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Mescaline comes from the extract of the spineless cactus Peyote (Lophophora williamsi) and classified as a hallucinogen drug. The drug can also be found in certain members of the bean family or Fabaceae. The top part of the cactus known as the crown contains disc-shaped buttons which people cut and dried. Users commonly chew or soak the plant to extract the intoxicating liquid.

About 5 grams of dried peyote can produce mescaline and its hallucinogenic dose of 0.3 to 0.5 grams. The effect usually lasts around 12 hours. In ancient times, mescaline serves as an important part of native peyote cults. Mescaline can greatly affect the psychological well-being of the user which induced several mental illnesses.

The drug is only used as a recreational drug and sought after for its meditation and psychedelic hallucinations effect.

History of the drug

The San Pedro cactus, about thirty species was given the name to the psychoactive species of the genus plant Trichocereus  T. pachanoi, T. peruvianus. These plants found in the Andes region in South America.

Peyote, a large columnar cactus grows up to 20 feet contains mescaline and also known for its psychoactive alkaloids. It seems to be most highly concentrated in the skin, which can be:

  •    peeled
  •    dried
  •    and made into a powder for human consumption

The native people extract the drug by boiling the slices of the stem for several hours. They let the concoction cool, strain the mixture and drink the liquid.  Most of the time, they even boil the cactus along with other psychoactive plants, such as:

  •    coca
  •    tobacco
  •    Brugmansia
  •    Anadenanthera

The hallucinogenic properties of its traditional use, include:

  •    aguacolla
  •    cardo
  •    cuchuma
  •    gigantón
  •    hermoso
  •    huando
  •    San Pedro

For over 3,000 years Peruvian use the plant in their ancient rites, which most of them still continues today because of its hallucinogenic effects. Just like the other entheogenic substances native in the aboriginal religions of South America.

Carvings dated back hundreds of years ago serves as the oldest evidence of people using cactus in their religious ceremonies. The carving belongs to the Chavin nation shows a mythological creature holding the plant. Dated back some 1400 to 400 BC, experts found the carving in an old temple located at Chavin de Huantar in the northern part of Peru.

Rosa Fung, a Peruvian archaeologist made a surprising discovery in a primeval refuse near Casma. Located at the Chavin site of Las Aldas, the archaeologist found what looks like fragments of cigars made from the cactus.

There are other several artifacts showing ancient people using the cactus. Some drawings of the cactus shown in textiles and pottery from 700 to 500 BC. The plant acts as the decorative motive of Peruvian ceramic traditions used from 700 to 100 BC in Salinar style and Nasca urns.

What makes the drug addictive?

Mescaline itself does not seem to be as an addictive drug but a person can become dependent on the sensations he experiences upon using this kind of drug. He may consider that he is unable to deal with reality unless he can use the drug. However, it can also alter a person’s perceptions and the way of thinking. More likely, users who take the drug cannot fully function on a job or interact effectively with other people.

There are specific aspects of addiction that causes changes in a person who consistently takes mescaline.  If addressed and handled properly, users can break free from using mescaline as sobriety can last without a continuous struggle of relapse. Stopping immediately can greatly hinder further health hazards of mescaline.

Side Effects of the Drug

The abuse of mescaline will result in significant alterations in perceptions and hallucinations. In due time, the detrimental effects will take its toll and produces several health problems.

The Physical effects related to mescaline abuse include but not limited to:

  •    Altered vision
  •    Dilated pupils
  •    Faster heart rate
  •    Increased blood pressure
  •    Higher body temperature
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Changes in motor reflexes
  •    Shaking hands or feet
  •    Sweating
  •    Dizziness
  •    Numbness
  •    Contractions of intestines or uterus

Some experts believed that mescaline abuse could result in effects like:

  •    damage to blood vessels
  •    convulsions
  •    permanent brain damage

Emotional or mental effects of this drug can include:

  •    Lack of motivation
  •    Panic
  •    Terror
  •    Hallucinations of death or frightening experiences
  •    Uncontrolled moods
  •    Psychosis
  •    Altered perception of time
  •    Floating sensation
  •    Inability to differentiate reality from fantasy
  •    Anxiety

Effects of mescaline abuse may show up after prolonged abuse of this drug:

  •    Increased risk of psychological problems
  •    Problems remembering
  •    Tolerance to the drug, meaning more must be used to get the same effects
  •    Psychological dependence on the drug

The effects of mescaline may be intense for two full hours, but the overall effects of the drug can last as long as twelve hours. Flashbacks are likely to occur with mescaline, as they are with LSD. This means users could re-experience a mescaline trip for months or years after they stop taking the drug.

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