Understanding Sapo/Bufo Alvarius Toad (5-MeO-DMT)

Understanding Sapo/Bufo Alvarius Toad (5-MeO-DMT)

The Truth About Experiencing the ‘God Molecule’

Sapo (also known as Bufo) is the powerful and potent medicine of the Bufo Alvarius toad, which lives in the Sonoran Desert of Northern Mexico and Arizona. The toad produces a secretion that contains 5-MeO-DMT (also known as the ‘God’ or ‘Spirit Molecule’), a tryptamine that is naturally occurring in the human brain at life and death. It is believed to be about four to six times more powerful than DMT.

The use of 5-MeO-DMT from different plant and animal sources has been used by indigenous tribes for thousands of years to connect with the divine, heal from physical and mental suffering, and prepare for death. Many people report mystical experiences…even seeing God, and often sending a better understanding of their place in the universe. 

When former professional boxer Mike Tyson first tried Bufo, he said it profoundly changed his life. “I’ve never been the same,” Tyson said on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “I look at life differently, I look at people differently. It’s almost like dying and being reborn. It’s inconceivable. I tried to explain it to some people, to my wife, I don’t have the words to explain it. It’s almost like you’re dying, you’re submissive, you’re humble, you’re vulnerable — but you’re invincible still in all.”

Although everyone’s experience is unique, and no two ceremonies are the same, it’s undeniable that Bufo has the potential to be one of the most potent psychedelics you will ever consume. 

The Healing Power of Bufo

In keeping with its ceremonial use, 5-MeO-DMT shows great promise in the treatment of certain medical conditions. In fact, a single inhalation has been shown to greatly improve general well-being and mindfulness, as well as reduce the symptoms of certain psychological disorders. For example, a survey of 362 people who had taken 5-MeO-DMT showed that after using the psychedelic, 80% of respondents reported improvements in anxiety and depression, as well as an increase in well-being and life satisfaction. 

Improvements were directly related to the intensity of the mystical effects felt during the experience. 5-MeO-DMT has been shown to effectively invoke a mystical experience in around 75% of people who take it, and the intensity of the experience is comparable to a high-dose psilocybin trip.

This experience is often described in positive terms — even if it was intense at the time. Many experience it as a process of death and rebirth followed by lasting self-improvements, including mental clarity, motivation, awareness, joy, and a sense of inner peace. Many also experience some sort of spiritual enlightenment, characterized by a sense of realization or awakening, a meeting with some form of universal truth or reality, and a sense of interconnection or timelessness. 

Such powerful mystical experiences can provide a sense of freedom and a new perspective that allows the individual to break free of limiting patterns or old traumas. The experience can also result in a deeper understanding and acceptance of mortality, which often helps people overcome the fear of death. 

“There is just reality as it is: a unified being of infinite awareness that is playing with itself as an expression of itself. Everything and everyone in all places and times is merely God interacting with itself, and It is You.” ― Martin W. Ball, Entheogenic Liberation: Unraveling the Enigma of Nonduality with 5-MeO-DMT Energetic Therapy

Potential Risks 

A recent study from The Journal of Psychopharmacology found that 5-MeO-DMT is safe to use and has a low risk of health consequences.

That being said, there are some drug interactions that could be dangerous when using Bufo alvarius venom or 5-MeO-DMT, including: Lithium, Tramadol, SSRI medications, MAOI medications, and heart or blood pressure medications. 

Furthermore, it's crucial to recognize that any psychedelic experience comes with psychological risks in addition to the physical ones. Individuals with a history of psychosis shouldn’t use any hallucinogens.

During a 5-MeO-DMT or Bufo session, some people experience intense dread, fear, or distress. Bufo alvarius, perhaps more than any other psychedelic, can be both traumatic and healing, and considerable preparation as well as awareness of the hazards are essential for a safe experience. 

If you've gone through a distressing experience, practicing proper integration strategies with qualified facilitators can help you avoid long-term psychological damage and help you perceive the journey in a positive way. 

A Note on the Ethics and the Bufo Alvarius Population 

It’s important to note that the increase in the popularity of Bufo ceremonies has created corresponding pressure on toad populations, and raises the question of long-term sustainability.

Although Bufo alvarius is not an endangered species, its numbers are declining. Since Bufo alvarius spends most of its time underground, hunters search for the toad during its short mating season.

Although the milking of the venom itself does not harm the toads, the toads’ habitats are being encroached upon by fervent venom hunters, and this will undeniably have an effect on this species. Additionally, some black market vendors are selling the toads in order to establish farms, taking the largest and most fertile toads out of their native ecosystems. 

If you plan on attending a Bufo ceremony, make sure to ask where the venom was sourced, and if it was done responsibly and sustainably. Ideally, the venom would have been obtained from non-farmed toads, who were milked harmlessly, and then returned to their native habitat.

Preparation for a Ceremony 

When working with something as powerful as Bufo, your state of mind is very important, as it sets the tone of the ceremony. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, journaling, and time in nature are good ways to spend the days leading up to your ceremony. They will help you regulate your nervous system and can also assist you in setting your intention, which is an important element of any psychedelic journey. 

