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Bufotenine and 5-MeO-DMT
For the first time the Europeans became acquainted with the usage of these hallucinogens during the second voyage of Columbus, who in 1496 visited the island of Haiti. One of the participants of the expedition wrote:”…this powder that they sniff through the nose poison them so much that they don’t know what they are doing…” The narcotic is made out of the bark of the tree called “Anandenantera peregrina”, which grows from Haiti and Poerto Rico to Argentina. In Haiti the locals call it “kohoba” and on the continent they call it “jopo”. Long ago the Indians those substances to enhance their boldness and to bring prophecy visions to life.
The main active substance of the “kohoba” and “jopo” is the bufotenine. They also contain DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that also has a similar effect. The bufotenine is actually 5-OH-DMT and in structure they are very much alike with the natural nerve-mediator “serotonine”. It disintegrates very fast in the organism and therefore if it is taken in orally it doesn’t have any psychometric effects. The Indians and their descendants today use it the same way as they use DMT. This method is not so simple, because everyone, who has tried to repeat the procedure, found out that after all the person should at least skilful enough to do this again. For the sniffing of the powder the Indians made special hollow pipes with an Y-like shape, which they put in their nostrils. Their representatives today experience great difficulties in repeating the method and some of them, obviously angry from the failure, stated that the bufotenine has actually no effect. But this is definitely not true for the intravenal injectioning. Doses of about 1 to 2 mg cause symptoms such as tightening of the chest and the stomach and reddening of the face. When 4 mg are injected the first psychotic changes occur – the feeling of “heaviness”, relaxation and visual hallucinations. Greater doses (8-16 mg) lead to a slight euphoria. The hallucinations include usually geometric forms and the face turns crimson. Initially there is also nausea, but it passes very fast; the pulse and the blood pressure don’t change a lot but on the other hand the pupils get wider and the eye-balls start to tremble.
Similar structure has also the 5-MeO-DMT, which has less side-effects and has a typical hallucinogenic effect when 2-5 mg are inhaled. Its effect can be experienced suddenly but the psychosis lasts not more than 15 minutes. An interesting fact is that the sheep in Australia like to eat from a local plant, that contains 5-MeO-DMT, although after that they can hardly keep standing and sometimes they die.
The bufotenine was named after the scabby frog - Bufo Bufo. The substance was originally found in its skin; it is also found in the poison of all frogs from the “Bufonidae” family. Apart from bufotenine and 5-MeO-DMT the poison gland of the frogs contain also a bufo-toxin; the dried secretion from the glands has been used for centuries in China as a medicine. Recently some American phamacologists studied the poison of one of the local frogs (Bufo alvarius), which contained a lot of 5-MeO-DMT. They found out that when it is swallowed it is highly poisonous but if it is smoked – it is almost harmful and has a typical hallucinogenic effect. The ordinary scabby frog is one of the few animals that possess hallucinogens. According to European folklore traditions the frogs are always present in the recipe for magical potions, made by witches and it is quite possible that even in the antiquity people knew how to enjoy the hallucinogenic effects of the skin of the scabby frog.
Apart from some frogs, there are also some other, although very few, animals that contain in themselves hallucinogens. These are some gray mullet fish that live in the Pacific. If they are eaten they cause hallucinations and nightmares. Two journalists from the “National Geographic Magazine” decided to find out whether these legends about the strange characteristics of the “dream-fish” (Kyphosus fuscus) are true or not or not. After they ate from the fish they both had strange dreams. One of them wrote in his notebook:”…it was pure science-fiction…” It is known that the flesh of this fish contains a lot of bufotenine. This means that it is not impossible, when it is taken in large amounts, the bufotenine to have also an oral effect. The bufotenine is also found in some hallucinogenic mushrooms from the genus “Amanita”.