Ayahuasca vs Bufo – similarities and differences on the healing journey

ayahuasca vs bufo



Welcome to our discussion on two profound plant medicines: Ayahuasca and Bufo, both of which have made headlines over the last few years as powerful medicines. 

Ayahuasca, an ancient plant medicine from the Amazon rainforest, and Bufo, derived from the secretion of the Bufo alvarius toad, each provide unique experiences deeply rooted in indigenous traditions. 

By understanding their individual characteristics, effects, and ceremonial contexts, you’ll be better equipped to decide which of these powerful substances resonates more with your current needs and spiritual aspirations. 

Join us as we dive into the workings of these transformative medicines, guiding you towards a more informed choice on your path to healing and self-discovery.

Key takeaways: 

  • Ayahuasca is a plant medicine from the amazon with an uninterrupted ancestral lineage of thousands of years, with DMT being the main active ingredient (not the only alkaloid)
  • Bufo is a secretion from the Bufo Alvarius Toad with the 5 MeO DMT as the active ingredient, however there is an interruption of the ancestral lineage of Bufo practitioners.
  • Many people are drawn to Bufo as the ultimate psychedelic experience. It is important to approach these medicines with humility and respect in our heart and not as a way to get the “next hit”. 

Table of Contents



It is essential to understand that Ayahuasca ceremonies and those involving Bufo (5-MeO-DMT from the Bufo alvarius toad) vary significantly across different traditions and practitioners. This will offer a general framework, but the specifics can differ based on who is conducting the ceremony and their unique practices.

Moreover, it’s crucial to recognize that these general guidelines provide only a basic structure for Ayahuasca and Bufo ceremonies. Your personal experience during these ceremonies can be profoundly unique and subjective. The reality is that no amount of preparation can fully anticipate your individual journey during an Ayahuasca or Bufo ceremony.

Hence, it is critically important to engage in open communication with the ceremony’s facilitators. Make certain that they provide clear answers to all your inquiries and address any worries you might have. Such conversation is crucial for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the ceremony’s procedure, anticipated results, and associated risks.

 In the end, after gathering this information and combining it with your personal insight and research, you are advised to make a well-informed choice regarding the suitability of a specific plant medicine for your needs.

Remember, the journey with plant medicines like Ayahuasca and Bufo is deeply personal and can vary greatly from one individual to another. Safety, comfort, and understanding should be your priorities when considering participation in such ceremonies.

What are the main differences? Ayahuasca vs. Bufo


Ayahuasca is known to show you aspects of yourself or your life that require attention or healing. It is a brew made from two distinct plants.

The primary psychoactive component in Ayahuasca is DMT (N-dimethyltryptamine). Typically, an Ayahuasca ceremony lasts between 6 and 8 hours, offering a prolonged period for introspection and experience.


Bufo refers to the secretion from the Bufo alvarius toad, which contains 5-MeO-DMT as its active ingredient. The experience with Bufo is notably shorter, generally lasting about 20 minutes. However, subjectively, the duration can feel much longer due to the intense nature of the experience. 

The profound effects of 5-MeO-DMT can lead to a powerful journey into the unified field of consciousness.

Ancestral Lineage and Background:

Ayahuasca has an uninterrupted ancestral lineage, having been utilized for thousands of years in the Amazon rainforest. This long-standing tradition has allowed the practice to be passed down through generations, maintaining its cultural and spiritual knowledge.

In contrast, Bufo, which also has ancient roots, experienced a break in its lineage of use. There was a period when the shamans of Mexico ceased the practice of Bufo ceremonies. 

Consequently, it is improbable that the ceremonies today are conducted in the same traditional manner as they were thousands of years ago, given this disruption in continuity.

Interestingly, a Bufo shaman shared that some elders in Mexico are beginning to remember Bufo songs and prayers during their ceremonies. This phenomenon suggests a resurgence or reawakening of this ancient knowledge, hinting at the deep cultural and spiritual connections that persist even after a lapse in practice. 

Even though this knowledge is starting to come back, there is a distinct difference between not having uninterrupted ancestral knowledge like with Ayahuasca. 

Must read Blog: Origins of Ayahuasca 

The Sourcing of the Medicine:

  • A sustainable approach to Ayahuasca 

The source of Ayahuasca varies greatly depending on the shaman or community. Many shamans have their own sources for Ayahuasca plants, with a number of them cultivating the plants themselves. 

There are also designated “Ayahuasca farms” where the sole purpose is to grow Ayahuasca. Additionally, there is Ayahuasca that grows wild in the jungle, which is often considered more potent due to its natural environment.

