San Pedro Mescaline
Mescaline: The San Pedro Cactus
The San Pedro cactus is one of a number of different cactus species that can be used as a source of mescaline. The cactus contains psychoactive alkaloids, which are mostly concentrated within the skin of the cactus. As such, the skin is often peeled from the San Pedro cactus so that it can be dried. Once dried, it can then be ground into a powder so that it can be consumed. The San Pedro cactus has been used in Peru and other areas for thousands of years as part of the native culture’s religious ceremonies and rituals.
The History of the San Pedro Cactus
The San Pedro cactus grows natively in Peru and other surrounding areas. It is a large cactus with a columnar shape, which can grow to a height of twenty feet. Although today many people simply peel the skin from the cactus so that it can be dried and ground into powder, native preparation usually involved boiling the cactus. In order to extract and concentrate the mescaline San Pedro, natives would cut slices of the cactus stem and boil them for hours. Once the resulting liquid was cooled, the natives would drink it as part of their ceremonies and rituals. This tradition of using the San Pedro cactus goes back over three thousand years. Historians have found carvings, depictions and relics that suggest the San Pedro cactus has been used as far back as approximately 1300 B.C.
When the European missionaries arrived in the area, they were definitely against the use of the psychoactive San Pedro cactus. They felt that it contributed to the idolatry of the native Indians and that the psychoactive juice was the work of the Devil. It was noted by the missionaries that the natives who drank the juice lost their sense and experienced unusual and unnatural visions, which they believed to be true visions. However, even the missionaries had to admit that the juice of the San Pedro cactus, when used in smaller amounts, had valuable medicinal qualities when used to treat hepatitis, high fevers and urinary problems.
Today the cactus is used in a number of different ways. Although many people grow it legally simply as an ornamental cactus, it is also used in traditional medicine, including veterinary medicine. It is sometimes used in the treatment of drug additions, cardiac diseases, joint problems and nervous conditions and has anti-microbial properties. Of course, it also continues to be used in certain religious and ritualistic practices. Many people also use the cactus as a recreational drug, due to the psychedelic effects caused by its mescaline content. For those who focus upon extracting the highest concentration of San Pedro mescaline, a complex acid-base extraction process is often used instead of boiling or drying methods.
The San Pedro cactus is a plant that is native to Peru’s Andes Mountains. It also commonly grows in Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. In addition to growing in its native regions, the cactus is also cultivated in other areas of the world.
It’s actually a very easy cactus to grow. It can withstand lower temperatures as compared to many other cactus varieties, since it’s native habitat is high in the Andes Mountains. It prefers growing in soil that is well drained and fertile. The San Pedro cactus can be propagated from cuttings, seeds or from a technique that involves laying the cactus on its side so that additional roots will sprout along its length. Propagation using any of these methods is actually quite easy.
Because the cactus is commonly grown simply as an ornamental plant, it’s legal to cultivate it in most countries. This is why it’s legal to grow the San Pedro cactus in countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Norway and New Zealand. However, because the cactus does contain mescaline, it’s illegal to grow the plant for the purpose of consuming it.
In the United States, mescaline has been illegal since 1970. It then became illegal internationally in 1971. However, it’s usage by native cultures for the purpose of religious ceremonies and other rituals is protected.
Religious, Ritualistic and Healing Practices
The San Pedro cactus has long been used as part of native Indian ceremonies and rituals. In some cases, these rituals are designed to heal people from a variety of different physical problems. A shaman would also be likely to use the cactus to induce a trance. When the boiled cactus juice is consumed, it would cause the shaman to fall into a drowsy or dreamy state. A sense of lethargy and dizziness would ensue, followed by what was thought to be a great “vision.” Once in a mescaline-induced trance, the shaman would experience tranquility, a sense of numbness and what was thought to be a complete cleansing and clearing of the senses. A feeling of detachment would follow, as well as visions, heightened senses, and a sense that one could telepathically transmit oneself to a different time and place. To this day, the San Pedro cactus is still used in a similar way by the native Indian shaman.
However, in more recent times the San Pedro cactus is also used to combat modern problems such as alcoholism. Ironically, the peyote cactus is also used by the North American Indians in a similar fashion. Since both cactus varieties contain mescaline, it would seem as though mescaline has some kind of beneficial effect upon breaking one’s dependence upon alcohol.