Mythbusters: can you get high from licking toads?

Sam Blackburn answers the question we've all been wondering

Sam Blackburn
5th December 2016

Licking toads to get you high is a myth which appears to be reinforced in popular media, in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, the latter dedicating a whole episode to it. South Park even parodied this phenomenon writing an episode on if you get high from having a cat urinate in your face. But is there any truth behind it?

According to an article I read called ‘How Toad Licking Gets You High (And Then Kills You)’ from Gizmodo, one who wants to try and ‘get off their tits’ will have to find a certain toad known as a ‘cane toad’. Supposedly the cane toad secretes a chemical called 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine which can be sniffed, ingested or injected to make someone high. When the chemical gets into your body, it acts as an anti-depressant, releasing a high amount of serotonin into the body, making the user feel good. It is said that users feel a full body rush and hallucinate, although it is said that these users take the chemical in a more pure form.

"When the chemical gets into your body, it acts as an anti-depressant, releasing a high amount of serotonin"

As someone who has a phobia of frogs and toads, I would not recommend it on the basis of going near those soul sucking creatures. For those who dare to brave the beasts beneath the water, then from what I have read I would not recommend doing so. There have been multiple deaths reported, and even a dog which kept on getting high from licking cane toads! That’s no lie, it’s been reported by multiple news sources from Australia that many dogs were getting high from licking cane toads, with a case of one dog being addicted to licking toads. So are there any side effects to licking toads? It has been reported that immediately after licking a toad people are known to experience vomiting, headaches and chest pains, not go on a celestial adventure in ancient Egypt whilst riding on a unicorn.

So there’s a fair amount of information out there online, but there doesn’t really appear to be anything from a strong source. When you google toads getting you high, you will be greeted by excellent sources such as Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary and Cracked, enjoyable websites, but not the scholarly sources we really need. One thing I never found whilst researching this is if it’s illegal or not. Despite this, it seems pretty cruel, licking a poor defenceless toad. Before harming an innocent creature, try and imagine how you would feel if the shadow master lizards who rule the world decided to lick your back? Wouldn’t be very nice, would it?

So has this myth been busted? Partially, because it’s only referential to a certain type of toad. Licking any other type of toad is not going to get you high and I also doubt it’ll kill you, so if you’re into the idea of licking one, why not? Maybe even try licking a frog too? In all honesty though, I would not recommend licking any animal. For those who do want to hallucinate about cosmic eggs absorbing streams of reality in five dimensions, cane toads are native to Australia, so I guess you’ll have to stick to what you can find in Newcastle… or not do drugs at all? Your body, your choice.

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  1. The way I understand it, cane toads are not native to Australia, but brought over to control pest in the sugar cane fields. Now consider a invasive species. Same thing happening in Florida. They are originally from South America.

  2. I've licked a Bufo toad, it works, I highly advise that you DO NOT TRY THIS. I blacked out after wild hallucinations. It was dangerous and foolish.

  3. Cane Toads are not native to Australia they were imported to kill a very destructive beetle population. The toads multiplied out of control and ate everything except the beetles. It was a hilarious backfire. Also the cane toad produces Bufotenin not 5-meo- DMT.That chemical as well as Bufotenin is produced by a toad called Bufo Alvarus. Licking it wont get you high because unless smoked humans need a MAOI to activate the psychoactive properties. Smoking it will take you to another Universe though

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