The approach to sourcing Ayahuasca can greatly influence its sustainability. The tribe we collaborate with owns land where they cultivate Ayahuasca. Beyond this, they also engage in the practice of planting Ayahuasca in the untouched jungle, allowing it to grow naturally before harvesting it years later. This method is seen as highly respectful and sustainable.

Where do the shamans get the bufo from?

Traditionally, Bufo shamans would be located near the natural habitat of the Bufo alvarius toad. They had unique methods to attract the toads, which often involved playing music, creating an atmosphere of ecstasy and joy for the toad. 

This harmonious interaction would lead the toad to release its secretion (sacrum), which the shamans then collected. This process was a beautiful example of co-creation in tune with nature.

However, current practices have shifted. Now, the toads, which surface only one month per year, are often captured, and their secretion is forcefully extracted before they are released back into their habitat. 

This method, contrasting sharply with traditional practices, feels more like an act of taking than a mutual exchange, raising concerns about ethical and energetic implications.

Find out if Ayahuasca is right for you

  • Will you be safe physically and emotionally?
  • How will you be supported in the ceremony?
  • How do the facilitators handle difficult situations?
  • How will you be able to process the experience?
  • You want change, but will your life be unrecognizable after Ayahuasca?

+ 13 things to consider before drinking Ayahuasca?

Intensity of the Experience:

Ayahuasca: Ayahuasca is often referred to as a ‘master plant’ due to its profound and insightful nature. It provides exactly what one needs at the time of the ceremony. This means the experience can vary greatly—it might be gentle and subtle, or in some cases, there may be little to no perceivable effects. Conversely, it can also be incredibly intense, pushing individuals to their limits. 

This challenging aspect of Ayahuasca often reveals inner strength and resilience one might not have been aware of. Its intuitive nature knows what one can handle at any given moment, providing insights and experiences that are tailored to the individual’s current state and needs.

Must read Blog: What to expect from an Ayahuasca ceremony

If you want to experience Ayahuasca, we invite you to consider our Ayahuasca Retreat in Colombia

Bufo: Bufo, however, offers a different experience. The journey with Bufo typically catapults you from your ordinary state of consciousness to a profound level of universal awareness in just about 20 minutes. 

This experience often involves what is described as an ‘Ego death’ or a dissolution of the Ego, where one’s attachments and individual identity seem to melt away. It is described as an eye-opening encounter, where individuals often report experiencing a sense of oneness with all existence and a connection to a singular, underlying field of consciousness that pervades the universe. 

This intense, rapid shift in perspective can be both enlightening and overwhelming, offering a glimpse into the interconnected nature of all things.

Personal Skepticism with Bufo:

There’s a noticeable trend where individuals, often seeking the ultimate psychedelic experience, are drawn to Bufo. This inclination sometimes resembles the behavior of a ‘junkie’ constantly in pursuit of a stronger and more intense ‘hit.’ The allure of Bufo is further magnified by the accounts of strong, influential personalities like Mike Tyson and Anthony Robbins sharing their intense experiences with it.

What stands out in this scenario is the immediate and profound nature of the Bufo experience, which doesn’t necessarily involve a gradual process of introspection or confrontation of one’s issues.

With Ayahuasca, you can reach a similar state of consciousness; however, that often requires a more conscious and deliberate process. It typically involves working through one’s attachments, understanding them, and being ready to let go of them. 

Only then does Ayahuasca dive into the deep oneness of consciousness. In very few instances does Ayahuasca instantly catapult one into such states. 

This gradual approach, involving active participation and emotional processing, can be seen as a more integrative and potentially grounding path to profound consciousness expansion.


looking for the next psychedelic hit bufo vs ayahuasca

looking for the next psychedelic hit bufo vs ayahuasca

Benefits of a Bufo Experience:

Bufo can be particularly beneficial in certain circumstances:

  • For Those Seeking a Strong Reset: Bufo may be effective for individuals who find themselves repeatedly facing the same issues or who are stuck in destructive patterns. This can be especially true for those who have endured deep levels of trauma and are exhausted from continually reverting to harmful behaviors. A powerful reset, which Bufo can facilitate, might be precisely what is needed to break these cycles. The resurgence of Bufo in contemporary society could be attributed to a growing collective need for awakening and resetting. In an era where many are seeking profound change and transformation, Bufo’s capacity to provide an intense and rapid shift in consciousness aligns well with these needs.
  • For Those Who Struggle to Connect with Other Psychedelics: There are cases where individuals do not respond to psychedelics like Ayahuasca, even after multiple ceremonies. Some people, after experiencing minimal effects from Ayahuasca, have turned to Bufo and found it to be a catalyst in breaking down barriers. This ‘opening’ effect can then make it easier to connect with other psychedelic experiences, like Ayahuasca, in the future
  • Reconnecting with Natural Talents and Abilities: Bufo has a unique way of reconnecting individuals with their innate abilities and passions, often those that were prominent in childhood but got sidelined with age. It can reignite these dormant interests and skills.

