few hours of insomnia after the main effects wear off is common and it may be related to residual stimulation or perceptual changes that are distracting when trying to sleep. Some users find that although they may only be experiencing minor perceptual effects long after administration, such as 8 hours in, those effects take on a darker, scarier appearance upon turning off the lights and trying to sleep. You should expect to be awake for at least 8 to 10 hours after taking a common dose. It is preferable not to use it in the evening since the effects may become more confusing and generally problematic when mixed with greater exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
It is common to feel tired or exhausted after using it, both mentally and physically. Beyond that, it can sometimes leave you feeling a bit ‘fried,’ with effects like brain fog, difficulty thinking straight, and being unproductive. Normally those effects are reset by sleep.
So long as you slept fine after using it, the hangover is typically minimal. The visuals are almost always gone by the time you wake up and normal cognition and wakefulness are restored enough to be productive. When there are after effects, they are usually at the level of feeling a bit happier and more ready for the day than usual, and those effects can sometimes last a few days. Though, a minority still feel exhausted or experience brain fog after sleeping and some users report a minor to moderate headache that usually subsides within a day.
The visuals with 4-HO-MET are often qualitatively similar to psilocin, but more intense dose-for-dose. It is also less deep with its mental effects, causing insight, introspection, and spiritual experiences to be more common with psilocin. The rate of easy/positive experiences may be higher and the rate of anxiety may be lower with 4-HO-MET, though some people still dislike it because it produces less of a ‘full’ trip.
Like with how it compares to psilocin, 4-HO-MET is usually more recreational, clearheaded, positive, and visual, but also more shallow. It is more stimulating, such that staying awake is easy, whereas 4-AcO-DMT can be drowsy.
The effects of 4-HO-MiPT are commonly described as being between those of 4-HO-MET and 4-AcO-DMT. It is also fairly recreational, though it can produce stronger mental effects than 4-HO-MET, while still offering good visual effects. 4-HO-MET remains preferable if you are looking for the most consistently positive, easygoing effects.
Qualitatively they are very similar, perhaps because 4-AcO-MET hypothetically metabolizes to 4-HO-MET. 4-HO-MET is more potent and may have a faster comeup.
Some comparisons to MDMA have been made because they can both be euphoric and entactogenic. The consistency of positive, euphoric, and entactogenic experiences is greater with MDMA, but when those effects exist with 4-HO-MET they may feel more natural and meaningful. They also have similar comeup effects with their mental and physical activation, moderate potential for anxiousness, and mood enhancement.
They are similarly easygoing overall, but 4-HO-MET may still have a slight advantage if you are looking for recreational effects and it may have an easier bodyload.
Both are somewhat stimulating psychedelics, but the headspace of common to strong doses of LSD is stronger on average.
Cannabis can strongly potentiate its effects on perception and the mind, significantly increasing the unpredictability of the effects. Even if you are a regular cannabis user, the combination should be avoided or, at the least, only a small amount of cannabis should be taken.
A similar warning applies to combining it with other psychedelics as applies to combining it with cannabis. Although a number of success stories exist for combining it with drugs like AL-LAD, 4-AcO-DMT, or LSD, it significantly increases the unpredictability of the experience. It is best to avoid it and if that is not an option, low doses of each drug should be taken.
Psychedelics very often provide positive experiences when combined with entactogens like MDMA and a handful of reports indicate that holds true for 4-HO-MET. There are safety concerns pertaining to a greater risk of neurotoxicity and an increased risk of seizure and cardiovascular issues, but overall the combination is acutely not very concerning so long as low to common doses are taken.
Together, 4-HO-MET can add visual and other perceptual effects normally lacking from MDMA, while MDMA can offer greater mood improvement and relaxing effects that can serve as a preferable alternative to taking sedatives to smooth out a psychedelic. The entactogenic effects of MDMA may feel more profound and meaningful when experienced from the combination.
At low doses benzodiazepines can reduce anxious and stressful effects, but it does not take much for the visual and other beneficial effects to be dampened, so although they can be helpful as a treatment for overly anxious experiences, they are often not a great combination. And if you are trying to combine them as a way to still use psychedelics despite typically having bad experiences with them, it is better to avoid psychedelics or to find behavioral and cognitive ways to overcome whatever negative effects you get from psychedelics.
Alexander Shulgin described it as offering qualitative effects that are “very much like psilocin” to the extent that it would probably not be distinguishable from psilocin in a blinded study. Its wave-like nature was also noted. The entry listed its dose as 10-20 mg (oral) and its duration as 4 to 6 hours.
