Odd News Show

That’s Not How You Kiss a Toad: Tulum Tourists Throw Caution to the Wind with Unsupervised “Speed‑toading”

Tourists are flocking to Tulum, Mexico to try to gain insight into life, the universe and everything - by smoking toad venom, of course.

By Katie Compa · April 2, 2024

Baby, my s**t is 100 percent pure. Holger Krisp/Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: While this article is based on ribbiting facts, it also contains a lick of satire. Don’t lick it too much. You have been warned.

Americans are not generally known for being polite tourists, and anyone who’s ever flown in or out of the airport in Cancun, Mexico, knows that we’re certainly not sending our best to the beautiful beach towns of the Riviera Maya. 

In particular, Tulum—an ancient walled city—is nowadays veritably overrun by wannabe influencers with money to blow and beautiful views to spoil. Of course, all visitors are fair game for the region’s legitimately awesome tourist offerings: tours to Mayan ruins, day trips to the nearby island of Cozumel, and swimming in cenotes (natural sinkholes.)

But more adventurous travelers can pay around $250 USD to (mentally) leave the solar system. Those pursuing a higher knowledge smoke a powerfully hallucinogenic venom that is milked from a toad. The practice is called “speed-toading,” and if that doesn’t give you pause in itself, please stop reading and call a hotline. We’ll wait…

…Still here? Well, Mike Tyson has said publicly that he smokes the venom up to three times a day, and keeps the toads on his California ranch for whenever he needs a top-up. Now, call.

The toad species is Incilius alvarius, also known as the “Sonoran desert toad.” In just 15 seconds, one inhale of the dried discharge can send the user directly to a different astral plane, where they’ll stay for up to 40 minutes while their earthly body remains offline. 

The effects have been known since the Middle Ages (who among us doesn’t remember hearing that licking a toad’s butt could get you high back in high school?), but it’s now making a comeback as a New Age treatment - thanks mainly, of course, to white tourists.

Why would anyone suspect that the venom of a creature bearing not one but TWO Eyes of Sauron might be harmful?  Jasper Nance/Flickr

To wit, a Michigan-accredited therapist, mom of two, and ideal con victim, Samantha Gonzalez, and her husband wanted to try out the new psychedelic experience—said to be stronger than mushrooms, ayahuasca, or DMT—on their recent Tulum vacation. When asked what prompted her to seek out speed-toading on her vacation, she said she had seen one (1) documentary on the subject.

Samantha said that based on her “research,” she was expecting an “orgasm of light and love and beauty.” Still, as anyone who’s tried sex or hallucinogenics knows, even a regular orgasm is never guaranteed. 

Except for these guys, HEYOOOOOO!  BioBlitzEmily/Flickr

While some facilities offer a fully guided, daylong transcendental experience, these two instead partook of the venom defenseless in a tent in the middle of downtown Tulum. Samantha smoked two rounds of the venom in her first attempt, but she was dissatisfied with the services she received and feared her husband might be having a better trip than hers - so naturally, she went a few tents down to try a third time, which she doesn’t remember. Later, of her own volition, she told all of that to a newspaper. 

Gonzalez says though the experience had her fearing for both her life and her safety, the growth after the experience is the key, and actually, there’s plenty of peer-reviewed scientific research to back up the positive effects of the toad venom - under supervision

Gonzalez says that since their experiences, she and her husband have strengthened their relationship, and she has discontinued her antidepressants. Now, when she feels depressed, she can simply “play guitar” or “do yoga.” 

Though we’re not physicians and don’t dispense medical advice, and we likewise maintain a healthy suspicion of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, we still think she might want to keep those psychiatrists’ numbers handy.