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Toad Tripping
by Jane Bosveld
OMNI Dec, 1989
It's not exactly a craze, but licking toads is the latest - and certainly the wierdest - way to get high. "It is not a big problem, but when people hear about it they try it," explains Robert Sager, chief of the US Drug Enforcement Administrations's Western Regional Laboratory in San Francisco.

The toad of choice is the Cane Toad, a tropical green and red toad that's a favorite among aquarium habitues. It secretes a toxin, called bufotenine to ward off predators. Ingesting bufotenine - by licking the toad, or killing it and boiling it's skin for a foul-tasting TEA - will give you a high similar to that of psilocybin (a hallucinogen found in certain mushrooms).

But, Sager warns, bufotenine will "make you ill, and it is not terribly hallucinogenic. It's just not that great a high."

Of course for those who don't mind licking a tailless amphibian, it might be possible to buy several and keep them on hand: Once a toad has been licked it secretes more bufotenine, so replenishing the supply would not be a problem.

Although four Australians croaked last summer after drinking an especially strong batch of Cane-skin TEA, no fatalities have been reported in this country. But, says Sager, a number of people have been hospitalized.

Nevertheless, possessing a Cane Toad is not illegal if you do it for reasons other than getting high."