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The Psychedelic Research Group, Imperial College London are undertaking a global 5-MeO-DMT survey study and are interested in getting data on a planned 5-MeO session (including pre and post-experience, including long-term follow-up). More information in the link below. I know any and all data feedback will be very much appreciated.
Interesting study showing that people who use 5-MeO in a supportive context are much more likely to report mystical-type experiences (with the enduring benefits associated with the latter) than people who use it in a non supportive context. I'm sure we're all well aware of the importance of set and setting when it comes to psychedelic use, and even when using a substance as powerful as 5-MeO where one may well transcend both their set and setting, this still very much applies.


Sepeda et al. (2019) Inhaled 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine: Supportive context associated with positive acute and enduring effects. Journal of Psychedelic Studies, DOI: 10.1556/2054.2019.033.

Full paper can be accessed at:
Article in Psychedelics Today on the plight of the Sonoran desert toad and the various threats the species currently faces, suggesting that psychonauts make ethically and ecologically informed choices when deciding to use 5-MeO-DMT.

QuoteIs the Juice Worth the Squeeze: The Impact of Climate Change, Development, and Psychonauts on the Sonoran Desert Toad

Sonoran Desert toads emerge from earthly tombs every year after the late summer monsoons roll in, which cause countless tiny ponds and lakes to form. Though most will evaporate in a few hours or days, toads lay eggs in the depths of these small water beds. Most of the tadpoles won't last longer than the waters in which they are born, a few will become pollywogs then toads, ensuring survival for another generation.

Life in the desert is stark as it is. But these unique desert toads are currently facing a host of new threats, including climate change, habitat loss and — perhaps most dangerous — commodification. Bufo alvarius, the Sonoran Desert toad's scientific name, is the only known animal source of 5-MeO-DMT, a popular chemical among psychedelic users. Unfortunately, poachers overharvest toads to feed the ever-growing market for this powerful substance. While the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species placed these toads in the lowest category of risk for extinction in 2004, the same report acknowledged they were virtually extinct in California. Scientists, conservationists, and artists are banding together to ensure the rest of the species avoids a similar fate.

Climate Change on Habitats

To understand how human-caused climate change could impact Sonoran Desert toads, we first need to look at potential effects on their home region. A 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted that the Southwest would continue to get hotter and drier. A 2018 National Climate Assessment bore out those predictions. This is bad news for toads, who already live near their physiological limits. More troubling was a 2017 report in Nature Climate Change, which predicted the probable decline of monsoons by 30 to 40 percent over the next century.

Thomas R. Jones, Amphibians and Reptiles Program Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, believes parsing the impact of climate change from other threats and historical fluctuations is difficult if not impossible. This past summer he observed a decrease in toad populations at a site where they are normally abundant. "I think it's a reasonable assumption to say if the monsoon gets squirrely and we have drier years, it will be rougher on summer breeding anurans — toads and frogs — like the Sonoran Desert toad," Jones said.

Overdevelopment and the Destruction of Habitats

While climate change looms like ominous clouds in the distance, habitat loss is the single greatest threat to Sonoran Desert toads. According to a 2013 report from the USDA, 90 percent of riparian areas in Arizona and New Mexico converted to other land uses over the last century, ultimately turning habitats into agriculture fields or residential developments. At the same time, surface water was diverted from the few year-round rivers into massive reservoirs as aquifers pumped out groundwater in order to supply the region's growing population and agricultural production.

These toads once thrived in farmland irrigation systems, too. But, due to the increasingly intense use of chemicals — both pesticides and fertilizers — and mechanization, they disappeared from some agriculture areas, such as the Southern California side of the Colorado River and the Imperial Valley.

Paved roads are also particularly deadly to these creatures. Toads go to pools that form on impermeable surfaces where water can more easily absorb through their skin. The hot spots for Sonoran Desert toads are lined with roads, often putting them in harm's way. In fact, a 2010 study in Human-Wildlife Interactions estimated 12,264 amphibians died annually on roads in and around Saguaro National Park just west of Tucson, Arizona. Roads also hinder the toad's range, causing a loss in gene flow, or genetic evolution, which negatively effects populations, according to Jones. "The number of animals that die on roads are just huge."

