Bufotenin, or bufotenine, is commonly referred to as bufo. Bufotenin is a hallucinogenic substance derived from the secretions of the Incilius alvarius toad, and a few plants and mushrooms. Bufotenin is also found in a few plants. Bufotenine is sometimes referred to by its proper chemical name, 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine).
The Incilius alvarius toad is also known as the Bufo alvarius toad, Sonoran Desert toad or the Colorado River toad. It is thought that the secretions of the Bufo were used by indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica (modern day Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and central to southern Mexico) as part of their spiritual rituals and ceremonies.
The Sonoran Desert toad is a nocturnal species that is known for its distinctive call. The Bufo toad is currently considered a threatened species in New Mexico. This is likely due to habitat loss and illegal harvesting of the creatures.
Bufotenin’s psychoactive effects onset rapidly and are short-lived. Researchers have observed that interactions with bufo are likely to produce “mystical experiences.”
Other observational studies suggest that encounters with bufotenin can produce:
- Rapid and sustained reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Feeling of ego death
- Distortions in sensory perception
One of the advantages that bufotenine offers is its short duration of action. Those who have experienced bufo report that their trip lasts from 15-20 minutes to an hour. Other psychedelic substances may produce a trip that lasts many hours.