Psychoactive toad is a name used for toads from which psychoactive substances from the family of bufotoxins can be derived. The skin and poison of Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad) contain 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin. Other species contain only bufotenin. 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin both belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. Due to these substances the skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested.
Cultivation and uses
To obtain the psychoactive substances the toxin of psychoactive toads is commonly milked from the toad's poison glands. The milking procedure does not harm the toad — it consists of stroking the animal under its chin to initiate the defensive poison response. Once the liquid toxin has been collected and dried, it can be used for its psychedelic effects. The toad takes about a month to refill its poison glands following the milking procedure, during which time the toad will not produce poison. Some vendors sell dried toad skins, even though it is possible to harvest the poison without harming the toad. The poison is often used for recreational purposes.
Rumors dating from the 1970s claimed that groups of hippies, some including teenagers, were licking the psychoactive toads to get high. One version of the story has hippies in the hills of California chasing toads through the woods in order to obtain the psychoactive substance from them.
Albert Most, founder of the Church of the Toad of Light and a proponent of recreational use of Bufo alvarius poison, published a booklet titled Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert in 1983 which explained how to extract and smoke the secretions.
There have been deaths reported as the result of people attempting to get high from cane toad poison.
- "Information on psychoactive toads".
- Kuwait Information on psychoactive toads
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- "Cane toad lickers may get cure for overdose soon". ABC News. 11 July 2008.
- Davis, Wade. "Smoking Toad". The Clouded Leopard: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998, 171-198.
- Ksir, Charles, Carl L. Hart, Oakley Ray. Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. Boston: McGraw, 2005. 363.