5-MeO-DMT: Unpacking The Mysteries of This Powerful Psychedelic

5-MeO-DMT may be the most potent psychedelic known. Used for thousands of years in the Americas as snuff and recently as “the toad” or as a legal research chemical.

By Patrick McConnell Last Updated: December 14, 2023
Last Updated: December 14, 2023

It’s difficult to imagine a psychedelic more potent than DMT (dimethyltryptamine) — particularly 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine or O-methyl-bufotenin).

This compound is a tryptamine-based psychedelic, which means it mimics neurotransmitters like serotonin to exert most of its psychedelic effects.

5-MeO-DMT is naturally-occurring — most predominantly found in a species of toad called Bufo alvarius (AKA the Colorado River Toad or the Sonoran Desert Toad). It’s also common in synthetic form, where it can be smoked, vaped, or insufflated (snorted).

This psychedelic is notoriously fast-acting, but the effects are very short-lived.

A quick rip of 5-MeO-DMT can take you into a timeless hyperspace where users often report chatting with machine elves. While the experience can feel like a lifetime, most users return to reality within 45 minutes.

Regardless of how short, a trip on 5-MeO-DMT can seriously shift your perspective.

Wonderful, terrifying, and sometimes healing, 5-MeO’s potency is an enigma that can humble and inspire.

5-MeO-DMT: Specs & Technical Details

Active Ingredient5-MeO-DMT
Level of RiskLow
Most Common Side EffectsEgo-dissolution, Ineffable
Duration of EffectsPeak 10–30 min, 1-hour total
LegalityVaries, unscheduled in some areas

Guidelines for the Responsible Use of 5-MeO-DMT

  1. 🐍 I understand why psychedelics should be treated with respect
  2. ⚖️ I’m familiar with the laws surrounding psychedelics in my country & state
  3. 🍄 I’m familiar with and confident in the dose I’m taking (smoked “average” dose of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT is 8-12 mg)
  4. 🧪 I’ve tested a sample of the substance I’m using with a drug-testing kit
  5. 💊 I’m not mixing any medications or other substances with 5-MeO-DMT
  6. 🏔️ I’m in a safe & comfortable environment with people I trust
  7. 🐺 One of the members of my group is responsible and sober (AKA a trip sitter)
  8. ⏳ I have nothing important scheduled for after the trip
  9. 🧠 I’m in a sound & healthy state of mind

What’s the Difference Between N,N-DMT & 5-MeO-DMT?

Before going much deeper, let’s be clear — there are several different DMT analogs, each unique from the last.

“DMT” usually refers to N,N-DMT, the active psychedelic ingredient in ayahuasca and changa.

Structurally, N,N,DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are only differentiated by adding an oxygen molecule to its Indole ring.

While some effects of 5-MeO and N,N,DMT are comparable — i.e., rapid onset and super intense psychedelic experience — the 5-MeO experience transcends the wild, geometric visuals of N,N-DMT.

The effects of 5-MeO are often conveyed as “oneness,” “non-dual,” or “ineffable.” Ultimately, words can not capture the significance of what 5-MeO can open us up to. Most users will agree that 5-MeO-DMT pushes the user even further between worlds than N,N,DMT.

What is Bufo alvarius (“The Toad”)?

Most people know of 5-MeO-DMT through its amphibian source — the Bufo alvarius toad, also known as the Sonoran Desert toad or Colorado River Toad.

These toads exist in a limited range around Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Here, they spend a great deal of time underground, only emerging at night during the summer rains to breed. This period is “toad season,” and an increasing number of people come to collect the toad’s potent secretions.

The toad’s popularity is leading to overharvesting, endangering the species in its native habitat.

A recent report documented “rival groups” fighting over the limited number of specimens. Meanwhile, some sell toads online for up to $1,000. There are also concerns about harming the toad when “milking” them of their venom. Bufo excretes venom as a milky white substance from parotoid glands on its head as a defense mechanism.

