5-MeO-DMT, 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, O-methyl-bufotenin or 2-(5-Methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)-N,N-dimethylethanamine, is a tryptamine-based psychedelic. While this compound has been found in one toad species and numerous plants, it was first discovered and synthesized in 1936 by two Japanese chemists named Hoshino and Shimodaira.  



In its synthesized form, 5-MeO-DMT is known as Jaguar or “Jag” for short. Psychedelic pioneer Ralph Metzner coined this name in his 2013 book, The Toad and the Jaguar.

A crystalline powder material, Jaguar usually presents itself in a white to slightly off-white beige color. Also referred to as “The Pure Molecule,” the use of Jaguar ceremonially has been gaining popularity both as a safer and more sustainable way to experience 5-MeO-DMT.



Also naturally produced within nature, 5-MeO-DMT can be found within the parotoid glands of the Sonoran Desert toad, also known as Incilius alvarius or Bufo Alvarius toad. The secretion is ethically milked from the first two parotoid glands, expressed onto a piece of glass, and dried where it is collected for later use. The dried venom is pale, translucent in color, and has a texture similar to dried plastic cement. Containing anywhere from 10% – 30% 5-MeO-DMT, the secretion also contains up to a dozen other tryptamines and alkaloids, some of which are cardiotoxic to humans. 



It is important to note that while 5-MeO-DMT is related to dimethyltryptamine (DMT), they are two very different compounds. With the addition of a methoxy group in the R5-MeO position, 5-MeO-DMT is considerably more potent and produces an exceptionally different experience to DMT (more on those later.) In the interests of psychological and physical safety, it is vital to understand that these are two very different substances and should be treated as such.


The most common plant sources of 5-MeO-DMT are Anadenanthera peregrina (yopo) and Virola theiodora. Both are used in Central and South America to make psychoactive snuff used in traditional shamanic and entheogenic contexts by Indigenous people.

About 5-MeO-DMT


Most of the documented history and archeological evidence of 5-MeO-DMT use is focussed on Central and South America in the form of snuff. This psychoactive preparation is made from the seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina, Anadenanthera colubrina, or Virola theiodora, which are dried and ground and combined with a natural alkali such as wood ash or lime made from snail shells. This powder was then forcibly blown into ritual participants’ nostrils through wood or bone tubes. There is archeological evidence of variations on the practice going back thousands of years. Pipes made of puma bone found with Anadenanthera seeds in the Humahuaca gorge in Argentina have been radiocarbon dated to around 2000 BC, and snuff trays and tubes have been found throughout Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, sometimes dating back 1000 years. Indigenous people were still using these snuffs for shamanic purposes at the time of Spanish colonization, and these practices were reportedly observed by Friar Ramon Pane in the 14th century. 

There is no archeological or historical evidence proving the ancient or ceremonial use of 5-MeO-DMT from the Sonoran Desert Toad. While these are the facts, there has been some debate within the 5-MeO-DMT community after a theory of indigenous use was suggested during the World Bufo Alvarius Congress in 2018. 

Recent History

The world has Ken Nelson to thank for the psychedelic discovery of 5-MeO-DMT in the Bufo Alvarius toad secretion. After uncovering some scientific research documenting the presence of 5-MeO-DMT within bone samples of the Bufo Alvarius, he set off to become the first human being ever to smoke the secretion. An incredibly profound experience inspired him to share his findings, and in 1983 he published the famous pamphlet, Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert, under the pseudonym Albert Most. 


After the publication of this pamphlet, the use of the Bufo Alvarius secretion expanded in the underground. By the early 1990s, 5-MeO-DMT was made available via mail-order throughout the United States in its synthetic form. As its popularity grew, more governments became aware of 5-MeO-DMT. It was gradually prohibited across many countries throughout the 2000s (or was always technically illegal in countries that had prohibited DMT and had analog clauses in their drug-scheduling legislation.) 