Pop Culture, Money, and Psychedelic Tourism

The least understood threat is the impact of poaching and overharvesting for the 5-MeO-DMT market. Though Sonoran Desert toads can be legally gathered with appropriate licenses in Arizona, collecting them for the extraction of 5-MeO-DMT — which became a Schedule 1 substance in 2011 — is a federal crime.

In order to extract 5MeO-DMT, the toads must be agitated, which causes their glands to excrete poison. Then, it's squeezed or scraped out. Robert Villa, president of the Tucson Herpetological Society (THS) and a research associate at the University of Arizona's Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, is concerned about the harm this poses to toad survival.

"I think what's going to happen over time is that if intensive collection continues," Villa explained, "it's going to create a vacuum in these areas, what is also known as a mortality sink."

Some argue that indigenous communities have used the drug for centuries. But Villa points to flaws in this argument, saying that some advancing this position may have a vested financial interest in doing so. Some scholars have cited the discovery of toad bones at shamanic burial sites. If true, it could legitimize the toad extraction industry, helping businesses grow at the expense of the toad populations. For doctors or others selling 5-MeO-DMT, this would be a boon.

But Villa noted the bones were from a different species of toad that doesn't produce 5-MeO-DMT. He is not convinced by the evidence that indigenous people historically used the toad as a source of 5-MeO-DMT. "We couldn't decipher it from residues. There's research that discovered cacao residue in pots in New Mexico," Villa explained. "What we see today is a blatant misuse of indigenous culture to do it."

We may never know who first smoked 5-MeO-DMT for sure, but one of the earliest academic papers citing its psychedelic properties appeared in a 1967 issue of Biochemical Pharmacology. Then, knowledge about how to extract, prepare, and consume 5-MeO-DMT from toads was first widely propagated by a pamphlet written in 1983. The document contained detailed instructions, diagrams, and background information. Its author was listed as Albert Most, a pen name, though multiple people throughout history have claimed to be Most.

In a 2017 episode of VICE's Hamilton's Pharmacopeia, a man named Alfred Savinelli claimed he wrote the pamphlet and that he was the first person to ever consume the toad's venom. Savinelli is the author of Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants, but aside from that his claims have not been verified.

Though its authorship is disputed, the pamphlet's role in raising awareness about the drug is not. Following its publication, groups like the Church of the Toad of Light started promoting 5-MeO-DMT consumption. Its proponents claim the drug can help with depression and anxiety, which was supported by a study in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse earlier this year. Advocates also claim it helps with recovery from substance abuse.

Unfortunately, a number of bad actors are harming toads and humans by providing the toad excrement for consumption. An open letter published earlier this year accused two doctors who facilitate 5-MeO-DMT use, Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval, of defrauding, harming, and even causing patients to die. Numerous self-proclaimed shamans administer the drug illegally throughout the US and other countries. One such person was identified as Shaman Dan. He is alleged to have led a series of 5-MeO-DMT parties at the residence of a woman in Southern California, who we'll call Christina (not her real name) for the sake of anonymity.

Christina was connected to Shaman Dan by her mentors, who recruited her into Amway, a multi-level marketing company accused of being a pyramid scheme by consumer advocates, academics, and newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She described Shaman Dan as a white male under 25-years-old who formerly sold energy drinks through a multi-level marketing company. He told Christina that he was trained in Mexico by a woman named Shaman Sandra. After extracting the toad's poison — which Christina incorrectly identified as venom — Shaman Dan described using an undisclosed chemical as a bonding agent into the 5 MeO-DMT blend.

"It's not something the individual taking it knows," Christina said. "That's why it's very important that you trust whoever is administering this, because if they do not know what they're doing, they will mess you up. It's basically like taking crystal meth from a drug dealer off the street."

Public awareness of the toad has grown rapidly in recent years, with increasing references not just in academic journals, but in popular media as well. Journalist and author Michael Pollan discussed his negative experience with 5-MeO-DMT in his 2018 book How to Change Your Mind, which reached number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. Pollan also discussed the subject on The Joe Rogan Experience, a popular podcast. Host Joe Rogan has covered 5-MeO-DMTs transformative power many times, perhaps most notably in an episode from earlier this year with Mike Tyson. All this buzz leaves the little toads facing evermore heavyweight dangers from all corners.

