Bufo alvarius: a potent hallucinogen of animal origin
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
J Ethnopharmacol. 1994 Jan;41(1-2):1-8. Bufo alvarius: a potent hallucinogen of animal origin. Weil AT1, Davis W. Author information College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724.
Anthropologists have long speculated that ancient peoples of Mesoameria used a toad, Bufo marinus, as a ritual intoxicant. This hypothesis rests on many iconographic and mythological representations of toads and on a number of speculative ethnographic reports.
The authors reject B. marinus as a candidate for such use because of the toxicity of its venom.
A more likely candidate is the Sonoran desert toad, Bufo alvarius, which secretes large amounts of the potent known hallucinogen, 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT). The authors demonstrate that the venom of B. alvarius, although known to be toxic when consumed orally, may be safely smoked and is powerfully psychoactive by that route of administration.
These experiments are the first documentation of an hallucinogenic agent from the animal kingdom, and they provide clear evidence of a psychoactive toad that could have been employed by Precolumbian peoples of the New World.