No, you’re not going to need a really small stool to sit on while you milk them, but you may want to check with a medical professional before trying to smoke the milk of psychedelic toads … which a new study claims can alleviate depression for up to a month. How? Take a deep, non-toad-milk breath and read on.
“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.”
That’s the unwieldy but encouraging title of a new study published in the journal Psychopharmacology. The “toad” is the Colorado River toad (Incilius Alvarius), also known as Bufo alvarius or the Sonoran Desert toad, is well-known for its poisonous secretions that can kill predators and get humans high. The largest native toad in the U.S. can reach up to seven inches in length and has the unusual ability to obtain water by osmotic absorption through its abdomen. Of course, what most people and researchers are interested in is the 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) found in the toad’s secretions from warts on its mouth and glands on its legs. That “milk” is a psychedelic tryptamine related to DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), the psychoactive ingredient in the increasingly popular ayahuasca brews.
“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.”
Under normal circumstances, results like that in a pharmaceutical study would have marketers shouting “Miracle drug!,” doctors prescribing them for everything from depression to toe fungus and drug companies pushing the upper limits of pricing. Of the 42 participants in the study, average depression ratings were down 18% after one day and anxiety and stress were reduced by 39% and 27% respectively. After four weeks, depression ratings had dropped to 68%, anxiety to 56%, and stress to 48%. However, this drug is in psychedelic toad milk, which means drug companies will have to deal with the United States Controlled Substances Act and the Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered Species Act might be easier to overcome. California, Arizona, and New Mexico – states where Colorado River toads are found – prohibit taking them out of the state. California has declared them “endangered” and New Mexico lists them "threatened." Fortunately, the study points out that 5-MeO-DMT can be easily synthesized and no toads need to be milked or harmed in its manufacturing.
The United States Controlled Substances Act is a bigger problem. 5-MeO-DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means the government thinks it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. Will this study, plus the increased acceptance of the benefits of LSD microdosing (despite its illegality), push it to be legalized? The depressed are hopeful. The toads … not so much.
In the meantime, Milking Psychedelic toads would make a great name for a band.