Licking Bufo Toads, the Risks and the Reality of Getting High

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Will licking a toad make me high? What kind of toad do people lick to get high? Can licking a toad make you hallucinate? Can dogs die from licking toads? What is a cane toad? What is a Colorado River toad? What is a Sonora Desert toad? What kind of

Bufo is the Latin word for toad, of which there are over 150 species. Toads are different than frogs in many ways, including the fact that their legs are shorter, which makes them generally poor hoppers. Toads have the ability to release a poison when stressed, enough poison to kill a dog.

The poison of most toads contains a substance called Bufotoxin. This can be extracted from the skin and is used in some Chinese Medicines. It is not uncommon for people to milk these frogs and smoke the dried substances they excrete.

In some specific toad species, of which the Sonoran Desert toad, aka Colorado River toad (Bufo alvarius), is the best known, there are additional substances that produce hallucinogenic effects.

The Colorado River toad contains in its skin the substances known as 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin. These toads are found in the south west parts of the United States and into Mexico.

5-MeO-DMT is fast acting and produces many different effects ranging from muscle twitching, to nausea, to mental spiritual experiences, in some cases there may be a loss of consciousness. It may also make a person feel heavy. It is said to be one of the world's strongest naturally occurring hallucinogens.

Bufotenin was tested on prisoners in 1955 with some side effects occurring such as a tingling in the chest, difficulty in breathing, and increased blood circulating causing a purpling of the face. It is considered a neurotoxin.

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Myths and Errors About Getting High from Toads

The scientific name for the Colorado River toad is Bufo alvarius, as such many people refer to them as Bufo toads, however as noted earlier all toads are “Bufo”.  It is also known (as mentioned earlier) as the Sonoran Desert toad.

Many often mistakenly think that the Cane toad (Bufo marinus) is the one used. For a while there was an Internet myth that suggested licking Cane toads to get high. Licking these toads can make a person very ill, and can even cause death. 

Another correction to popular thinking is that licking the toad does not get you high. When licked the effect can be quite undesirable, vomiting, headaches, chest pains, and so forth. In fact if a dog eats a toad it very often ends up dead (if vomiting does not occur naturally or is not induced fairly soon). The only reason people do not die regularly is because people generally would not be as likely to eat an entire toad, whereas some dogs are not as fussy and wolf down anything with little thought. In fact the substances taken from the Colorado River toad are not licked, they are “milked”, dried, and only tiny amounts are smoked. The substances is so strong only a tiny drop or two is needed for smoking.

Some reports indicate that the effect of smoking the toad venom is so powerful and scary, bringing either the highest high, or lowest low, that they will never do it again.  As such it may not be as common of a recreational drug as people think.

In most areas milking the toads for the purpose of getting high, or selling the venom, is illegal.

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3 comments

Phoenix Montoya
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Posted on Apr 20, 2012
Joe Dorish
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Posted on Apr 19, 2012
carol roach
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Posted on Apr 19, 2012