A 2017 paper looked at online reports of people self-treating migraines and cluster headaches with psychedelics (Andersson, 2017). It found synthetic tryptamines, including 4-HO-MET, have sometimes been used with success for this purpose, though LSD and psilocybin are far more widely used.
The drug’s recreational effects were analyzed by Kjellgren and Soussan (2011), who also utilized online reports. When the authors searched for information in 2010 they discovered no major scientific article database or Erowid’s library discussed the drug, and there were too few English language reports to adequately review the drug’s effects, so the authors used reports from Flashback.org, a popular website in Sweden. Their analysis of 25 reports produced an effect overview that was not dissimilar to the TDC overview. They also reported the most common ROA was oral and a typical dose was 25 mg.
4-HO-MET is a simple derivative of the base tryptamine, N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine, differing by its 4-hydroxy substitution. Tryptamine itself lacks psychedelic effects, but the addition of an N-methyl and an N-ethyl group makes it a psychedelic. From there, the potency of MET is increased by the 4-hydroxy substitution present in 4-HO-MET.
It is structurally analogous to 4-HO-DMT, otherwise known as psilocin, the primary active drug obtained from using psilocybin mushrooms. It differs from psilocin by the extension of one of its N-methyl groups by a single carbon, yielding an ethyl substitution.
It is also structurally similar to 4-AcO-MET, which has an acetoxy group in place of the hydroxy group in 4-HO-MET, yielding an acetyl ester analog of the drug. Much as the acetyl ester of psilocin, 4-AcO-DMT, is believed to metabolize to psilocin in the body, there is reason to believe 4-AcO-MET metabolizes to 4-HO-MET. That metabolic pathway is supported by at least one case where toxicology testing found 4-HO-MET was the primary drug in the user’s body following the suspected use of 4-AcO-MET (McIntyre, 2015).
4-HO-MET is typically sold as the fumarate or HCl salt.
The main effects are likely mediated by the 5-HT2A receptor, where it has a high affinity and functions as a partial agonist (Rickli, 2016). It also binds with a nanomolar or low micromolar affinity to 5-HT1A, 5-HT2C, histamine H1, trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), dopamine D2 and D3, and α1A and 2A adrenergic receptors.
It has a high affinity for the serotonin transporter, where it also has somewhat appreciable reuptake inhibition effects, although direct serotonin receptor agonism is likely a bigger contributor to its effects. It does not have monoamine releasing properties.
Affinity and efficacy values
The following data is from Rickli (2016) and is given in nanomolar (smaller values mean higher affinity). Aside from the TAAR1 receptor, human genes were used to express the targets using HEK293 cells to obtain affinity data. For 5-HT2A activity research, human 5-HT2A was expressed in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (NIT-3T3 cells).
- Affinity (Ki)
- 5-HT1A: 228
- 5-HT2A: 57
- 5-HT2C: 141
- SERT: 200
- NET: 13,000
- DAT: >26,000
- Adrenergic α1A: 9,700
- Adrenergic α2A: 2,400
- D1: >25,000
- D2: 4,000
- D3: 6,700
- H1: 820
- TAAR1rat: 3,100
- TAAR1mouse: 12,000
- 5-HT2A receptor activation
- EC50: 37
- Maximum activation: 72%
- Monoamine uptake inhibition (IC50)
- SERT: 9,000
- NET: 11,000
- DAT: >100,000
Bruni (2018) evaluated its metabolism in vitro using pooled human liver microsomes (pHLM) and in vivo using three human forensic cases where the patient’s urine tested positive for 4-HO-MET. In vivo four metabolites were identified, with transformations include hydroxylation, glucuronidation of the parent compound, and glucuronidation of an N-oxide metabolite.
In vitro, 12 metabolites were identified, with transformations include monohydroxylation, dihydroxylation, N-oxide formation, demethylation, carboxylic acid formation, and desethylation. Three of the monohydroxylated metabolites were modified at the benzene ring of its indole structure.
Alexander Shulgin synthesized 4-HO-MET and briefly described its subjective activity in TiHKAL, which was published in 1997.
2000s – 2010s
Internet-based vendors began selling the substance around the 2000s, leading to a fair number of online reports describing the drug at this time.