It’s important to note, however, that similar benefits can also be attributed to Ayahuasca. 

Frequency of the Experience:

Regularity of partaking in ceremonies: Ayahuasca vs. Bufo:

When it comes to Ayahuasca, there is considerable flexibility in terms of frequency of use. Many individuals partake in Ayahuasca ceremonies between 3 to 15 times over a 12 to 18-month period, often as a means of working through specific issues. Some people, particularly those who facilitate these ceremonies, might consume Ayahuasca more frequently, and generally, there are no significant adverse effects noted, aside from the potential for multiple sleepless nights and the need for good liver care.

Must read blog: How many Ayahuasca ceremonies do you need? 


The Bufo experience, on the other hand, typically doesn’t necessitate frequent repetition. It is often sufficient to undergo a Bufo ceremony once or twice a year. Given the intense and transformative nature of the Bufo experience, a continuous ‘reset’ is not usually needed. While there may be individuals who seek out Bufo experiences more frequently, perhaps in pursuit of the ‘next hit’ within the realm of psychedelic experiences, this is not generally necessary. In fact, for most people, very frequent Bufo sessions are not advised, except perhaps in very rare cases. The profound impact of a single Bufo experience often necessitates time for integration and reflection, reducing the need for frequent use.

Self-Administering Ayahuasca or Bufo:

Strongly advised against. It’s important to understand the risks associated with attempting to self-administer substances like Ayahuasca and Bufo. With the emergence of products like Bufo vape pens, the allure of convenience and accessibility might be tempting, but such practices can be extremely hazardous.

When engaging with powerful medicines like Bufo, which can profoundly open you up energetically, it is crucial to be in the presence of knowledgeable and experienced practitioners. The guidance and support provided by these individuals are indispensable, particularly in navigating the intense and often overwhelming experiences these substances can induce.

Similarly, with Ayahuasca, self-administration is not recommended. Beyond the spiritual and psychological dimensions, there are tangible physical risks involved, such as the possibility of suffocating on one’s vomit. Ayahuasca can induce intense physical and emotional reactions that can be difficult, if not impossible, to manage alone. The ceremonial setting, supervised by experienced facilitators, provides not only a safer environment but also a more conducive space for a meaningful and transformative experience.

In summary, it is highly recommended to participate in Ayahuasca and Bufo ceremonies only under the supervision of experienced and trustworthy facilitators. The complexities and potential risks of these experiences necessitate a supportive, knowledgeable, and safe environment.

Must read Blog: Ayahuasca or San Pedro? 

Must read Blog: Ayahuasca vs Magic Mushrooms

Conclusion: should I take Ayahuasca or Bufo? 

In the end, the decision regarding which medicine to engage with should resonate deeply with your own inner calling. It’s a journey that is as personal as it is profound. While others can offer recommendations and guidance, ultimately, it’s a path that only you can choose based on what you feel drawn to in your heart. It’s also important to introspect and understand your intentions. Are you driven by mere curiosity or the desire for an intense experience, or is there a deeper, more purposeful reason behind your choice?

I would strongly suggest considering Ayahuasca for its unique ability to provide exactly what you need at the moment you need it. With Ayahuasca, it’s possible to achieve the same heightened state of consciousness that Bufo offers. Additionally, the uninterrupted ancestral lineage and wisdom associated with Ayahuasca adds a layer of depth and authenticity to the experience.

However, this is merely a recommendation. The most crucial aspect is to follow what you personally feel drawn towards. Each medicine, be it Ayahuasca, Bufo, or another, has its unique attributes and can offer profound insights and transformations. Whichever path you choose, ensure it’s done with respect, understanding, and under the guidance of experienced practitioners. Your journey with plant medicine should be a reflection of your innermost needs and aspirations, aligning with your personal journey towards growth and understanding.


Should I do Bufo or Ayahuasca? 

The first thing is you have to look at your intention to know if you should do Bufo or Ayahuasca? The easier digestible experience is Ayahuasca. It will give you what you need at the time you drink it. The Bufo takes you from 0 – 100 within 20 minutes. In some situation this is exactly what people need, especially when they are looking for a strong reset. 

Make sure you listen to your heart when going on a inner journey with whatever healing modality you choose. 

Is Bufo more profound than Ayahuasca? 

Bufo is generally considered a more profound experience than Ayahuasca. After all, you dive into the universal consciousness within 20 minutes. But maybe some other, smaller realisations might be more profound for you at the moment (like spending more time with family, starting to exercise more etc.) These might not sound as attractive but in the end with these tools we should not be looking for the intensity of the experience but more the learnings that we receive.  

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