What is DOM? The Serenity Psychedelic

DOM is one of the many creations of the late Alexander Shulgin. Learn why DOM is considered one of his favorite psychedelic creations of all time. 

By Connor McElroy Last Updated: January 10, 2024
Last Updated: January 10, 2024

DOM, or 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine (unabbreviated), is a synthetic psychedelic of the phenethylamine class. It appeared on the streets sometime in 1967 with the name “STP” which stands for Serenity, Tranquility, and Peace. 

DOM was first invented by Dr. Alexander Shulgin — often regarded as the father of psychedelics. In search of new psychedelic molecules, Shulgin systematically altered the chemical structure of mescaline (the active psychedelic ingredient in the Peyote cactus). DOM is just one of an entire subfamily of psychedelics known as the DOX group. Other members include DOI, DOB, and DOBU. 

Like other hallucinogens, DOM induces a psychedelic trip when taken in active doses. However, unlike substances such as psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms) and LSD, a DOM trip can last up to 24 hours. 

DOM is known for its high potency, long duration, and combination of stimulant and psychedelic effects. It acts on the brain’s serotonin receptors similarly to psychedelics like psilocybin, 2C-B, and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). However, it’s far more high-energy and dose-sensitive than any of these compounds. 

This substance has gained a reputation for being extremely strong and a chemical not to be taken by people with little experience with psychedelics. It’s one of the only psychedelics potent enough to fit on a single piece of blotter paper (the only other members are the lysergamides and 25I-NBOMe). 

At the correct dose, DOM can be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience — but just a little bit too much may result in a terrifying and excruciatingly long-lasting psychedelic nightmare.

What Does a DOM Trip Feel Like?

The experiences during a DOM trip can differ drastically depending on the dosage and the person ingesting the substance. 

Once the substance is consumed, it can take a long time to kick in — up to 4 hours in some cases. Once the trip begins, it can last anywhere from eight to 30 hours, depending on the dose consumed.

The psychedelic effects of DOM can be compared to substances such as LSD and psilocybin. However, due to the amphetamine side of DOM, the experience is far more “speedy” and high-energy. 

DOM produces a strong body high with intense sensations of tingling and numbness. It can also provide a feeling of energy flowing in waves over the body. 

Users can feel energetic and have the urge to be active and socialize. People also report a sense of stimulated euphoria, empathy, and strong social connections to others — similar to MDMA (ecstasy). However, it’s not as intensely empathic as the high from ecstasy.

The more psychedelic side of DOM is comparable to psilocybin and LSD. This is because DOM is a partial agonist at the 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, and 5-HT2C serotonin receptors — the same receptors LSD and psilocybin interact with. 

DOM supposedly produces a greater response from these receptors than LSD. However, the drug is said to be less potent, and the experience is far less “trippy” than LSD and its close relatives (AL-LAD, PRO-LAD, ETH-LAD, LSZ, 1P-LSD, and others). 

The Desirable Effects of DOM

Although several people have reported going through challenging trips after consuming the substance, DOM does have some desirable effects. Alexander Shulgin even listed this compound as one of his six favorite inventions. 

Getting the good stuff from DOM requires careful dosage and nailing the fundamentals of set and setting. 

Here are some of the positive effects of DOM:

  • Closed-eye visuals
  • Open-eye visuals
  • Euphoria
  • Stimulation
  • Introspection
  • Mood lift
  • Empathy

Side Effects of DOM

There are several side effects associated with DOM. These side effects are what lead to the substance’s fast decline in use during the 60s and 70s.

Here are some of the negative side effects of DOM:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear 
  • Panic
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

What’s The Dose of DOM?

DOM is extremely dose-sensitive. A minute amount can send someone on an extremely intense psychedelic trip.

The effects of this substance can also take a considerable amount of time to kick in — sometimes up to four or five hours. Therefore, it’s extremely important not to re-dose too soon after taking DOM. 

