3.2.18 Yopo

Yopo #

Binomial / Botanical Name Anadenanthera Peregrina
Street Names Yopo
Major Active Compound Bufotenin
Indigenous Source South America
Form Seeds
RoA Insufflated
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale ++


Yopo seeds are sometimes confused with cebil seeds, presumably because they look similar, and are both generally insufflated. They are not the same, although in terms of active chemical composition they both major with bufotenin with variable but only trace (considered ineffective) amounts of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.

I prepared them both in the same manner: I toasted half-a-dozen in a pan until they snapped like popcorn. Removing the shells, I then pulverised the kernel. I sampled this raw, and also, mixed it with some lime powder.

I had anticipated pain largely due to descriptions of authentic use: one member of the tribe blows it forcibly up the nostril of a colleague via a long pipe, who in some accounts, then rolls around on the ground in agony. Self administered, I found that it did indeed hurt: a lot!

The headspace emerged within seconds, and simple CEVs quickly followed. There was no significant complexity but they were there, and they were fluid. The downer was that the experience faded within 5 minutes or so. The afterglow lingered for some hours.

Undoubtedly, I have plenty more work to do with these seeds, assuming that I can overcome the enduring memory of the nasal pain.


Although the experience invoked by the stand alone version of 5-MeO-DMT is nothing like that of yopo, I did dabble (unsuccessfully) with it whilst writing this edition. At the appropriate doses this drug can catapult you into the realms of the indescribable, and it has a significant following amongst some aficionados of the psychedelic experience.

However, the Internet is awash with warnings relating to its dangers, and checking my copy of TiHKAL, it is clear that even Shulgin endured some fearful episodes with it. The following is not untypical of the ominous references I encountered:

5-MEO-DMT use is dangerous. This compound is described as 4- to 10-fold more potent than DMT and it may also cause strong side effects. Research suggests it causes extreme serotonin reuptake inhibition and serotonin toxicity in combinations with MAO-A inhibitor is likely and potentially fatal. Some users reported that this drug caused panic attacks and anxiety that lasted up to a few weeks after use.
~ Puya Yazdi, MD (Reviewed by Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy), published on drugs.selfdecode.com

On insufflation of 9mg I experienced a body presence and a strange intense headspace, which distorted and held my thoughts almost in a form of stasis. There were no visuals or hallucinations. I suspect that I chose the wrong dose and wrong RoA. I should stress that 9mg is higher than that commonly cited for vaping.

On vaping I probably heated too quickly, vaped too little, and might have had some residue left in the pipe from a previous experiment with DMT. If this sounds rushed and shambolic it is probably because it was. Either way, I felt a distanced sort of headspace, visual clarity and not much else. I should add in my defence that if I went unduly low with the dose it was because I didn’t have a sitter in place.

It should also be noted that this is indeed significantly more potent than DMT (and thus requires a much lower dose), and unlike DMT, 5-MeO-DMT is a ‘one shot deal’, meaning that only one toke is required.

In the light of the warnings referred to above if you do choose to engage I would suggest and recommend that you approach it with the utmost caution.


5-MeO-DMT is famously secreted by the Colorado River toad (also known as the Sonoran Desert toad). Unfortunately, it has recently been brought to my attention that this species is facing a number of pressures, including over-collection, primarily for the extraction of secretions for use by psychonauts.

Although not specifically related to 5-MeO-DMT, I would also refer here to kambô ceremonies, and similar threats to the waxy monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolour).

I would strongly urge that these issues are taken seriously. For these reasons I will not be pursuing either of these avenues.