A statement regarding the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the study of 5-MeO-DMT

A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing
5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms

The recent publication summarizing the effects of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) on mental health-related variables authored by myself and my colleagues has received great attention both from the scientific community and the public, see full text here; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-019-05236-w

Although my colleagues and I are very pleased that the publication has been so well received, it appears that the study findings are being misinterpreted and misrepresented on (social)media primarily in the general public as an advocacy for use of toad secretion.

Not only is this very disappointing, as the publication is in fact communicating the very opposite, but it is also of great concern to me as the misrepresentation of the study findings may contribute to further unnecessary consumption toad secretion from Bufo Alvarius.

I, therefore, feel it is not only necessary, but also of high importance to clarify that the recent publication is in no way an advocacy or toad secretion use, but rather the opposite.

In fact, the article is summarizing the effects of 5-MeO-DMT, which is the main compound in the toad secretion – as demonstrated by a lab-analysis. This finding makes a clear and strong argument that toad secretion is in no way superior to synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, putting a scientific nail in the coffin for the discontinuation of toad secretion use as a means of obtaining and consuming 5-MeO-DMT.

Furthermore, the article also points to the ethical and ecological implications that comes with toad secretion use. Basically, the increasing demand for the vapor produced by toad secretion will disturb the ecological equilibrium of the toads through the invasion of habitat, excessive milking, amphibian trafficking, and black-market dynamics. Harassment of the Bufo Alvarius toad, however, can be easily prevented by using synthetic 5-MeO-DMT instead of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT. You can read a summary of this issue to greater length here: https://psychedelicstoday.com/2018/10/03/ethics-ecology-bufotoxins/ ).

Additionally, even though many people have benefitted from sessions whereby 5-MeO-DMT from toad secretion has been consumed, others have instead, based on anecdotal reports, had a rather unpleasant encounter with the facilitator and so too experience with 5-MeO-DMT from toad secretion. The reasons for the unpleasant encounter vary per person, but as our recent publication highlight it is clear that some of the recent allegations of malpractice against two facilitators in particular, namely Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval addressed in an open letter (read full text here; https://5-meo-dmt-malpractice.org/), extends beyond these individuals. In our recent publication it was demonstrated that the set and setting vary quite a bit from location to location of these sessions, dose(s) are not standardized but determined by eye-measuring, and span between 30-120 mg of toad secretion (those who received 30 mg dose may have had 7.5-9 mg of 5-MeO-DMT, whereas those who received 120 mg dose may have inhaled up to 30-36 mg of 5-MeO-DMT). Additionally, none of the facilitators have the necessary expertise (clinical background) to properly hold a safe space where altered states of consciousness can be entered, nor to screen for contraindications in participants that are included in a session. This is not only concerning, but also dangerous as it puts people in an unnecessary risk for having an unpleasant, and even traumatic experience which can impact them as well as those around them negatively.

Finally, although the study suggests that inhalation of vapor from toad secretion containing mainly 5-MeO-DMT (with very low traces of bufotenine and DMT) is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms, these findings are in no way conclusive. This molecule still needs further extensive research to assess safety, and to control for various other variables that may account and/or add to the outcome effects such for example set and setting, social desirability bias, therapeutic relationship, and placebo response.

Malin Vedøy Uthaug, MSc

Malin Vedøy Uthaug, MSc, originally from Bergen, moved to Prague, The Czech Republic, after graduating from high school in her hometown in 2012. After obtaining her dual bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New York in Prague (UNYP) and Empire State College (ESC) in New York in June 2016, Malin continued with her studies at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Here, she acquired her master’s degree in Psychology with a specialization in Health and Social Psychology in the fall of 2017. During her research internship, Malin conducted fieldwork investigating the sub-acute and long-term effects of Ayahuasca on affect and cognitive thinking style. This field study was under supervision of Dr. Johannes Ramaekers and Dr. Jordi Riba, and was the starting point of her career as a psychedelic researcher.

After finishing her master’s, Malin continued working as a PhD candidate at the department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology (FPN) from fall 2017. Her current doctoral research centers around the continuous investigation of the effects of Ayahuasca in naturalistic settings, and pioneer work on the effects of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in humans.

Outside of her thesis work, besides being a co-founder of the Norwegian Association for Psychedelic Studies, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, Malin is also investigating the effects of Mescaline and Holotropic Breathwork. Finally, she is interested in trauma(resolution) and works hard to aid in changing the current treatment modalities available in the west by demonstrating the superiority of Non-ordinary state Psychotherapy (NOSP) through extensive research, (academic) writing and public speaking.


Call-to-Action for Ethical Space-Holding

With the resurgence of psychedelics and the important research into the many therapeutic benefits – from Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression, to MDMA for PTSD, and Ibogaine for addiction recovery, and much more, the myriad lineages of traditional ceremonial and healing ways, as well as the flourishing of radical creativity with entheogenic use, the festival communities, we are all in a time of transformation and potential change for the healing and upliftment of each other and our planet.

