Methoxetamine (MXE), a ketamine analogue, is one of the new “legal highs” sold on the Internet. The aim of this qualitative study was to provide an initial understanding of what characterizes the experiences induced by MXE. Anonymously written reports (33 persons) on the effects of MXE were collected from public Internet forums and analyzed using the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological Method. The analysis generated 10 themes: (1) preparation, motivation and anticipation; (2) initial effects; (3) malfunction of cognitive processes stabilizing normal state; (4) inner personal processes and learning; (5) emotional processes; (6) altered sensory perception; (7) dissolution and transition; (8) spiritual and transcendental experiences; (9) effects and processes after the experience; (10) re-dosing and addiction.
MXE induced a heavily altered state of consciousness. The effects were similar to those induced by classic hallucinogens (such as LSD, psilocybin) and the dissociative ketamine. MXE seemed to have quite a high abuse potential. Beside the positive effects described, negative effects like fear and anxiety were also reported. Acceptance was considered the best coping strategy. Dissolution of identity and body often culminated in spiritual and transcendental experiences. More research is needed on safety issues, how to minimize harm, and the motivation for using legal highs.