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Bufo – The God Molecule

If you want to find Nirvana, seek out Bufo Alvarius, the Colorado River toad. It has a very special secret: its venom can bring you to Heaven. The poisonous, milky secretion contains naturally occurring 5-MeO-DMT, a powerful psychedelic compound, which is dried and then smoked. With just one inhalation, you are immediately transported to another dimension where you either meet “God” or you encounter your worst nightmare. It’s a brief experience that lasts around 30 minutes.

A frog sitting on a wet cliff, looking straight at the camera
Photo by Austin Santaniello at

I was introduced to this sacred medicine after an Ayahuasca retreat. Six of us had signed up for Bufo, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard it called “the God molecule,” but I had also been told stories of people acting crazy and blabbering like lunatics. I was ready for anything.

We sat down on our mats while the shamans prepared six glass pipes with bufo. They burned it until it formed smoke and told us to inhale deeply as far as we could. After the inhalation, the shamans would lower the blindfold over our eyes and help us lay down on our mattresses. “Whatever you do,” they said, “don’t open your eyes.”

The first two women who took Bufo screamed with anguish, rolled around on their mattresses, and crawled up the walls as if possessed. It was really scary and heartbreaking to see them re-live past traumas. The third woman quickly took her blindfold off and said, “It’s too intense, I can’t take it.” Then she stared into nothingness, eyes wide open and panicked.

With some trepidation, I went next. My intention was to see my spirit guides and remove any remaining blockages to spiritual enlightenment. I inhaled the smoke into my belly and lungs. The shamans Ness and Xavi lowered my eye mask and helped me lay down on the mattress. And then… Pure bliss. A beautiful white light. I was truly in Heaven.

A blissful image of a woman standing with her feet in the waters of a blue ocean, looking toward the vibrant lightsky
Photo by Frank McKenna at

After a while, I started burping. At this point, I was already aware of what was going on, even though I was still processing the Bufo. I knew the burping was a way of releasing stagnant energy and blockages, so I didn’t fight it. I kept releasing more and more, even when I felt I was quite “awake.” When all the energy had released, my stomach cramped.

I asked the shamans for healing, and someone placed their hands on my stomach.

The healing was so strong and powerful, it released a flow of tears. I cried out all the pain and sadness I had kept stored in my solar plexus from years of focusing on making sure everyone else around me was happy. Anger from always having to be responsible for others, and the pressure of always having to be the breadwinner. From always taking care of others, both at work and in my personal life. For never putting myself and my happiness first. From years of giving my all to others and feeling like no one ever gave me anything back [This is not 100% true, but that’s how my soul felt at the time.] I cried and cried and cried, and then I heard the shaman Ness whisper, “Transforma el dolor en amor. Lo puedes”

"Change your pain into love. You can do it."

I tried, and slowly the tears dissipated into sniffles. Then I heard Ness again. She said, “Open your eyes and see all the love around you.”

And it was amazing. Everyone—the shamans, the five people who had taken Bufo, and all the others who had come to observe the session—stood in a circle around me sending me love and healing.

I have to admit, I was a bit embarrassed at first. I’m not used to showing weakness. But then I felt their immense, unconditional love, and I started laughing. I laughed so much, they all started laughing, too. And we laughed and laughed and laughed together for probably five minutes.

Laughter was the last part of my release, and it was beautiful.

Afterwards, I had to hug everyone because I felt so grateful for their support and healing, and for travelling with me on this journey.

The shaman Ness said that I can always return to that state of absolute bliss in the white light, and I know I will. I can also aways connect to Mama Ayahuasca.

And since the retreat, I can confess that I still do.

A close-up of a toad in the grass
Photo by Zeteny Lisztes at

PLEASE NOTE: According to, “The Bufo Alvarius species is currently threatened and conservation efforts are underway to have the species formally classified as endangered. The toads are routinely captured and harassed as part of the process of gathering their venom. Techniques for gathering venom are often extremely unethical and inhumane, involving cruelty and injury to the toads. For these reasons, PEx strongly advises against the use of bufo. As alternatives, synthetic 5-MEO-DMT or natural 5-MEO-DMT in plant form (e.g. yopo snuff) offer an extremely similar experience without the negative aspects of animal abuse and the ongoing issues surrounding conservation and sustainability.”

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