If you’ve tried holistic and allopathic treatments to remedy your depression, but still feel as if you’re at the end of your rope… psychedelic toad milk could be the answer. According to a new study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, smoking the milky, psychoactive secretion of the Colorado River toad, or Bufo alvarius, could provide a fast-acting and extremely potent alternative for managing depression.
As IFLScience reports, the North American toad excretes a whiteish substance that contains a compound called 5-MeO-DMT, or DMT. The component is also found in the mild-altering psychedelic brew ayahuasca. Researchers found that when the “toad milk” is dried and smoked, a short yet mind-blowing psychedelic experience takes place. As the ego dissolves, one supposably receives (or remembers?) mystical insights. It is for this reason the toad gunge is being used at alternative healing retreats by underground therapists as a means of resolving psychological and emotional disorders.
The researchers wanted to determine the efficacy of toad milk, so they conducted a series of psychiatric tests to examine the impact of smoking the secretion on 42 participants. The authors determined that the average depression ratings decreased by 18 percent within one day of inhaling the substance. Furthermore, anxiety was reduced by 39 percent and stress by 27 percent.
Four weeks after the initial trial, the team conducted a follow-up analysis. They found that depression ratings had declined 68 percent below baseline levels. Meanwhile, anxiety and stress dropped 56 and 48 percent respectively.
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The researchers hypothesize that the anti-depressant effect is caused by an increase in neurogenesis, based on previous findings that 5-MeO-DMT can stimulate neuronal growth and development. “Alternatively, they say that the compound may help to alleviate neuropsychiatric diseases by binding to sigma-1 receptors in the brain, which then has a regulatory effect on inflammation,” reports IFLScience.
Despite the encouraging finding, the authors are hesitant to share their work. The primary concern is that the toad may be exploited through the black market. However, synthetic 5-MeO-DMT should be easy to synthesize in a lab. In fact, a study by John Hopkins University researchers found that 80 percent of people who used the synthetic version reported a reduction in both depression and anxiety.
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