Other Names

Dimethyl-5-methoxytryptamine, 5-methoxy-DMT,

5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyl-tryptamine, 0-methylbufotenine,

3- [2-(dimethylamino)ethyl] -5-methoxy-

indole, toad foam

Substance type: tryptamine (indole alkaloid)

5-MeO-DMT was first discovered in Dictyoloma

incanescens DC. and later was isolated from Anadenanthera

peregrina as well. It occurs in a very

large number of plants, often in association with

N,N-DMT (see the table on pages 853-854). Its

effects are somewhat more potent than those of

N,N-DMT. When the two are administered simultaneously,

5-MeO-DMT more quickly occupies

the specific receptors. 5-MeO-DMT is a natural

neurotransmitter in the human nervous system.

When 5-MeO-DMT (10 to 20 mg) is smoked or

vaporized and inhaled, the effects are almost

immediately apparent, are incredibly extreme, and

last about ten minutes. Many people report having

shamanic experiences with this substance as well

as experiencing states of enlightenment and the

clear light of nirvana (Metzner 1988).

The Colorado River toad (Bufo alvarius) is

native to the area around Tucson, Arizona. These

toads spend nine months of the year underground,

buried in the mud that keeps them protected from

the burning desert sun. The toads emerge from

their hiding places with the first rains and begin

their courtship (Smith 1982,97-100). They remain

visible for only three months. Like all toads, Bufo

alvarius develops mucous secretions in two glands

that are located on the neck The secretions of the

Colorado River toad, however, do not contain

bufotoxine, the toxic substance that is found in the

secretions of most other toads. Instead, the dried

mass contains 15% 5-MeO-DMT (Erspamer et al.

1965, 1967).

The native tribes that lived in the North

American Southwest made fetishes of this Bufo

alvarius. However, it was only in recent times that

the toad's cultural importance and its psychedelic

use were discovered, or more likely rediscovered

(cf. Davis and Weil 1992). The toad is "milked" by

being held firmly without being crushed. Both

glands are then massaged gently until a fat stream

of the secretion squirts out. The secretion is

caught on a piece of glass, where it is allowed to

dry and crystallize. The yellowish crystalline mass

then can be scraped off, mixed with different herbs

(such as damiana [Turnera diffusa] ), and smoked.

The toad, which is released unharmed, is quickly

able to replenish the loss in its secretions.

When taken orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance., Bufo alvarius secretions are

apparently toxic, whereas they are not poisonous

when smoked (Wei! and Davis 1994). Davis and

Weil have suggested that the dried secretions of

Bufo alvarius were traded to Mexico in preColumbian

times and that the priests and shamans

there smoked or used it in some other manner

(Davis and Weil1992; cf. balche', bufotenine).

In Arizona, there is now a Church of the Toad

of Light, which uses the secretions of Bufo alvarius

as a sacrament (Most 1984; Ott 1993,396*).
Commercial Forms and Regulations

Pure 5-MeO-DMT is available from chemical

suppliers. While the substance is not explicitly

mentioned in the narcotics laws, the fact that it

could be interpreted as a DMT analog may result

in problems with the law.


See also the entries for bufotenine.

Davis, Wade, and Andrew T. Wei!. 1992. Identity of a

New World psychoactive toad. Ancient

Mesoamerica 3:51-59.

Erspamer, v., T. Vitali, M. Roseghini, and J. M. Cei.

1965. 5-methoxy and 5-hydroxyindolalkylamines

in the skin of Bufo alvarius.

Experientia 21:504.

---.1967. 5-methoxy- and 5-hydroxyindoles in

the skin of Bufo alvarius. Biochemical

Pharmacology 16:1149-64.

Metzner, Ralph. 1988. Hallucinogens in

contemporary North American shamanic

practice. In Proceedings ofthe Fourth

International Conference on the Study of

Shamanism and Alternate Modes ofHealing

(Independent Scholars of Asia), 170-75.

Most, A. 1984. Bufo alvarius: The psychedelic toad of

the Sonoran Desert. Denton, Texas: Venom Press.

Witsch, Christian. 1993. Die Krbtenmutter. In

Naturverehrung und Heilkunst, ed. C. R~itsch,

125-28. Sudergellersen: Bruno Martin.

Smith, Robert 1. 1982. Venomous animals ofArizona.

Bulletin 8245. Tucson: The University of Arizona.

Weil, Andrew T., and Wade Davis. 1994. Bufo

alvarius: A potent hallucinogen of animal origin.

Journal ofEthnopharmacology 41: 1-8.

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