- God molecule
- The Toad
Basics: 5-MeO-DMT is short for 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. It’s found in several plants and in high concentrations in the secretion of the toad Bufo alvarius. It’s also possibly produced by the human body and has been found in human blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. It’s usually inhaled through vaporizing or snorting. Like DMT, the experience is quick, starting just a few seconds after ingestion and lasting about twenty to thirty minutes. (Snorted material comes on a bit slower and can last a bit longer.)
History: There is evidence that Indigenous people have used 5-MeO-DMT for thousands of years, ingesting it through snuffs. The compound was first synthesized in 1936 by Japanese chemists Toshio Hoshino and Kenya Shimodaira.
It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that toad secretions became a popular source for this psychedelic compound. Recently, some scholars have worried that renewed demand for 5-MeO-DMT has put pressure on the Sonoran Desert toad population, which is already in decline. There is also concern about the cruelty of harvesting 5-MeO-DMT from toads; because the compound is secreted as a defense mechanism only when the amphibians are in stressful or dangerous situations, some herpetologists say there is no humane way to collect the secretion. 5-MeO-DMT can also be synthesized in the lab, although there is debate over whether the synthesized substance occasions different effects.
Potential Benefits: 5-MeO-DMT induces feelings of awe, visual and auditory hallucinations, and other sensations similar to other classic psychedelics.
Potential Risks and Side Effects: 5-MeO-DMT is sometimes paired with MAOIs, a class of antidepressants, which can make the experience longer and more intense. However, this combination can be dangerous, causing abnormally high body temperature and, in some cases, death.
In addition to effects shared with other classic psychedelics, some users have reported an empty or void experience similar to sensory deprivation. There are also reports of fear, shaking, and profound terror.
Therapy: Anecdotal reports and early studies suggest 5-MeO-DMT could help treat anxiety and depression, but further research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness.
Legality: In the United States, 5-MeO-DMT is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It’s illegal to use it recreationally or in therapy outside of specially approved research settings.
- There have been self-reported improvements in anxiety and depression after using 5-MeO-DMT.
- One study found evidence that 5-MeO-DMT causes structural changes in human brain cells that may inhibit neurodegeneration.
- A study measured the intensity of mystical experiences with 5-MeO-DMT compared to those with psilocybin.