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Mescaline: Peyote, San Pedro, & Peruvian Torch Cactus

Discover why mescaline is one of the most underappreciated psychedelics of all time. Mescaline is an underappreciated psychedelic. The mescaline experience will not transport you to other realms like ayahuasca or DMT, nor will it provide deep insights into the human condition — but it will teach you that, once all is said and done, life is, in essence, wonderful.

This intriguing psychedelic shares many similarities with LSD and psilocybin — but is far more sociable. Rather from making you feel alone and introverted, it instills confidence and extroversion.

Mescaline gives you a rush of energy and exhilaration, increases your empathy for the world around you, and makes you desire to chat to friends or go exploring. We’ll go over all you need to know about mescaline and the three most common sources — peyote, San Pedro, and Peruvian torch cacti — in this article.


What is Mescaline?

Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic found in various North American cactus species.

The effects of mescaline are similar to those of LSD or magic mushrooms, although there are some significant variances. The key distinction is mescaline’s sociability — it tends to make individuals more confident, lively, and chatty.

Despite the cartoon-like images, the intellect is clear and composed.

Mescaline has a long history of usage as a sort of sacrament by Native Americans in the United States and Mexico. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1994 provided these communities religious access to mescaline-containing cacti.

Aldous Huxley popularized this drug through his renowned book “The Doors of Perception,” which was based largely on his own experience with mescaline.

Mescaline is also being researched for its possible use in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Mescaline: Specs & Technical Details

Level of RiskVery low
Street NamesButtons, cactus, peyote, San Pedro, Huachuma, Peruvian torch
Most Common Side-EffectsStomach discomfort
Duration of Effects10 – 12 hours
LegalityIllegal (Religious Exceptions)

Peyote Cactus

(Lophophora williamsii). Peyote is a cactus species native to the southern United States and Mexico. It’s a little, spineless cactus that doesn’t become much bigger than a pin cushion in size. A single peyote cactus is referred to as a “button” by some.

Despite its unassuming look, the peyote cactus has the greatest content of mescaline of any cactus, at roughly 3-6% of its dried weight.

Peyote grows extremely slowly, taking up to 15 years to mature. A single dosage of peyote cactus needs many buttons for the average user. An skilled peyote user can take up to 15 or 20 buttons at once.

San Pedro Cactus

(Echinopsis pachanoi)The San Pedro cactus (AKA Huachuma) is endemic to South America’s mountainous areas, reaching elevations of 3000 meters in the Andes Mountains.

This hallucinogenic cactus species is many times bigger than peyote and hence provides a more sustainable source of mescaline.

It has a lower concentration of mescaline — around 4.5% of the dry weight. However, the plant’s significantly bigger size yields far more mescaline overall. The San Pedro cactus may reach a height of 12 meters (40 feet).

Peruvian Torch

(Peruvian Echinopsis). This cactus is related to the San Pedro cactus. It grows more quicker than San Pedro and peyote but generates far less mescaline – only 0.24% of the dry weight.

Torch Cactus of Peru. This signifies that the raw cactus dosage is too high to utilize the Peruvian torch alone. It does, however, provide a more sustainable source of mescaline concentration.

Other Sources of Mescaline

Mescaline is accessible in three pure forms: freebase mescaline, mescaline sulfate, and mescaline hydrochloride.

Ernst Späth, a well-known Austrian chemist who investigated plant extracts, was the first to synthesis mescaline in 1919. Mescaline was by far the most influential of the 120 compounds identified by Spath and his team.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a man named Alexander Shulgin utilized mescaline as a starting point for the production of hundreds of additional psychoactive drugs, including MDMA. He’s been labeled “the grandfather of psychedelics” for his participation in the development and documentation of over 200 psychoactive compounds, many of which were derived from mescaline.

Shulgin’s research was published in two volumes: TIHKAL (a tryptamine-based psychoactive based on psilocybin and LSD) and PIHKAL (a phenethylamine-based psychoactive based on mescaline).

List of Mescaline-Inspired Psychoactive Substances

What’s The Dose of Mescaline?

SourceMicrodoseStandard Psychoactive Dose
Peyote1 gram5–15 grams
San Pedro (Huachuma)1-2 grams8–20 grams
Peruvian Torch5–10 grams30 – 50 grams
Pure Mescaline10–40 milligrams200 milligrams

1. Microdoses

Microdosing is the practice of administering sub-psychoactive dosages of a chemical. This dosage does not cause euphoria, although it does have a slight effect on cognition.

