A family of drugs that share a similar chemical structure and can produce hallucinations
These drugs appear to be no longer widely used
What does it look like?
Tryptamines can come in different forms, including:
- white and coloured powders
- different coloured capsules and pellets
- liquid form
Sometimes the liquid is soaked into tiny squares of paper, sometimes with pictures on them, which are most commonly called "tabs" or "blotters".
They can be taken non-orally (e.g. injected, snorted, or smoked), whilst tabs, pellets and powders (when wrapped in cigarette paper) can be swallowed. Drops of liquid can be dripped onto food, like a sugar cube, and then eaten.
How does it make you feel?
The experience of taking a tryptamine is sometimes called taking a trip. Trips can be good or bad, but until you take it you don’t know how it will affect you – and once it's started you can't stop it.
Tryptamines are hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs. This means that users are likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality, and may see, and sometimes hear, things that aren’t there. Users have also reported feeling euphoria.
Time and movement can appear to speed up and slow down. Colour, sound and objects can get distorted and you can experience double vision.
These distortions of your senses can be quite unpredictable, sometimes pleasant, but sometimes very frightening (these are called bad trips).
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size and what other drugs you may have also taken.
Physical health risks
Taking a tryptamine does involve risks. Here’s what they can do to you:
- You might feel unwell, like you have a fever, have abnormal sweating, vomit or you may have a headache.
- Your heart may beat very quickly or irregularly, which can be dangerous.
- You might be at risk of harm as a result of fear and hallucinations - people have been known to harm themselves during a bad trip. So people in a bad mood, feeling depressed or worried should avoid taking tryptamines.
- It is easy to overdose on the tryptamine AMT because compared to many other types of powdered drugs, you only need to take a small amount for it to have a substantial effect.
- There is a small possibility that the tryptamine AMT may react with certain medicines and some foods (like certain wines and cheeses, or with Bovril or Marmite). This can cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure.
- The tryptamine etryptamine (also called AET) was tested as a potential antidepressant in the sixties but was withdrawn as it dangerously lowered white blood cell count (which can make you very vulnerable to infections).
Mental health risks
- You might feel anxious, restless or aggressive.
- They can cause hallucinations which means you may see or hear things that aren’t there. This can sometimes be quite scary and confusing, known as a bad trip. Good trips can be amusing and pleasant but you can’t be sure whether you’ll have a good or bad trip.
What is tryptamines cut with?
FRANK is currently not aware of any evidence that shows that tryptamines are being cut (being bulked up to increase profits) or have been contaminated during production and shipment, but you can never be sure that what trying is safe.
Can you get addicted?
It is possible to become used to the effects of tryptamines, which means you need to take more to achieve the same high. Some tryptamines, such as LSD, do not appear to be addictive, but we also know that some tryptamines, such as AMT, have some stimulant effects, so it is possible that these tryptamines may be addictive like many other stimulants.
This is a Class A drug, which means it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you life in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.