Mescaline is a hallucinogen obtained from the a small, spineless cactus Peyote (Lophophora williamsi). Mescaline is also found in certain members of the Fabaceae (bean family). From earliest recorded time, peyote has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of traditional religious rites.
The top of the cactus above ground, also referred to as 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 liquid. The hallucinogenic dose for mescaline is about 0.3 to 0.5 grams (equivalent to about 5 grams of dried peyote) and lasts about 12 hours. While mescaline produced rich visual hallucinations which were important to the native peyote cults, the full spectrum of effects served as a chemically induced model of mental illness.
Mescaline is used primarily as a recreational drug and is also used to supplement various types of meditation and psychedelic therapy.
Effects of mescaline
Users typically experience visual hallucinations and radically altered states of consciousness, often experienced as pleasurable and illuminating but occasionally is accompanied by feelings of anxiety or revulsion. Other effects include: open and closed eye visualizations, euphoria, dream-like state, laughter and a psychedelic experience
Effects of Mescaline Abuse
Abuse of this drug will result in significant alterations in perceptions, including the perception of complete hallucinations. One person, one day, may take mescaline and enjoy the altered awareness effects he (or she) experiences and then the next day, have a terrible experience.
There are also physical effects associated with using this drug:
- Altered vision
- Dilated pupils
- Faster heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Higher body temperature
- Changes in motor reflexes
- Shaking hands or feet
- Contractions of intestines or uterus
Some researchers think that abuse of mescaline could result in effects like damage to blood vessels, convulsions and permanent brain damage.
The emotional or mental effects of this drug can include:
- Lack of motivation
- Hallucinations of death or frightening experiences
- Uncontrolled moods
- Altered perception of time
- Floating sensation
- Inability to differentiate reality from fantasy
Certain effects of mescaline abuse may show up after prolonged abuse of this drug:
- Increased risk of psychological problems
- Problems remembering
- Tolerance to the drug, meaning more must be used to get the same effects
- Psychological dependence on the drug
The effects of mescaline may be intense for two full hours, but the overall effects of the drug can last as long as twelve hours. Flashbacks are likely to occur with mescaline, as they are with LSD. This means a person could re-experience a mescaline trip months or years after the drug was taken.
Is it Really Mescaline?
If a person has the mescaline buttons from the cactus and consumes those, it is likely that what he (or she) is getting is really mescaline. But if a person is sold the drug in pill form, whether he is told that it is synthetic mescaline or not, the chances are very good that it is not actually mescaline. It is more likely to be PCP or a similar drug.
This is not a widely used drug. In surveys of youth and adults in America, few surveys separate out hallucinogens into different classes of drugs. In 2008, nearly 8% of American students reported having used any other hallucinogen other than LSD — that would include PCP, psilocybin or other drugs.
Canadian authorities report that there is no mescaline available in that country. But it grows wild in some parts of Texas and Mexico.
Religious Use of Mescaline
In some Native American tribes, mescaline is carefully used as part of sacred rituals. The use of this drug is preceded and followed by set patterns of religious worship and cleansing. Some tribes are still permitted to use mescaline in these rituals. It is not legal for any other use.
Most of the people who abuse hallucinogens are young people. In 2009, there were more than 1,800 people who were admitted to drug treatment programs because of a primary drug problem with hallucinogens. About 40% of those admitted were under 21 years of age. Sixty percent were 25 or younger. Three out of four of them were male.
Saving a Person from Harmful Effects
Mescaline itself does not seem to be addictive but a person can become dependent on the sensations he experiences from using this drug. He may consider that he is unable to deal with reality unless he can use the drug. But mescaline so strongly alters a person’s perceptions and ways of thinking that this person is not likely to be able to perform on a job or interact effectively with people who are sober.
Some people need a helping hand to get their lives back on sober footings. This kind of help is available every day at Narconon drug recovery centers. It doesn’t matter what drug is being abused, the path back to sobriety can be walked at a Narconon rehab facility.
There are specific aspects of addiction that are the causes of a person being trapped in that situation. When these aspects are addressed and handled, a person is freed from the need to keep abusing drugs or alcohol. It has proven unnecessary to consider that one is “always going to be an addict.” It is also unnecessary to “take one day at a time.” Sobriety can be lasting without a continuous, daily struggle.
These three aspects of addiction are guilt, cravings and depression. The continued abuse of drugs or alcohol keep these effects of drug abuse from being a crushing burden. If a person stops using drugs or alcohol, they are likely to feel the full misery of their condition. One effective step at a time, the Narconon rehab program dismantles the causes of guilt, cravings and depression and leaves a person ready for a sober life.