The suggested benefits of microdosing mescaline include:

  • More creativity
  • Improvements in memory & relational skills
  • Better focus & concentration
  • More mental & physical energy
  • Improvements in mood
  • A higher level of empathy toward others

The goal behind microdosing is to take these modest dosages on a regular basis over a period of weeks or months. Microdosing results in progressive improvements over time. The longer you take mescaline, the better you will feel (at least in principle). There have been no formal studies conducted to investigate the long-term advantages of microdosing mescaline.

Mescaline may be stimulating, even at modest dosages, therefore it’s best to take it first thing in the morning. This gives it ample time to wear off by the time you’re ready to sleep.

There are other scheduling philosophies, but the most typical is to take one dosage of mescaline every three days (2 days respite).

How much do I take for a microdose of mescaline?

  • Pure mescaline isolate — 10–40 milligrams
  • Peyote cactus (dried) — 1 gram
  • San Pedro cactus (dried) — 1–2 grams
  • Peruvian torch cactus (dried) — 5–15 grams

2. Standard Psychoactive Dose

Mescaline’s usual psychoactive dosage ranges from 200 to 400 mg. You will feel the full psychoactive impact of mescaline at this dose. Visual and auditory hallucinations, alterations in temporal perception, inhibition of the default mode network (DMN), and an increased sense of empathy and openness are all examples.

This dose is well within the safe range of mescaline use and is unlikely to cause major negative effects. To get this dosage with dried cactus, many grams must be consumed at a once, which might irritate the stomach. Stomach pain is the most typical adverse effect of psychoactive mescaline, which is produced by the cactus rather than the mescaline. This negative effect can be avoided by drinking ginger tea before taking the cactus.

What Does A Mescaline Trip Feel Like?

Mescaline’s effects are comparable to LSD and magic mushrooms, although there are notable variances. Mescaline is a social psychedelic, which means it will make you feel more chatty, confident, and enthusiastic.

Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, are introverted psychedelics. They urge consumers to spend time alone. LSD falls halfway in the center, making users more gregarious at times and more reclusive at others.

Mescaline users frequently report it as producing nearly cartoon-like hallucinations while keeping total mental clarity. In contrast to ayahuasca, DMT, or salvia, you may conduct a completely normal conversation while under the influence of mescaline, and the entire experience stays grounded in reality.

Mescaline will not make you see anything that isn’t there; it will only alter the appearance of the items that are there.

Common Experiences From Mescaline Include:

  • A desire to be with friends & family
  • A feeling of content
  • A feeling of empathy with the world around you
  • Cartoon-like hallucinations
  • Distorted perception of time
  • Increased energy levels
  • Paranoia or anxiety

How Strong is Mescaline vs. Other Psychedelics?

Mescaline is the least potent of the traditional psychedelics. A regular psychedelic dosage requires roughly 200 milligrams of mescaline.

In comparison, LSD (60 micrograms), psilocybin (10 milligrams), DMT (20 milligrams), and salvinorin A (200 micrograms) each have 60 micrograms.

Mescaline’s effects are also significantly weaker than those of other psychedelics. You will not encounter aliens or suffer ego separation when using mescaline.

Mescaline vs. LSD & Shrooms

Mescaline is most similar to LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and psilocybin. It shares many characteristics in terms of the pictures produced by these chemicals.

The strength of these psychedelics varies greatly, with mescaline being the least potent overall. Psilocybin is approximately ten times stronger than mescaline, while LSD is around 1000 times stronger.

It’s also typical to notice similar forms and patterns in a variety of textures, including dirt, sand, wallpaper, and other patterns. Similar to seeing forms in the clouds, you may see what appear to be faces, animals, or writing on things in your environment.

The key distinction with mescaline is that it is classified as a social psychedelic. Some even consider it a recreational drug. While not suitable for a night out at the clubs, it is popular in a social situation such as a camping trip or campfire. It fosters feelings of self-assurance and extroversion. Mescaline encourages you to interact with others, as opposed to magic mushrooms, which encourage you to withdraw from the group in order to be alone with your thoughts.

Mescaline vs. DMT

Mescaline and DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) are not the same thing. DMT has a significant dissociation impact, causing our sense of “self” or ego to dissolve.

Even low dosages of DMT are very psychedelic and can alter our perception of the world around us. Mescaline does not have this effect. You are entirely “in the real world.”

DMT also produces considerably more geometric visions than mescaline, which produces more fluid pictures. There are, of course, exceptions, and some people experience geometric images when on mescaline.

Mescaline vs. Ketamine

The effects of ketamine and mescaline are quite similar. Both are psychedelics based on phenethylamine. This suggests that both of these compounds have a similar chemical structure and, as a result, create similar psychoactive effects.

