A narrative synthesis of research with 5-MeO-DMT

Background: 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a naturally occurring, short-acting psychedelic tryptamine, produced by a variety of plant and animal species. Plants containing 5-MeO-DMT have been used throughout history for ritual and spiritual purposes. The aim of this article is to review the available literature about 5-MeO-DMT and inform subsequent clinical development. Methods: We searched PubMed database for articles about 5-MeO-DMT. Search results were cross-checked against earlier reviews and reference lists were hand searched. Findings were synthesised using a narrative synthesis approach. This review covers the pharmacology, chemistry and metabolism of 5-MeO-DMT, as well epidemiological studies, and reported adverse and beneficial effects. Results: 5-MeO-DMT is serotonergic agonist, with highest affinity for 5-HT1A receptors. It was studied in a variety of animal models, but clinical studies with humans are lacking. Epidemiological studies indicate that, like other psychedelics, 5-MeO-DMT induces profound alterations in consciousness (including mystical experiences), with potential beneficial long-term effects on mental health and well-being. Conclusion: 5-MeO-DMT is a potentially useful addition to the psychedelic pharmacopoeia because of its short duration of action, relative lack of visual effects and putatively higher rates of ego-dissolution and mystical experiences. We conclude that further clinical exploration is warranted, using similar precautions as with other classic psychedelics.

Intensity of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT and Comparison With a Prior Psilocybin Study

5-MeO-DMT is a psychoactive substance found in high concentrations in the bufotoxin of the Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius). Emerging evidence suggests that vaporized 5-MeO-DMT may occasion mystical experiences of comparable intensity to those occasioned by more widely studied psychedelics such as psilocybin, but no empirical study has tested this hypothesis. Data was obtained from 20 individuals (Mage = 38.9, ± 10.7; male = 55%, Caucasian = 85%) who were administered 5-MeO-DMT as part of a psychospiritual retreat program in Mexico. All participants received 50 mg of inhaled vaporized toad bufotoxin which contains 5-MeO-DMT and completed the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30) approximately 4–6 h after their session. Administration of 5-MeO-DMT occasioned strong mystical experiences (MEQ30 Overall Mintensity = 4.17, ± 0.64, range 0–5) and the majority (n = 15, 75%) had “a complete mystical experience” (≥60% on all MEQ30 subscales). Compared to a prior laboratory-based psilocybin study, there were no differences in the intensity of mystical effects between 5-MeO-DMT and a high dose (30 mg/70 kg) of psilocybin, but the intensity of mystical effects was significantly higher in the 5-MeO-DMT sample compared to moderate/high dose (20 mg/70 kg) of psilocybin (MEQ30 Total Score: p = 0.02, d = 0.81). Administration of vaporized 5-MeO-DMT reliably occasioned complete mystical experiences in 75% of individuals and was similar in intensity to high dose psilocybin administered in a laboratory setting. The short duration of action may be advantageous for clinical interventions and for studying mystical-type experiences.

The epidemiology of 5-methoxy- N, N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) use: Benefits, consequences, patterns of use, subjective effects, and reasons for consumption

Background/aim: 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a psychoactive compound found in several plants and in high concentrations in Bufo alvarius toad venom. Synthetic, toad, and plant-sourced 5-MeO-DMT are used for spiritual and recreational purposes and may have psychotherapeutic effects. However, the use of 5-MeO-DMT is not well understood. Therefore, we examined patterns of use, motivations for consumption, subjective effects, and potential benefits and consequences associated with 5-MeO-DMT use. Methods: Using internet-based advertisements, 515 respondents (Mage=35.4. SD=11.7; male=79%; White/Caucasian=86%; United States resident=42%) completed a web-based survey. Results: Most respondents consumed 5-MeO-DMT infrequently (<once/year), for spiritual exploration, and had used less than four times in their lifetime. The majority (average of 90%) reported moderate-to-strong mystical-type experiences (Mintensity=3.64, SD=1.11; range 0–5; e.g., ineffability, timelessness, awe/amazement, experience of pure being/awareness), and relatively fewer (average of 37%) experienced very slight challenging experiences (Mintensity=0.95, SD=0.91; range 0–5; e.g., anxiousness, fear). Less than half (39%) reported repeated consumption during the same session, and very few reported drug craving/desire (8%), or legal (1%), medical (1%), or psychiatric (1%) problems related to use. Furthermore, of those who reported being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, the majority reported improvements in symptoms following 5-MeO-DMT use, including improvements related to post-traumatic stress disorder (79%), depression (77%), anxiety (69%), and alcoholism (66%) or drug use disorder (60%). Conclusion: Findings suggest that 5-MeO-DMT is used infrequently, predominantly for spiritual exploration, has low potential for addiction, and might have psychotherapeutic effects. Future research should examine the safety and pharmacokinetics of 5-MeO-DMT administration in humans using rigorous experimental designs.