It can also be helpful to avoid TV, social media, processed food, and sexual activity in the days leading up to your ceremony. 

A note on expectations: 

Although it’s helpful to have an intention for your Bufo ceremony, it’s important to release any expectations around what you will actually experience. This powerful medicine will always give you what you need, but it’s important to know that this may not match up with what you want or expect. 

As someone who has witnessed hundreds of ceremonies, I’ve seen firsthand how diverse the experience of Bufo can be. Most people expect a profound experience of ego death and divine connection, and that does happen…but not always. Some guests simply don’t ‘blast off’. Some don’t remember their experience at all. And others may actually have a scary or challenging journey. 

As a result, it can be helpful for one of your intentions to simply ‘surrender’. Let the moment be what it is, and allow yourself to experience it fully. 

Experiencing Bufo in Ceremony 

For ceremonial purposes, secretions of the toad are collected and dried to form a powder, which is then vaporized and smoked from a pipe. The effects are usually felt within the first 30 seconds after consumption, and anxiety or excitement are often felt during the onset. This can be a helpful time to focus on your breath to calm your nervous system. 

The experience can last from ten minutes to over an hour, depending on dosage, retention, and the participants ability to fully surrender. For most participants, Bufo takes the body and spirit into higher realms of consciousness. It’s common to experience an overwhelming sense of oneness, or a sense of being outside of time and space. 

After using Bufo, many report a deeper understanding of life and healing of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Some also experience a state of Samadhi (the union between individual and universal consciousness), where the ego and mind are dissolved and a remembrance of one’s true, divine nature is revealed. 

“The toad's whole purpose is to reach your highest potential. I look at the world differently. We're all the same. Everything is love." – Mike Tyson

When coming out of the journey, it’s recommended to remain in a state of quiet contemplation. Bufo and 5-MeO-DMT is beyond thought forms, logic, or rationality, and it’s almost impossible to put your experience into words. So rather than dispersing your energy and trying to explain it to others, allow yourself to stay with this beautiful energy. It can be helpful to spend some time in nature and journal about your experience afterwards.

Surrender and Release Control 

People who cling to reality or are unwilling to surrender tend to have the most challenging experiences with this medicine. 

Letting go is key to not only fully experiencing Bufo, but also preventing an intense experience from overwhelming you. After you smoke, allow your final thought to be to “surrender”. Let go of control, and trust that you will be taken care of. Don’t try to ‘get’ anywhere, or to control your emotions or feelings. 

Welcome the difficulties and the joys, the ups and the downs of the experience. Try to give up your sense of self to Bufo and recognize that this powerful medicine knows what it’s doing.


Due to the profound and intense nature of the trip, Bufo participants can find themselves struggling to grasp the meaning of their journey for days, weeks, or even months following the ceremony. For this reason, integration practices are especially recommended with this medicine. 

As part of your integration, aim to develop and maintain a daily self-care practice, if you don’t have one already. Through these practices, you can revisit the experience and consider which aspects of your Bufo journey you wish to incorporate into your life and how.

Helpful grounding practices could include breathwork, massage, mindful movement, sound healing, reiki, Qi Gong, acupuncture, and spending time in nature. Continue to journal, or if words don’t seem to be doing the job, consider expressing yourself through art, dance, or music. Grounding, nourishing foods such as warm soup and stews, root vegetables, beets, burdock root, and dandelion root tea are also helpful.

Meditation, of course, can also be a powerful integration practice. Working with Bufo may uncover or dislodge repressed emotions, so pay attention to any emotions that arise. If uncomfortable emotions or memories rise to the surface, compassionately allow them to be, and avoid resisting them. Over time, the natural intelligence of your body will clear out toxic emotional energy and trauma. 

Some people may experience “reactivation” back into the medicine state during meditation or during other times in which their mind and body is deeply relaxed, such as before falling asleep. This can be a very beautiful and helpful experience to further your processing and integration. If this happens, allow whatever comes up to simply exist, exactly as it presents itself. Drop into a space where you can compassionately accept whatever presents itself in the moment. 

If you're having trouble processing certain aspects of the experience on your own, you may want to talk with a trained integration coach or therapist. They can be a great source of support as you navigate and explore your experience. Having a safe place to be vulnerable can accelerate your healing process and help you fully integrate the profound insights, emotions and awareness gained from this potent psychedelic journey. 

Experiencing Sapo at Willka Runa 

Because of the potency and power of Bufo and 5-MeO-DMT, our center intentionally approaches serving this medicine very seriously and carefully. 

If you are interested in participating in a Sapo Ceremony at Willka Runa Healing Center, feel free to contact us. Our team is happy to assist you with any questions. It may also be helpful to set up a personal consultation to discuss if Sapo is right for you at this point in your journey.



Danielle Rateau is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor, certified health coach, and global traveler. In 2022, she lived and worked at an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. She is currently expanding her offerings through the study of trauma informed breathwork and sound healing. 


Connect with Danielle on Instagram: @daniellerateau

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