These times, and working in these sacred and subtle, sensitive realms require ethics that far surpasses the standards that dictate dominant paradigm interactions. Holding space in a sacred way means attunement, humility, honoring, and most of all, putting aside what you think you know about what’s happening, in service to the one in spontaneous or entheogenically-induced Spiritual Emergence (SE).

The states of heightened sensitivity, openness to multidimensional realms, and to others’ energies requires extra responsibility – the ability to be responsive – on the part of the one who was holding space, witnessing, and guiding. The ones who are in the role of holding vigil must be as attuned as the survivors of trauma and spiritual emergency themselves have had to be.

Those of us who have lived experience of both spontaneous and entheogenically-induced non or extra-ordinary states may be activated and opened into psychic gifts – beholden to the underlying layers of realities and agendas – and when we share our visions and insights, the trauma of both being gaslit and pathologized are damaging in compounding denial of our truth!

In this time of the great revealing, what is hidden is coming to the surface to be seen, held, metabolized, transmuted, and the ethical requirement is that we all make contact with radical openness, radical compassion, and radical humility, contacting the reality that each of us is a bearer of truth, of wisdom, and thus we all deserve to be recognized as embodied divinity and treated with respect and care!

I was traumatized in two different medicine communities, due to lack of attunement, gaslighting, and negligence on behalf of the facilitators, guides, and space-holders. My spiritual emergency and subsequent hospitalizations are directly related to the openings of these intense and deep transformational processes- access to my deepest grief and fear, which had they been held properly, ethically, and responsibly, could have been some of the most healing and corrective experiences of my life, but instead they were some of the most re-traumatizing and isolating.

These spaces, ceremonies, ways are meant to induce opening, initiation, recalibration, and transmutation. When held out of alignment, they become potentially violating, dangerous, and re-wounding, especially for those who have had a history of trauma. As the research shows, entheogenic therapies are potentially very effective in recovery and healing in the right conditions.

What are ethically-held entheogenic containers, therapies, and ceremonies? I can tell you it is NOT forced touch, pushing farther, harder, deeper, or more. It IS attunement, respect, consent, and letting go of agendas. Allowing the Sacred Process to unfold, being guided by Spirit, and the Inner Healer. That is to say, the Inner Healer of the client, and following the needs, and being responsive and responsible to the client. And the necessity for each and every psychedelic therapist and guide to be trained in Spiritual Emergence Support and integration, resources, and acknowledging that the opening into SE through entheogenic use as well as spontaneously, is a deeply transformative process that deserves the utmost care, holding, and respect, as it is inherently an Awakening process, and why we are here in this Time-

To heal together, to return to Wholeness, and to support the activation of our gifts and capacities to be of service to one another and the Planet.

(I delivered this transmission at Will Hall’s Event on 5/4/19 at Oakland Omni Commons)

Originally Published: https://holomnemonic.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/call-to-action-for-ethical-spaceholding/

Featured Image: “Etheric Motherboard of the New Paradigm” by David Wyatt

About Michelle Anne Hobart, MA, SEC, AMFT

Michelle is a teacher, writer, energy worker, and Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Holos Institute. She trained as a Spiritual Emergence Coach with Emma Bragdon and collaborates with the Gnosis Retreat Center project. Her love for the Earth and education was exemplified in her past as a high school Biology and Health teacher working in the Baltimore parochial school system after receiving her BS in Biology from University of Maryland Baltimore County.  Deeply longing to immerse herself in the subtle realms, she was drawn to the Bay Area to continue her studies. With her MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness from California Institute of Integral Studies, she continued her own personal journey of healing, and then sharing that path with others through her wellness center and intuitive collective. She has been in states of Spiritual Emergence throughout her life to varying degrees, and entered a state of Spiritual Emergency in 2013.. She completed and released her first book, Becoming Sacred Space in 2016. Then, in 2018, Michelle graduated from the Integral Counseling Psychology program at CIIS, and is currently finishing her second book, about Spiritual Emergence.

Learn more about Michelle at: 



Sean McAllister speaking about the successful mushroom decriminalization initiative in Denver

On May 8th, the city of Denver, Colorado voted yes on I-301, which decriminalizes the possession and use of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. The official results will be certified on May 16th. As of May 9th – the unofficial results are – yes (50.6%) and no (49.4%). 

I-301 decriminalizes adult (21 years or older) possession and use of Psilocybin mushrooms – making these offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement. This initiative also prohibits law enforcement to spend money and resources enforcing arresting adults with possession of mushrooms. 

Joe Moore recorded with Sean McCallister who is an attorney who helped advise Decriminalize Denver. If you want to learn about what decriminalization in Denver is really all about – tune in here. Expect to hear more from Sean in the future.


About Sean McAllister

Sean T. McAllister is one of the nation’s leading cannabis business attorneys, licensed to practice law in both Colorado and California. Sean’s legal work focuses on the complex interplay between corporate law and state cannabis regulatory structures and federal law. Sean is a recognized leader in the cannabis industry. In 2004, he founded Sensible Colorado, which worked on all of the ballot initiatives in Colorado that culminated in recreational cannabis legalization in 2012.