Mescaline is a hallucinogenic drug that is obtained from the flesh of certain cactus varieties, such as the Peyote and the San Pedro cacti. These cacti have a long history of being used by native populations, as part of their traditional healing rituals and religious ceremonies. Although these more traditional usages of these cactus varieties continues today, there are others who ingest the cactus simply to experience the resulting effects.
How is Mescaline Consumed?
There are a variety of different ways by which mescaline can be consumed. In it’s simplest form, the cactus flesh is dried and then chewed. However, some people also prefer to boil the dried cactus in water, producing a potent tea. In other cases, the dried cactus flesh can be ground and mixed in with other foods or beverages.
The flesh of both the Peyote and the San Pedro cactus is very bitter. As such, many people try to find ways to disguise the taste. When taken by one of the more traditional methods, such as chewing Peyote buttons, many people find themselves overtaken by nausea, at least until the effects of the cactus start to kick in.
Effects of Mescaline
The amount of mescaline required to produce the hallucinogenic effects varies by individual. The potency of the mescaline being consumed can also be an important factor in regards to the resulting effects. Most people who take mescaline report a rather dream-like state, or what is often referred to as an altered state of consciousness. In many cases, people report having pleasurable or even spiritual-like experiences. These hallucinations were undoubtedly the primary reason why native cultures used cactus varieties such as the Peyote and San Pedro as part of their religious ceremonies, since they were perceived as sacred visions and insights.
The visual hallucinations, distortions and visions produced by mescaline can take place while the eyes are either opened or closed. The visions are customarily accompanied by euphoria and various psychedelic experiences. However, there generally is a difference between the hallucinations and visions that are experienced while taking mescaline, as compared to what one might experience while taking other hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. This is because the hallucinations are usually based on existing objects and sounds, instead of manifesting themselves in totally imaginary non-existing actions and objects. However, just as is the case with LSD, music and sounds can seem to increase the overall effect of taking the drug.
Many people describe an intensity of colors, which often seem especially brilliant while under the influence of mescaline. The shape of objects can also seem altered or distorted, and it’s not uncommon to see patterns and kaleidoscopic designs. Frequently people who take mescaline report that they see three-dimensional objects as being strangely flat and distorted. In many cases, the intensity and frequency of these visions is increased when the person’s eyes are closed, or while they sit in a room with low lighting. Laughter and an overall sense of euphoria are also common when taking mescaline. A person’s emotions can become detached from the situation or wildly exaggerated, due to the effects the drug has on one’s brain and overall mood. The sense can become confused, and an overall sense of heightened awareness is often experienced. It’s not uncommon for a person to feel as though they are “hearing colors” or “seeing sounds” when under the influence of mescaline. Among the hallucinogenic drugs, mescaline in particular seems to have a strong tendency to produce vivid colors that don’t have anything to do with a person’s actual surroundings.
However, although many people describe pleasurable experiences while taking mescaline, there can also be a number of quite undesirable side effects. Some people experience headaches or dizziness, and it’s not uncommon for a person’s heart rate to become accelerated. Occasionally a person’s thought processes can become extremely disorganized and irrational, and anxiety, sadness and fear can also be experienced. In some cases, individuals have reported a feeling that they may never be able to escape the psychedelic experience. Others describe the experience as a kind of chemically induced mental illness.
Because of the bitter taste of the cactus, many people experience nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite and even vomiting after chewing the dried cactus flesh or drinking tea made from boiling the cactus in water. It can also cause contractions of the intestines or even the uterus, making it a very unsafe drug for pregnant women.
Sometimes the effects of mescaline can cause a person to believe that they have special powers or incredible strength. When this happens, there is a danger of that person attempting to do something dangerous that they are not really able to safely do. Mescaline can also be dangerous when a person sees a particularly frightening hallucination. In their panic, a person could hurt themselves trying to escape from the vision.
Regardless of whether the experiences are good or bad, a person can expect mescaline effects to last for up to twelve or even eighteen hours.
Long Term Effects
Mescaline is not considered to be a truly addictive drug, since not taking it doesn’t produce actual withdrawal symptoms. However, after the psychedelic experience ends, it’s not uncommon to experience a sense of anxiety, restlessness or even depression. People who use mescaline on a frequent basis also tend to build up a tolerance for the drug, which means they have to continually take larger doses in order to experience its effects. However, true mescaline overdoses are rare.
In some cases, continued use of mescaline can result in mental health issues. Flashbacks can sometimes occur, which means a person might experience the hallucinogenic state even though he or she hasn’t taken the drug recently. Some people also develop a persistent psychosis, which can cause them to experience fluctuating moods, distorted visions and even severe depression. However, in most cases individuals do not experience any long-term effects from occasional or even moderate use of mescaline.