What is Mescaline?
Mescaline is a psychedelic alkaloid that exists naturally in a number of different cactus plants, including the peyote cactus, the San Pedro cactus, and the Peruvian Torch cactus. Peyote has a long history, which dates back thousands of years, of being used in religious ceremonies. The use of the San Pedro cactus has also been traditionally seen in South America. In modern times, people use mescaline cacti such as peyote in order to experience its psychedelic effects. Although peyote and other mescaline cacti have been used for thousands of years, there is still confusion among many regarding mescaline facts.
How is the Mescaline Drug Used?
Mescaline cacti can be dried and ground into powder, which can then be placed into capsules and swallowed. Many people prefer this method of preparation so that they do not have to experience the bitter taste of the cactus. However, it’s also quite common to make dried disc shaped buttons out of the cactus. The crown of the small, spineless peyote cactus is cut off and sliced, then dried into small brown discs, which are commonly referred to as “buttons”. The buttons can then simply be chewed to experience the psychedelic effects. Some people also soak the dried buttons in water and then drink the resulting liquid. It’s also common to mix mescaline with soft drinks, juices, coffee or tea, which can help to hide the bitter taste. Although mescaline is almost always taken orally, it is possible to inject it.
History of Mescaline
Peyote has a long history in Mexico. The Toltec and Aztec Indians used peyote as part of their religious ceremonies for thousands of years. The ancient Indians viewed peyote as a medicine that had god-like powers. They thought the drug could heal incurable diseases and restore the sight of those who were blind. When used as part of religious rituals, peyote was used to heal, produce sacred visions, or as a way to divine the future.
When the Spaniards arrived, they quickly decided that the use of peyote should be outlawed. In reality, they were never really successful at stopping the native Indians’ use of peyote – they just took their religious ceremonies “underground.” The use of peyote experienced a revival during the American Civil War. During this time period, use of the drug was spread to American Indian tribes and into Canada. As a result, American Indians adopted their own variation of the peyote ritual, which continues today. The struggle between those who wish to continue the practice of the peyote ritual and those who wish to outlaw it also continues. Today, many people also use mescaline as a purely recreational drug, without any thought to spirituality or rituals.
Although the peyote ritual varies, it’s primarily focused on the belief that a Great Spirit controls the universe. Those participating in the ritual believe that some of the Spirit’s divine powers exist in the cactus. By consuming peyote buttons, they are able to absorb that divine power and experience the Spirit’s great force.
Before participating in the peyote ritual, individuals customarily prepare themselves by meditating and fasting. Although vomiting often occurs while consuming peyote buttons, ritual participants simply view this as an extension of the purification process. During a ritual, it’s common for individuals to consume up to twenty buttons, or sometimes even more.
The ritual itself generally takes place inside a tent, with participants sitting around a fire. Consuming the buttons causes the participants to fall into a trance-like state. The ritual experience is enhanced and intensified through the use of chanting, praying, listening to pulsating drumbeats, and staring into the flames of the fire. The entire ritual can last twelve hours, or sometimes even more.
Legality of Mescaline
Mescaline has been illegal to use in the United States since 1970, and in 1971 its use was prohibited internationally. The United States federal government does allow Native American Church and a few other religions to use peyote, since it is part of their culture and religious ceremonies. However, it’s important to note that state governments are permitted to restrict the use of the drug by religious groups within individual states, even though the federal government does not restrict it. Scientists are also allowed to use mescaline as part of their medical and scientific research.
Not all countries handle mescaline in a similar fashion from a legal standpoint. For example, it’s legal in Canada to grow and then use peyote. However, raw mescaline is an illegal drug. In Australia, both mescaline and the peyote cactus are illegal. In the UK, one can buy and sell dried cactus legally, although purified and powdered mescaline is an illegal drug.
Effects of Mescaline
Visual distortions are a common experience when one takes mescaline. However, these visual distortions are not considered to be true hallucinations, because as a rule the drug does not make a person see things that are not really there. Instead, the person generally experiences alterations or intensifications of objects that really do exist. However, individual experiences can definitely vary, and some people do report having hallucinations.
Many people experience an intensification of colors, which often seem especially distinctive, intense and brilliant. Three-dimensional objects often appear to be distorted or flattened. Many people also report seeing patterns such as dots, stripes, checkerboards as well as fractal designs. These kaleidoscope experiences are generally experienced when a person is in a room with low lighting or when their eyes are closed. It’s also common to experience dream-like scenarios or euphoria.
However, in addition to the psychedelic effects, there can also be undesirable effects experienced as a result of consuming mescaline. Dizziness, headaches, rapid heartbeat, and vomiting can also occur. Some people experience anxiety, or a fear that they will never be able to return to consciousness. Thought processes can become irrational, and some people even report experiencing a sensation of dying.
Once a person takes mescaline, the various effects can last for up to twelve to eighteen hours.