Mescaline is a hallucinogen drug extracted from a variety of cacti found in Mexico and South America. Although mescaline is a naturally occurring hallucinogen with psychoactive effects, it can be synthetically produced. Mescaline is also referred to as peyote. The peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) is the source from which mescaline can be extracted. It is common for mescaline to be made into a tea for ingestion.
However, synthetic production of mescaline creates the availability of the drug in powder or pill form. Mescaline is not a very addictive or dependence-forming substance. However, it does raise tolerance rather quickly if used regularly. There is also no supporting evidence of the drug causing withdrawal symptoms in an individual.
What is Mescaline?
The mescaline drug is a naturally occurring alkaloid. It is in the same drug class as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or mushrooms. The high of mescaline can last anywhere up to eight hours, alternating between invigorating energy and moments of tranquility.
In some areas of Peru, the drug is used in sacred or religious ceremonies. Mescaline has been used for thousands of years to ward off evil or negative energy, purifying the soul and the deepest crevices of the mind. People who seek the powers of the ritual travel through the Andes Mountains to a lake called Laguna Shimbe. The ceremonies are guided by shamans who channel San Pedro, the wachuma cactus plant that also produces mescaline.
Mescaline drug use is also prevalent in Native American culture as a window to God or other spiritual beings. During these ceremonies, those who participate in the practice are relieved of negative energy and emotions. In Native American tribes, the mescaline drug extracted from peyote cactus is referred to as the “Flesh of God” and is known to aid in the discovery of self and spirituality.
No reports suggest that mescaline drug use is dangerous to those who use it. However, there is always a chance the individual taking it might have a bad experience. Although the high produced by mescaline is relatively smooth and gentle, a few factors can contribute to a bad experience. They are:
- Dosing (taking too much or too little of the drug)
- Negative state of mind
- Discomfort in the setting where an individual is taking the drug
- Body chemistry
Effects of Mescaline on the Body
Mescaline drug use produces physical and psychological effects on the body. The intensiveness of these symptoms depends greatly on the individual’s mental and physical state. Since mescaline drug use is not addictive or habit-forming, the effects of mescaline in the body will be present only when the individual is under the influence of the drug. Some of the physical side effects and symptoms of taking mescaline are:
- Physical sensations. Mescaline drug use produces a euphoric body high. The drug has been described to produce warm, intense energy throughout the entire body similar to the effects of LSD or other hallucinogens.
- Stimulation. The drug produces energy that doesn’t feel forced. The drug encourages normal physical activities that require natural energy (ex: walking or dancing).
- Nausea. This is the most common side effect of taking mescaline. However, it does pass relatively quickly.
- Tactile enhancement. Every nerve ending is felt during the high.
- Appetite suppression
- Bodily control enhancement
- Stamina enhancement
- Frequent urination
- Increased heart rate
- Increased libido
- Muscle contractions
- Pupil dilation
- Seizure. This is the rarest physical symptom of mescaline drug use. However, the chances of a seizure are more likely if the individual is predisposed to having seizures.
Along with the physical and psychological symptoms associated with mescaline drug use, visual effects can occur when someone is under the influence. Visual effects and distortions of mescaline include:
- Color and pattern enhancement
- Objects appear to shapeshift or become distorted
- Colors seem brighter
- Scenery might morph into geometric shapes
Effects of Mescaline on the Mind
Mescaline drug use channels the depths of the mind similar to other hallucinogens. Not only does the trip feel physically euphoric, but the whole experience is intended to achieve open-mindedness as well as a broader outlook on one’s self and life in general. The drug is known to cause cognitive effects such as:
- Philosophical thought process
- Increased feelings of love or sociability
- Cognitive euphoria
- Memory suppression
- Time distortion
- Accelerating thoughts
- Realization of inner-self/life purpose – This is associated with philosophical thoughts, gaining an awareness of self and the world surrounding self.
- Feelings of enlightenment
Although mescaline drug use is unlikely to lead to addiction, there is no evidence suggesting individuals cannot crave the drug. There are no known negative long-term effects of mescaline use. However, the obsession to use the drug can become prominent due to the enlightening effects it has on those who use it. Some individuals seek out this existential view on life or themselves, which can be achieved during a high from hallucinogens such as mescaline.
The mescaline drug is also natural and only synthesized when extracted from cacti. When created and used correctly, the drug contains no harmful additives that cause complications.
Can Mescaline Cause Psychosis?
Mescaline is known to increase an individual’s spirituality, but can it increase the chance of developing mental illness or aggravate pre-existing conditions? No studies so far imply that mescaline drug use causes psychosis or mental illness. Studies have been done and conclude little to no damage to those who have used mescaline. However, psychotic episodes, although rare, have been reported in individuals who use the drug with pre-existing mental disorders.
In one case study, a man experienced sleep disturbances after using mescaline. It is unclear if the hallucinations were caused by the lack of sleep, or psychosis induced by the drug itself. However, he did struggle with alcoholism as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and reported to experience hallucinations for several days close to the date he tried mescaline. This study, though rare, proves that mescaline drug use, or hallucinogen drug use in general, in individuals with pre-existing mental disorders can be at higher risk of developing drug-induced psychosis.