Of 436 tryptamine drug samples sent to the Spanish drug checking service Energy Control between 2006 and 2015, 19 were thought to be 4-HO-MET by the users sending them in (either from within Spain or internationally) and 17/19 were confirmed to be 4-HO-MET, while one was 4-HO-DET, and one contained no active substance (Palma-Conesa, 2017). The drug also showed up in one of two samples thought to be 4-AcO-MET.
Data from the European Union’s EMCDDA shows it began to be seized by law enforcement around the EU starting in the late 2000s. For the most part the seizures were of personal quantities. As of 2014, the drug was uncontrolled in Belgium and Bulgaria, while it was controlled in Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden (Blanckaert, 2014).
- Reports from law enforcement to the EMCDDA, as reported by Blanckaert (2014)
- July 2014 – Analysis of a seized tablet named “Psylocibium” that contained 4-HO-MET.
- December 2011 – Seizure of 0.36 g of light grey powder
- July 2011 – Two seizures of 0.671 g cream powder in 37 packages of a product called “Matrix”
- First half of 2009 – Three seizures of powder, amounting to 0.85 g.
- February 2009 – One seizure of 0.1 g white powder by Finnish Customs.
- 2008 – Two seizures, totaling 0.1 g powder.
- First half of 2009 – Six seizures of powder (0.66 g)
- 2008 – One seizure of 4.85 g powder and seven other seizures of powder amounting to 2.37 g.
- August 2007 – One seizure of 282 g black powder.
- March 2008 – One seizure of two capsules.
Helander (2013) reported data from Sweden’s STRIDA project during its first year of operation. That project analyzes blood and urine samples from hospital cases suspected to involve novel psychoactive substance use. Over a 12-month period beginning in 2010, there were 103 emergency department cases reported to STRIDA and the only tryptamine detected was 4-HO-MET, which was seen in eight cases. The median age of users was 22 and most people took the drug orally (n=5) or intranasally (n=3). The main symptoms associated with its use were mydriasis, agitation/restlessness, tachycardia, nausea/vomiting, and hallucinations. Half of those cases originated from the same small town in southeastern Sweden.
After a year and a half of operation, STRIDA had analyzed body fluids from 189 patients, 14 of which involved 4-HO-MET (Helander, 2014). In 11 of the 14, the drug was used by itself and those cases led to minor (n=7) or moderate (n=4) symptoms, which usually resolved with supportive care, though sometimes sedatives (e.g. diazepam and/or propofol) were provided.
Surveys given to Spanish research chemical users between August 2010 and June 2011 revealed 4-HO-MET was a fairly uncommon drug (Gonzalez, 2013). Among 230 people, 2C-B and methylone were used by 80% and 40%, respectively, whereas 3% of respondents reported taking 4-HO-MET.
STRIDA’s analysis of body fluids and drug products from 173 cases between 2010 and 2015 found 4-HO-MET was detected in powder on four occasions, occurring in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Backberg, 2018).
Sweden has historically been a major market for the drug, but interest in it significantly declined after it became a controlled substance in May 2012, based on an analysis of forum posts (Ledberg, 2015).
As of 2019, it is often still an uncontrolled substance and it remains one of the more popular RC psychedelics globally.
Legality (as of August 2019)
Australia: Not specifically controlled but it may fall under analog laws.
United Kingdom: Class A due to a general law controlling tryptamines.
United States: Unscheduled, but it will likely fall under the Federal Analogue Act when intended for human consumption.
Because very little is known about its safety, it should be taken at common doses, infrequently, and without combinations.
Considering its known effects and pharmacology, its risks should be largely similar to psilocin and LSD. This means regular doses carry some potential of panic, psychosis, tachycardia, hypertension, and hyperthermia.
And overdoses can be expected to frequently trigger psychotic symptoms and more rarely they could conceivably be associated with cardiovascular complications, seizures, dangerous hyperthermia, excessive muscle tension, and kidney damage, though most of those risks are only hypothetical based on its pharmacology.
Adverse Effect Reports
One formal case report of psychosis was published by Taljemark (2012). It described as teenager who used ~100 mg, leading to dangerously psychotic symptoms and psychological problems that gradually improved over the course of a week in the hospital. There was no lasting negative effect, but his acute state was severe enough that different circumstances could have led to dangerous or lethal outcomes.
No fatalities primarily attributed to 4-HO-MET have been reported in the literature as of August 2019. One fatality attributed to polydrug use involving 4-HO-MET has been described, but 4-MeO-PCP may have played a larger role in that case. (McIntyre, 2015).
Risky Combinations (list is not exhaustive)
- Other psychedelics