Treating Toad Venom Use

Toad venom is a hallucinogenic substance that is extracted from Sonoran Desert toads. The venom is taken from glands on the head and hind legs of these large North American frogs, which are also called Colorado River toads. Despite having similar effects to other psychedelics like DMT, LSD, and psilocybin, toad venom produces stronger and faster results. Because this substance is considered a hallucinogen, it is classified as a Schedule I drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This means toad venom currently has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Understanding how toad venom and treatment can go hand in hand can help to prevent further substance use.

In 2019, a reported 6 million people in the US were using hallucinogens recreationally. Amongst this group, the use of toad venom has been increasing in popularity over the past few years. Even celebrities, like former professional boxer Mike Tyson, have spoken publicly about their use of the substance. However, toad venom can be unsafe and harmful to those who use it. While research has shown that hallucinogens are generally not addictive, treatment may be necessary for individuals who have become dependent on the substance.

Effects Of Toad Venom

The venom taken from the glands of Sonoran Desert toads is extracted and then dried into a paste which is typically smoked, snorted, or ingested. The compound extracted from this gland, 5-Meo-DMT, can also be produced synthetically. Users of toad venom have compared the substance to the sensation of dying or reaching nirvana. This can be attributed to the feelings of identity loss, dissolution of ego, euphoria, and mystical significance that are associated with the substance. Other psychedelic experiences typically require about 8-hour sessions. On the other hand, toad venom is short acting and effects usually last between 30 and 90 minutes. Once these effects wear off, users may feel an afterglow effect which could lead to rash life-changing decisions being made.

Using toad venom also comes with adverse side effects like numbness, disorientation, loss of coordination, and an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. In the long term, users of the substance may have speech problems, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Using hallucinogens, like toad venom, can have harmful and long-lasting risks. Because these substances extremely alter one’s perception and mood, users may put themselves in dangerous situations they normally would avoid. The inference the substance has on the brain can also provoke users to act on suicidal thoughts that they may not even usually experience. Toad venom treatment can address these effects to decrease the risk of future harm.

Psychological Risks Of Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens, like toad venom, can also cause long-term disorders such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). This disorder involves reoccurring flashbacks of previous substance use experiences which can cause frustration, paranoia, and mood changes. During these flashbacks, users relive their prior substance use event through visual disturbances such as seeing blurry patterns, changes in color perception, and altered dimensions. The risk of HPPD and other psychological issues is increased when the user has a familial history of mental illness. There is no clinically established treatment for toad venom caused HPPD, but small-scale case studies have shown that a combination of naltrexone (treatment for alcohol and opioid use disorders), clonidine (anxiety and hypertension medication), and lamotrigine (anti-convulsant and mood stabilizer used for epilepsy) has been successful.

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Treating Toad Venom Use

If someone experiences adverse side effects when using toad venom or other hallucinogens, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Responding quickly in these situations could save a person’s life. Those near the user should call 911 and prioritize keeping the user safe. It can be helpful to decrease external stimulation, speak in a reassuring manner, address them by name, and ensure the user has adequate air. If the user becomes unconscious, they should be turned on their side with their head tilted to stop the tongue from blocking their airway. When first responders arrive, it is important to provide as much info as possible including the substance used, how much was taken, and any pre-existing medical conditions.

There is not currently one specific method being used to treat toad venom use, as hallucinogens are not inherently addictive. Despite this the substance can still be abused, which can result in a built-up tolerance. This can be very dangerous to the user, as higher quantities are required to achieve the same effects. Tolerance can also lead to a dependence on the substance which can affect a user’s day-to-day life. By treating both the physiological and psychological aspects of a substance use disorder (SUD), individuals can learn how to control their toad venom use and lead productive lives.

An SUD is a chronic disorder characterized by compulsive, uncontrollable drug use regardless of negative outcomes. Because of its persistent nature, an SUD requires long-term repeated care. The goal of treatment is to help individuals stop substance use, continue living a drug-free lifestyle, and become productive within their family, work, and society. For hallucinogens, behavioral approaches can be effective in modifying attitudes and behaviors that are related to substance use. This approach can also help to improve on an individual’s healthy life skills.

Inpatient treatment can also assist in treating a dependency on hallucinogens. This treatment method is completely immersive and provides full medical and emotional support to patients. By spending 30 to 90 days in a treatment facility, individuals are removed from the things in their environment that typically trigger their substance use. An inpatient treatment program also separates patients from the people in their social circles who could also be triggers. These programs are likely to promote abstinence from the use of hallucinogens and other illicit substances which may be essential to treating the use of toad venom.

While not proven to be addictive, toad venom is a Schedule I substance with the potential for harmful outcomes. Generally, the use of hallucinogens can cause psychosis disorders like HPPD. When a tolerance and dependency is present in an individual, behavioral and inpatient treatments can help to stop the use of toad venom. For more information on toad venom, hallucinogens, and treatment, contact a treatment provider today.

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