People are licking frogs at National Parks like never before

People are licking frogs at National Parks like never before

The National Park Service is urging visitors not to lick the Sonoran desert toad, as the amphibian excretes 5-MeO-DMT - a substance with psychedelic effects.

The National Park Service is requesting that patrons of their facilities avoid licking toads, as it could result in illness. The warning featured a night vision picture of a toad with glowing eyes, reading "ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!!!". This was in reference to the animated television show Futurama.

Last week, the National Park Service released a warning on its official Twitter account, cautioning against Sonoran desert toads. These toads are some of the largest in North America, measuring nearly 7 inches (18 cm). They get their Colorado river toad nickname from their self-defense mechanism of secreting a toxic substance when they feel disturbed. This secretion contains 5-MeO-DMT: a tryptamine-class psychedelic drug also found in certain plant species.

The National Park Service asks that you don't lick unknown animals in the park, whether it be a banana slug, mushroom, or toad with glowing eyes.

The psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT is comparable to the drugs DMT and bufotenin. All three have been used as entheogens—substances that produce spiritual experiences—by South American indigenous cultures in ceremonies. In New Mexico, however, the Sonoran desert toad is threatened by collectors who want to use it for drug purposes, according to a listing by the state’s Department of Game and Fish.

The drug is extracted from the toads' glands, which excrete a toxic substance when they are attacked by predators or otherwise disturbed. Once dried, the substance can be snorted, smoked or vaporized to ingest the 5-MeO-DMT it contains.

Do Not Lick The Toads

The National Park Service issued a warning that toad licking, though often seen in pop culture, can actually be poisonous.

"These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin," the agency said in its Twitter post. "It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth."

Though the DEA claims that 5-MeO-DMT is a Schedule 1 drug with no medical value and a high potential for abuse, researchers are studying the compound to determine if it could be therapeutically beneficial for people with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Dr. Alan K Davis, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has commented on 5-MeO-DMT's unique properties. These include its rapid onset and short duration of psychedelic effects in comparison to other psychedelic drugs.

Research has revealed that psychedelics combined with psychotherapy assist people battling depression and anxiety. The duration of a psychedelic session usually demands 7-8 hours because most psychedelics have a long window of action,” Davis said in a 2019 release from Johns Hopkins Medicine. “However, 5-MeO-DMT is short-acting and only lasts 30 to 90 minutes. its quicker effects could make it much simpler to use during therapy sessions which typically last 60 –90 minutes."

With Hunter Biden, the son of President Joseph Biden admitting to using 5-MeO-DMT seven years earlier to help him quit an addiction, the use of this drug has become more popular among celebrities and public figures. Comedian Chelsea Handler, as well as boxing legend and cannabis entrepreneur Mike Tyson, have both admitted to their experimentation with 5-MeO in clinical settings.

To Lick or Not to Lick: That is the Question James Rucker, a psychiatrist at King's College London in Britain said this week he supports the National Park Service's warnings. He went on to say that there have been reports of people licking Toads in Asia and other places outside The United States Of America.

Rucker told The Washington Post that "the toad wants to be left alone." He went on further to say that we should respect their wishes for autonomy and dignity.

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