The venom is then dried for transport and smoking. The venom contains a cocktail of other (potentially) active compounds, such as bufotenin (5-HO-DMT), that are believed to contribute to the effects of 5-MeO-DMT through a concept called the entourage effect [2, 3].

Bufo alvarius toad
Bufo alvarius

5-MeO-DMT Snuffs: Epená, Yopo, & Cohoba

While smoking toad venom is the more popular and perhaps novel method of 5-MeO-DMT consumption, the compound is abundant elsewhere in nature inside many plants and certain Amanita fungi (Amanita citrina and Amanita porphyria) [4].

Whether bufo’s use is an ancient or modern invention is unknown, but consumption of 5-MeO from plant sources has occurred since ancient times. In fact, snuff use is one of the oldest definitive confirmations of psychoactive substance use. The associated paraphernalia — pipes and snuff trays thousands of years old in South America — offer insight into the practice’s popularity [5].

Myths mentioned by Schultes in Plants of the Gods tell of snuffs stolen from the Sun God by his daughter and gifted to humans so they could connect with the spirit world [6]. These snuffs of the Amazon often contain many different plants working in synergy [7]. The snuffs also go by many different names in various tribes and regions, and not all contain 5-MeO-DMT, such as the tobacco snuff rapé.

In Pharmacotheon, Jonathan Ott documents one such snuff known as Epená, sometimes made from various types of virola. It was harvested by scraping a red resin from the inner bark of the tree, then dried or boiled and turned into an amber resin that was ground, sifted, and sometimes mixed with ash. The alkaloid content of the bark of the Virola is mainly 5-MeO-DMT, along with N,N-DMT. Some varieties contain MMT, 6-MeO-DMT, small B-carboline quantities, and others [8].

Yopo Plant (Anadenanthera peregrina)

Yopo is a snuff containing beans from the Anadenanthera peregrinhea or Anadenanthera colubrina. Snuffs exist throughout South America under many names and in the Caribbean as Cohoba. Use persists in some areas to this day. While often assumed to be principally 5-MeO-DMT and N,N-DMT, Jonathan Ott has suggested principal compound in yopo is bufotenin (5-HO-DMT.) Reducing psychoactivity to a single compound is difficult with the huge array of plants included in South American snuffs.

Related: Plants that Contain DMT

Oral & Sublingual 5-MeO-DMT

There’s been some confusion over whether or not 5-MeO-DMT is orally-active or not.

Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes first documented oral preparations, which were later investigated by Dennis Mckenna [9]. However, it took some time to unravel the mystery, as Dennis couldn’t replicate the effects witnessed in the Amazon. Pioneering chemist Sasha Shulgin also wrote 5-MeO-DMT was inactive orally in TiHKAL [10].

However, in later years, Jonathan Ott documented oral activity with 5-MeO in a capsule of 30 mg. The reported effects were not nearly as potent. Ott further experimented with the addition of harmala alkaloids (a potentially dangerous mix we do not recommend) to achieve greater psychoactive effects.

Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT

With the rarity of the toad and Amazonian snuffs, synthetic 5-MeO-DMT’s use has blossomed. It was first synthesized by Japanese chemists Toshio Hoshino and Kenya Shimodaira in 1936 from Anadenanthera peregrinhea seeds.

Many buy the compound from online research chemical vendors and some chemical manufacturers.

Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT comes in either a white to yellow or orange crystalline powder.

What’s The Dose of 5-MeO-DMT?

The effective dose of 5-MeO-DMT depends on the delivery method — smoked, vaped, snorted, swallowed, injected, or taken rectally.

The form also matters — toad venom, synthetic, snuff, or oral preparation.

Administration of snuffs sourced from the Amazon should be done by a trained practitioner, as dosage can vary depending on the specific plants and preparation method used.

