What is a Bufo Ceremony?

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Bufo is a psychedelic derived from the secretions of the Bufo Alvaius toad. Bufo is a subject growing in popularity, with users calling it the “God molecule” and comparing it to a religious experience. It has recently gained popularity in various spiritual settings. There are retreats and ethnic ceremonies being held. “Bufo Alvarius” used in the Bufo ceremony is considered the most potent psychoactive substance currently known to man. Read on if you are eager to know what this is all about.

What is Bufo?

Bufo alvarius toad is known by different names: Bufo, El Sapo, Sapito, Colorado river Toad, and Sonoran Desert toad. Bufo alvarius lives in Western Mexico and some states in the US. It contains a venom called 5-MeO-DMT, secreted by the venom glands. 

The toad secretes this in its parotoid glands. This is a defense mechanism used to protect the amphibian from its predators. When the toad gets intimidated by a predator, it expels toxins strong enough to kill an adult dog. 

The liquid is extracted from the toad’s venom glands. It is then dehydrated into crystals and smoked. This dried venom of the Bufo alvarius toad contains 5-MeO-DMT and 5-HO-DMT (Bufotenin). Bufotenin is another psychotropic substance. 

5-MeO-DMT is a naturally-occurring entheogen and a potent psychedelic. In terms of chemical structure, this substance is similar to DMT (dimethyltryptamine). A substance found in 5-MeO-DMT can be dehydrated into crystals before smoking. 

Most psychedelic substances involve hours of hallucination or vomiting. In contrast, Bufo lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes, but the experience is very intense. It is about five times more potent than DMT (dimethyltryptamine). This makes the Bufo experience different from a pure 5-MeO-DMT experience. 

5-MeO-DMT is a classified Schedule I substance, meaning It is illegal to possess it in the US. So, many people partake in ceremonies in Mexico, where it is legal. 

Celebrities like Mike Tyson, Joe Rogan, and Chelsea Handler have smoked the substance.

Bufo is also known as ‘toad medicine’ or ‘sapito.’ Modern ceremonies use it for healing or spiritual purposes. The bufo toad has a life span reaching 20 years. It hibernates for most of the year, resurfacing to breed around the monsoon rains.

History

Bufotenine has been part of a controversial debate since its discovery. According to anthropologist Peter Furst, humans have been using Bufo toad venom since the “Neanderthal era”. 

Human mythologies and medicines have been influenced by the bufo toad since ancient times. People use the psychedelic drug bufotenine present in the toad’s skin and glands. 

As per lore, its early usage indicates the shamanic use for casting spells, divination, and ego dissolution. The Bufo toad was considered a universal remedy during the medieval period. But there is no concrete evidence that anyone smoked Bufo alvarius toad venom until the ’70s. 

Shamans throughout Mexico and the southwestern US have been harvesting and smoking the substance. Now thousands of people throughout the country are seeking out this powerful psychedelic. 

How to prepare for a Bufo Ceremony

Bufo ceremony is usually done in a group in an outdoor location close to nature. Setting and comfort are the key ingredients. Knowing that others share similar interests puts you at ease. Feeling safe and secure is of utmost importance.

Medical conditions:

Discuss pre-existing health and medical conditions with your facilitator. Some of the prescribed drugs may have a contraindication. Especially if you are on antidepressants or any other medication, it is always best to inform your facilitator beforehand. It is best to abstain from recreational drugs and drinking alcohol a week before and after the toad ceremony. 

Diet:

It is also advised not to consume meat, processed food, and caffeine on the days leading to the ceremony and several days after. Eating a light breakfast on the day of the Bufo ceremony is recommended as some people experience vomiting.

Meditation:

Meditation can calm your mind. So, if you have a regular meditation practise, it is best to continue with it before the ceremony and after too. If you have never meditated, this may be a good time to give it a go.

Distractions:

Gadgets and technology hinder your thought process and don’t allow for self-awareness. So it is best to keep this to a minimum or avoid it a few days before the bufo ceremony. 

The toad medicine ceremony can be a profound and robust experience. Make sure you are well-rested and fit on the ceremony day. Keep yourself free a couple of days after the ceremony, if possible. It is not necessary, but it can help you integrate the experience.

During the ceremony

A good Bufo ceremony always focuses on the safety of the participant first. It must be overseen by experienced professionals who stay lucid and can give their complete attention to you. 

