What is Changa?
Changa is a smokeable mixture containing the psychoactive substance dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The mixture most often comprises a blend of psychotria viridis (aka chacruna), which contains DMT, and Baniseriopsis Caapi, which contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAO-I).
This smokeable blend was spearheaded by Australian psychonaut Julian Palmer in the early noughties, and was used as an alternative to crystallised DMT. The issue with smoking the freebase version of DMT was that the effects came on hard and fast—smoking DMT in its crystallised form can be a tumultuous ride.
Changa was developed as a remedy to this; the addition of an MAO-I prevents the breakdown of DMT. If users want to experience the mind-altering effects of DMT without the intense onset, or want to ‘break through’ on a lower dose, then Changa may be a more suitable alternative option.
Changa and Ayahuasca
Changa, on the other hand, is a combination of the two plants in smokeable form. Much like ayahuasca, the two plants need to be combined; the MAO-I prevents the DMT from being broken down in the body, thereby allowing the effects to take hold over a slower period of time. The MAO-I may also allow users to ‘break through’ on the DMT-containing blend with smaller doses, as the MAO-I prevents the immediate breakdown of some DMT. However, the effects of Changa don’t last nearly as long as ayahuasca—the effects diminish to negligible levels within 30 minutes to an hour.
What effects does Changa have?
The effects of Changa come from the DMT contained within chacruna. Rick Strassman popularised DMT as “The Spirit Molecule”, as it featured many similar aspects of religious and spiritual experiences. This included strong hallucinations, like hearing voices, and entering an internally generated world that did not depend on sensory experience.
Within this world, users often have encounters with ‘entities’ from other realms after they have ‘broken through’. The form that these entities take on, however, is intertwined with an individual’s culture, set, and setting.
While these breakthrough experiences are certainly possible with Changa, it is dependent on a large amount being smoked in a short period of time. For a lighter experience, users may smoke changa in a pipe or a joint. This lighter experience is characterised by smaller changes in perception and cognition; the pioneer of Changa, Julian Palmer said that it should “brighten colour, amplify perception and clarify the activity of the mind, and bring alignment to the thoughts.”