Stop Licking Frogs Trying to Get High Warns National Park Rangers
Want to Enjoy the Benefits of Psychedelics?
The National Park Service Suggests That Licking Toads Is Not The Way To Do It
Many ancient civilizations around the world used entheogenic or plant-based psychedelics as part of their rituals or for spiritual purposes.
There are a handful of plants and even cacti that have been used for their psychedelic and therapeutic abilities. Many of these are still in use today, and are in fact, growing in popularity once again. Examples include the ever-famous psilocybin mushroom, peyote, ayahuasca, and much more. In addition, ancient cultures in Mesoamerica have been known to use the intoxicating biological features of the Bufo marinus toad for the same purpose.
Due to the lack of proper information in the seventies and eighties, it became a joke that one could get high from licking a toad. From the late 80’s to early 90’s, there was a frenzy of misinformation spread through media in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, and Central America which perpetuated the “toad-licking phenomenon”. But be warned: licking toads is not delicious: it could also be fatal and potentially dangerous.
Thankfully, the toad-licking phenomenon, or perhaps urban myth, died down together with the war on drugs. But with the revolution of psychedelics upon us, some people are wondering if this is still possible.
Earlier this month, the National Park Service had to release a warning letter to all park visitors stating that they should not lick or have any kind of tongue contact with the Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius) often encountered here. Strange, as it’s typically common sense not to lick any animals. Also known as the Colorado River roads, the National Park Service acknowledges that they “have prominent parotid glands that secrete a potent toxin,” Park Service said.
“It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth,” they wrote in the warning. “As we say with most things you come across in a national park, whether it be a banana slug, unfamiliar mushroom, or a large toad with glowing eyes in the dead of night, please refrain from licking.”
What Happens If You Lick The Sonoran Desert Toad?
The hallucinogenic substance that the toad excretes when threatened is known as 5-MeO-DMT, a natural but extremely powerful psychedelic. It’s many more times potent compared to DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a widely-consumed recreational drug. On top of that, it also contains bufotenine (5-HO-DMT), a derivative of tryptamine, and another relative of DMT.
Consuming the narcotic substance off the toad’s back, in raw form, will result in intense hallucinations and it can even cause death because it is simply poison. That’s why ancient cultures never consumed it in raw form. The right way to consume it, as shamans and expert psychonauts know, is to extract the venom glands, milking the substance, and dehydrating it. The resulting dry paste can then be smoked, which is a practice that has been done by shamans in Mexico for many decades.
When taken correctly, the psychoactive properties can set in within as little as five minutes after smoking. Depending on how much you smoke, the trip can last for an hour or so.
There has been a boom in demand for the bufo toad toxin over the last few years. It goes alongside the growth of the retreat industry, as people are paying serious money to heal from trauma and a range of psychological conditions by taking psychedelic substances under the guidance of a shaman or another expert. According to an article in The New York Times: “People pay anywhere from $250 for a ceremony in the East Texas woods to $8,500 for a more gilded beachfront setting in Tulum, Mexico, to consume the toxin.”
The question is: is it really worth it, when there are many other options to choose from?
But unlike other well-established psychedelics with solid therapeutic value, toad venom is…. Experimental at best. Having said that, it certainly isn’t safe to lick toads or consume toad venom at least without the presence of an expert around you. Many claim that the drug can result in euphoric, blissful sessions. A great number of reports from people who have taken the drug say that it’s so intense, they usually don’t remember the overwhelming sensations that came with it. Just like with other psychedelics, aural and visual hallucinations are common with bufo toad venom.
But for most people, the fact that its effects set in so much faster (within seconds, for some), this can be a nightmare. Physical sensations of panic including increased blood pressure and heart rate can even set in – which is fatal for people who already have heart problems.
Listen: bufo toad venom is among the least-studied drugs in the world. It simply is not safe to do, and it is not worth risking your life to experiment with it. If you are in need of healing and therapy, there are many other safer psychedelics that can assist you with your journey.
Even if people like world-famous boxing champion Mike Tyson, as well as other celebrities, claim that they have smoked toad venom and have come out alive and perhaps happier, there is still a large risk involved in doing so. Until we know more about toad venom, which may be 10 years or even more from now, just don’t go licking frogs or smoking the venom unsupervised.