Episode 47: Preservation of the Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo) with Robert Villa

In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with Robert Villa who currently presides over the Tucson Herpetological Society, assists with ongoing developments at the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill with the Universit of Arizona, and is a member of NextGen Sonoran Desert Researchers. He also consulted with Hamilton Morris on Morris’ two episodes of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia about the Sonoran Desert Toad and 5-Meo-DMT. A result of those episodes is an updated version of the famous pamphlet, Bufo Alivarious: the Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert which includes information on synthetic 5-Meo, a great step to help preserve these amazing animals… So…let’s hear from Robert.

We discussed:

  1. Let’s start with an overview. 5-Meo-DMT, from the Sonoran Desert Toad, is gaining in popularity. Please give us some background info on the toads and the current status of the toad?
    1. People have died after inhaling toad sourced 5meoDMT. There’s still much we don’t know about how people might react adversely.
  2. Is it endangered?
  3. What do the toads mean – ecologically, culturally — to the Sonoran Desert region?
  4. I feel like the monsoons have been dry the past few years, which concerns me. What are you seeing out there today on the toads’ numbers? Tumamac Hill
  5. What are the primary threats to the toads?
  6. How did this toad evolve to create this poison? The species is relatively new and unique to this desert?
  7. Is there an indigenous history to the toads and psychedelic experiences? Archeological and artistic evidence.
  8. What about the benefit of this toad’s poison as a “medicine”?
  9. Is there a way to milk the toads of their poison without harming them?
  10. Tell us about the pamphlet, “Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert”. Pharmacopeia with Hamilton Morris. Fund to the Herpetological Society, putting out RFPs. 2nd episode (link); link to book (below)
  11. What have you guys found about the synthetic version of 5-Meo-DMT? Same trip?
    1. Is it the same exact molecule?
    2. What about the interplay of other chemicals in the toad’s poison versus a lab-created synthetic?
  12. Is it bufo alivarious or incilious alivarious? 
  13. What else do you want to get out there?