Interested in trying 4-HO-MET? In this total guide to 4-HO-MET, also called metocin, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the drug.
We’ll describe what it is, if it’s legal, if it’s harmful, what taking 4-HO-MET is like, how to safely take it, and where to buy 4-HO-MET.
What Is 4-HO-MET?
4-HO-MET is short for 4-hydroxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine. Its chemical formula is C13H18N2O. 4-HO-MET (also known as metocin) is a research chemical or designer drug.
Research chemicals are substances created in a lab designed to have similar effects as existing illegal drugs. These chemicals are frequently produced in academic and medical labs for the purposes of medical research. But when the information on how to create these chemicals becomes available through academic publishing channels, pretty much anyone with the right resources and tools can start cooking them up.
Furthermore, because they have similar effects to illegal drugs but are slightly different from them chemically, research chemicals are often legal to sell and consume (see below for our in-depth look at the legal status of 4-HO-MET).
4-HO-MET was first synthesized by chemist and “godfather of psychedelics” Alexander Shulgin. Because he often worked with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Shulgin had a special license to work with Schedule I illegal compounds in his lab (at least until 1994, when his lab was raided by the DEA and his special license revoked for administrative violations). By studying those Schedule I compounds, he was able to create hundreds of other chemically and functionally similar compounds, mostly psychedelics. He published detailed instructions on how to synthesize 4-HO-MET in his book Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved, or TiHKAL.
4-HO-MET is a tryptamine, the class of compounds that includes neurotransmitters (like dopamine and serotonin) and psychedelic drugs. It is also a functional analog of psilocin, one of the main mind-altering substances in psychedelic mushrooms (or “shrooms.”) This means that it has similar effects as psilocin when ingested. So like psilocin, 4-HO-MET is a hallucinogen.
Is 4-HO-MET Legal?
Research chemicals like 4-HO-MET mostly exist in the gray market, meaning that their sale is often not expressly illegal, but operates through unofficial and quasi-legal channels.
4-HO-MET is an unscheduled substance in the United States, which means that it is not currently regulated by any federal government entities. However, because it’s a tryptamine analogue, it is most likely illegal to sell for human consumption or possess with intent to ingest under the Analogue Act.
The Analogue Act makes it illegal to sell chemical analogues of Schedule I or Schedule II illegal drugs specifically for human consumption. It’s also illegal to possess one of these analogs with the intent of ingesting it (i.e. of doing it as a drug).
However, vendors can get around the sale issue simply by marking the substances as “not for human consumption.” This means that research chemicals are often sold under the guise of “bath salts,” “incense,” or other (non-edible) household products.
The legal status of research chemicals can change fairly often. Drug laws are frequently updated to include new substances. This means that if a research chemical becomes more widely consumed, it is likely to become more closely regulated. In Sweden and in the UK, 4-HO-MET is already expressly illegal. In Sweden it was specifically made a schedule I substance (meaning it is illegal to possess without a license), while in the UK it is illegal due to a tryptamine catch-all clause.
So is 4-HO-MET legal in the United States? The best answer at this point is “sort of.” It’s not necessarily illegal to sell or possess the substance, but it is most likely illegal to sell or possess the substance as a drug. 4-HO-MET can be purchased fairly easily online—marked as “not for human consumption.” Basically, just so long as vendors pretend they are not selling the 4-HO-MET so people can consume it, and just so long as people who buy 4-HO-MET pretend they aren’t going to consume it, everyone’s in the clear.
It’s also worth noting that another one of the big appeals of research chemicals like 4-HO-MET is that they are not picked up in most standard drug tests, so people who are drug tested for their job other reasons can use them without detection.
Is 4-HO-MET Safe?
In spite of the name “research chemical,” most designer drugs like 4-HO-MET have not been researched very much for their effects in humans. This means that there is very little knowledge about their potential toxicity or the long-term effects of their use.
By contrast, there’s a very long history of human use for most of the illegal drugs that research chemicals mimic. This means that we have a pretty decent idea of the long-term impact of the use of more “traditional” drugs like psychedelic mushrooms (which 4-HO-MET mimics). In fact, psychedelic drugs like LSD and shrooms are considered relatively safe by drug standards: they aren’t usually habit-forming, and they don’t typically lead to emergency room trips.
But because of the short history of human use and lack of research, we don’t actually know if 4-HO-MET is safer or more dangerous than more traditional hallucinogens, especially long-term.
At the very least, it does seem that 4-HO-MET is unlikely to kill you. There have been no publicly reported deaths associated with 4-HO-MET so far. Additionally, there have been reports of individuals taking doses up to 10 times the standard dose of 10-20 mg (so doses of 180 mg+) without dying.
