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What is the difference between Bufo and Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT?

There are usually two clear camps. One that says that 5-MeO from the Toad is much better than its synthetic counterpart, and a camp that says not to hurt toads and that differences are marginal. Which side is correct, and which camp do you fall into?

It’s always slightly weird to discuss these ‘heavy-hitting’ psychedelics. The sheer power of 5-MeO is so indescribable, and combined with the risks this substance carries as well as its dubious legal status - we will have to give some fair warnings. This not advice to take any substance, let alone this one. Do your own research.

This article is written with the help of Roku, who is part of our Discord community with hundreds of people who take psychedelics and self-improvement seriously. You can join for free.


Indigenous peoples of South America have used 5-MeO-DMT containing plants for thousands of years. In recent decades, 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine or 5-MeO-DMT was first synthesised in 1936 and later isolated from a plant “Dictyoloma incanescens’ in 1959. The substance was first discovered in large amounts in the Colorado River Toad. The toads use their venom as a defense mechanism, as they secret the compound when they’re under stress. A lot of people will use the word ‘bufo’ to describe this way of taking 5-MeO-DMT. What many people don’t know is that our body endogenously makes 5-MeO-DMT, as it is found in our blood, urine, and spinal fluid. Check out our friends from DMT Quest on Youtube if you want to find out more about the exact research on this substance its counterpart of NN-DMT.

Bufo alvarius toad

Bufo Alvarius


5-Meo has piqued the interest of thousands of psychonauts worldwide for its ability to transcend your human perception beyond the realm of your human, this earth and ego-shattering substance is unlike any other psychedelic. Some people describe it as a nuclear explosion inside your head, or launching out of your body with the speed of light, to a place where time space where you merge with a singular force of energy. Other people describe it as merging with everything and nothing at the same time, and others swear this is death. These descriptions count for both synthetic 5-MeO-DMTas well as the natural BUFO.

We did a whole podcast on this matter where co-creator Sebastian describes his first experience, so if you’re interested check this podcast episode out, here.

The experience is very short lasting, only being around 15 minutes long, The come up is usually shorter than a minute, and the peak within 5 tot 10 minutes, with after effects lasting for about an hour or two. One should always be done in a professional environment with people around you who can assist you. With this substance in particular, proper preparation and integration are key, and luckily many retreats are doing this the right way. The substance is illegal in many countries, so please do your research and follow local laws.

Source: Erowid


5-MeO is commonly vaporised by experienced psychonauts or at retreats, where people state it helps them gain profound insights about themselves and the world around them. It is not to be confused with Kambo, which comes a frog that has different effects. There are plenty of trip reports on Youtube and websites like Eroded for further information about this.


5-MeO-DMT is one of those rare psychedelics that is known to have many serious health effects that people should be aware of. There have unfortunately been some deaths linked to 5-MeO-DMTrelated to heart, respitory, issues or suffocation whilst unconscious yet having to throw up. Usually with no one to roll them to their side.

These are substance that are to be treated with reverence and respect. Because the journey is such an out-of-body experience, when you come back from it you might not know whether you screamed, what time it is, or why you did it in the first place. It can be quite confusing, the right set & setting is key.

Another fair warning is that dosages are extremely small. Researchers use very sensitive scale and measure countless times to make sure you have the exact dose measurement, as the smallest miscalculation is known to send people into a trip far deeper than they intended. This happened to “someone” and let’s just say…

Differences between the synthetic and natural version

The toad contains about 15% of 5-MeO-DMT, as well as 5-HO-DMT as well which is commonly known as ‘Bufotenine’. Many will argue that taking venom from the Colorado River toad is ethically incorrect and puts a threat to their existence. Although there are techniques that are believed to harvest the venom in a humane way, many believe there is no way to collect the venom in a way that doesn’t traumatize the toad.

Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT is pure, and a very sustainable way for obtaining 5-MeO-DMT, as making one large pull can easily supply thousands of doses. We compare this to toad venom which can supply 4-12 doses per toad. The development of synthesized 5-MeO-DMT has made the experience more available to the general public.

There are still those who swear by taking the fluids of the real toad as the main way to have this experience. Is there truth to this?

Opinion part.

Difference in effects

Both give a sense of removing your entire sense of being and self, with emotions ranging from extreme bliss to sheer dread. It will be hard to compare the effects, and even more so because the psychedelic journey is so heavily influenced by your set & setting. From a chemical composition perspective, there is an indication that the trip could be different because of the alternative compounds in ‘Bufo’. Yet those who take chemical 5-Meo-DMT pride themselves in not hurting the environment, and still having a radical experience that can lead to huge insights and personal change. While safe to say that the reports are anecdotal, the synthetic 5-MeO-DMT experience is extremely profound and there is no clear evidence in sight of it being subpar to the ‘Bufo’ experience.

To our surprise, we know from trip reports that people document the connection to a ‘toad spirit’, even with the synthetic version of 5-MeO-DMT.

Traditional use

We believe it’s valuable to trust the research but also respect ancient psychedelic tradition. We believe both are important to guide psychedelic use properly. For 5-MeO-DMT there is no conclusive historical evidence for the indigenous use of Alvarius toads for their psychoactive properties prior to the last few decades.

Ethical standpoint & conclusion

Personally, we lean more towards the synthetic 5-MeO-DMT variant from an ethical, scientific, and spiritual standpoint. One that does not hurt the animal, so that it is preserved instead of hunted, and the experience is pure from any harm.

What is your experience with 5-MeO-DMT? Do you have any questions or remarks? Let us know. And check out our products for furthering the sacred use of natural psychedelics.


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