Everyone's talking about bufo, alvarius. Venom will wear it. Did this come from? I remember, Gopalan, making a sort of offhand joke about it on Joe Rogan. Like, how the heck, did anyone think of that smoking toad Venom. What kind of crazy person would do that? And on one hand. It's a joke, but on the other hand, it's a serious question. What kind of person would do that? Who is that person? What was their name? Why did they do it? So I set out to find the first person who had smoked bufo, alvarius Venom and learn about their story and it was actually an immensely difficult investigative task. Task that required years of work, but I was able to track down this person. His name was Ken Nelson. I interviewed him on his literal deathbed. He died just about two weeks. After the interview and the story is totally fascinating. So the same is also true of somebody like Steve Gil. This is a name that is not widely known. He's a close friend of mine. I talked to him to this day and this is somebody who is responsible for what are likely hundreds of thousands of MDMA experiences. These are probably in many instances transformative experiences that people had yet the name and the origin of that chemical is Is not known to those people, you
know, I'm with Steve, Gill portion of one of your shows. I mean, that's a guy who was producing MDMA illegally for decades and then gets busted. And, I mean, you have this very powerful moment in there, you know, about he's goes to prison, the tragedy of seeing somebody who's been creating, you know, so much good. I mean, benefit in the world just being sort of destroyed by that and not able to not only not destroy but really destroyed for a while and and struggling to come back. And that on, whereas somebody like Ken Nelson, right? I mean his was not, I guess so much concern about the criminality of it. I mean, in this case, with fondant 5 m, EO, D Mt. The toad medicine, you know, of times people think about these things like peyote or or, you know, whether your goals we think about cocoa or opium, or it could be thinking about it on Ayahuasca with sometimes, with these things, go back to use goes back, hundreds or thousands of years. But with the toad medicine, can Elsa, sort of figured out that thing about the toes Gland, it was not illegal. Right? I mean, just tell us a little bit of that story right there. Yeah.
I mean, it's a very convoluted story that has multiple threads, the history of 5. Mm. Yo, DMT has an indigenous thread where there is a history, dating back, thousands of years of people using various traditional snuff preparations from plants that contain small quantities, of 5, m, EO, D Mt. So you could start their thousands of years ago. But the experience of using these plants that have complex, mixtures of tryptamines is not comparable to the experience of smoking bufo, alvarius Venom, which is for all intents and purposes just five Meo DMT. Yes, there are lots of other things in it chemically. But in terms of what is responsible for the psychopharmacological effect of the smoked Venom, it is a 5 m, EO, D Mt. Mediated effect, based on everything that is currently known and so Ken Nelson. Ian had been reading a news report about an anthropologist named Jeanette run Quest, who had excavated a Cherokee midden pile, that contains thousands of toad bones, and the hypothetical purpose of these toad bones was that they were part of a drug ritual as it turned out, this Anthropologist had made a mistake. It was far more likely based on contemporary anthropological analysis. That these toes were a food source, not a drug and There's even evidence that the same group would consume toads as a food source, and on top of that bufo, alvarius didn't exist, anywhere close to the location of these, thousands of toad bones and was a different species. So it doesn't really line up. But what's interesting is he was inspired by this idea, even though it was incorrectly thought. Okay, there's an ancient history of this ancient history that likely did not exist and I'm going to go and I'm going to try to do that thing that other people were doing in the past. So he thought he was recapitulating a tradition. When in fact, he was creating something completely new and he read an article by Vittorio or spammer who's famous, for having discovered serotonin, who is obsessed with the chemistry of various frog, secretions, and Toad Venom's and things of that nature. And he had found that the Venom of bufo alvarius contained five Meo DMT and he thought. Alright. Well, that's that's a good candidate right there. Let me locate this toad. I'll do what the people were doing in the past. And I will Express the Venom and smoke it. And have this Transcendent experience, but he was actually based on all known history. The first person to have done anything like this.
Hmm. Why did he think he remained kept himself Anonymous? Still more or less? You figured out who he was?
Because there is a tremendous amount of fear. I mean, people are still afraid as they should be the consequences for ending up on the wrong side of the story can be nothing less than the complete destruction of your life. And for many people, that was a risk. They did not want to take, especially in the 1980s. I mean, like I said, it's still scary. Right now, but in the 80s, all of this stuff that we take for granted all of this reform in this sense of progress. I don't think existed. I mean I wasn't alive at that time, but that is certainly my impression that it was a darker and more frightening time. And even though it was technically legal. It's the case that people will find out a way to get you in trouble for these things, if they really want to, which was another aspect of my more recent bufo alvarius. Documentary from the third season of my show. The man Bob Sheppard who was merely keeping the Toads as pets and was arrested for it and lost everything, lost his job, lost all of his money in the legal battle. He ended up homeless as a result of Simply keeping these toads as pets at a time. When 5 m e0 DMT was not a controlled substance in the United States. They initially charged him with possession of bufotenin, but then when the forensic chemist who is tasked, with Lysing the Venom to find bufotenin it to charge him. Did the analysis is name was ready. Shawn makura. He didn't find any bufotenin at all. He only found 5 m, EO D Mt. So they couldn't charge him and they was all dropped by then. It was too late. The reputational damage had been done and there was no coming back.
Ken Nelson Was the First Person to Smoke Bufo Alvarius Venom
Hamilton Morris on Pharmacological Creations, Myths & Heroes