The Sonoran Desert toad does not face these challenges alone, however. The THS is funding a project to study how the ionic composition of cement water holes may be harmful or even lethal to amphibians. Villa partnered with Cream Design and Print to produce t-shirts, posters and other items that spread awareness about the danger extraction poses to toads, and to raise money for conservation efforts. He hopes that if potential 5-MeO-DMT users know the harm they're doing to these hardy animals, that they will choose less-harmful methods for obtaining whatever it is they seek.

While the toad may be the only animal source for 5-MeO-DMT, the compound can be synthesized and found in many plants. The seeds of one species of Anadenanthera trees in South America contain 5-MeO-DMT and DMT. Virola trees also originate from South America, and some species of this plant contain both forms of DMT as well. They are both typically prepared as snuffs but can be consumed otherways as well.

Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT is in many ways a superior delivery vehicle to the toad-sourced variety. The extract from toads contains many other chemicals and can be dangerous if it is not consumed correctly. Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT can be precisely dosed, whereas every toad's extract is a little different. The study cited earlier showing 5-MeO-DMT's effectiveness as a treatment for depression and anxiety used the syntheitc variety in its experimental trials.

The benefits of synthetic versus toad-sourced 5-MeO-DMT were even discussed by Rogan on his podcast. Rogan reported a very positive experience when he consumed synthetic 5-MeO-DMT. Pollan had a very different reaction, describing his consumption of the toad-sourced variety as horrible. For the most toad-loving psychonauts, these alternatives can provide a safer and more eco-conscious way to experience this unique molecule.

"It boils down to your individual ethics," Villa said. "As psychonauts, I would hope that you are able to think about how your use of substances and your acquisition of those substances has an effect on the rest of the world."

Really interesting and exciting research study. A few little issues with it though, I appreciate it was a naturalistic and observational study, so obviously no placebo group, but it seemed to have a high drop out rate, with just over half of participants completed the four week assessment. Most people were already 5-MeO experienced, and were using it in expectancy of positive effects. Also no control over Bufo dosage, which is not a standardised source of 5-MeO-DMT as it is.
I'm assuming Bufo extract was used due to its greater accessibility. Given all the media coverage this study has attracted, I worry that some will read it and it will encourage them to seek out the toads (which have their problems as it is due to overharvesting as we know). I appreciate pure synthetic 5-MeO is maybe harder to access and work with scientifically, but moving forward I think it would be a better choice to look at scientifically, ecologically and ethically.

A fresh of the press paper on 5-MeO-DMT I thought may be of interest to some.
Uthaug, M.V., Lancelotta, R., van Oorsouw, K., Kuypers, K.P.C., Mason, N., Rak, J., Sulakova, A., Jurok, R., Maryska, M., Kuchar, M., Palanicek, T., Riba, J. & Ramaekers, J.G. (2019) A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms. Psychopharmacology, 1-14.
Full open access paper can be read and downloaded from here:


BACKGROUND: 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (hereinafter referred to as 5-MeO-DMT) is a psychedelic substance found in the secretion from the parotoid glands of the Bufo alvarius toad. Inhalation of vapor from toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT has become popular in naturalistic settings as a treatment of mental health problems or as a means for spiritual exploration. However, knowledge of the effects of 5-MeO-DMT in humans is limited.

AIMS: The first objective of this study was to assess sub-acute and long-term effects of inhaling vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT on affect and cognition. The second objective was to assess whether any changes were associated with the psychedelic experience.

METHODS: Assessments at baseline, within 24 h and 4 weeks following intake, were made in 42 individuals who inhaled vapor from dried toad secretion at several European locations.

RESULTS: Relative to baseline, ratings of satisfaction with life and convergent thinking significantly increased right after intake and were maintained at follow-up 4 weeks later. Ratings of mindfulness also increased over time and reached statistical significance at 4 weeks. Ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress decreased after the session, and reached significance at 4 weeks. Participants that experienced high levels of ego dissolution or oceanic boundlessness during the session displayed higher ratings of satisfaction with life and lower ratings of depression and stress.