In Tryptamine Palace, James Oroc notes that finding an optimal dose when smoking is best adjusted in 2 mg increments. He also explains that finding your “minimum effective dose” helps you actually remember the transcendental experience. This is because it is easy to smoke too much, get stuck in a “white hole,” and have no recollection of what happened [11].

1. Bufo Toad Venom Dosage

The standard dose range for raw Bufo alvarius toad venom is between 10 and 60 mg, smoked or vaped.

Bufo toad venom alkaloid concentration varies. Alexander Shulgin reported in TiHKAL that the venom could contain up to 15% 5-MeO-DMT.

Other sources mention a range of 10-30%. In short, potency is highly variable, and individual responses to bufo will vary greatly. Always start small, work your way up, and find an experienced practitioner when working with toad venom.

2. Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT Dose

Synthetic 5-MeO is often smoked but is also sometimes snorted, boofed, and taken orally or sublingually. Smoking will come on fast and end quickly. Snorting, plugging, and oral routes have a gentler, slower come-up and will last longer.

When deciding which access route to take, consider if the substance is HCl or freebase. Most favor HCl for snorting and freebase for smoking. Snorting will burn (freebase a lot), and online reports suggest rectal might too. Both methods are known to cause nausea.

Dose LevelSmoked/VapedSnorted
Threshold1-5 mg3-5 mg
Low Dose5-7 mg5-10 mg
Standard Dose8-12 mg8-15 mg
High Dose13-20 mg10-25 mg

3. Other Routes of Administration of Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT

While far less common than the other methods outlined above, some prefer to take 5-MeO sublingually (under the tongue), orally (swallowed as a capsule), or rectally (AKA “boofing”).

Sublingual10 mg
Oral20-30 mg
Rectal20-30 mg

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Feel Like?

The effects of 5-MeO-DMT depend on the method of consumption and whether or not you “breakthrough.”

Threshold doses of 5-MeO-DMT bring a brightness to the world, what Jonathan Ott calls “a magical varnish” over reality. Fractal geometry can be entertaining. Some people experience a significant “body load,” a sensation of heaviness or amplified gravity. Alexander Shugin described this as “blood turning into cement.”

At higher doses, one leaves the body and everyday reality behind. A common theme is merging with white light, the universe, God, or love. Some people encounter entities, spirits, and ancestors. Many people will hear a sound associated with high-dose DMT (some consider it “om,” the sound of creation). Perception of time may change or cease to exist altogether. All this can carry great emotional significance and release.

5-MeO-DMT can be incredibly beautiful but is extremely intense. Being able to “let go” is helpful but can be challenging in the face of such a potent experience. The sense of losing control can be very humbling. Deep breaths and surrendering make the experience smoother, along with compassion for yourself for trying one of the most powerful psychedelics known.

Skilled facilitators can also help you prep and integrate for 5-MeO.

Common Features of 5-MeO-DMT include:

  • Fractals
  • White light
  • “The Sound”
  • Spirits, God, Ancestors, Love
  • Oneness, ego-dissolution, out-of-body
  • Overwhelm, losing control, “too much”
  • Timelessness

How Long Does 5-MeO-DMT Last?

5-MeO-DMT is notoriously short-acting. This has led many to refer to this drug as a “business trip.” Most intake methods don’t last longer than about 45 minutes. However, there’s some nuance here depending on how much you took and how you took it.

1. Smoked or Vaped

Smoked or vaporized, 5-MeO-DMT takes effect within seconds.

At high enough doses, the sense of disconnect from one’s body lasts 5-20 minutes.

After this peak, the effects rapidly disappear, and within 45 minutes to an hour, full sobriety settles in.

The body metabolizes 5-MeO-DMT very rapidly, so you will never get stuck in 5-MeO-DMT mode.

While the effects don’t last long, it’s best to give yourself some time to rest and process 5-MeO-DMT, as the experience can be a lot to take in.

2. Snorted or Swallowed

When snorted, the effects begin acting within minutes, peaking around 10-20 minutes. After 45 minutes, the effects lessen, and the entire experience lasts about an hour for most people.