Due to legality issues, the use of 5-MeO-DMT was forced underground to protect both those seeking and serving the compound. In recent years, the popularity of 5-MeO-DMT has grown substantially, which has caused an increase in ceremonial use at retreats in countries where it was not illegal. In the past couple of years, during what is being termed “the psychedelic renaissance,” research into therapeutic applications of psychedelics has rapidly increased, with serious scientific attention now being placed on the healing potential of 5-MeO-DMT.

The Science

Research indicates that 5-MeO-DMT’s psychedelic effects come from its effect on the 5-HT2A receptor. Specifically, it shows a high binding affinity for the 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A receptor subtypes. As with all psychedelics, exactly why this neuro-chemical interaction results in subjective psychedelic experiences is still under investigation. 


A 2021 review of available scientific literature confirms 5-MeO’s ability to act on 5-HT1A receptors and that we do seem to produce small amounts of it in our bodies, but admits that there are few clinical studies in humans. Likewise, why relatively similar molecules such as DMT create distinctly different experiences is not well-understood by science at this time. 


In vitro neurotransmitter studies have also shown that 5-MeO-DMT can inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. These mechanisms may contribute to the experience and longer-term effects and explain why it seems to be very dangerous to combine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). While the exact lethal dose of 5-MeO-DMT is not well quantified in humans, it has proven to be more dangerous in animal models, and there are reports of death by overdose (though these are often in combination with other substances, so some combination or synergistic effect cannot be ruled out.)


5-MeO is not strongly active when taken orally as the monoamine oxidase in our gut tends to break it down. So there is no point in licking toads, even the “right” ones. Licking toads is a generally bad idea. The raw venom of Bufo alvarius is highly irritating (because that’s what it evolved to do) and has other chemicals that can cause cardiac problems. Other related species, such as Bufo marinus, can produce venom that has caused human fatalities when people have deliberately ingested it. 


Despite 5-MeO being relatively under-investigated, an increasing body of research is uncovering its neurobiological and psychological effects.


Alan K Davis and his team surveyed people who had utilized 5-MeO in group settings with preparation, guidance, and integration support. Of participants who had been diagnosed with depression, 80% reported an improvement in their symptoms, and 79% of those diagnosed with anxiety observed similar changes. 


This is consistent with earlier research that found a single inhalation of 5-MeO-DMT increased life satisfaction and mindfulness, decreased anxiety, stress, and depression, and that these changes were sustained four weeks after the experience. 


In both studies, people who had the most mystical experiences or experienced higher levels of ego-dissolution or oceanic boundlessness had the most significant improvements or positive outcomes. The link between mystical-type experiences and positive impacts has been observed in psilocybin research, so this isn’t entirely surprising. Research strongly supports that 5-MeO produces these experiences much more consistently and powerfully than psilocybin. Despite the unique experiences it produces, 5-MeO also appears to encourage neurogenesis and modulate inflammation in similar ways as other psychedelics, though these are areas where more human studies are needed. 


As numerous papers researching 5-MeO note, these abilities, combined with its short duration of action, make it a compelling molecule to study for clinical applications. So we expect the amount of published research on it to increase over the next few years.


Toad Secretion vs The Pure Molecule


Comparing the experiential differences between the secretion of the Bufo Alvarius toad and synthetic material is a hot topic within the 5-MeO-DMT community. The divide comes primarily from the ideology that if it’s natural, it must be better. Unfortunately, this logic is putting the toad population at risk as the demand for the secretion steadily increases, causing ethical issues such as over milking, releasing chytrid fungus into the population, extractive capitalism, and so much more. To learn about the adversity the toads are facing, head to F.I.V.E’s Conservation Awareness Page. Due to the conservation issues the toads are facing, many facilitators have either entirely or partially made the switch to using only synthetic material. 