However, this doesn’t mean that there is no danger associated with 4-HO-MET. In one documented case, an adolescent who took a very high dose underwent severe psychosis and tried to jump from a building. And according to the Swedish STRIDA survey, 4-HO-MET use has also caused mild and moderate poisoning cases to show up in emergency rooms. While such poisoning is not considered life-threatening, it can be very unpleasant, with symptoms like seizures, abnormal heartbeat, muscular pain, confusion, localized paralysis, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. (You can see the WHO’s guidelines on all the potential symptoms of mild and moderate poisoning here.) You could have an unexpected—and very dangerous—reaction to pretty much any drug, no matter how safe it is considered to be.
Other risks associated with 4-HO-MET are similar to the risks associated with pretty much all drugs. First, you don’t always know exactly what you are getting when you buy a drug from a vendor. They could adulterate their drugs with impurities, combine them with other drugs, or give you a completely different substance without you necessarily knowing, or having any recourse. This can be very dangerous for you. We have some tips on safely sourcing research chemicals in the “How to take 4-HO-MET” section below.
Second, people often combine 4-HO-MET with other substances. This is risky because the substances may interact in an unexpected or even dangerous way. This is even riskier with research chemicals like 4-HO-MET. Because research chemicals are fairly new, there isn’t very much information on how other drugs interact with them.
What Is Taking 4-HO-MET Like?
Curious about what taking 4-HO-MET is like? While there hasn’t been much official research, you can find a decent collection of anecdotal reports on the effects of 4-HO-MET on sites like Erowid and Psychonaut Wiki.
Whether ingested or insufflated/snorted (the two most common methods of ingestion), 4-HO-MET has a quick come up. This means that you’ll start to feel the effects of the drug relatively quickly—from 5-60 minutes after ingestion for oral and about 5-30 minutes after ingestion if you snort it. You should reach your peak sometime 1-2 hours after ingestion, which will then taper to a plateau lasting a couple hours. The effects of the drug will start to fade after that. You can expect a typical 4-HO-MET trip to last 4-6 hours overall. However, you may feel some aftereffects up to 12 hours after ingestion, especially if you take a heavy dose (see more on dosing in the next section on how to take 4-HO-MET).
Most people describe the effects of 4-HO-MET as happening in waves, with oscillations between feeling almost sober and then feeling the effects of the drug quite intensely.
4-HO-MET creates a similar experience to psychedelic shrooms or LSD. Here are some neutral, positive, and negative effects you might experience on 4-HO-MET: (Note: you probably won’t experience all of these effects in a single trip. These are just things people most commonly report experiencing while on the drug).
- Open-eye hallucinations: impression that the body is changing form or shape; surroundings appear to morph, drift, and transform; changes in perspective; fantastical and/or spiritual
- Closed-eye, interactive hallucinations; transported to new settings; interacting with beings; may be fantastical or spiritual
- Auditory and olfactory hallucinations
- Shift in mindset/consciousness
- Time dilation (the feeling that time is passing differently)
- Physical effects: dilated pupils, small increase in heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, watery eyes, yawning
- Improved mood, potentially reaching euphoric levels
- Pleasurable feelings of warmth, tingling, and comfort
- Increase in creativity and imagination
- Sensory enhancement: enhanced touch sensation, enhanced color perception, and increased enjoyment of music. Individuals prone to synaesthesia may also experience synaesthesia. May also experience auditory and olfactory (smell) hallucinations
- “Cartoon-like” visual experiences
- Increased sense of empathy
- Feelings of increased insight, self-knowledge, and spiritual advancement (more common at heavier doses)
- Fits of laughter; increased humor
Negative effects are more likely on a higher dose of 4-HO-MET.
- Anxiety, confusion, paranoia
- Sweating and shivers; feelings of uncomfortable coldness or heat
- Nausea (can be avoided if taken on an empty stomach; users should avoid eating in the several hours prior to ingestion)
- Jaw pain/tension; teeth grinding
- Low oxygen/slight hypoxia at high doses
There are also lots of 4-HO-MET trip reports available on the internet. These write-ups explain the circumstances, the dosage and method of ingestion, the effects and experience of the trip itself, and any side effects or aftermath of a 4-HO-MET trip. Here are some descriptive trip report excerpts for 4-HO-MET, split into positive experiences, neutral experiences, and negative experiences.