The Ethical and Ecological Considerations of Inhaling Bufotoxins from Incilius Alvarius

The consumption of 5-MeO-DMT by inhaling bufotoxins from the Colorado River toad (lat. Incilius Alvarius), also known as “Bufo Alvarius”, “El Sapo/Sapito”, “Bufo”, and “Toad”, has become increasingly popular in a variety of underground ceremonial settings in recent years. Furthermore, due to the realization of the potential 5-MeO-DMT holds for therapy it has also become a new interest in psychedelic research. When I started psychedelic research for my dissertation at Maastricht University in fall 2017, there was no research addressing the subjective effects from inhalation of bufotoxins in humans. Thus, I brought it upon myself to investigate this further as the consumption of the so-called “toad-medicine” was booming worldwide. The primary aim of the study was to investigate whether the bufotoxins from the toad, which is known to contain significant amounts of 5-MeO-DMT, as well as other compounds, produces long-lasting changes on affect and thinking style. The second objective was to assess whether the acute and long-term effects of the bufotoxins depend on the degree of ego dissolution and altered states of consciousness that was experienced during the ceremony. The preliminary evidence of this study was presented at the Beyond Psychedelics conference in Prague in June, and the recording of this presentation is now circling around on the web. Even though the study results are very interesting and important to highlight due to the consumption of the “toad-medicine” worldwide, I think it is of equal importance, if not more, to shed light on another side of the story. A side of the story that for once does not focus on humans. This article aims to share information, increase awareness, and stimulate reflection about how the consumption of bufotoxins affect the toad.

The Toad and the Jaguar

In this monograph, I relate findings from more than 30 years of experiences and observations with this substance, in various user groups and individuals, both in the US and in Europe. I use the term underground in referring to the explorations with these substances, in the sense that they were hidden – out of respect for the restrictions and prohibitions of mainstream culture.These are ethnographic field reports: first-hand observations from an underground sub-culture, accompanied by the experiences of a selected number of participant-observers. It is important to recognize that in research with these and other so-called psychedelic or entheogenic substances, one cannot limit the observations and reflections solely to their physical and psychological effects. As most of the people cited here emphasize, the experiences with these substances at times can go far beyond their physical and psychological effects into the deepest and highest dimensions of our existence, both the cosmic and the spiritual. Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., received his undergraduate degree at Oxford University and his doctorate in clinical psychology at Harvard University, where he was also the recipient of an NIMH Post-doctoral Fellowship in psychopharmacology at the Harvard Medical School. He collaborated with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert in the studies of psychedelic drugs and co-authored The Psychedelic Experience. He is a psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he taught for 30 years. He has a life-long interest in the many different realms of consciousness and its modifications. He is the author of The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, Birth of a Psychedelic Culture (with Ram Dass); editor of two collections of essays on ayahuasca and on psilocybe mushrooms; and author of a series of seven books on The Ecology of Consciousness

Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran desert toad

A journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field that suggest how 5-MeO-DMT triggers the human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field • Examines Bufo alvarius toad venom, which contains the potent natural psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT, and explores its entheogenic use • Proposes a new connection between the findings of modern physics and the knowledge held by shamans and religious sages for millennia The venom from Bufo alvarius, an unusual toad found in the Sonoran desert, contains 5-MeO-DMT, a potent natural chemical similar in effect to the more common entheogen DMT. The venom can be dried into a powder, which some researchers speculate was used ceremonially by Amerindian shamans. When smoked it prompts an instantaneous break with the physical world that causes out-of-body experiences completely removed from the conventional dimensions of reality. In Tryptamine Palace, James Oroc shares his personal experiences with 5-MeODMT, which led to a complete transformation of his understanding of himself and of the very fabric of reality. Driven to comprehend the transformational properties of this substance, Oroc combined extensive studies of physics and philosophy with the epiphanies he gained from his time at Burning Man. He discovered that ingesting tryptamines unlocked a fundamental human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field of modern physics, known to the ancients as the Akashic Field. In the quantum world of nonlocal interactions, the line between the physical and the mental dissolves. 5-MeO-DMT, Oroc argues, can act as a means to awaken the remarkable capacities of the human soul as well as restore experiential mystical spirituality to Western civilization.