Additionally, many senior 5-MeO-DMT facilitators have worked intimately for years with synthetic and Bufo Alvarius secretion only to report that the experience is either precisely the same or has little to no difference. One concern that has been raised is the potential that the additional tryptamines carry some of the psychedelic effects produced. In response, it has been found that the only other psychedelic compound in the secretion is Bufotenin, which, when tested in a laboratory, presented such small amounts (and often none at all) of material that it’s doubtful that it would affect the actual experience at all.


The Experience

Clinical research is impressive, but the experiences real people have had with 5-MeO-DMT and how it has impacted their lives are just as meaningful. Describing these experiences, particularly in the higher dose range, can be challenging. Not only are our perceptual systems disrupted, but our relationship with language and ourselves are either temporarily offline or radically altered. This produces an overall effect known as “ineffability,” meaning that we may struggle to articulate what happened during the actual experience using our words. 


5-MeO-DMT is an extremely fast-acting compound. Within a few seconds, the user can enter into a state that is known as non-duality. Non-duality takes the individual into a space that is void of self. This means that there is no subject or object. There is no this or no that. There is only emptiness and infinite boundlessness all at once. As the peak experience results in a temporary loss of self, the individual can experience themselves as all of the totality, likening the experience to the religious or mystical experience, which must be experienced to be truly understood. 


While there are many ways the body can experience 5-MeO-DMT, some individuals who retain a sense of self during the experience report varied bodily sensations. These can include tactile enhancement, where our sensitivity to touch is significantly increased, and feelings of increased gravity or bodily heaviness. Spontaneous physical sensations can also occur, with no apparent trigger for us feeling them. These can be exceptionally intense, with some people describing the experience of a full-body orgasm. A sensation of rushing, acceleration, or motion during the onset of effects is a common experience, which can become stronger at higher doses. It is not uncommon for people to relate a feeling of being “shot out of a cannon” in the early stages of their 5-MeO-DMT journey.


Unlike other psychedelics, in higher doses, 5-MeO-DMT does not produce particularly visual experiences. Instead, it can be better understood as the user reaching a level of inner knowing beyond human understanding, where the unknowable becomes known. The peak experience is the definition of a true awakening that results in deep wisdom, knowledge, and healing that is unique to the participant.


Where 5-MeO-DMT excels is in reliably allowing us to experience differences in how we think about and experience ourselves. People have reported being aware of their whole lives from a perspective outside of time or as something that they deliberately construct. They may experience oceanic boundlessness, where there is a timeless sense of being one with what we usually think of as the external world. 


At higher full-release doses, people may not only wholly lose awareness of their bodies and direct surroundings, but their sense of self, of an “I” that is doing the thinking and feeling, may utterly dissolve. We can lose our sense of being separate from other people, our environment, and the universe. It is this dissolution of our everyday duality, our mental model that “I” is apart from the world, that is perhaps 5-MeO-DMT’s most profound and unique effect. The experience of non-duality, where everything, including the thoughts and experiences that are happening, just is, can radically change our perspectives on the world and our place in it. 


The root idea of transcendence is to “go beyond.” The non-duality of 5-MeO is experience that happens without a distinct self to “have” that experience. This is a temporary form of self-transcendence – going beyond the self. Self-transcendence is the common theme that connects virtually all religions or schools of spiritual thought, for example, unification with the God that underlies all existence or realization of Nirvana and moving beyond suffering and worldly desires. 


Whether at lower doses or in fully ego-less states, the 5-MeO-DMT experience can be one of profound bliss and freedom from concern or worry.

To learn more about 5-meo-dmt:


F.I.V.E: 5-MeO-DMT Information & Vital Education is the worlds first 5-MeO-DMT centralized resource hub. It includes FAQ’s, Information, Integration Specialists, Vetted Facilitators, Vetted Retreat Centers, Training Programs and so much more. TO promote harm reduction, head over to F.I.V.E’s website to get educated on 5-MeO-DMT before beginning your journey with the worlds most powerful medicine.