Its name is Bufo Alvarius also known as the Colorado River Toad or the Sonoran Desert Toad and it’s a special little critter that will blow your mind, that is if you lick it. Though it’s believed that humans have known about the Sonoran Desert Toad since before recorded history, stories of toad licking hadn’t really surfaced until the 1970s. That’s when a legend was born in the psychedelic community and thrill seekers everywhere began diving into ditches in search of a mind-bending trip.
The most well-known of toad lickers was a man named Albert Most who founded the Church of the Toad of Light.
That’s right, Albert Most founded a church around toad licking and while it was never officially recognized by the US government, you can be sure that a denial of tax-free status didn’t stop the members of this church from tripping balls courtesy of their little green deity.
In 1984, Most even wrote a book – as most religions do – which became something of a how-to manual on toad licking. It was titled Bufo Alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert and within its bindings, you can find a description of the trippy feels this venomous amphibian can offer.
“You will be completely absorbed in a complex chemical event,” writes the toad priest, “characterized by an overload of thoughts and perception, a brief collapse of the EGO, and loss of the space-time continuum.”
Aside from an interdimensional trip through your own mind, Most promises a LSD-like experience that is short-lived, but capped with a bout of uncontrollable laughter.
The chemical compound which launches you into this altered state is known as 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine or 5-MeO-DMT for your reading pleasure.
But before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: no one really licks the toad. The venom which contains 5-MeO-DMT is caressed out of the toad through a ‘milking’ process which involves a gentle squeezing to allow the venom to ooze out. Once extracted the white milky substance is dried and then smoked like regular DMT.
The result is just as Most described – if we can believe a couple of scientists who took to milking some toads in 1992. Ethnobotanist Wade Davis and Andrew Weil were those brave souls and they published their findings in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica.
In a follow-up to that research, Davis describes the sensation that toad venom gave him in his book Clouded Leopard. The experience, David says, is like, “being shot out of a rifle barrel lined with baroque paintings and landing on a sea of electricity.”
That sounds so enticing it’s almost worth it to drop everything and take a trip out to the Senora. But beware of the lawman. According to an article published in 1994 by the New York Times Bob Shepard, a 41-year-old school teacher from California was arrested for possessing four Sonoran toads. Oddly enough, the substance which was the subject of the arrest wasn’t even the psychoactive 5-MeO-DMT, but bufotenin which had been outlawed in California along with every other brand of fun by the Nixon Administration in 1970.
Today, it is illegal to export the toad out of its native states of New Mexico, Arizona, and California and the toad is an officially considered endangered by the government of California.
Still, its legend has sent people around the world in search of toads to lick, which is a terrible idea since this particular toad is the only one which produces the proper chemicals. In either case, it is considered extremely dangerous with the ability to case intense seizures and even death.
In retrospect, it’s probably best to stick to regular drugs. After all, the idea of milking a toad is only slightly less appealing than licking it, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.