CONCLUSION: A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT produces sub-acute and long-term changes in affect and cognition in volunteers. These results warrant exploratory research into therapeutic applications of 5-MeO-DMT.
Thank you dude, good to know for future ref! And yes excellent to see an increase in interesting studies on 5-MeO appearing in the last year or so..  :)
Interesting new study on 5-MeO, fresh off the press:

Davis, A.K., So, S., Lancelotta, R., Barsuglia, J. & Griffiths, R.R. (2018) 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) used in a naturalistic group setting is associated with unintended improvements in depression and anxiety. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 10.1080/00952990.2018.1545024

Background: A recent epidemiological study suggested that 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) used for spiritual and recreational reasons is associated with subjective improvement in depression and anxiety. Further exploration of the potential psychotherapeutic effects of 5-MeO-DMT could inform future clinical trials. Objectives: We examined self-reported improvement in depression and anxiety among people who use 5-MeO-DMT in a group setting with structured procedures guiding dose and administration of 5-MeO-DMT. Such procedures also include activities for the preparation of, and support during/following sessions, which are similar to procedures used in clinical trials of hallucinogen administration. Next, we examined whether depression or anxiety were improved following use, and whether the acute subjective effects (mystical/challenging) or beliefs about the 5-MeO-DMT experience were associated with improvements in these conditions. Methods: Respondents (n = 362; Mage = 47.7; Male = 55%; White/Caucasian = 84%) completed an anonymous web-based survey. Results: Of those reporting having been diagnosed with depression (41%) or anxiety (48%), most reported these conditions were improved (depression = 80%; anxiety = 79%) following 5-MeO-DMT use, and fewer reported they were unchanged (depression = 17%; anxiety = 19%) or worsened (depression = 3%; anxiety = 2%). Improvement in depression/anxiety conditions were associated with greater intensity of mystical experiences and higher ratings of the spiritual significance and personal meaning of the 5-MeO-DMT experience. There were no associations between depression or anxiety improvement and the intensity of acute challenging physical/psychological effects during the 5-MeO-DMT experience. Conclusions: Future prospective controlled clinical pharmacology studies should examine the safety and efficacy of 5-MeO-DMT administration for relieving depression and anxiety.
Barsuglia et al. (2018) Intensity of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT and Comparison With a Prior Psilocybin Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2459.

Full paper to be published soon:


5-MeO-DMT is a psychoactive substance found in high concentrations in the bufotoxin of the Colorado River Toad. 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 (mean age = 38.9, male = 55%, Caucasian = 85%) who were administered 5-MeO-DMT as part of a psychospiritual retreat program in Mexico. All participants received 50mg of inhaled vaporized toad bufotoxin which contains 5-MeO-DMT and completed the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30) approximately 4-6 hours 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 (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 = .02, d = 0.81). Administration of vaporized 5-MeO-DMT reliably occasioned mystical experiences in a majority 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 experience.

da Cruz, R.V.L., Moulin, T.C., Petiz, L.L. & Leao, R.N. (2018) A Single Dose of 5-MeO-DMT Stimulates Cell Proliferation, Neuronal Survivability, Morphological and Functional Changes in Adult Mice Ventral Dendate Gyrus. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 11, 312.
Full paper can be accessed and downloaded from here: subgranular zone (SGZ) of dentate gyrus (DG) is one of the few regions in which neurogenesis is maintained throughout adulthood. It is believed that newborn neurons in this region encode temporal information about partially overlapping contextual memories. The 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a naturally occurring compound capable of inducing a powerful psychedelic state. Recently, it has been suggested that DMT analogs may be used in the treatment of mood disorders. Due to the strong link between altered neurogenesis and mood disorders, we tested whether 5-MeO-DMT is capable of increasing DG cell proliferation. We show that a single intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection of 5-MeO-DMT increases the number of Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU+) cells in adult mice DG. Moreover, using a transgenic animal expressing tamoxifen-dependent Cre recombinase under doublecortin promoter, we found that 5 Meo-DMT treated mice had a higher number of newborn DG Granule cells (GC). We also showed that these DG GC have more complex dendritic morphology after 5-MeO-DMT. Lastly, newborn GC treated with 5-MeO-DMT, display shorter afterhyperpolarization (AHP) potentials and higher action potential (AP) threshold compared. Our findings show that 5-MeO-DMT affects neurogenesis and this effect may contribute to the known antidepressant properties of DMT-derived compounds.
Ahh beautiful.  :) Thanks for your worthy and eloquent attempt at putting the truly ineffable into words, I really enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to reading your full trip report when you've had a little more time in integrate and contemplate. Wishing you all the very best for your onwards life journey!  _/|\_
I experienced my first two Bufo sessions through Dr Gerry but since that time I've heard some less than savoury things about his conduct from multiple sources. I think the front he puts out may be different to the person he is. Beware claims made about the Bufo Alvarius Foundation, it seems there is not much evidence money is going into such a venture, unfortunately.

