Speed Reads


Toad skins were once used as hallucinogenic drugs

You know about magic mushrooms, but new research has revealed other ways nature can get you hallucinating.

A study in the journal Neurologia found that everything from hallucinogenic cacti to "psychoactive dried toad skins" were used in Mesoamerica, Live Science reports. The strangest (and most disturbing) finding, though, might be the use of "alcohol-infused enemas."

Study author Francisco Javier Carod-Artal, of Hospital Virgen de la Luz in Cuenca, Spain, told Live Science that the drugs were used in medicinal practices as well as religious rituals. The Mayan civilization, which peaked between 250 B.C.E. and 900 C.E., for example, created a drink called "balche," which they used to communicate with spirits in divination rituals. The drink included a variety of plants thought to have hallucinogenic properties. The study also explained that at least 54 types of hallucinogenic mushrooms were used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures.

As for the toad skins, the species' salivary glands produce bufotoxins, toxic substances that apparently also have psychoactive properties, as Homer Simpson can attest.