This effect is shared by many other phenethylamine psychedelics, including DXM, PCP, 2C-B, 2C-E, and MDMA.

Despite having a similar mechanism of action, mescaline and ketamine have completely distinct effects.

Ketamine and most other synthetic phenethylamine medications have a significant dissociative impact, which is not frequently felt while under the influence of mescaline.

How to Take Mescaline

Raw cactus and pure synthetic mescaline powder are the two basic types of mescaline.

Raw cactus is favored since it produces a smoother experience; nevertheless, you must take a large amount of cactus to achieve the psychoactive dose. Eating a lot of cactus might be difficult since it tastes awful and can cause significant stomach ache.

To hide the flavor, the synthetic powder takes a considerably smaller quantity and is readily incorporated into juice or water. Mescaline powder can also be taken as a capsule (the most usual route).

1. The “Toss & Wash” Method

This is the most typical way to consume raw mescaline cactus. I’m not going to lie to you: it’s not going to be fun. It will be bitter — and there will be a lot of it. Rather than dragging it out, tear it off like a bandaid and get it over with as soon as possible.

To do the toss and wash procedure, fill a glass with water and add the proper amount of peyote, San Pedro, or Peruvian torch. Allow the powder or tiny cactus fragments to absorb some water before drinking. Keep some juice on hand to help you wash it down. Pineapple juice is excellent for masking the taste.

2. Capsules

Capsules are the most popular way to take mescaline, however they only work with concentrated or synthetic mescaline. The raw cactus is far too potent to be taken in capsule form. To achieve the psychoactive dose, you’d have to take 20 to 30 capsules.

Before you begin, make sure you know how much mescaline is in each pill and test a sample. The most hazardous aspect of utilizing synthetic mescaline is not the mescaline itself, but the chance of accidently swallowing capsules laced with other, more toxic chemicals, such as NBOMe.

3. Smoked

This is an older way of using mescaline that is hardly used nowadays.

Tobacco is blended with crushed up dried peyote or San Pedro cactus. This is then smoked to provide a modest psychedelic effect.

Tobacco has always been regarded as a valuable “teacher” plant. During ceremonial usage, it is frequently used with psychedelics to assist lead the person safely through their journey.

Unfortunately, much of the mescaline is consumed during the burning process, making this a wasteful method of utilizing it.

4. Mescaline Tea

Raw peyote or San Pedro cactus can also be used to make tea. To brew tea, place a few cactus pieces in a saucepan of water and gently boil for around 10 minutes.

The heat may harm some of the mescaline produced this way, so it won’t be as effective as ingesting the raw powder straight (toss and wash technique), but it will be much simpler to swallow.

Other herbs, such as ginger or peppermint, can be added to the tea to aid with digestive side effects.

How Does Mescaline Work?

Mescaline produces its effects by binding to numerous distinct types of receptors in the human brain. The majority of its psychoactive impact is due to its capacity to activate the 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C serotonin receptors – the same mechanism of action as other psychedelics such as DMT, LSD, and psilocin.

Receptors affected by mescaline include :

  • Inhibits the alpha-1 adrenergic receptors
  • Stimulates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors
  • Stimulates the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors
  • Stimulates the 5-HT2C serotonin receptors
  • Stimulates the TAAR1 receptors

Is Mescaline Safe?

Mescaline is not harmful to the body. While there are certain negative effects, there have never been any confirmed deaths directly caused by mescaline. In humans, the LD50 for mescaline is believed to be around 880 mg/kg [5].

That is a really high dosage. Nearly 60,000 mg of mescaline would be required for an average-sized individual (140 lbs). This is around 300 times the typical psychoactive dosage.

From 1997 to 2008, a 12-year examination of the California Poison Control Database showed only 31 incidences of mescaline toxicity [1]. None of the 31 incidents were deadly or resulted in life-threatening adverse effects. It’s even arguable whether some of them can be labeled “poisoning.”

Vomiting, for example, was only noted in one case. Agitation and tachycardia (rapid heart rate) were the most prevalent adverse effects.

There are certain psychological hazards to taking mescaline. The possibility for ego death, as well as side effects such as paranoia and anxiety, might have additional mental health consequences.

However, this is just in principle; multiple studies have shown that psychedelics, including mescaline, have a very low chance of creating mental health difficulties even after a “bad trip.”

In reality, the above-mentioned study discovered a decreased frequency of mental health conditions in those who had taken psychedelics.

