5 MeO DMT is derived from several plants species and the Bufo alvarius toad, native to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. | Image Source: Flickr CC User Emily Robinson

5-MeO-DMT is derived from several plants species and the Bufo alvarius toad, native to the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. | Image Source: Flickr CC User Emily Robinson


This is a special update to episode #4 with Dr. Gerry

The topic was 5-MeO-DMT, and since this episode was recorded, there has been a surge in the media around the topic, including the Vice series: Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia.

I have been contemplating deleting this episode and have finally come to the decision that the better thing to do, is to record this update, so here it is.

My team and I decided to keep the episode, because a lot of valuable information was covered. We are using this episode to fill in the gaps. Please consider this is a resource before making any decisions to journey with any specific facilitator.


5-MeO-DMT, also known as the God or spirit molecule, might be one of the most remarkable substances ever discovered. A naturally occurring tryptamine found in both plant species and the Bufo alvarius toad, 5-MeO-DMT acts directly on serotonin receptors to offer an intense, concentrated, and profoundly mystical experience. As Dr. Martin Ball says:

“The experience is a feeling of total surrender to the direct presence of our union with God. It is readily comparable to Hindu experiences of Moksha or Buddhist experiences of Samadhi and Nirvana, and it may be more profound than experiences attained through meditation alone. Advanced meditators tend to agree that their deepest meditations barely scratch the surface of the depth of the 5-MeO experience.”

These entheogenic properties have made it a vital part of shamanic ceremonies in Central and South America for thousands of years, and growing interest in psychedelic tryptamines is now introducing this sacrament to a new generation of psychedelic explorers looking for the true entheogenic experience. Simultaneously, rising awareness of the therapeutic potential of 5-MeO-DMT is giving new hope to people struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and drug addiction.

In our most recent podcast, Psychedelic Times founder Joe Mattia got to sit down and chat with Dr. Gerardo Sandoval, one of the world’s leading experts on 5-MeO-DMT about his own experiences with the psychedelic, his new book, and the work he’s doing to advance our understanding of this truly transformative substance.

You can listen to Psychedelic Times founder Joe Mattia interview Dr. Gerardo Sandoval here:



You can also stream this podcast on Libsyn.

For those who aren’t able to listen to the podcast, here are some key takeaways from the interview, which are further outlined in show notes below:

The God Molecule

Dr. Sandoval’s passion for entheogenic experiences started early. As an adolescent growing up in the Mexico, he began experimenting with psychedelics — peyote, specifically — at the age of twelve, sparking an ongoing journey of spiritual awakening and deep personal exploration that continues to this day. In his new book, The God Molecule, he details the formative experiences that awakened him to the potential of sacred medicine and revealed his calling to be a doctor so that he may guide others on a path to healing.

Dr. Gerardo Sandoval is the author of The God Molecule, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Dr. Gerardo Sandoval is the author of The God Molecule, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

While peyote marked the beginning of his psychedelic journey, it was 5-MeO-DMT derived from the Bufo toad that brought him to the peak of entheogenic insight:

“I’ve always been looking for this state, the true entheogenic state, the highest state of awareness. Finding this beautiful molecule that in one puff would take me right there. It was just – wow! It changed my life forever. I connected myself to the universal grid of consciousness and a few days later toad medicine came into my life.”

As a board certified physician, Dr. Sandoval now marries modern and sacred medicine to create powerful holistic healing experiences for both mind and body. Using 5-MeO-DMT, he tries to open up avenues to both personal transformation and lasting recovery for his clients — to date, he has facilitated over 2,000 toad medicine ceremonies.

The Toad Sanctuary

As interest in 5-MeO-DMT has grown, the Bufo toad population has dropped significantly as psychedelic enthusiasts and profiteers alike remove the toads from their natural Sonoran Desert habitat. 

In order to preserve this sacred species and humankind’s ability to practice toad medicine, Dr. Sandoval has plans to open a toad sanctuary where he will create a home for at least 2,500 toads with the goal of eventually repopulating the native environment. He’s currently in the first phase of fundraising to purchase a $35,000 4-acre plot of land in the Sonoran Desert.


Dr. Gerardo Sandoval’s lifelong work to conserve northern Mexico’s population of Bufo alvarius frogs led him to the idea of creating the Toad Sanctuary. | Image Source: bufoalvarius.foundation

“By acquiring this land, we’ll be able to make a difference. We’ll be able to repopulate the Sonoran Desert, we’ll be able to secure medicine for future generations, and we’ll save this species,” Dr. Sandoval explains.

Along with toad conservation, the sanctuary will also act as a research and education facility, where Dr. Sandoval and his colleagues can continue to research the healing potential of 5-MeO-DMT. Ultimately, he wants to establish guidelines for both entheogenic and therapeutic 5-MeO-DMT use and train facilitators in best practices to help those who want to experience toad medicine to have the most positive, healing journey possible.

Preparing for the 5-MeO-DMT Journey

While 5-MeO-DMT can be a profoundly healing experience, it can also be challenging. Dissolving the ego and the artificial structures that confine us in our everyday lives to see the “true entheogenic nature of reality” can be beautiful and powerful, but it’s also a deep process with a very real psychological impact, one that requires thoughtful preparation to get the most out of the journey:

“[We have to] be aware that this is the strongest experience we can have as humans. It’s not only about taking the dive, but bringing back some pearls to this reality.”

For some, returning to a normal state after the 5-MeO-DMT ceremony can feel like a letdown and it’s common to struggle to integrate entheogenic experiences in your lived reality. Dr. Sandoval has found that people who’ve been deprived of love often have the most difficulties with integration. He also attests the importance of simply touching and being held — allowing yourself to fully receive and experience love — which can be critical to facilitating the healing process. For others, acupuncture, hot and cold bathing, yoga, and breathwork are critical components of integration.

It’s also important to note that 5-MeO-DMT isn’t for everyone. People taking certain psychotropic medications or who are diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders may have extremely negative experiences that inhibit healing and can even create new psychological damage. As such, it’s critical to work with a consultant and the right facilitator who understands your goals and your medical history to help you determine if 5-MeO-DMT is right for you.

Show Notes

  • Dr. Sandoval’s introduction to sacred medicine and the spirit molecule. [04:20]
  • What are DMT and 5-MeO-DMT? [10:10]
  • Preparing yourself for therapeutic and entheogenic 5-MeO-DMT experiences. [16:50]
  • How to integrate entheogenic experiences. [23:20]
  • Coping with spontaneous reactivations. [25:30]
  • Overview of the Bufo Alivarius toad. [29:51]  
  • The building of the Toad Sanctuary. [32:30]
  • Medical contraindications to toad medicine. [38:20]
  • Combining 5-MeO-DMT with ibogaine. [40:15]
  • The God Molecule. [42:40]
  • How Dr. Sandoval stays grounded and centered. [45:40]
  • What kind of outcomes Dr. Sandoval sees. [48:00]
  • Using 5-MeO-DMT to cope with fear of death. [50:00]