Mescaline is a psychedelic hallucinogen obtained from the small, spineless cactus Peyote (Lophophora williamsi), the San Pedro cactus, Peruvian torch cactus, and other mescaline-containing cacti. It is also found in certain members of the Fabaceae (bean family) and can be produced synthetically.
People have used hallucinogens for hundreds of year, mostly for religious rituals or ceremonies. Mescaline leads to rich visual hallucinations. From the earliest recorded time, peyote has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of traditional religious rites. It has an effect that is similar to LSD or psilocybin (magic mushrooms), other hallucinogenic drugs.
The top of the cactus above ground, or the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried. These buttons are generally chewed or soaked in water to produce an intoxicating tea. It can be consumed raw or dried but is extremely bitter. The hallucinogen may also be ground into powder for oral capsules, or smoked with marijuana and tobacco. The hallucinogenic dose is about 0.3 to 0.5 grams (equivalent to about 5 grams of dried peyote) and lasts about 12 hours. However, different doses can affect people in various ways, and doses extracted from plants can vary widely.
Mescaline is used primarily as a recreational drug and is also used to supplement various types of meditation and psychedelic therapy. It is classified as a schedule I drug in the U.S., making it illegal in all forms (including peyote); however, it remains legal in certain religious ceremonies registered by the Native American Church1,2, 3 Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Use and effects
"Trips" for the users may be pleasurable and enlightening or anxiety-producing and unpleasant (known as a "bad trip"). There is no way to know how a user's experience may ultimately play out. Common effects after use may include:
visual hallucinations and radically altered states of consciousness (psychedelic experience)
open and closed eye visualizations
slowed passage of time
a mixing of senses (synesthesia, such as "seeing a sound" or "hearing colors")