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Citrus Growers Manufacture Huge Amounts of DMT

By Morris Crowley on Friday, 13 June 2014, hits: 19788

It may surprise you to learn that common citrus trees like oranges and lemons are actually Schedule I substances, in the same legal category as heroin. I know it sounds absurd, but it is absolutely true. Recent analysis published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Servillo et al. 2013) found that several citrus plants, including lemons and oranges, contain N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (bufotenine). Both of these compounds are powerful hallucinogens and are designated as Schedule I substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act in the United States. Under that same law, “any material” containing “any quantity” of a Schedule I drug is itself legally equivalent to that drug.

The upshot of this is that domestic citrus producers are in fact operating a massive drug manufacturing enterprise, legally speaking. And the scale of this manufacture is not trivial. Let's estimate 150 orange trees per acre, and conservatively suppose that each tree contains one kilogram of leaves. Then in the state of Florida alone, where approximately 550,000 acres are under cultivation, the crop would contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 kilograms of bufotenine -- roughly 5 million doses -- and 5 kilograms of DMT -- roughly 150,000 doses. But that's not all! Since the entire mass of any material containing these substances is legally equivalent to the pure substance, the entire biomass of the groves would be treated as pure DMT or pure bufotenine if the growers were charged with manufacturing a controlled substance.

But these compounds do not only occur in the leaves... they occur in the fruit as well. Though the data have not been formally published, the same team of researchers reported that the juice from oranges and lemons contain DMT in a concentration of approximately 0.03–0.05 mg/kg (Servillo et al. 2012). This has huge implications: Every orange in your local grocery store is a Schedule I substance. Every person who buys them is a potential criminal. Every company that imports either the fruit or its juice is engaged in the international trafficking of a Schedule I substance.

You might wonder why I am characterizing an entire branch of agriculture as a massive drug manufacturing operation. That characterization, however, is not mine. Under federal law, they are a massive drug manufacturing operation. I am merely drawing attention to the issue.

Regardless of how you feel about the war on drugs, this issue should cause you serious concern. The Controlled Substances Act is written in a way that makes all manner of mundane materials illegal. It’s not just oranges. Depending on where you live, there is a reasonable chance that the grass in your lawn contains Schedule I substances. In fact, so many materials contain detectable quantities of controlled substances that nearly everyone is breaking the law all the time. 

Ironically, the best defense is to remain assiduously ignorant. The Controlled Substances Act defines crimes of intent; the criminality of the act depends on whether one “knowingly or intentionally” possesses the scheduled material. That means that as long as you are not aware that oranges (or certain grasses, or many common pets) contain controlled substances, then you cannot be guilty of the possession, manufacture, or distribution of those controlled substances. Once you take the effort to become informed about the ubiquity of controlled substances in the world around you, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid crossing the line into criminal behavior.

 

 

About the author

Morris Crowley is an independent writer who studies the history and chemistry of visionary plants and their interaction with humankind. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @morris_crowley.

 

Reference

Servillo, L., Giovane, A., Balestrieri, M. L., Cautela, D., and Castaldo, D. 2012. N‑Methylated tryptamine derivatives in Citrus genus plants: Identification of N,N,N‑trimethyltryptamine in bergamotJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60(37): 9512–9518. Epub 7 Sep 2012http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf302767e

Servillo, L., Giovane, A., Balestrieri, M. L., Casale, R., Cautela, D., and Castaldo, D. 2013. Citrus genus plants contain N‑methylated tryptamine derivatives and their 5‑hydroxylated forms. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 61(21): 5156–5162. Epub 17 May 2013. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf401448q

 

Title image from Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Photo by Ellen Levy Finch.

Comments  

+72 # Ringworm 2014-06-13 07:56
well, like they say:
"When life gives ya lemons...... make dmt."

I think that's how it goes
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+3 # Hopefull 2014-06-14 04:41
So let's say I eat around 200 oranges( from the above source should be around 15mg of DMT) and then pop in a harmala. The effects should be prevalent right? It should theoretically work if one was able to eat 200 oranges!
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+3 # Dimoitou 2014-06-19 22:50
Pop the harmala first. ;-)
Don't forget to let us know how it went. :P
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+32 # Pan 2014-06-14 10:13
Under federal law your brain is illegal, since DMT is produced by it as well :P
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0 # universecannon 2014-06-20 14:05
It hasn't been demonstrated yet that the brain produces DMT in vivo, but it has been found there.

...So maybe for now they would just bust it for possession, not production ;-)

(By the way, "Jot", I accidentally deleted your comment. Apologies! He noted that there was no evidence DMT was produced in the brain, and this was my response).
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-7 # henry 2014-06-15 00:16
the substances are found in the leaves, not in the fruits, if at all.
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+1 # universecannon 2014-06-19 18:55
"An update on DMT in citrus fruits: In the article, I discussed the presence of DMT and bufotenine in the leaves of lemon and orange trees.

In fact DMT has been reported to be present in the fruits as well. That means that (in the US) every single orange and lemon at your local grocery store is in fact a Schedule I substance! The article has been revised to reflect that fact.

