The sympathomimetic effects may in turn be caused by 5-MeO-AMT's structural similarity to the amphetamines. As noted by Alexander Shulgin, the alpha-methylated tryptamines can be looked at as the tryptamine homologues of the amphetamines (alpha-methylated phenethylamines).
5-MeO-AMT is supposedly sold in 4 mg tablets by the street name Alpha-O and taken as a recreational drug. Since the DEA arrests of the makers of a huge percentage of the United States' LSD in 2000, 5-MeO-AMT may have occasionally been sold under the guise of LSD in liquid, sugar cube, or blotter form, though this may be due to DEA reports of finding it on sugar cubes and blotters like LSD.
The most common route of administration for 5-MeO-AMT is orally. Anecdotal reports, however, have described snorting or smoking the substance. Intravenous (IV) and intramuscular (IM) routes are rarely, if ever, used outside research settings due to the high potency, powerful effects and quicker onset.
If misrepresented as LSD, 5-MeO-AMT can be extremely dangerous; users may take a number of "hits" of 5-MeO-AMT, assuming that it is LSD. Unlike LSD, which is very safe in overdose, 5-MeO-AMT can be very harmful or fatal. Particularly sensitive individuals can experience symptoms of overdose at dosages in the normal (for most users) range — as low as 20 mg. This has led to at least a few hospitalizations and possibly more than one death. It is likely that the overdose potential of the compound is due to its sympathomimetic effects, as the side effects noted in overdose cases include cardiac arrhythmia and seizure. It also seems that oral consumption is safer than insufflation.
Gloria Discerni, 18, died after overdosing on a drug initially believed to be LSD. Authorities learned months later that the drug wasn't LSD but a "designer drug" identified as 5-MeO-AMT.
According to the US Department of Justice, 5-MeO-AMT is illegal for human consumption. US DOJ claims it is an analog of 5-MeO-DiPT and alpha-methyltryptamine (AMT), which are Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. According to the Federal Analog Act (21 U.S.C. § 813), "a controlled substance analog(ue) shall, to the extent intended for human consumption, be treated, for the purposes of any Federal law as a controlled substance in Schedule I." Thus, authorities can prosecute drug offenses involving 5-MeO-AMT in the same manner as offenses involving 5-MeO-DiPT and AMT. (See 21 U.S.C. § 802(32) for the definition of a controlled substance analog(ue).)
^Nagai F, Nonaka R, Satoh Hisashi Kamimura K (March 2007). "The effects of non-medically used psychoactive drugs on monoamine neurotransmission in rat brain". European Journal of Pharmacology559 (2-3): 132–7. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.075. PMID17223101.