If you want to read more, the pinned post in the facebook group "BEWARE of the Bufo Gangsters" may be of interest.
Beautiful account Infinite Spirit, thanks for sharing.  :)
New paper on the epidemiology of 5-MeO-DMT use that may be of interest to some 5-Hive members.

Davis, A.K., Barsuglia, J.P. & Lancelotta, R. 2018. The epidemiology of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) use: Benefits, consequences, patterns of use, subjective effects, and reasons for consumption. Journal of Psychopharmacology, In Press, 1-14.

Full paper can be accessed and downloaded here:



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.


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.


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%).


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.



5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT; also known as '5-MeO-DMT,' 'Toad,' or 'The God Molecule') is a natural psychoactive indolealkylamine substance (Szabo et al., 2014; Yu, 2008). 5-MeO-DMT is the most prominent psychoactive ingredient of Bufo alvarius toad venom (Lyttle et al., 1996; Weil and Davis, 1994) and is also found in a number of plants and shrubs (e.g., virola resin, peregrina seeds, Dictyoloma incanescens) (Agurell et al., 1969; Pachter et al., 1959; Torres and Repke, 2006). 5-MeO-DMT was first synthesized in 1936 (Hoshino et al., 1936), but plant extracts and other botanical 5-MeO-DMT preparations (e.g., Yopo snuff) have reportedly been used among indigenous cultures in the Americas dating back to pre-Columbian times (Ott, 2001b; Weil and Davis 1994). Although some reports also suggest that Bufo alvarius toad venom may have been used historically by indigenous cultures (Weil and Davis, 1994), little evidence supports this claim and it may be that use of toad venom is a more recent development (VICELAND, 2017).

Despite anecdotal reports on the Internet, which describe current spiritual, recreational, and therapeutic use of 5-MeO-DMT in the USA and elsewhere (Erowid, n.d.), prevalence and use characteristics are largely unknown because use of this specific substance is not included in most national epidemiological surveys (Palamar et al., 2015). Nevertheless, recent data from the USA indicate that only 1.2% of adults in the general population reported any 'psychedelic tryptamine' use (e.g., N, N-dimethyltryptamine, 5-methoxy-diisopropyltryptamine) between 2009 and 2013 (Palamar et al., 2015). If US adults reported 5-MeO-DMT use within this category of substances, then prevalence appears to be quite low. Additionally, estimates of the global prevalence of 5-MeO-DMT use are limited by lack of inclusion in epidemiological surveys (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2014). However, when it has been included, 5-MeO-DMT is categorized with other psychoactive tryptamines and synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids as a group of 'novel psychoactive substances,' thus limiting ability to estimate global prevalence (Khaled et al., 2016).

In terms of its pharmacological effects, 5-MeO-DMT is a potent, fast-acting, psychedelic substance (Ott, 2001a). In animal models, 5-MeO-DMT acts as a non-selective 5-HT agonist (Shen et al., 2011), active at both the 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors (Jiang et al., 2016). 5-MeO-DMT appears to have a higher affinity for the 5-HT1A receptor subtype (Spencer et al., 1987) and also inhibits the reuptake of 5-HT (Nagai et al., 2007). This pattern of neurotransmitter binding affinity is similar to that of structurally similar psychedelic tryptamines (e.g., N,N-dimethyltryptamine, 5-methoxy-diisopropyltryptamine; Fantegrossi et al., 2006; Rabin et al., 2002; Sadzot et al., 1989; Winter, 2009), and somewhat different from tryptamines with stronger affinity for the 5-HT2 receptor family (e.g., O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine or 'psilocybin'; McKenna et al., 1990). 5-MeO-DMT is metabolized through oxidative deamination by MAO-A, and its active metabolite, bufotenine, has been shown to be a potent ligand of 5-HT2A receptors (Roth et al., 1997; Shen et al., 2010), although it is unknown whether this metabolite has any discernable psychoactive effect.

