opinion hallucinogens

The new lifestyle trend of toad smokers

This desert toad causes hallucinations

This desert toad causes hallucinations

Quelle: picture alliance / imageBROKER

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Sonoran desert toad slime contains a psychedelic substance that’s becoming trending as a miracle cure. The secret lies in the substance 5-MeO-DMT contained in the toad venom, also called “Bufo” for short. What’s it all about?

In toad slime lies divine wisdom. At least that’s what those gourmets think who like to help themselves to the secretions of the animals at the psychedelic buffet. The venom of the Sonoran desert toad is its “god molecule”. But as history teaches us: those who are revered are quickly threatened. The hallucinogenic compounds in amphibian mucus have become so popular that scientists in the New York Times fear for the toad population.

The secret lies in the substance 5-MeO-DMT contained in the toad venom, also called “Bufo” for short. To win her over, the toad is petted under the chin until, in a defensive reaction, it expels a milky substance. This is scraped off, dried into crystals and then smoked in a pipe. The drug can induce a hallucinogenic trip lasting up to 30 minutes, which is said to have healing powers. In fact, studies show that toad venom can relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, according to the New York Times. The drug is particularly popular in the United States, home of toads. The animals live in the Sonoran Desert, which stretches across the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. In the US state of California, the amphibian is already considered extinct.

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Psychedelic miracle drugs have been on the rise for some time. At least since series like “Goop”, in which the team around actress Gwyneth Paltrow tried out hallucinogenic mushrooms, they are no longer hippie stuff, but lifestyle. They have arrived in pop culture. In the Swedish series “Anarchy and Love”, for example, an aging literary agent takes part in an ayahuasca ritual to find clarity about his future career. This is now also possible in Brandenburg. Ayahuasca is a natural drug that has been used by indigenous peoples for spiritual experiences for centuries.

Much like the yoga and mindfulness movements, the trend goes back to ancient traditions meant to help with mental health issues. Stress, anxiety and depression are increasingly being discussed in public. Most recently, comedian Kurt Krömer spoke about his depression and Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds about his anxiety.

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A new awareness of the problem arises that can be turned into money. The American Bernice Anderson runs a retreat in Utah where she treats her guests with toad poison. The stay costs up to 1,100 US dollars (around 990 euros). Anderson advertises with the promise of rebirth and a shamanic experience. She calls herself Ixca, a name derived from the Mayan culture.

In contrast to Ayahuasca, “Bufo” is a relatively young phenomenon that has nothing to do with indigenous tradition. According to the New York Times, it was invented by a Texas artist in the 80s. He dried the toad slime on the windshield of his van and then smoked it.

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