ecently the practice of smoking toad venom has been gaining traction across the United States. Licking toads in the Bufonidae family has been a practice to experience a psychedelic trip but licking toads (typically a cane toad) can be dangerous, causing muscle weakness, rapid heart rate, and vomiting. The toad venom being used today is from the Colorado River toad, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad. This nocturnal toad grows up to 7 inches in length and has dark leathery skin. It is found in Mexico and in the United States in Colorado, California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The Colorado River Toad is semi aquatic, so it can be found in desert areas and near bodies of water such as springs, canals, and ponds. The toad eats many insects and will also eat lizards, small mammals, and amphibians. It uses toxic secretions to ward off predators like skunks, raccoons, and birds. It is this toxic secretion that makes the toad valuable to humans who are looking to get high.
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Each toad has venom glands that excrete toxins containing 5-MeO-DMT, a psychedelic chemical. The liquid is extracted from the toad’s glands and then dried into a paste. This paste is then smoked, and users experience a trip that starts within 10 to 30 seconds. According to John Hopkins University, the user will then be physically incapacitated for about 30 minutes and time, vision, and sound may be distorted. Users say the experience is “indescribable” but similar descriptions typically refer to the trip as a feeling of awareness, being connected to a higher power, and feeling reborn. The trip is over after an hour, and users are left with an altered mood and perception, with some users even making major life changes because of their new outlook.
Is Toad Venom a Cure for Depression?
The psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT can be found in certain plants, the Colorado River toad, and can also be made synthetically in a lab. This hallucinogen is a schedule I controlled substance, which means it has no defined medical purposes, has a lack of safety, and has a high potential for abuse. People are obtaining the drug by either extracting it from the frogs or paying a foreign shaman, often from Mexico, to pass around the drug at ceremonies intending to have a religious experience.
In these group experiences, there is at least one person in attendance who is not under the influence of the drug to oversee others because of the drug incapacitating its users. Some believe that partaking in a 5-MeO-DMT trip can cure their depression and anxiety. Researchers are trying to figure out if that is true.