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Anadenanthera Peregrina

Family: Fabaceae (=Leguminosae; Mimosaceae)
Genus: Anadenanthera
Species: peregrina; colubrina; excelsa; macrocarpa

COMMON NAMES: Yopo; Cohoba; Vilca


DESCRIPTION: Anadenanthera is a genus of trees, some of which produce DMT, bufotenin, and 5-MeO-DMT-containing seeds in pods. There is a long history of use of these seeds in South America.

Yopo, Anadenanthera peregrina and Piptadenia peregrina are different names for the same plant, which has a rich ethnobotanical history. Not to be mistaken with A. colubrina, or cebil, its use is well documented and covers at least 55 indigenous tribes.

The snuff made from yopo seeds is called cohoba, which has been used in ritual contexts in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Many artifacts and administration paraphernalia have been discovered, the long tube, used for blowing cohoba into the nostril of another person, being the most familiar object.
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During Columbus' second voyage to the Americas, 1493-1496, the Admiral himself commented on a mysterious "powder" which the "kings" of the Taíno Indians of the island of Hispaniola would "snuff up," and that "with this powder they lose consciousness and become like drunken men" (Torres 1988; Wassén 1967). Columbus commissioned Friar Ramón Pané to study the customs of the Taíno, and Pané wrote of the practice of the buhuitihu or shaman who "takes a certain powder calledcohoba snuffing it up his nose, which intoxicates them so they do not know what they do…" (Wassén 1967) . Pané also referred to the drug and cogioba, and in the later text of Peter Martyr the name is given as kohobba. More than four centuries were to pass before cohoba was definitively identified by American ethnobotanist W.E.Safford as a preparation of the seeds of Piptadenia peregrina, today more correctly known as Anadenanthera peregrina (Reis Althschul 1972; Safford 1916). While some had earlier confused cohoba with tobacco, also used by the Taíno, Safford in part based his identification on the widespread use of A. peregrina snuff under the name yopo by various South American Indian groups of the Orinoco River basin.. Archaeological remains in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Domincan Republic, Haiti, Perú and Puerto Rico testify to the broad range and antiquity of entheogenic snuff use in the Caribbean and South America (Cordy-Collins 1982; Franch 1982; Furst 1947b; Pagan Perdomo 1982;Torres 1981; Torres 1987; Torres 1992; Torres et al 1991; Wassén 1965; Wassén 1967; Wassén & Holmstead 1963). There is evidence of the modern survival of Anadenanthera snuff use among the Mataco Indians of the Río Bermejo and Río Pilcomayo area of Argentina (Repke 1992; Torres 1992) and it was recently reported that three species are used as inebriants by Paraguayan Indians: Anadenanthera peregrina (curupáy); A. colubrina var. cébil (= Piptadenia macrocarpa; curupáy-curú) and A. Rigida ( curupáy-rá; Costantini 1975). As late as 1976, snuffs made from A. peregrina were being prepared in the Orinoco basin (Brewer-Carias & Steyermark 1976).

Yopo snuff use was first reported in 1801 by the explorer A. von Humboldt among the Maypure Indians of Orinoco, and he identified the source of the seeds used in the snuff as Acacia niopo (later called Mimosa acaciaoides by R. Schomburgk), incorrectly, however, ascribing the potency of the snuff to the "freshly calcined lime" mixed with the fermented, powdered seeds (Humboldt & Bonpland 1852-1853). Fifty years later, the great botanist Richard Spruce made the first in-depth report of the use of yopo by the Guahibo Indians of the Orinoco basin, notes that were not published until another 57 years had passed (Schultes 1983c; Spruce 1908). Spruce called the source plant Piptadenia niopo. In Preu and Bolivia, a snuff called vilca or huilca(knows as cébil in northern Argentina) is derived from seeds of the closely related Anadenanthera colubrina (Reis Altschul 1964; Reis Altschul 1967), the use of which was reported amont Inca shamans in the sixteenth century (Schultes & Hofmann 1980). There is also circumstantial evidence the Incas employed vilca as a clyster or enema, although it is not clear whether the purpose was inebriation or purgation (De Smet 1983). There is evidence the Mura and Omagua Indians (and perhaps other Amazonian indigenous groups) employed A peregrina also as an enema, under the name paricá; although this is a generic name for entheogenic snuffs in parts of Amazonia, and usually refers to preparations of another plant, Virola spp., about which more will be said below (De Smet 1983; De Smet 1985a; Furst & Coe 1977). Since Anadenanthera species are not found in Amazonia, there is doubt in the case of the Omagua Indians whether the curupa leaves used in entheogenic snuffs and enemas were referable to this genus (De Smet 1983; Torres et al. 1991).
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Yopo – legal status

Anadenanthera of either variation is not a controlled plant in most countries. It may be kept for aesthetic and landscaping purposes practically everywhere, though human consumption is banned in some places.

Also, bufotenine and DMT are both controlled substances in most countries. Therefore extraction and possession of these compounds is illegal. The same is true for practically all countries, but always consult the appropriate laws before buying or using yopo.

USA Yopo is, in general, legal in the USA. Louisiana has banned yopo in the sense that it may not be consumed, but can still be kept for ornamental purposes. DMT and bufotenin are schedule I substances; illegal to extract and own. There has also been anecdotal evidence of yopo confiscated and its owner prosecuted on the basis of possessing a schedule I substance.
Australia Yopo is not specifically regulated, but import of plants containing DMT content is illegal. Bufotenin is also a schedule I substance.
Netherlands Yopo is not a controlled plant in the Netherlands and is legal. Extraction and possession of DMT and bufotenin are prohibited.
UK Yopo is not a controlled plant in the UK and is legal. Extraction and possession of DMT and bufotenin are prohibited.

yopo from the Netherlands

It should be noted that while this product is named yopo, it is, in fact Anadenanthera colubrina. As mentioned before, snuff made from anadenanthera colubrina – as opposed to A. peregrina – is called vilca. However, effects of the two substances are practically the same.
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Yopo snuff effects

Yopo contains three main active compounds: bufotenin, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT. All three are serotonergic compounds, binding to and activating serotonin receptors. How exactly this results in psychedelic effects is not entirely clear though.

