Tetrahydroharmine – Mysterious alkaloid of the Banisteriopsis Caapi 09/01/2021

Tetrahydroharmine (THH) is a compound found primarily in the plant Banisteriopsis Caapi, which is one of the main ingredients in the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca. Like other active ingredients of this vine – harmine and harmaline, it belongs to the same category of harmal alkaloids. It also has similar properties – it acts as an MAO-A inhibitor, thus regulating the activity of important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which results in improved mood. Harmal alkaloids are now being studied in more detail not only for their antidepressant effects, but they have also been shown to have neuroprotective properties (protect nerve cells from oxidative stress) and to promote neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells).

In contrast to the already mentioned alkaloids, THH is unique in that it also acts as an SSRI. Its effects are also completely different – while harmine and harmaline act rather “intoxicating”, tetrahydroharmine, on the other hand, clarifies perception and thinking so it acts as a nootropic.

Harmin, Harmalin a Tetrahydroharmin

Other tetrahydroharmine sources

Tetrahydroharmine has so far been officially discovered only in vines of the genus Banisteriopsis. According to analyzes, it is represented here only in a small amount – it makes up about 3% of the total amount of alkaloids, the remaining 97% is largely harmine, then harmaline (see analysis here). From these data, it is clear that we cannot reveal the true nature of THH unless we get to it in a purer form.

Many speculators are also inclined to find this alkaloid in the plant Calliandra angustifolia, or Bobinsana, even as its only psychoactive alkaloid. It is known that South American shamans like to add this plant to ayahuasca mixtures for a brighter and brighter experience, which would confirm the nature of THH. The claim that Bobinsana is rich in this substance could therefore be true, but only the official analysis of the components of this plant will confirm it.

THH can also be obtained from the Syrian rue. Although it does not contain THH directly, it can be obtained by the process of extraction of harmaline, which is subsequently reduced by a chemical reaction (especially with the help of zinc and other reagents) to THH.


THH, like other harmala alkaloids, appears to be suitable primarily for oral use. Doses of 100 mg have already perceptive effect, the full dose is considered to be 300 mg, which is also the dose for sufficient inhibition of MAO (for use in psychedelic therapies). Sublingual use is also popular and effective, where the full dose is already 50 mg.

Future of THH

Tetrahydroharmine could primarily serve as a natural antidepressant without side effects such as cognitive impairment. On the contrary, THH can support and clarify the activity of the mind. Due to its ability to support the growth of new brain cells, it could also serve as a prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

This alkaloid could also be a suitable candidate for use in psychedelic therapies as the main and only MAO inhibitor of psychoactive mixtures. Due to its properties, tetrahydroharmine can be used for oral activation of some tryptamines, especially DMT, and produce a mechanism identical to the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca. In this case, it would be more Tetrahydrohuasca. According to current amateur psychonaut research, the presence of only this inhibitory alkaloid in the mixture opens up completely new possibilities for exploring the realms that DMT and other tryptamine psychedelics open up. The experience of one of the most famous amateur researchers from the dmt-nexus discussion forum speaks for itself:

“I do believe that DMT and THH were meant to go together. They are extremely powerful taken together. I believe this is the combination allowing telepathy to occur. SWIM experienced it in his last trip (among many other newly experienced things). The harmine in caapi seems to distract one a bit. Without the harmine, the experience is much more powerful on many levels. SWIM’s mind felt far more powerful than it ever has before. He felt like he had boundless thought energy. He also had a super amount of physical energy. With harmine in the mix, it’s like you’re cut off somehow and not fully charged with energy. The harmine makes the experience more dreamy, more distant. If takes some of your mental powers away. THH doesn’t do that. THH leaves you in the driver’s seat with complete control. It’s incredible.”

Original text here

„Věřím, že DMT a THH byly zamýšleny pro společné užívání. Pokud jsou užity společně, jsou extrémně silné. Věřím, že tato kombinace umožňuje telepatii. SWIM ji zažil při svém posledním tripu (stejně jako mnoho dalších nových zážitků). Zdá se, že harmin v Caapi člověka lehce rozptyluje. Bez harminu je zážitek mnohem silnější na mnoha úrovních. SWIMova mysl se jevila být daleko mocnější než kdykoliv dříve. Cítil, jakoby měl neomezenou mentální energii. Měl také ohromné množství fyzické energie. S harminem se zdá, že jste od toho jakoby nějakým způsobem odtrženi a ne zcela nabiti touto energií. Harmin dělá tento zážitek více snový a odměřený. Vezme si část z vaší mentální energie pryč. THH tohle nedělá. THH vás zanechá na sedadle řidiče s veškerou kontrolou. Je to úžasné.”

This statement gives the impression that the original designation “telephatine”, which was attributed to harmine on the basis of alleged properties, may have belonged to tetrahydroharmine …

Tetrahydroharmin a jeho luminescentní vlastnosti (pod UV světlem)

Many researchers are currently looking for a suitable way to apply DMT to the use of this substance in psychedelic therapy. Common types of application – vaporization and injection, appear to be too short for the sufficient therapeutic effect. On the other hand, a long-lasting DMT experience in combination with common MAOIs (Banisteriopsis Caapi, Ayahuasca) often creates a too harsh and unpredictable experience for many participants. Because the intoxicated person loses control over himself during the experience and does not remember the amount of insight in retrospect, this method of application seems unusable in official psychedelic-assisted therapy. Oral administration of DMT by THH inhibition, when the participant is fully conscious, could solve this problem. Of course, I don’t want to underestimate the potential of a regular Ayahuasca ritual. All these possibilities can be deeply healing and transformational, only the different dynamics of each of these procedures allows them to be included in different treatment systems.

The alkaloid tetrahydroharmine is an unexplored territory in itself. Although we can already observe its unique properties today, it is necessary to wait for further studies that will show its possible uses, but also the possible risks associated with its usage. However, it is clear that, like other harma-alkaloids, THH due to its MAOI properties should not be combined with antidepressants and other herbs with antidepressant effects. For the same reason, a proper diet should be instituted before administering higher doses.

All information is for information purposes only, based on scientific as well as non-scientific claims. In no case do we encourage anyone to use this or any other mentioned compounds.