Intention

It all begins with intention. Why are you doing this? What do you hope for? So it is better to go with positive energy. The participants keep their arms open in acceptance. The practitioner gives specific instructions to inhale the toad medicine through their mouth.

Rapé ritual

Some practitioners advise a Rapé (pronounced “ha-peh”) ceremony as a preliminary. It is a very potent snuff. Shamans use it in Brazil and Peru in healing rituals. It calms the mind and cleanses the energy field. The snuff must be kept in the nostrils before expelling all of it out.

Bufo ritual

The shaman prepares the glass pipe with the toad medicine in crystal form. After a full exhalation, the user inhales the smoke by taking a small puff. The smoke is held in the lungs for some time before exhaling fully. This ritual is usually accompanied by various shamanic acts. Like drumming, playing shamanic music, incantation, or blowing smoke over the user’s body.

Each one’s experience will be different. Some users feel like they’ve traveled far away, while others feel grounded. Some may have revelations, while others experience moments of euphoria. Some feel like they are in a better state of mind than before, while others may find it complex.

While under the influence, many individuals felt one with the universe. This sensation is often described as a “rebirth”. According to users, the drug can cause intense emotional reactions. It can create euphoria, convulsions, and even vomiting.

For the first few seconds, you will feel a sense of surrender, followed by peace and calm. The Bufo ceremony can be a powerful experience. Many users report this as a mystical experience. They see bright colors and repeating patterns and movements. 

The drug’s hallucinogenic effects begin roughly five minutes after ingestion. And this powerful religious-like trip can last up to an hour for most.

Sharing your experience 

The whole experience ends with a “circle”. Here everyone is encouraged to share feelings openly. A state of “togetherness” helps build social connectedness among the participants. It is like a close-knit family sharing stories at the dinner table.

The relevance of a social context during, before, and after the Bufo ceremony is important. It helps in predicting the enduring benefits of such psychedelic sessions. That is why in the real world, the usage of psychedelic substances seldom happens in isolation. It always occurs in tight-knit group settings. It is always a shared experience.

The findings from the study show promise. It underlines the value of psychosocial and indigenous approaches in psychedelic research. 

The outcome of these sessions is hope and freedom. Facilitators all over have found one thing in common. Most users come out of these sessions feeling hopeful and liberated from fear and years of accumulated stress. Individual experiences will be different. But most people undergo one or more of the following while under the substance:

  • A feeling of nirvana.
  • A detachment of the ego.
  • A sense of emancipation and tranquility
  • Dissipation of fear. 
  • A profound understanding of the truth.
  • A better understanding of their purpose and place in this universe.
  • Easing the grip of negativity.
  • A connection with the universe, a feeling of being one with all.
  • Being centered and connected with the consciousness.
  • Abolition of suppressed traumatic memories that create suffering, addictions, and psychosomatic illnesses. 
  • A sensation of dissolution of the body into the void.
  • A feeling of being present.
  • Disconnection from physical reality, emotions, and feelings.
  • A sensation of being launched into space at an enormous speed.
  • The resetting of the neural network of the brain.

The afterglow

Many users have reported a post-toad ‘afterglow’. It enables them to make positive changes in their lives. Detaching from negative behaviors, thought patterns, and even past trauma. Shortly after, the participants experience lucidity. They become sober and return to their previous, normal state.

According to this study, a single inhalation of bufo vapor containing 5-MeO-DMT can have a profound influence. Conducted in a natural setting, it has the potential to make a long-lasting impact on the volunteer’s cognition. They noticed the following:

  • An increase in the volunteer’s life satisfaction
  • General mindfulness
  • Self-awareness
  • Decrease in psychopathological symptoms.

Celebrity boxing legend Mike Tyson spoke about his experience on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2019 and described his toad experience to be very intense. He said that it made him look at life and people differently. It helped him build his focus and motivated him to lose weight, restart boxing and transform as an individual.

He quoted this in the psychedelic conference held in Miami in 2021:

“Before I did the toad, I was a wreck. The toughest opponent I faced was myself. I had low self-esteem. People with big egos often have slow self-esteem. We use our ego to subsidize that. The toad strips the ego.”

However, toad medicine should not be considered a panacea. Do not overlook the importance of integration after the experience. It is vital to reflect on the changes brought on post the ceremony.

Many facilitators have noticed that people opt for this because they think the bufo ceremony will “fix” all their problems. But this is not the case. 