Positive Trip Reports:
From Reddit user qwertyqwertyzzz: “I took ~19mg, everyone else took ~15mg. One or two people had a little discomfort on the comeup, but that was all. Beyond that, we all had the time of our lives. Not super philosophical or emotional, but just very fun and interesting. I felt like I was floating, had tons of energy, laughed a lot, played in the grass, felt relatively competent. I think this was my favorite hallucinogen I’ve ever done and would strongly recommend this to anyone else!”
From anonymous Quora user: “In the right dosage, it is absolutely magical…The comeup is generally not unpleasant at all, and can actually produce a “rush” of euphoria, especially if it is taken on top of a complimentary psychedelic. High dosages can cause some mild discomfort if taken on a full stomach, though.
The visual effects generally range from impressive to breathtaking depending on dosage. The open-eyed visuals are pretty consistent, varying primarily in intensity rather than shape/color/etc. The closed-eye visuals are a different story however. Lower dosages tend to produce geometric/fractal patterning that is categorically similar but much more vivid than those produced by mushrooms.
Higher dosages can immerse the user in a three dimensional realm of stunning imagery, frequently including moving tentacles of brightly-colored light, and sometimes accompanied by distinct sensations of vertical movement and strange alterations in your apparent point-of-view.”
From Erowid Experience Vaults, by Metatron: “MM and I fought off the stomach gremlins, and after some time pushed ourselves into the shower. However that very day the bathroom light had blown out. This was to be a very well timed series of events, for a nocturnal shower was something that could not have been better for us. MM wanted to wash her hair as I laid back on the shower wall, the cold white or off white tile material felt so cool to my warm skin. We bumped into each other sillily from time to time, but then came a time where I left myself to drift into the tunnel that was forming in that bathroom shower.
It was pure light, a blank canvas, the sculpture was of a leg, a female leg going up for eternity into a spiral of fractal occurrences, I was free of my body and flying around this giant column. There was a highly erotic element to this part of the voyage, however, my body was in no condition to approach such desires physically. I saw back to my childhood, the 1980’s, sitting on a toilet in my second story bathroom, looking into the floor tiles, at these times in my childhood I would imagine a doctor ‘s office within the shiny metallic fragments that the tiles held within them. This is a place I had been many times before as a supposedly sober child, drifting in my own mind while looking down at the floor or out the window, but not for so many years.
In the shower we bumped around and enjoyed ourselves as two squishy wet beings in a world without light. The adventure went on for what seemed like a blessed eternity, but alas it concluded and we retired to the living room where the peak slowly ran its course. MM reported a much less intense experience than me. Identifying the strongest visual effects as a mask like fractal pattern based on every face she could see. She reported that things were marked with significant euphoria and glow, but with little to no cognitive manipulation otherwise.”
Neutral Trip Reports:
From Reddit user lazmanc: “In the park the littles sprouts and daisies were dancing with each other, twirling around. The clouds were like tumbleweeds rolling along and crashing into each other.
Back inside I was staring at a really ancient looking clock for like an hour. It kept melting into itself (if that makes any sense) and reshaping between spherical to flat shaped. The numbers were roman numerals and were like twisting around and stuff.
Rooms were breathing, elongating and contracting. Colours were more pronounced etc…”
From Bluelight user Propyl Power: “As far as I can remember, the main component of the peak involved me cavorting with flying skull-clown heads, 5th dimensional holographic carousel horses, and other various assorted critters calculated to make the naive human gurgle and coo like a baby in a crib watching the whirly toys spin above its head, while the parents, out of sight and mind, are free to take care of their important business. At least this was the suspicion I kept with me, having seen this idea several times in connection with the DMT elves and other such cartoonish creatures of pacifying cheer…The visuals are always exquisite. My room appears slathered in iridescent opalescent pearly crystalline goo… the interior of the house slowly shifts into an opulent Persian palace…lots of greens and blues, everything shimmering and sparkling.”
Psychonaut 4-HO-MET trip report: “The drug was nothing like I had expected, but it was an amazingly colourful and overall just beautiful experience. To me personally, it lacked depth, but the mind blowing visual display made up for that. The experience was very short lasting, but it was truly a visual festival. Next to the, throughout the entire trip, extraordinarily vivid colours, the patterns and structures were different from what I remember from last time I did psychedelics. Especially the precise detail of the patterns’ path. Beautiful swirls, made up of extremely high definition dots, that each had a its very own indescribably bright colour.”
Negative Trip Reports:
From Drugs-forum user Neuramnia: “Now we must have been tripping for at least one or two hours. I did not feel happy. It´s hard to say what I felt like exactly. But it was a mixture of utter despair, confusion, solitude and fascination. I felt a burning and crawling sensation in my arms; my chest felt heavy and warm and my pulse was out of control. I was tormented by a horrible nausea and incredibly dizziness.