Reference: Servillo, L. et al. 2012. N‑Methylated tryptamine derivatives in Citrus genus plants: Identification of N,N,N‑trimethyl tryptamine in bergamot. J. Ag. Food Chem. 60(37): 9512–9518. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf302767e
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-1 # MayorJuana 2014-06-16 15:55
If you do the numbers, it turns out that each tree contains less then .0000003 grams of Bufotenine and DMT is in concentrations of .00000001212 grams. Remember that these numbers are on a PER TREE basis. Thats not alot at all. And probably very expensive to harvest
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0 # Dimoitou 2014-06-19 23:01
I don't have access to the ACS publications to check for myself. Could you detail your math?
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0 # AFO 2014-07-09 21:51
heres my math.. I got slightly different numbers:

150 trees per acre x 550 000 acres = 82 500 000 trees or kg (since 1 tree = 1kg leaves in the estimation above)

5kg (5,000,000mg) DMT / 82 500 000kg = ~0.061mg/kg

80kg (80,000,000mg) 5-HO-DMT / 82 500 000 trees = ~0.97mg/kg

Thats the leaves alone, not factoring in the alkaloid concentration in the juice
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0 # Dan 2014-06-16 16:08
Humans contain DMT too. So all those drug warriors are themselves manufacturing and trafficking.

Equating the total mass of the material to the total quantity of the drug must be one of the more vicious and evil aspects of US drug law.
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+2 # Dat 2014-06-16 18:34
so in theory , citrus trees will be a good candidate to genetically modify the life form to produce copious amounts of Dmt. :lol:
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+1 # universecannon 2014-06-19 18:53
Update from his facebook

"An update on DMT in citrus fruits: In the article, I discussed the presence of DMT and bufotenine in the leaves of lemon and orange trees.

In fact DMT has been reported to be present in the fruits as well. That means that (in the US) every single orange and lemon at your local grocery store is in fact a Schedule I substance! The article has been revised to reflect that fact.

Reference: Servillo, L. et al. 2012. N‑Methylated tryptamine derivatives in Citrus genus plants: Identification of N,N,N‑trimethyl tryptamine in bergamot. J. Ag. Food Chem. 60(37): 9512–9518. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf302767e
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+4 # iracema 2014-06-26 06:59
Law is completely insane really
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+1 # Dr. M. Turner 2014-07-02 15:48
You'll need 80 kilos of juice to make a 40mg dose. Hahaha!
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0 # universecannon 2014-07-02 16:10
Actually since there is reportedly between 0.03mg and 0.05mg of DMT per kg of juice, you would need around a thousand kilos to get about 40mg...Still technically illegal though :lol:
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-5 # The Unseen 2014-07-04 22:17
Sorry, but this article is absolutely laughable. It is postulated that all ORGANIC MATTER contains trace elements of DMT, or the compound itself, and we're not even getting into the myriad of other organic substances in the world with psychoactive properties. Considering no respecting chemist would try to pull DMT from an orange plantation (just as they would never pull it from the human pineal gland, which also synthesizes DMT) so I'm having trouble seeing the point of this article. To begin discussing government scheduling and some 'noided concept that the government will begin fighting the war on drugs on your front lawn makes this article less than laughable, really. Go vaporize some deemsters Morris, the insights you come back with will certainly be more fruitful than an orange grove full of spice...
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+3 # universecannon 2014-07-05 17:26
First off, it is not proven that the pineal gland synthesizes DMT. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it does, but presence does not necessarily imply production.

I'm honestly confused by your response. The point of this article obviously seems to be circled around how completely insane our drug laws are, and this new evidence of citrus containing DMT perfectly (and comically) exemplifies that fact in a very tangible way, which even to a non-psychedelic user should be obvious and laughable. It is suspected by many that DMT may be in many or even all living things (or at least plants) in trace amounts, but we have only looked in a limited number of places and so this evidence that it is in oranges etc. is nice food for thought.

If you think this article implied that we should be using these plants to source DMT, then you completely have missed the point my friend.
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0 # Mustard 2014-08-24 10:55
The obvious humour of this article seems lost on this one...
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0 # Awooga 2014-07-15 08:23
Everything is made of stars. Oranges, toenails and all your drugs.

I like this article - even if the maths is off it does sum up the futility and riduculousness of 'drug' scheduling and laws.

On the other hand though last week some total tosspot in California gassed his neighbors trying to extract spice. That is bad and is a pretty good counterpoint to this article. You'd need a lot of solvents to extract spice from a lemon grove.
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0 # universecannon 2014-08-03 22:51
This article isn't recommending we use it as a source of DMT, from what I understand, given that obviously the amount is too low to make it feasible.

That accident in cali would probably never have happened if we would have just ended the war [on some people who use certain] drugs...
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0 # benz 2014-07-15 13:50
at a reported conc. of 0.03–0.05 mg/kg, citrus growers would theoretically have a "huge amount" of 30-50 mg of DMT per 1000 kg of fruit. :roll:
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+1 # torcher 2014-08-01 16:21
Unseen apparently doesn't get it. The article is just pointing out the absurdity of the law in the first place. It is not to be taken literally. The government picks and chooses and enforces the drugs laws as it sees fit and not as unbiased as it should. The point is that the war on drugs is a crime and he very enforcers of the law are the real criminals.
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