And yes, it was on purpose.
"Sapo" (or "Kambo") is one hell of a medicine. Emphasis on "hell" for the first 15 minutes, then "medicine" thereafter.
A friend who recently returned from Peru brought a bunch of the properly-collected venom back with him, and I got the chance to take a test-drive this past Saturday.
I had my session after he recovered from his, and we did it in the traditional manner (even using sticks from the Amazon to make the burns). It involves lighting the end of a small stick on fire, blowing it out, and making a slight, superficial burn on one's arm or lower leg about the size of a pencil eraser. The stick is re-lit and the process repeated until the desired number of burns (i.e. the dose) is reached.
After the burning, the outer skin layer (epidermis) peels right off, exposing the dermis layer (and lots of capillaries!). A small amount of dry venom is hydrated with some saliva (not water; the enzymes in saliva are essential for it to work right) and rolled up into what I can only describe as a small, sticky booger. My friend rolled up three venom-boogers and applied them to my burns and the fun began shortly thereafter.
[Note: By "fun," I mean the extreme polar opposite]
We did it outside on his deck since projectile vomiting is a very common reaction. I was somewhat apprehensive since I knew there was nothing pleasant about what I was about to experience and my friend's face was still swollen up to the point where he looked uncannily like a frog, which is also a relatively common reaction. He'd hurled some fascinating shades of green and orange fluid an impressive distance off his deck, and his eyes could barely open and he was still having some trouble speaking ~45 minutes after taking his dose, and it was now my turn...
I did a lot of research in the days leading up to it, so knew to fast for at least 6 hours beforehand (I fasted 12 to be on the safe side), not have any coffee/stimulants that morning (grrr...) and to drink a lot of water shortly before having my dose administered.
I took three "dots" of the traditional size (four is the maximum recommended dose for the size of the venom globs I was taking, which were roughly 4 to 5 millimeters in diameter).
I was sitting upright and breathing slow and deep (as suggested) and within about a minute my eyes got squinty as my head started feeling like a vise was being slowly tightened on my temples, followed quickly by a feeling of nausea that embodied the term "visceral" like nothing I'd experienced before; the feeling was clearly originating in my liver. It was the first time I could unambiguously visualize or "see" my liver (outlined in my mind's eye by the shock it was receiving, I guess) in the same way we "see" our stomach when we're feeling nauseated.
And then it got unpleasant.
I could barely sit upright, and my survival instincts were freaking out since my body damned well knew it was being poisoned, and when they kick in our survival instincts easily kick the crap out of our intellect and abstract reasoning abilities. So my knowing that it wasn't actually going to harm or kill me didn't help at all. My body knew it was poisoned, and felt like it was dying. It became too heavy to move (I was laying down at this point). I could barely lift one of my hands off the ground.
Recall the worst sugar-crash fatigue, the worst hangover body-load, and the most urgent sense of borderline panic from sensing your likely-impending death that you've ever felt... Now double their intensity and combine them all together into one completely and utterly overwhelming experience and you've got Sapo in a nutshell.
I sure was glad that I drank a liter and a half of water on my way over since I suspect it diluted the huge dose of bile released by my gallbladder (where the interesting colors in the vomit come from). I didn't end up vomiting, and my face only puffed up very slightly.
My "purge" came in the form of sweat, which began to flow from every pore in my body and continued for ten solid minutes. I sweated out that entire liter and a half of water (at least), and couldn't be any more soaked if I'd jumped in a pool with my clothes on.
The headache wasn't too bad, just a sense of pressure that wasn't as bad as some actual hangovers I've had, but the fatigue and body-load was so heavy that all I could do while enduring the "peak" was keep my eyes closed and breathe while repeating two thoughts over and over; the first was "keep..." (on the inhale) and the second was "breathing..." (on the exhale). The fatigue was that intense (i.e. thinking one word at a time was the limit of my cognitive abilities).
Keep.....Breathing.....Keep.....Breathing.....Keep.....Breathing.... (repeat for ~15 minutes)
The trajectory of its effects was very similar to that of vaporized DMT; rapid onset, extreme peak, then a rapid decline that left me back at baseline in about 15-20 minutes (or close enough to baseline to sit back up and start thinking "holy everloving shit that was gnarly...," at least).
Glad I brought a change of (dry) clothes, and after taking it easy for another hour or so I drove home feeling pretty good, all things considered. But the real test was seeing how I'd feel the next day, and I have to say I was most impressed.
As far as I'm concerned, Sapo definitely lives up to its reputation as a potent antidote to "brain fog" as well as boosting energy, vigor, and clarity. The very next day (Sunday) I spent 2 hours fixing a critical issue in a friend's attic for him (it was in the upper-80's with ~75% rH at the time, so it was rather "warm" up in his attic) and was amazed at how well I was tolerating it. I didn't even sweat a fraction as much as I had while I was enduring Sapo. My mental clarity and focus were noticeably sharpened and that has remained the case as of this writing.
Sapo works (does it ever), and while the benefits are profound, they are also most definitely earned the hard way. Fortunately (to say the least) our bodies quickly forget the acute, visceral intensity of the suffering endured to gain those benefits. And they have been profound enough for me to already want to do another session again soon. And no, I'm not a masochist (at all; my motto is usually No pain, no pain!).
My friend will be meeting up with his cousin to go bow hunting for hogs soon and they will be doing a Sapo session beforehand to see if it helps with success (another traditional use for it is to prep for a hunt). It reportedly eliminates our scent for a while as well as increasing visual acuity, hearing, and endurance so I can see how it would be handy for hunting.
This substance has been mentioned around here a few times in the past, and the relevant threads are chock-full of very informative and fascinating reading, which I highly recommend to anyone considering experiencing this VERY strong Medicine. It's not psychedelic per se (it is legal in the U.S.), but it's definitely a mind-and-body altering substance!
For further reading:
Peter Gorman's website: