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What is mescaline?

Mescaline is a hallucinogen that is derived from peyote. Because of its psychoactive properties, people who use mescaline often display symptoms of dreamlike states, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting, and anxiety.

What is peyote?

Peyote, also known as Lophophora williamsii, is a species of hallucinogenic cactus. It’s mainly found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which runs along the southern border of the United States and in Northern Mexico. In most places around the world it is illegal to consume peyote, but there are exemptions for certain religious and sacred ceremonies. The reason why peyote is illegal is because it contains a variety of alkaloids, the one that we’re most interested in being mescaline. 

Upon ingestion, mescaline interacts with the serotonin receptors in your central nervous system, leading to a trip similar to LSD or magic mushrooms but more intense.

How does peyote work?

First, you consume peyote. There are a number of different ways that people do this. You can eat the dried peyote cactus or you could boil down the cactus and make a peyote tea. You can also take a capsule that contains dried up and ground peyote. Either way, once you ingest the peyote, effects can take place within an hour and they can last for up to 12 hours. These effects occur because peyote contains mescaline which is a hallucinogen with psychoactive properties similar to LSD.

Mescaline crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects your serotonin receptors. These receptors are also the targets of LSD, magic mushrooms, etc. so that’s why the effects of mescaline are similar to the effects of those drugs.

What are the effects of peyote?

You might experience vivid hallucinations, where you think you can see things that aren’t actually there. You might also experience visual distortions where everything you see looks warped or blurry. It’s also possible to experience auditory distortions, which make everything that you hear sound bizarre and out of the ordinary. Some people report experiencing synesthesia, which is a mixing of the senses that results in interesting sensory experiences like hearing colors or tasting sounds. 

The effects of peyote can last for up to 12 hours, but as the body starts to break down the mescaline those effects will begin to wear off. Ultimately, peyote leads to an altered state of consciousness which is often described as positive, enjoyable, and illuminating. People report generally feeling like they’re in a dream state.

What are the risks associated with peyote or mescaline?

When using peyote there are many common and unwanted side effects that can occur. For example, it is very common to vomit when using peyote. It could be a sign that you have taken too much, or that it simply doesn’t agree with your body. This drug also takes over your body which can be very scary for some people. It can trigger anxious thoughts which can lead to a bad trip, especially if you’re feeling scared or uncomfortable. 

A good peyote trip can be amusing or enlightening, but if you start to panic, a bad trip can be terrifying. That’s why it is so important to do mescaline in a safe environment with close and trusted friends. Stay calm and embrace the experience. As with most other psychedelics, if you don’t fight it, it will likely be easier for you in the end.

Can you overdose on peyote?

Overdosing on peyote is possible but unlikely. If someone accidentally takes too much peyote, take them to the hospital, and the medical staff there will be able to help. 

What is the plant peyote like?

These tiny cacti are native to Mexico and Southwestern Texas. They are usually found in desert scrub land. Peyote grows close to the ground, either on its own or in small clumps. Peyote is a Spanish word, derived from the Aztec word for caterpillar cocoon. The scientific name, mentioned above, is Lophophora williamsii. The latin lofophora means “crest-bearing” which refers to the tufts of trichomes that grow out of the plants tubercles, or the little hairy things that come out of the bumpy parts.

Peyote open themselves to the sun during the day and produce their flowers sporadically. The flowers are generally pink, white, or yellowish. They eventually become edible pink berries. The flowers also have thigmotactic anthers. That means that when the anther is touched, it curls over and deposits its pollen. Most peyote grow underground and only their tops, called buttons, are visible. That’s why they’re called button cactuses. 

How long does it take to grow peyote?

The plants grow just two to seven centimeters above ground and about four to twelve centimeters across. They’re not just small, they’re also super slow. Cultivated peyote usually takes between 3 and 10 years to mature from seed to flowering age. In the wild, they’re even more sluggish. Some wild peyote take up to 30 years to mature! On the plus side, they live a really long time. 

As a cactus, their metabolism is designed to preserve what little water they get. Their extremely thick stems also help with water retention and they don’t have to worry about the sun evaporating their water because they don’t have leaves. 

What is the history of peyote?

Archaeologists believe peyote has been used by Indigenous North Americans in Mexico for almost 6000 years. As recently as 2000 years ago it was traded between tribes and used for medicinal purposes. Some tribes called it the sacred medicine, and used it to treat toothaches, childbirth pain, arthritis, blindness, and even outbreaks of cholera. Peyote ceremonies were religious rituals to celebrate special occasions, heal the sick, and connect with spirits. The ceremonies were different for every tribe, but generally they’d last overnight and include singing, drumming, and dancing around a fire. 

After colonization, the government, along with prohibitionists and Christian missionaries, tried to ban the peyote rituals. In an effort to protect their beliefs, peyote users united and created the Native American Church. Fast forward to 1970, and the United States government officially made peyote an illegal substance, but the Native American Church was given religious exemption. This means that members of this group are legally allowed to purchase and consume peyote without penalty.

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