If you’re asked to name substances that will get you high, you’d probably start listing things like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, and MDMA. How about this one – Sonoran Desert Toad. Sound strange? Believe it or not, people who use psychedelic drugs have been ingesting the venom of these toads for their hallucinogenic effects. Also called The Colorado River toad, it’s found in Mexico and the southwestern United States. The venom contains dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which is found in several plants along with the blood and urine of certain mammals. It’s also frequently synthesized into a salt, which can be smoked, injected, or take orally.
Venom is harvested from the Sonoran Desert Toad by applying pressure to certain glands and catching it in a vial or other container. Alternatively, it can be caught on a piece of glass or mirror and left to dry into a crystal form. Some people also lick the toads to get high. Users say that within 30 seconds, you’ll start to feel an overload of thoughts and perceptions, and a loss of self-awareness. Time and language will cease to have meaning. After two or three minutes, intensity fades a bit and the sensations are similar to taking LSD, where you experience hallucinations and distortions and feel a sense of euphoria. People frequently hallucinate out of body experiences, meetings with alien or divine beings, and flashes or tunnels of light. Try searching the Internet for people recounting their experiences, and you’re likely to hear all sorts of references to the space-time continuum and hyperspace.
There’s evidence of people smoking the toad venom in the 1970s, but it really became popular in 1984 when a man named Albert Most published a pamphlet called “Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert.” He and his friends even formed something called the Church of the Toad of Light, which was never officially incorporated but appears to have a Facebook page and a business selling t-shirts.
In addition to being ingested recreationally, DMT has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries, but it is illegal in most countries, including the United States. DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S., under the Controlled Substances Act. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, this means that it has a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. It can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, respiratory arrest, and coma. Long-term users may experience persistent flashbacks and hallucinations and are at risk for persistent psychosis, or a disconnection from reality that can last six months or more. It’s also possible to overdose (for example, if you spend a little too long licking the load), which can lead to cardiac arrest.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.