Depending on the preparation, particularly with various snuffs, some people experience lingering effects for up to three hours later.

Oral consumption is similar but with a 30-minute delay. The effects kick in about 40–50 minutes after taking it, remain active for about 20-30 minutes, and taper off over the next hour. Some lingering effects may remain for several hours.

How Strong is 5-MeO-DMT Compared To Other Psychedelics?

5-MeO-DMT is 4-5 times stronger than N-N,DMT — according to Jonathan Ott in Pharmacotheon.

It’s also stronger than most other psychedelics. Even high doses of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are about 10% as strong as a standard dose of 5-MeO-DMT. Mescaline (the active ingredient in Peyote and San Pedro Cacti) is about the same.

Even very powerful psychedelics like salvinorin A (the active ingredient in Salvia divinorum) are notably milder in the depth of experience.

Technically speaking, the lysergamide family (LSD, AL-LAD, PRO-LAD, LSZ, ETH-LAD, 1P-LSD, and others) are stronger than 5-MeO-DMT, but only when you compare the dose. The effects of these compounds are far less intense than 5-MeO-DMT.

The standard oral dose range for lysergamides like LSD is between 80 and 120 mcg. Compare this to around 20 or 30 mg for 5-MeO-DMT. This makes LSD significantly stronger, but even in very high doses, LSD doesn’t completely blast apart our perceptions of reality and time the way 5-MeO-DMT can.

Is 5-MeO-DMT Safe?

While you’re unlikely to die from an overdose on 5-MeO-DMT, it can still be dangerous if misused.

The usual psychedelic cautionary notes apply — people with physical health problems like heart conditions might be at risk. Those with mental health concerns like schizophrenia, bipolar, or other diagnoses should not use 5-MeO-DMT. Consult with a trusted professional if you’re uncertain.

Side Effects of 5-MeO-DMT

Side effects like seizures, self-harm, violent physical releases, and psychosis have occurred in some people without warning. There are some reports of people dying from choking on vomit after taking 5-MeO-DMT by themselves.

Addiction & Abuse

Addiction is also rare but not unheard of — especially with the advent of DMT vape pens, many users find themselves puffing on DMT compulsively. This can significantly increase the risk of mental health disorders like psychosis or hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

The Dangers of Tripping Solo on 5-MeO-DMT

Using 5-MeO-DMT without a tripsitter is not recommended. During the experience, a loss of bodily control is common. Having someone nearby to protect you from harm while under the effects is a necessity. This person should be a trained facilitator who knows CPR.

Prescription Drug Interactions

Do not mix 5-MeO-DMT with prescription drugs, including SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), or other antidepressants or antipsychotics.

Anyone mixing 5-MeO-DMT with harmala alkaloids should be extremely careful, as these can also cause potentially lethal consequences.

5-MeO-DMT Overdose

While rare, an overdose on 5-MeO-DMT is possible, and there have been reports of this happening in the past. Shulgin includes a harrowing account in THiKAL of needing to resuscitate someone who stopped breathing after taking too much. There are also concerns about mixing 5-MeO-DMT with ayahuasca, with at least one death reported in the literature [12].

Long-Term Side Effects of 5-MeO-DMT

Long-term side effects from 5-MeO-DMT are rare and can normally be avoided through intentional use and adequate integration following the experience.

One of the most common persisting side effects is anxiety or a vague sense that “something” is wrong.

Difficulty sleeping or “grounding” is also not uncommon after taking 5-MeO. Some practitioners encourage eating heavy foods for a few weeks after the experience to offset this effect.

There is also the potential for flashbacks, known as “reactivations.” This isn’t a rumor; it’s well documented in research, but the exact cause is unknown [13]. Some subjects report quick flashes, while others report a full-blown experience. Reactivations can last anywhere from a few seconds to a week.

