People do extreme things and could consume worse stuff than you can possibly imagine. One example of these extremes is toad licking. For strange reasons, toad licking is gradually becoming a serious phenomenon, especially in young people. These young people do this without paying attention to its harmful effects on health and lifestyle. Toad licking is a dangerous activity that could lead to serious life-threatening conditions and even death. If not controlled, it can be highly addictive and could kill when a user is in overdrive. Although toad licking is becoming more common, it is not widely known by most people. So we will begin by explaining what toad licking means.
WHAT IS TOAD LICKING?
Toad licking is an act carried out by people to induce hallucinations. It involves licking the back skin of a toad or extracting those secretions a toad coats its back with, to take in the secreted compounds. Although this sounds completely disgusting, users are more than happy to do it because of the feelings they claim it can generate. In simpler terms, people do it to get high. And if you ask anyone, it’s a revolting method for getting high. What people do not seem to know, is that the substances that are secreted by the toad are actually poisonous. They are meant to protect the toad from predators.
Toads are amphibians that belong to a subcategory of frogs, in the order Anura. This means that every toad is a frog; however, not every frog is a toad. Frogs do not secrete substances and release it from their skin, but toads do. However, not all toads are to be licked because of their secretions. Secretions from some toads will give the desired effect of stimulation and hallucinations, whereas some other species will make you sick. Some can even kill you.
This substance or poison, generally called Bufotoxin, is released when the toad is scared, under threat, or stressed. It coats its back completely with the Bufotoxin, produced from a parotoid gland on the back or side of the head. There are different effects of this Bufotoxin, depending on the toad that secretes it. The bottom line, however, is that it is poisonous.
WHY IT IS WRONG FOR YOU
It is a well-known fact, that these substances are toxic. Let’s face it, it is meant to protect the toad from predators. There have been instances where animals die or suffer paralysis or sickness after ingesting or biting toads. Because of this, most animals avoid them altogether.
If animals can be greatly affected by these venomous creatures, then ultimately, we as humans are not exempt from the deadly effects of such poison. Depending on the volume of your consumption of this toxin, one can end up dead, or struck with a serious disease.
WHICH TOADS ARE LICKED?
There are over a dozen species of toads that have been licked. Not surprisingly, their end results were nearly all fatal. Amongst all the various species of toads licked, there is a species that has been discovered to offer the most Bufotoxin, with considerably less negative effects.
This species is known as the Colorado River toad. It is also known as incilius alvarius, or the Sonoran Desert toad. This species of toad has large glands on either side of its head. There are also glands in and near the mouth and jaws. These are the glands that secrete the substances known as Bufotoxin. Despite its venom, the Colorado River toad is still the most famous toad for licking, and even though it can be found anywhere, the Colorado River toad is native to Gila River and Colorado (hence the name) in New Mexico, Mexico, Arizona and California. The fact that it is the most popular choice of Bufotoxin extraction does not mean it is entirely harmless. Its toxins are still poisonous and have been known to cause death in large dogs that have bitten or eaten it. There is no way to manage the dosage because the toad itself does not regulate the amount it secretes. It does this to protect itself.
HARMFUL EFFECTS ON HUMANS
The chemical, Bufotoxin, secreted by the toad has various effects on the human body, none of them good. Bufotoxin contains a substance called bufotenine, and it comes in different amounts. This substance is similar to other stimulants that are naturally occurring, like psilocybin. However, bufotenine is more cognitive and emotional. It causes hallucinations, whether your eyes are open or closed. The hallucinations are over in a shorter time frame than other stimulants, and typically last about 10 minutes, rarely any longer.
Even though hallucinations are the most common effect, bufotenine also causes more problems that affect the cardiovascular system. During the 20th century, prisoners were tested to study the effects of bufotenine on people. They were injected intravenously with this substance, and reports were taken down. The reports gathered from the prisoners noted chest tightness and color changes of purple to the body, especially the face. These color changes signified oxidization and poor circulation of blood. In one case, in 1959, a subject ‘s heart stopped completely and he had to be resuscitated. This shows that bufotenine has effects that can lead to cardiac arrest, and worse, death.
Note, however, that bufotenine has a unique effect of tactile enhancement, which can be translated as a full-body sensation that can be overwhelming, especially in specific areas like the nerve endings.
Other effects of bufotenine
- Constricting of blood vessels
- Change in sense; some kind of weight is felt pressing down on the individual.
HARMFUL EFFECTS ON THE ANIMAL
Some people might wonder how extracting the bufotenine from the toad can harm the animal. The truth is that these animals are being hunted for their secretions. The Colorado River toad, for example, has been under attack from humans for so long that the animal faces a potential risk of extinction. According to research, the Colorado River toads have almost completely abandoned their natural habitat in California and are gradually but consistently reducing in numbers in different other regions. These recent activities have made this animal a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Colorado River toads are not the only species of toads that are under attack, other species of toads are equally being killed for their skin, which is sometimes sold.
WORLD VIEW OF TOAD LICKING
Around the world, toad licking is considered illegal. Besides the fact that the toads face possible extinction due to its high level of exploitation, it’s secretions have been classified as substances with no medical value, and has the potential for abuse. Because of this, anyone found in possession of these substances or secretions will be arrested and prosecuted. The first person to be arrested for the possession of this substance was a teacher in 1994 in California. The teacher was also found in possession of four living Colorado River toads and was arrested for possession of bufotenine with the intention to abuse the toad’s chemical properties.
Various incidents have occurred as a result of people using this substance bufotenine to obtain its effects. There have been reports of accidents, injury, and death that occurred when people were under the influence of bufotenine. There is also the chance of addiction to this substance, and this can occur due to constant use. The raw form of these secretions is very poisonous, and as a result, people have discovered a way to collect or extract these secretions and process them for consumption. This means that most people do not actually lick the toad ‘s body to get the secretion, instead they extract them, process them and ingest or sniff substances containing the venom. Nonetheless, some people have been foolish enough to actually lick the toad, and end up in emergency units in hospitals or in some cases, death.
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