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Navigation: Mescaline Overview, Mescaline Abuse, Mescaline Effects and Risks


The peyote cactus contains a hallucinogenic chemical called mescaline, which has a high potential for abuse. While mescaline may not be physically addictive, it can still be dangerous. Here we are taking a look at the various effects of mescaline and why some cultures still use it despite the risks.

Mescaline and peyote are categorized as Schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. This means they have a high risk for abuse and no legitimate medical purpose.

Mescaline Overview

Mescaline is not a new drug. It has been used in the Americas for hundreds of years. In fact, the Aztecs in Mexico considered peyote a sacred plant because they believed it gave them access to the spirit world.

Even today, many Native American groups consider peyote an essential component of their spiritual traditions. Despite peyote being a Schedule I controlled substance, the Supreme Court has ruled that the government should allow adherents of certain Native American spiritual groups to use peyote for religious purposes. So as a religious object, peyote is legal to use and possess, but only in specific cases.

Mescaline, on the other hand, does not have this special classification. Even though the drug is not physically addictive, it is still possible for a person to become psychologically dependent. Long term abuse of mescaline may overtake a person’s life and cause them to experiment with deadlier drugs.

Mescaline most often comes from peyote, but this hallucinogenic chemical can also come from other species of cactus in Peru. Chemists are also able to synthesize mescaline in laboratories.

Mescaline Abuse

Just like other hallucinogenic drugs, mescaline is used recreationally by some people because it can create euphoric effects and hallucinations. Others use it to enhance meditation or supplement therapy. Mescaline is taken by chewing, smoking, or ingesting parts of the peyote plant. These parts, sometimes called “buttons”, are extracted from the peyote plant’s roots.

Some users prefer to consume mescaline as a brew or as a pill, both of which are made from mescaline in the form of white powder. It is also possible to inject liquid mescaline intravenously, although very few people do this.

Mescaline in general is a relatively rare drug. This is due to the fact that the peyote cactus itself is rare. Drug traffickers more often sell other hallucinogens and try to pass it off as mescaline.

Mescaline Effects and Risks

The effects of mescaline usually kick in within one or two hours of consumption. They usually persist for about 12 hours. The experience itself may vary from person to person. Mescaline users report a variety of reactions to the drug. This is common among hallucinogens because their effects can be altered by a number of factors such as size of the dose, exposure to other hallucinogens, their current emotional state, and even their expectations of the drug. It is therefore hard to predict how mescaline will affect your state of mind.

Some mescaline users report feeling profound peace and sensations of transcendence. However, people who are dealing with mental health conditions are more likely to suffer from mescaline’s worst possible effects such as psychosis.

Mescaline users may experience visual and auditory hallucinations. These may vary in intensity and may distort a person’s perceptions of reality. Some even experience enhanced senses. But while the user may have improved hearing and vision during the trip, they will also likely be unable to concentrate or think clearly.

It is also common for mescaline users to experience synesthesia. This is the mixing of the senses, wherein a person “sees a sound” or “hears a color”.

The enjoyable experience may motivate people to take mescaline or other hallucinogens repeatedly. This puts them at risk of psychological effects such as confusion, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Not to mention that sometimes mescaline’s effects aren’t pleasurable at all. A “bad trip” may involve terrifying hallucinations which may be traumatizing.

While there is little evidence that physical addiction to mescaline is possible, abusing the substance will still lead to tolerance. Eventually, a person can develop mescaline dependence, and they will crave for the drug when they are not taking it.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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