Testing Your 5-MeO-DMT For Purity

The Erlich and Hoffman regent tests are the best way to test 5-MeO-DMT samples for purity.

It’s always wise to test a sample of your drugs BEFORE you take them. But remember that testing doesn’t guarantee safety or purity and is best used to rule out certain dangerous compounds.

The Erlich test cannot confirm the presence of 5-MeO-DMT but is helpful to distinguish if you do, in fact, have an indole (and not something dangerous like an N-Bombs).

A successful test will turn a purplish color; view the video here.

To further distinguish between tryptamines, a Hoffman reagent test works well. For example, if you are unsure if you have N,N-DMT, or 5-MeO-DMT. For 5-MeO-DMT, the Hoffman test will turn green. If it is N,N,DMT, a yellowish color will appear instead.

Is 5-MeO-DMT Legal?

The legality of 5-MeO-DMT varies. It was not banned alongside other psychedelics in the 70s as it was not as popular then. However, since its reputation has grown, 5-MeO-DMT has been a Schedule 1 substance in the United States since 2011.

Other countries have yet to ban this substance — most notably Canada, where 5-MeO-DMT is readily sold online and in some dispensaries.

Notable countries for access (though not necessarily legal) include:

How Does 5-MeO-DMT Work?

5-MeO-DMT is a serotonergic psychedelic. This means it primarily binds to the serotonin receptors — most notably the 5HT1A, 5HT2A, and 5HT2C receptors.

5-MeO-DMT has a methoxy group attached to its primary ring structure (known as an indole ring). This methoxy group may create a higher receptor binding affinity than its DMT relatives. This is why it works so rapidly and powerfully compared to other forms of DMT.

Some studies also show interesting and promising data regarding the use of 5-MeO DMT for various mental health conditions, including [14]:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Immunomodulation
  • Inflammation
  • Life satisfaction
  • Mindfulness
  • Neuroendocrine effects
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PTSD
  • Stress
  • Substance use disorder


If we still haven’t answered your question, email us at high@tripsitter.com.

1. Can You Really Lick Toads?

You can lick toads, but don’t expect to get high, only sick. There are hundreds of species of Bufo toads, but we only know that Alavruis contains enough alkaloids for a psychedelic experience. While it’s possible to eat toad venom for psychoactive effects, keep in mind that toads secrete venom as a defense mechanism — it’s supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. There are reports of animals and children having fatal responses to bufo venom.

2. Where Can I Find a 5-MeO-DMT Retreat?

While unscheduled in countries like Canada or parts of Europe, it may be difficult to find retreats openly offering 5-MeO-DMT. Mexico and some parts of South America have fairly open use of 5-MeO-DMT with a growing number of retreat options. Some practitioners perform individual and group 5-MeO-DMT ceremonies. Be sure to vet any practitioner thoroughly.

3. Where Can I Buy 5-MeO-DMT Online?

Depending on your location, it is possible to buy 5-MeO-DMT in areas where it is not a scheduled substance. There are established options in Canada and some parts of Europe, but be aware that various jurisdictions will treat unscheduled drugs differently. Unscheduled is more of a “grey area” than being legal or decriminalized, so research carefully.

4. Does 5-MeO-DMT Cause Flashbacks?

Yes, 5-MeO-DMT does sometimes have persisting effects called reactivations. While this is not technically considered the same as hallucination persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which is a serious medical condition, a significant number of people have reported having brief glimpses or very strong feelings that continued for some time after 5-MeO-DMT. Exactly why this happens is unclear and may relate to too-high or repeated uses in one sitting.

5. Where Can I Find More 5-MeO-DMT Resources?

With the popularity of psychedelics on the rise, 5-MeO-DMT resources and organizations have been showing up. Some helpful educational platforms and help to find facilitators and integration practitioners include:

  • FiveAn education platform and integration resource.
  • The ConclaveProviding quality information about best practices, ethics, and integration
  • 5 HiveA 5-MeO-DMT-focused discussion forum.


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