My friends faces looked weird, almost scary. Their purple and turquoise hair looked really intense and shifted in different nuances. I laid down and looked at the stereo. It looked like soundwaves came out of it. The blinking lights on it started to form a pattern of lots of small neon dinosaurs that swept past me.
As I lay down I felt how my jaw was really tense, my teeth were grinding and I put my fingers into my mouth to try and stop the grinding. My hand became one with my mouth, it was all soft and wet and it felt like it had dissolved into my mouth…
The pattern on the bathroom floor started to move when I looked at it, it changed into small pink dolphins that swam across the floor. As amazing as it all was, seeing the beautiful lights and patterns, I felt horrible…I was paranoid as shit, I said several times that I wanted it to stop.”
From Erowid Experience Vaults by Jostie: “Music has picked up and I spend the rest of the night dancing. My kidneys are killing me. I have been drinking a lot of water throughout the evening and frequently have to take a piss. My urine is pretty dark most of the time even though I must have drank more than 3 liters of water. Because of the smell in the toilet I could not determine if my urine smelled any worse than normal.
The pain in my kidneys stayed until I went to bed somewhere around nine. I had kept on drinking water and tea later on but my urine stayed dark. The day after still some occasional pain in my kidney area. When I took a piss at home it smelled horrible, like old men’s urine. This also happened the last time I took 4-HO-MET but then I did not link the two together. This is one aspect of the substance that makes me hesitate to use it again.”
From Drugs-forum user Hive_Node: “As I reached the end of the trail (about 2 miles through snow and woods) I turned around. Different shades of blue and purple and pink over everything. This is fairly typical in all my trips, color shifts and the like. I stopped to admire the sky. It seemed to be distancing itself from me, the clouds were flying away in a spiral pattern straight up. It was so beautiful it distracted me from the chaos for a second…
As I started to walk back it hit me that: I was sick, I had slept less than 6 hours, shoveled a large driveway of snow, hardly eaten, worn myself out on caffeine, taken a huge dose of an unknown substance, and walked about 3 miles so far, with another 2 to go back to my house. I was EXTREMELY exhausted. As I walked back I was tripping harder… and harder… and harder. The ground was constantly moving under me…Thankfully I have walked this trail at least two dozen times SOBER. I felt like I was going to faint [or] puke my guts out. I needed to get home and pass out, though knowing psychedelics, that just wasn’t going to happen. A thought that made me very nervous.
…So I finally made it back to my house….So I lay down in bed, under the covers, and just gaze at my ceiling, exhausted. The visuals are still intense at this point. Shadowing appearing, dissolving, rippling, melting, in all different patterns across my ceiling. I closed my eyes and had, for the first time in my life, some real close-eye visuals. Soon I drift off into a psychedelic dream-state (I was still awake). Feelings of denial, bitterness, and hatred consumed me. How could she betray me… betray us. How could I do this, when I had condemned her for it just 4 months earlier.”
How to Take 4-HO-MET: 7 Steps
If you would like to take 4-HO-MET, here’s what to do to minimize risk during your trip:
Step 1: Do Research
The very first thing to do if you are considering any drug is to read up on it as much as possible. This article is a great start, but you should also consult the wealth of information available on sites like Erowid and Psychonaut Wiki. While these sites aren’t peer-reviewed, they do offer a decent vault of crowd-sourced (and in the case of Erowid, curated) information, including lots of trip reports. Erowid is actually a registered nonprofit, and the site’s founders, Earth and Fire Erowid, are dedicated to making accurate information on drugs more freely available with a harm-reduction approach.
Reading up on trip reports will help you get an idea of what you might expect (both positive and negative) and how to best prepare for your trip. Research will also help you figure out how to procure your drug safely and what dose you should try.
Step 2: Buy 4-HO-MET Safely
It’s important to source your drugs from a reliable vendor so that you can be more confident that you are actually buying 4-HO-MET and not something else (see our section below on where to find 4-HO-MET). Ingesting one drug when you think you are ingesting another is extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.
4-HO-MET is a white powder. Unfortunately, tons of other drugs are also white powders, so it can be difficult to know that you really have what you are looking for. If you aren’t sure if you’ve gotten what you ordered, you can consult sources like Erowid and forums like reddit for advice on how to assess your drug.
If you have any doubts about what your drug actually is, don’t take it!
Step 3: Figure Out Your Dose and Method
Next, you’ll need to figure out how to take 4-HO-MET and how much to take. Most people take it -orally, either in gel caps or dissolved in water. Some people also snort it.