Published studies of human self-experiments describe a range of subjective effects of 5-MeO-DMT that vary depending on the dose and route of administration (Ott, 2001a; Shulgin and Shulgin, 1997). Such effects include auditory, visual, and time perception distortions and emotional experiences, as well as memory impairment, with peak effects between 35 and 40 minutes after insufflation or within seconds-to-minutes when smoked (Ott, 2001a; Shulgin and Shulgin, 1997). Furthermore, current unpublished reports of 5-MeO-DMT use describe inhalation (e.g., smoking or vaporizing) as a common means of consumption with initial onset of effects within 60 seconds and peak total duration of effect between 5 and 20 minutes (Erowid, n.d.). Although there is limited evidence about the scope of 5-MeO-DMT use, safety, or its effects, the Drug Enforcement Administration nonetheless placed 5-MeO-DMT in Schedule I of the US Controlled Substances Act in 2011 (Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, 2010), in large part due to being similar in molecular structure to N,N-dimethyltryptamine and evidence that it was four to five times more potent (Ott, 2001a). Although the legal status of 5-MeO-DMT varies by country, most primarily English-speaking countries have placed restrictions on its use (e.g., Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

Despite the fact that 5-MeO-DMT use is illegal in the USA and elsewhere, anecdotal reports indicate that consumption continues in a variety of underground ceremonial settings as a form of spiritual exploration (Psychedelic Times, 2016). Additionally, 5-MeO-DMT use continues among individuals who might purchase 5-MeO-DMT sold on the Internet or from other sources, extract 5-MeO-DMT from natural sources, for the purpose of spiritual exploration or recreation (Reddit, 2011). There is also anecdotal and empirical evidence that some people use 5-MeO-DMT for the purpose of treating psychiatric conditions, including symptoms related to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and problematic substance use, either by self-administration (Psychedelic Times, 2016) or through visiting treatment facilities that provides 5-MeO-DMT in locations where the substance is unregulated (Lancelotta, 2017; Thoricatha, 2015).

Although the basic pharmacology of 5-MeO-DMT has been examined in animal models (e.g., Jiang et al., 2016; Nagai et al., 2007; Shen et al., 2011; Spencer et al., 1987), and the subjective effects have been published in case reports of self-administration (Ott, 2001a; Shulgin and Shulgin, 1997) and provided in anecdotal reports posted on the Internet (Erowid, n.d.), we could find no epidemiological studies examining the patterns of use, subjective effects, motivations for use, or potential medical and psychiatric harms/benefits of consuming 5-MeO-DMT. The relative absence of information about the scope of 5-MeO-DMT use limits understanding of the safety and risk profile of this substance, which is needed to inform the design of future clinical trials. Therefore, the primary aim of this study is to examine the epidemiology of 5-MeO-DMT use among English-speaking adults who have consumed 5-MeO-DMT at least once in their lifetime. As a secondary aim, we examined whether there were changes in medical and psychiatric functioning following 5-MeO-DMT use. Aim 3 involved an examination of differences in the subjective effects and the patterns and motivations for use as a function of the type of 5-MeO-DMT consumed (i.e., synthetic vs toad venom vs plant extracts/yopo snuff).



This study appears to be the first investigation of the epidemiology of 5-MeO-DMT use. Despite some statistically significant differences in the patterns of use and subjective effects as a function of the type of 5-MeO-DMT used (i.e., synthetic, toad venom, plant extract/yopo), these data suggest that most people who consume 5-MeO-DMT use a synthetic source and vaporization/smoking as the route of administration. The majority of the sample used 5-MeO-DMT for the purpose of spiritual exploration, and used infrequently, consuming 5-MeO-DMT less than four times in their lifetime. Similar to other hallucinogens (McCabe et al., 2017), there were also very low rates of addiction-related symptoms including craving/desire or legal consequences following 5-MeO-DMT use, as well as low rates of repeated consumption in the same session and psychiatric or medical complications related to use. Similar to people who use other tryptamines (Barrett et al., 2016; Griffiths et al., 2006; MacLean et al., 2012), most respondents also reported a variety of moderate-to-strong mystical experiences (e.g., awe or awesomeness, amazement, loss of time and space, and difficulty putting experience into words) and relatively fewer experienced very slight challenging experiences (e.g., fear, anxiousness).