Many of the benefits begin to surface in the weeks or months after post-toad. Embracing and integrating the learnings from the ritual in your daily life leads to the real payoff.

How long does it last?

The experience only lasts a few minutes, but a practitioner may embark on several preparation steps before and after the ceremony. Sometimes the ceremony may last for several days. It depends on the intention and the experience required for a particular person.

Effects of Bufo

Most people are unable to put their experiences into words. People often refer to it as a spiritual adventure. An out-of-body experience, or even hallucination. Once inhaled, Bufotenin present in the toad secretion reaches the brain in the form of 5-MeO-DMT. 

Our brain perceives reality in three dimensions. It inhibits the other dimensions while in our normal state of consciousness. However, toad medicine breaks these filters, bending our perception. Therefore, the ego disappears, allowing the mind to go into deep introspection. It opens the subconscious mind, which is why the experience seems transcendental.

Breaking these filters with the “medicine” makes our ego disappear. The mind goes into a very deep reflective state. In this state, one can connect with the subconscious part of the mind.

Dosage

The Bufo dosage will depend on whether you sniff or smoke the powder. An average dose for sniffing is around 8-15 mg, and it is 5-10 mg for smoking. It is recommended to start with smaller amounts if you are sensitive. 

Know this before you attend a Bufo Ceremony

Bufo alvarius is not a magic elixir, and as with any form of medication, there are risks involved. 

It is always advisable to thoroughly investigate your sources. Only look for experienced practitioners and reliable retreats

However, it is important to note that researchers do not support the recreational use of the Bufo. The venom as such is toxic and should never be injected. Note that the drug should only be administered under medical supervision.

There is no hard research or trials conducted on the effects of this substance. So there are a lot of unknown factors. It is important not to go through this ceremony with toad medicine when taking antidepressants in the last three months.

Psychedelic toad populations at risk

But due to the hype surrounding the Bufo ceremony, researchers warn that this rare species of Sonoran toad is at risk of population collapse. Poaching, over-harvesting, illegal trafficking, and violence against these amphibians are raising the alarm. This is prevalent in the regions bordering Mexico. 

Many followers now have a divided opinion of toad medicine for spiritual healing purposes. Users are willing to pay hefty sums to undergo this spiritual adventure. In this mad scramble, they are endangering the toad population.

The toad has disappeared from its habitat in California. In native New Mexico, the toad has been listed as threatened species. A researcher studying the animal, Ana Maria Ortiz, has implored people to “leave the toads alone”.

Herpetologists have stated that:

The psychedelic substance found in the toad’s secretions can be produced synthetically. But some of the toad’s most ardent fans are opposed to the idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Bufo experience?

Many users report this as a mystical experience, seeing bright colors and repeating patterns and movements. Some had a feeling of rebirth. Some experienced oneness with the universe. Some describe it as an out-of-body experience. 

Is Bufo the same as Kambo?

No. The Kambo ceremony is a healing ritual native to the Amazon. This ritual also uses the secretions of a frog. The Amazonian green monkey frogs secrete a poisonous substance. It is an act of self-defense to protect themselves from predators. It is waxy in texture and is used in a Kambo ceremony.

Research has shown this substance has powerful biopeptides. When it enters the bloodstream, one of the peptides interacts with the body’s opiate receptors, easing pain. The ceremony has potential therapeutic applications. And is used to treat itself may also create a calming effect.

Is Bufo a DMT?

No, they are entirely different from each other. The active component of the Bufo alvarius secretion is 5-MeO-DMT. It is different from DMT (dimethyltryptamine). 5-MeO-DMT is a potent natural psychedelic. It is about five times more powerful than DMT, making the Bufo experience different from DMT. 

How much does a Bufo ceremony cost?

The price can range anywhere between $250 to $8,500 for a bufo ceremony. It depends on the facilitator, the duration, the kind of venom (natural or synthetic), and the retreat hosting the ceremony. 

Conclusion

The Bufo ceremony is a one-of-a-kind adventure and the information on its healing properties looks encouraging. But it is important to approach the ceremony with the right intentions. It is always good to conduct your research before going ahead with it. Always choose reliable retreats, surrounded by positive, like-minded people, and supervised by experienced practitioners. Safety first.

Although research on this indigenous medicine isn’t currently funded, the Bufo alvarius venom has piqued the interest of many scientific researchers. Many people want Bufo alvarius to be professionally studied and legalized in the USA so that it can be used to treat people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other such illnesses.