Alexander Shulgin recommends a dose of 10-20 mg orally in his book TiHKAL. However, Erowid considers an oral dose of 10-20 mg to be on the stronger side. Based on the dosage information compiled from several sites, here’s a general guideline for oral dosage:
- 5-10 mg = light
- 10-15 = standard
- 15-20 = strong standard
- 20-25 = strong
- 25+ = heavy
And here’s a general guideline for insufflated dosage:
- 5-10 = light
- 8-15 = standard
- 12-18 = strong standard
- 15-20 = strong
- 20+ = heavy
Of course, the effects of a given dosage will vary based on your body weight and tolerance levels. If you’ve never taken 4-HO-MET before, it’s better to err on the side of a lower dose. And remember to always measure your dose correctly!
Step 4: Find a Trip Sitter
Whenever you use psychedelics, you should always have a sober friend sit with you through your trip. They can make sure that you drink enough water, help adjust the setting if you need it (turning on/off lights, bringing you blankets, changing the music/tv show), and most importantly make sure that you don’t do anything dangerous. (It’s not uncommon for people on high doses of psychedelics who are alone to end up jumping from buildings in the course of a hallucination.) They can also get you medical attention if it ends up being necessary.
Step 5: Find the Right Time/Place
It’s fairly logical that if you start a trip under stressed-out circumstances, you’ll end up having a stressful trip. This means that you should make sure that the circumstances are such that you are more likely to have a positive trip:
- Are you stressed out by the prospect of discovery? (Like by your parents, roommates, etc). If so, trip at a time/place where discovery is not going to happen!
- Make sure you are in a relaxing and soothing environment. In general, using hallucinogenic substances at parties is not a great idea as the sensory overload from the party is really stressful for most people. Lots of people report very good experiences when tripping on 4-HO-MET outside, in natural settings like parks. This is fine just so long as you bring along your trip sitter!
Step 6: Consider Having Benzos on Hand
Benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium) have an opposite chemical mechanism to most psychedelic drugs, so some people keep them on hand to take if their trip goes bad and becomes very scary. However, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and abusing them without a prescription is definitely illegal, so this should be considered only a last-resort strategy if a trip goes very bad and you have low-risk access to benzos. And hopefully your trip won’t go bad if you take an appropriate dose and take all other necessary precautions.
Step 7: Be Aware of Drug Interactions
In general, it’s not a good idea to combine psychoactive substances. This is especially true with research chemicals like 4-HO-MET where there is just less information available about interactions than there is with more popular drugs.
Combining 4-HO-MET with other recreational substances (like pot, alcohol, MDMA, or other psychedelics) increases the chance that you will have a bad trip. Combining 4-HO-MET with tramadol may increase your risk of seizure, and combining it with any stimulant may cause paranoia or psychosis.
Where to Buy 4-HO-MET
Due to their questionable legality, research chemical vendors often shut down, take breaks, or stop shipping to certain locations. Reddit can help guide you to the most reliable vendors.
Most vendors sell 4-HO-MET as 4-HO-MET fumarate, which is the water-soluble, salt form of the drug.
The Bottom Line on 4-HO-MET
4-HO-MET, or metocin, is a research chemical designed in a lab to have similar effects to psilocin, one of the psychoactive components of psychedelic mushrooms. 4-HO-MET has a somewhat ambiguous legal status in the United States, but like many research chemicals, it can be purchased online fairly easily.
While 4-HO-MET does not seem to be addictive, and no deaths have been reported, there are still risks. People have reported mild to moderate poisoning symptoms. Additionally, one young man in Sweden jumped from a building and broke his arm.
Taking 4-HO-MET is a lot like taking other psychedelics. You may experience heightened senses, open and closed-eye hallucinations, time dilation, laughing fits, increased empathy and insight, paranoia and anxiety, sweating or shivers, nausea, dehydration, jaw tension/teeth grinding, or even seizure. Negative effects are more likely at high doses. Your average trip will last 4-6 hours.
If you’re going to take 4-HO-MET, here are some steps to take it safely:
- Do your research first by reading up on 4-HO-MET trip reports.
- Buy 4-HO-MET from a reliable source. If you aren’t sure that you got 4-HO-MET, don’t take it.
- Figure out the right dose and method of ingestion. Most people take it orally, but some people snort it.
- Find someone to be your trip sitter to make sure you stay safe while you are tripping.
- Find a time and place where your trip won’t be stressful or anxiety-producing.
- Consider if you want to have benzos on hand if the trip goes bad.
- Don’t take anything else with your 4-HO-MET! There are some dangerous drug interactions.
We also advised on how to find 4-HO-MET fumarate salts (the most common form the drug is sold in).