Furthermore, large proportions of respondents in this study reported that 5-MeO-DMT use contributed to improvements in symptoms related to several psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance use problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder, suggesting that 5-MeO-DMT may have psychotherapeutic effects under optimal conditions. These positive self-reported psychotherapeutic effects across a variety of psychiatric conditions are consistent with anecdotal reports on the Internet (Psychedelic Times, 2016), pharmacological effects in animals (Jiang et al., 2016; Nagai et al., 2007; Shen et al., 2011; Spencer et al., 1987), findings from population-based surveys (Krebs and Johansen, 2013), and findings with related psychoactive tryptamines (e.g., psilocybin) in individuals with problems associated with addiction, anxiety, or depression (for a review see Johnson and Griffiths, 2017).

Such therapeutic potential of tryptamines appears to be due, at least in part, to their ability to occasion mystical experiences, which has been demonstrated to have lasting beneficial effects (Garcia-Romeu et al., 2015). However, this study is cross-sectional, lacked a validated measure of psychiatric symptoms and assessment of prior psychiatric treatment, and included many polysubstance users, which limits any causal inferences in the relation between the use of 5-MeO-DMT and an improvement in symptoms. Thus, the associations of psychiatric benefits remain observational. Nevertheless, that 5-MeO-DMT appears to have a safety/risk profile similar to that of tryptamines, producing moderate-to-strong mystical, and very slight challenging (e.g., anxiety, fear), experiences at a similar intensity as moderate to high-dose psilocybin administered in laboratory settings (Barsuglia et al., 2017; Griffiths et al., 2006), and that the duration of effect is substantially shorter (20-40 minutes compared to 4-6 hours; Erowid, n.d.; Ott, 2001a), suggests that it might be worth examining the possibility of 5-MeO-DMT administration as an adjunct to psychotherapy. These efforts may contribute to the scalability of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in that they could substantially reduce the costs associated with treatment if and when psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is made available to the public.

Limitations of this study include the cross-sectional nature of the data, which precludes any interpretation of causality with regard to the short- or long-term effects of 5-MeO-DMT consumption, and the self-report of 5-MeO-DMT use (e.g., dose, frequency) and related experiences, which are subject to retrospective recall bias and subjective estimates. Additionally, the sample was recruited using Internet advertisements and thus is subject to selection bias. Although there are several practical and methodological advantages to using web-based recruitment (King et al., 2014), and evidence supports the validity and reliability of anonymous reports of substance use and use-related consequences provided via the Internet (Ramo et al., 2012), we cannot rule out the likelihood that people who use 5-MeO-DMT but who did not access the sites from which we recruited respondents, or those who decided not to participate in online research, may have different patterns of use, subjective effects, and other experiences related to their 5-MeO-DMT use.

The study is also limited by the use of a donation to a psychedelic research organization, instead of providing monetary compensation to encourage participation, which may have created unique volunteer biases or otherwise influenced the composition of the sample. Similar to other web-based studies of people who use licit and illicit substances (Ashrafioun et al., 2016; Davis and Rosenberg, 2016), the sample was comprised mostly of white, heterosexual men, which could reflect a limitation in recruitment method, or it could be that the population of people who use 5-MeO-DMT is similarly comprised. Regardless, future studies should attempt to recruit samples comprised of individuals that identify as being from a diverse background, perhaps specifically by recruiting non-English-speaking individuals. This study also lacks validated measures of alcohol and other drug use and medical/psychiatric functioning, thus, more research is needed to determine whether the results from this study are generalizable to the population of people who consume 5-MeO-DMT.

