Man dies from inhaling Toad Venom!

Bufo Alvarius, also known as Colorado River Toad. Source: Shutterstock

While licking frogs might give you a prince in the fairytale world, in reality, that most definitely is not the case. However, it seems a prince is not a motive for licking frogs in the real world. 

It is believed that toads, a category of frogs, secrete hallucinogens from their skins. These hallucinogens are part of the toxins produced by the parotid glands present at the back of a toad’s head.

The parotid glands when activated, as in a state of stress or fright, tend to produce toxins strong enough to kill a fully grown dog. These toxins may also contain a wide variety of biologic substances which can include dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin, and various others. 

It seems however that other than licking a toad, the venom can also be consumed by inhalation. The psychedelic is first extracted by milking the toad’s parotid glands and the extracted liquid is then dehydrated into a dry paste. This dry form is then smoked using a glass pipe. 

Nacho Vidal charged with manslaughter

Spanish authorities recently charged Spanish porn actor, Nacho Vidal, along with two other suspects with manslaughter for the death of photographer Jose Luis Abad, who passed away in July last year. According to investigators, the actor supplied Abad with toad venom as part of a mystic ritual aimed at helping him overcome his drug addiction. The Levante-EMV newspaper reports that inhalation of the venom caused Abad to suffer a myocardial infarction that caused his death within minutes. 

The ritual took place in July 2019 at Vidal’s house, who had previously talked about his own experience with the substance in a YouTube video. In the video, Vidal can be heard saying “I had seen God; I had the Holy Grail and I wanted everyone to see it.” Vidal’s lawyer maintains that Abad took the drug voluntarily and had previously tried it once before as well.

Colorado River Toad – Mostly found in Mexico and southwestern parts of USA

The Colorado River toad, which seems to be at the center of controversy, is believed to produce 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and Bufotenin, via its parotid glands. 5-MeO-DMT, also called the God Molecule, can produce its effects within 15 seconds. It is known for its ability to induce a state of euphoria, visual hallucinations, and an intense psychedelic state that can last up to 20-40 minutes. Users usually describe the effect as a “total fusion with God“. 

The psychedelic state is believed to be followed by an afterglow, which users describe as a state that induces clarity and helps them make major life decisions.

According to Alan Davis, John Hopkins psychedelics researcher, “When people do have mystical experiences with psychedelics, they can gain a new perspective on themselves, their connection to the universe, or possibly a connection to God or ultimate reality“. 

However, other than euphoria the drug can also cause convulsions, immobility, vomiting, and, cardiotoxic effects in people. Further research is required to understand the full spectrum of its effects. With the rise in the use of the substance, it is important to spread awareness among the masses of its harmful effects to prevent any more poisonings and deaths. 

Research published in the journal Psychopharmacology states that inhalation of 5-MeO-DMT can cause a decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress and, increased satisfaction with life. Despite its therapeutic effects, researchers do not support the recreational use of the substance and believe it should only be administered in a controlled setting under medical supervision.  


Uthaug MV, Lancelotta R, van Oorsouw K, et al. 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. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019;236(9):2653‐2666. doi:10.1007/s00213-019-05236-w

Lyttle T, Goldstein D, Gartz J. Bufo toads and bufotenine: fact and fiction surrounding an alleged psychedelic. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1996;28(3):267‐290. doi:10.1080/02791072.1996.10472488


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