Nonetheless, when using any psychoactive substance, it is critical to follow the principles for responsible psychedelic usage. The purpose with which you enter the encounter determines whether the substance will be beneficial or detrimental.

Side Effects of Mescaline

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea or vomiting (rare)
  • Paranoia
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)

Is Mescaline Addictive?

If you Google “mescaline addiction,” you’ll discover a slew of treatment facilities emphasizing the addictive nature of psychotropic cacti, but there’s no research to back this up.

Mescaline, like other traditional psychedelics (LSD, magic mushrooms, DMT), is not addictive. According to surveys on the illegal use of peyote, the typical “illicit” user of psychoactive cactus consumes the substance two times per lifetime, which is far from being a “drug of abuse.”

Mescaline, on the other hand, has been proven to have potent anti-addictive qualities. It’s one of the most promising alternatives for combating the massive drug addiction crisis. It ranks high among psychedelics such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, and LSD as possible addiction therapies.

When To Avoid Mescaline

Mescaline is not suitable for everyone. If you or a close family member has been diagnosed with a mental disease such as schizophrenia or psychosis, using mescaline (or any psychedelic) may not be safe.

Mescaline is also not suggested for people who have sensitive guts, as the cactus already irritates the digestive tract.

Mescaline should be avoided by anybody on antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, blood pressure medications, heart medications, or statin drugs.

With a few exceptions, mescaline and the cacti that generate it are prohibited in most areas of the world. Psychoactive cacti are permitted to own as decorative plants in Canada, Germany, and New Zealand. Mescaline and psychotropic cactus are still outlawed.

Native Americans in the United States are authorized to utilize peyote and San Pedro for religious purposes. Natural psychedelics have lately been decriminalized in several regions of the United States. Psychoactive cactus have been removed off the list of prohibited drugs in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Thailand.

Mescaline: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Does Mescaline Stay In The Body?

Mescaline can be found in urine for up to three days, however hair samples can be detected for up to 90 days. Mescaline can only be detected in blood after 24 hours of consumption and in saliva for up to 10 days (though generally less than 3).

2. Can I Order Live Peyote or San Pedro Cactus?

Some nations, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Ukraine, and New Zealand, allow you to order peyote, San Pedro, and Peruvian flame cacti as ornamental plants.

These cacti can be found at nurseries in the United States, but they will not be branded as San Pedro. The little spines along a few verticals and the pattern on the smooth columns help to identify them.

For a cactus, these cacti grow rather swiftly. The seeds can take many months to sprout, so most growers generate new plants from cuttings, which develop into huge plants in just a few years.

Expect to pay more than $50 per plant. It will then take 2-5 years for them to reach harvestable size (> 4 feet). San Pedro will usually reach a height of roughly 7 feet before being toppled over by their weight. Cut some to propagate new plants and dry the remainder.

3. Is Mescaline & Mezcal the Same Thing?

Mescaline is commonly mistaken with mezcal, an alcoholic liquor. These two goods have identical names, yet they couldn’t be more different.

Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant. It’s the same as tequila but can be made from any agave plant (tequila needs to be made from a specific type of agave called Agave tequilana or “blue agave”).

Mescaline is the active ingredient in psychoactive cacti (Lophophora williamsii) that have no relationship to the agave plant.

4. Why is Mescaline So Underrated as a Psychedelic?

Mescaline is not widely used by the general population, but individuals who have tried it frequently return to it after experimenting with other psychedelics.

Consider the archetype of mescaline user: the aging rebellious hippy. They are typically quite smart and have achieved some level of success in both work and family life. They are currently enjoying their golden years with plenty of travel and a vibrant social life.

They’ve done everything and have returned to mescaline in their old age. The mescaline experience can be highly illuminating, but its main premise is that it’s “grounding.” It transports you to the current moment and demonstrates how much joy it is to be alive.

5. Is Huachuma the Same As San Pedro?

Yes, Huachuma is the indigenous name for the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) in Peru and other Andes mountain regions where it grows naturally.

What Does the Future of Mescaline Look Like?

Following in the footsteps of DMT, LSD, and magic mushrooms, mescaline’s popularity is expected to rise in the future years. As the use of psychedelics becomes less taboo, individuals will definitely begin to experiment with some of the more “unconventional” psychedelics (if mescaline can even be considered unconventional).

Even if rules change, demand for this underappreciated psychedelic is likely to be restricted. Synthetic mescaline is accessible, but it will never be as valued as raw psychoactive cacti, which are just too expensive and difficult to create to compete with LSD and magic mushrooms. Mescaline will always be more costly and difficult to obtain.

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