To the extent that these results are generalizable to the international English-speaking population of people who use 5-MeO-DMT, findings highlight the infrequent pattern of use and the moderate-to-strong subjective mystical and very slight challenging effects of 5-MeO-DMT consumption. Similar to other psychedelic tryptamines, 5-MeO-DMT also appears to have a relatively good safety profile of use in spiritual and recreational settings, with little likelihood of producing an addictive or problematic syndrome of consumption in most users. This is especially evident when compared with the prevalence of past-year and lifetime medical, psychiatric, social, and legal problems associated with drugs in other classes (e.g., alcohol, cannabis, cocaine; McCabe et al., 2017). Furthermore, these data suggest that there may be psychotherapeutic effects associated with 5-MeO-DMT consumption, including catalyzing transformative mystical experiences and self-reported reductions in symptoms related to depression, anxiety, substance use problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, there is at least one report of a fatal intoxication associated with ayahuasca containing 5-MeO-DMT and other substances (Sklerov et al., 2005), and there have been no published laboratory studies examining the safety of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT administration in humans, thus limiting understanding of the risk/benefits of consumption. Therefore, we recommend that future research examine the safety and pharmacokinetics of 5-MeO-DMT administration in humans using rigorous experimental designs.
General Discussion / Does this resonate with you?
April 27, 2018, 05:56:32 PM
I felt compelled to share this here as I felt it may be of interest to some members of this forum, I feel this guy did a very very good job at translating a small slither of the truly ineffable into words in a very eloquent and succinct manner. Not only that, but his insights and perspective on the 5-MeO-DMT breakthrough experience and its implications completely and utterly resonate with my own based on my own experiences. The insight of the 5-MeO-DMT breakthrough for me was honestly bigger and more profound than I imagine encountering an intelligent alien species in the flesh to be. The source of these words is Guy Crittenden (relevant article on his 5-MeO experience is linked below) from a post on the 'Toad & 5-MeO-DMT Forum & Support group' on facebook (I asked his permission to share his words).

His website:

"Something I'm thinking about a lot these days is the epistemology implied by DMT. My experiences with both N.N.DMT and 5-MeO-DMT were not only paradigm-shifting but paradigm shattering.

I was thankful for years of reading (accompanied by some practice) in Buddhism and meditation, which gave me at least some means to interpret my experience. I've been inspired to start deeply studying Shaiva Tantra, and Advaita Vedanta (Indian non-dualism philosophy) and modern nondual teachers such as Rupert Spira and Tony Parsons.
It seems to me that this most powerful of psychedelic chemicals can reveal to a person dimensions of reality that were previously the exclusive purview of saints and sages — insights arrived at in ancient (and even more recent) times only after years of yoga, meditation or ascetic practice (along with some use of entheogens in some places, no doubt). I directly encountered what some people call God, though it was nothing like the "God" I'd eschewed when I was an atheist. It was an encounter with fundamental reality, some sort of plenum or fundamental ground of being, a cosmic OM or vibration. And it wasn't so much that I "encountered" this state but became it, and was already (in fact) it. This is something quite staggering to drop on an unprepared person. Imagine someone with an entirely materialist view of reality — a Richard Dawkins kind of dogma — suddenly having all illusion vanish in an instant, and being plunged into the deepest core of pure being!

I think this is not only important territory for psychonauts to explore and map out, but crucial information for all humanity. In a world on the brink both militarily and environmentally, these insights appear to be both important and importantly timed. Is it mere coincidence that at the very moment when the insight that "we are all one" — apparently different manifestations of a single universal consciousness — is most needed, a technology for experiencing Samadhi states and gaining that insight quickly (DMT) and not after years of living in a monastery or cave appears and becomes widespread?

I think not."

...wondering, to what extent (if any), this person's insights on the 5-MeO experience and its implications resonate with others here?
January 16, 2018, 04:09:59 PM
Quote from: Rising Spirit on January 16, 2018, 09:51:35 AM
When the seeker effectively enters Savikalpa Samadhi, the inner witness merges with the nondual state and the experience dissolves, albeit temporarily, the division between the relative and the absolute vanishes, perceptually.  Finite reality is revealed to be infinite reality and in such blinding effulgence...  the greatest ecstasy is birthed.  One so sweet, it vaporized the human ego.  Interphase with the undifferentiated realm of the Unified Field is perhaps the ultimate reason for human evolution.

...this describes my life changing breakthrough Bufo/5-MeO-DMT experience from last year very well indeed! All the more intrigued to know what you will make of 5-MeO-DMT, Rising Spirit, given your extensive background with yoga and experience with such states...  :) _/|\_