The effects of yopo are mainly attributed to bufotenin, as the other two compounds are rather short acting. Yopo beans can contain up to 7,4% bufotenin, while the DMT content is under 0.1%.

Yopo may be taken orally; however, bufotenine and DMT are not, by themselves, active orally. These substances are metabolised by monoamine oxidase, which is why oral consumption only produces psychedelic effects if taken along with MAO inhibitors.

Yopo is traditionally consumed in the form of insufflation. It has been used in shamanistic rituals of tribes in South America for thousands of years.

However, yopo is reported to smell and taste vile; which is why it is traditionally not taken alone. Participants sit facing each other, and blow the snuff into the other’s nose through a long tube. This way much more of the substance can be consumed.

Cognitive effects

Yopo is a psychedelic substance with both stimulating and sedating effects. In the first 20-40 minutes yopo acts as a stimulant, afterwards as a sedative.

It is during the latter period that hallucinations appear. These are reported to be similar to the visuals of LSD and mescaline. The difference is that with yopo the cognitive effects of yopo intensify quickly, but fade rather fast as well.

Colors begin to shift, objects seem to melt or pulse. Along with geometric shapes, creatures and whole scenarios may be experienced as well.

Apart from the visual effects, yopo has been reported to cause mild euphoria in users, though it is not exactly a pleasure drug. An increased sense of anxiety is also common.

Physical effects

Yopo causes quite a few physical effects, most of which can be considered side-effects, as they are rather unpleasant. Consumption often results in loss of motor functions, especially during the hallucinatory stage.

The most common side effect of yopo is nausea, reported to be quite strong in most cases. The insufflation itself can also be rather painful to the nostrils.

Yopo causes high blood pressure and the users’ cheeks and forehead flush intensely. At higher doses, this can take on a purplish hue, indicating blood circulation problems.


It should be noted that user reports on both yopo and cebil are only rarely precise and correct in describing their ingredients. Most people are not aware of the difference in chemical makeup of the two species’ seeds.

Although yopo is taken orally or sometimes even rectally, most people use it parenterally, or through the nose. When snorted, yopo causes a heavy body load in most users. Dizziness, vomiting and headache are common, especially with doses over 3 seeds. Most users also report a dreamlike state of mind or a psychedelic experience, lasting around 15 minutes, with a 30 to 45-minute afterglow.


In order to be absorbed by the body, the seeds must be prepared prior to use:

use 1-4 seeds per person
heat seeds on low heat until they pop
separate the outer seed from the inner seed
the inner part of the seed is used
discard the outer seed shell
heat the remaining inner seed on low
stop heating when it is hard and crunchy
crush the seed (use a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, etc.)
mix the following: 2 parts seed, 1 part lime or shell, and 1 part baking soda
add a few drops of water to form a paste
mix well and heat on low until material dries
crush dry material into a fine powder (use a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, etc.)

-Usually take around 40 seeds
-Toast on frying pan at medium heat for 30min (they come out popped and dark red/orange is the meat of the bean)
-Grind them up real good in mortel and pestle (yes, I use the skin)
-Pour the grinded Yopo on my ritual plate
-Eyeball about 1/4-1/5 of the Yopo in Sodium Carbonate
-Mix this up and add some drops of water and make a buttery paste
-Even this out on the plate
-Put the plate on top of a bowl of hot water until dry
-Weight or eyeball your dose and snuff it

Fresh seeds will puff up and pop (revealing the inner part of the seed) when lightly heated (may take up to 20-30 minutes). A small pot or pan works well, a lid will help retain heat. After the seed pops, separate the outer seed from the inner seed and discard the outer seed.

The inner part of the seed is then crushed into a powder and mixed with lime (or shells) and baking soda. A small amount of water is added to the mixture to form a paste. Mix the paste well, so that all ingredients are combined together.

Then put it in a pot or pan and supply low heat to evaporate the water from the paste. When the paste dries into a powder, use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to crush the mixture into a fine powder that can be snorted.

It may take a while for the mixture to dry, a fan can help speed things up. Edible lime or shell (containing lime) must be added to the mixture in order to be absorbed by the human body effectively. Baking soda added to the mixture will also improve bodily absorption.

The reason cebil or yopo snuff is sometimes blown by a fellow shaman into the nose of the user is that it is unpleasant. A helper can force a larger amount of the drug into the recipient's nasal cavity than the user would be able to consume alone.

You can make your own inhalation tube with some hollow plant stem or something else that will allow you to inhale the powder you have produced. Most people report a pleasant experience if the user can overcome the nasal discomfort and nausea.

There will most likely be some degree of an uneasy feeling in the stomach. If you can not force yourself to ingest enough powder to produce the desired effect, a helper can force-blow a large amount of cebil or yopo into your nasal passage. Experienced users say 1-2 seeds worth of powder will have a stimulating effect.

The inhalation of 3-4 seeds worth of cebil or yopo is said to produce a period of stimulation lasting about 20-40 minutes followed by a sedative period where hallucinations will probably be experienced. The first time you try, start with 1 seed (mild) to 4 seeds (wild) worth of snuff and see what you think. A sitter who is not using the drug is a good idea.

Dosages between 3-5 seeds have shown to be psychedelic for many users. Dosages over 5 seeds are very high and uncomfortable for most people. One bag contains approximately 40 to 50 seeds.
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