Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance Season 2 – Episode 12 – The Story of Bufo Alvarius

Bufo alvarius  is a nocturnal amphibian that secretes one of nature’s most powerful hallucinogens. Wade Davis is a notorious adventurer that speaks on his potent encounters with ‘the toad’. In episode 12 of Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance, explorer Wade Davis will examine the discovery of high concentration of 5-MeO-DMT in the venom of Bufa alvarius, the Sonoran Desert toad.

Date: Tuesday, December 8th

Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM PST (8:00 PM – 9:30 PM EST)

About Wade Davis

Named by the National Geographic Society as one of the ‘Explorers for the Millennium’, Wade Davis graduated from Harvard University with degrees in biology and anthropology. After completing his doctorate in ethnobotany, Wade lived alongside indigenous Amazonians and collected over 5,000 specimens for the Harvard Botanical Museum.

His next adventure was the pursuit of zombies in Haiti, which formed the basis for Wade’s international best seller The Serpent and the Rainbow, later adapted by Universal as a motion picture. The author of several seminal works of anthropology, his books have been translated into sixteen languages and sold nearly a million copies worldwide.

Tasked with changing the way the world views and values culture by National Geographic for over a decade, Wade is one of a select few Honoury Members at the Explorer’s Club. A recipient of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Award, Wade has received honorary degrees from numerous universities and spoken four times for TED. In 2012, he received the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize literary prize for non-fiction, for In the silence.

Wade detailed his encounters with Bufo alvarius, the Sonoran Desert toad, in Shadows in the Sun, an anthology of essays and tales from his adventures around the world. He wrote “I experienced warm flushing sensations, a sense of wonder and well-being… Though I was indoors, there was a sense of the feel of earth, the dry desert soil passing through my fingers, the stars at midday, the scent of cactus and sage.

The venom of Bufo alvarius contains O-methyl transferase, which converts bufotenine (5-OH-DMT) into the potent hallucinogen 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT). The presence of this novel enzyme results in the production of huge quantities of 5-MeO-DMT, which can then be extracted by milking the amphibians. In the upcoming episode of Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance, Wade will discuss the revelation of unearthing colossal amounts of  5-MeO-DMT and its wider implications.

You can learn more about Wade Davis here.


Examining the Psychedelic Renaissance – Season 2 has three different price points , starting from $75.00 for the full 15 episodes. Single episodes are available for $15 each, with discounted rates for students, seniors and those affected by COVID-19. If cost is a barrier for your participation, please email webinar@mapscanada.org for a complimentary ticket. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mapscanada.org/webinar

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