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.
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 alvariusas 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
Erspamer, v., T. Vitali, M. Roseghini, and J. M. Cei.
1965. 5-methoxy and 5-hydroxyindolalkylamines
in the skin of Bufo alvarius.
---.1967. 5-methoxy- and 5-hydroxyindoles in
the skin of Bufo alvarius. Biochemical
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.