5-MeO-DMT is a natural psychedelic drug found in the venom of the Colorado River toad, Bufo Alvarius, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad. Smoking 5-MeO-DMT induces a short but intense psychedelic experience or ‘trip’, with hallucinogenic effects that are significantly stronger than those induced by DMT (the primary psychoactive molecule found in Ayahuasca). Despite this, the difference between 5-MeO-DMT and DMT is just a single Methoxy group, and it is structurally similar to other psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and DMT.
Also present in at least nine families of plants, trees, and shrubs, use of 5-MeO-DMT as a psychedelic drug has been traced back some 3000 years in the form of crushed seeds known as ‘Yopo’, which are still used in spiritual ceremonies in Venezuela, Columbia, and Brazil. 5-MeO-DMT was first synthesised in 1936 by chemists Toshio Hoshino and Kenya Shimodaira and identified as an active component of Amazonian snuffs in 1959. Since then, it has been detected in human blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid.
Legal 5-MeO-DMT was readily available online as a ‘research chemical’, and grew increasingly popular before being made illegal in the USA in 2011, after which many other countries followed suit and banned the substance.
Due to these restrictions, research into 5-MeO-DMT is extremely limited and only a handful of studies have been conducted to date.
The effects are usually felt within the first 30 seconds after consumption, peaking from 1-15 minutes and lasting for up to half an hour. The effects come on strong, often with a loss of physical coordination and control. Users experience bright colors, moving environments, or recursive patterns, and perhaps even “environmental orbism” at higher doses. The experience is more often described as a “perspective shift” characterized by physical, emotional, and conceptual effects.