The typical dosage range for DOM is 3 to 10 milligrams. 

  • Small Dose: 1 to 2.5 mg
  • Medium Dose: 3 to 5 mg
  • Strong (Heroic) Dose: 5 to 8 mg+

Is DOM Legal?

DOM is a controlled substance in the United States, Canada, and most of Europe. It became illegal in the United States in 1973 when it was listed as a Schedule 1 drug.

The possession of DOM can lead to similar penalties as possessing LSD, psilocybin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. 

Is DOM Safe?

DOM isn’t considered an unsafe substance, and there are no reported deaths linked to DOM directly. However, it can induce uncomfortable physical side effects and intense fear in people, which may lead them to admit themselves to the hospital. Although this substance hasn’t been linked to any deaths, it shouldn’t be treated lightly — DOM is a serious psychedelic. 

This is definitely not a psychedelic for the faint-hearted and is not something a beginner should consider experimenting with. When used responsibly in a correct dose by an experienced psychonaut, it poses little threat. However, that’s not to say the experience will be pleasant. 

Although DOM seems relatively safe (although sometimes unpleasant) in the doses mentioned above, it’s unknown what a fatal dose is. As with most psychedelics, an experience on DOM can be vastly different from person to person — meaning a low dose for one person can produce the same effects as a high dose for another.

If you’re going to try DOM, it’s essential that you’re experienced with psychedelic substances. You must get the dosage correct and not re-dose for at least 5 hours even if you don’t feel any onset of effects. You should be in a calm setting with at least one sober person to ensure you’re as safe as possible.  

It’s also important to note that DOM can strain the heart due to the amphetamine-like stimulative effects of the substance. If you have a heart condition, it’s best to steer clear of DOM.

The History of DOM

Alexander Shulgin first synthesized DOM in 1963. A few years later, in 1967, the substance appeared in San Francisco, California, under the names DOM and STP (serenity, tranquillity, peace).

Originally, tablets containing the substance were being sold by Mr. Owsley Stanley — a renegade chemist who was famed for his potent LSD. Owsley got the DOM recipe from Alexander Shulgin and started synthesizing the drug.

The tablets Owsley was selling contained 10 to 20 milligrams of DOM, which is an insanely high dose — a regular dose being 3 to 5 milligrams. He sold at least 5,000 hits of the drug at the Summer Solstice Festival at Golden Gate Park in 1967. 

As you can imagine, hundreds of people were admitted to the hospital. The doses Owsley was distributing were freaking people out, and rightly so, as they were four times a normal dose. Reports started appearing where people were turning up at the ER or getting admitted to mental institutions after tripping on DOM for several days.

The use of DOM more or less ceased by the early 70s due to many negative trip reports and the illegality of the substance after 1973. 

The use of DOM ground to a halt after this time, and for several years, it wasn’t really talked about in the psychedelic community. However, in 1991 DOM was described by its creator, Alexander Shulgin, and his wife, Ann Shulgin, in the duos book Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story. This gained the attention of more modern psychedelic users and distributors.

More recently, DOM can be found in the form of tabs (small pieces of blotting paper with the substance impregnated into it). There have even been reports of DOM tabs being sold off as LSD tabs. 

Summary: DOM

DOM is a powerful synthetic psychedelic with stimulant properties. It can produce strong auditory and visual hallucinations, intense body highs, and feelings of “speediness,” according to some reports. 

This substance isn’t particularly known among the average psychedelic user. However, it’s slowly starting to appear on designer drug markets in the form of tabs similar to those that contain acid (LSD). Although rare, some people had consumed what they thought were tabs of acid when in reality, it was DOM. 

With the drug becoming more apparent, it’s important to educate yourself on its effects, dosage, and potential risks. 

If you choose to experiment with DOM, you should be experienced with psychedelic substances. You must ensure that the dosage is correct and you do not re-dose for at least 5 hours, if at all. This is a potent substance that, although non-lethal, can induce some pretty terrifying states of anxiety and fear.