The world of psychedelics is vast and riddled with controversy and a complicated relationship with modern society. While most psychedelics are banned or restricted to severely limited use around the globe, they used to be at the forefront of human civilization as a means to engage in religious or spiritual rituals in various ancient cultures around the world.
While some psychedelics pose greater risk and reward systems, each one has its unique niche offering different types of experiences and states of consciousnesses. One psychedelic, in particular, has continued to garner controversy despite being heavily used as a gateway to spiritual awakening in the past, and even in modern times, known as mescaline.
Individuals interested in learning more about this psychedelic, stay tuned. This article delves into everything there is to know about mescaline including background information, a discussion on its effects, and an overview of the side effects of risks associated with the substance.
What Is Mescaline?
Mescaline, also known as 3,4,5 – tritrimethoxyphenethylamine, is a hallucinogenic drug that is naturally occurring in various cacti plants that are native to the United States, Mexico, and South America. Some of the most common cacti species that contain mescaline are the peyote cactus, the San Pedro cactus, and the Peruvian Torch cactus. Mescaline has been used for thousands of years by various ancient and indigenous cultures around the world as a means for a spiritual enlightening, ceremony, and in the treatment of illnesses.
It should be noted that mescaline is an illegal substance and considered a Schedule 1 controlled drug in the United States as well as many other psychedelics.
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A Brief History of Mescaline
Most archeological evidence suggests that mescaline’s prevalence and use in ancient civilizations goes as far back as at least 5,000 years. Traces of this hallucinogenic has been found in the ancient cultures of Mexico, South America, and even the United States. These ancient cultures regularly engaged in rituals or ceremonies with mescaline which they derived from their native species of cacti.
To this day, mescaline plays a vital part in certain Native American religious ceremonies as well as being used as a means to treat various illnesses. Although mescaline is an illegal substance in the United States, since mescaline is considered a sacrament to the Native American Church of North America, when the peyote cactus is used in a spiritual or religious ceremony, it is exempt from its Schedule 1 controlled drug status. This is because of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) which allows for the limited use of mescaline in their ceremonies.
Where Is Mescaline Found On The Cacti Plant
Mescaline can be obtained in the fruit or seeds found on the outside of the cactus which can be cut off and dried and eventually eaten, sliced, boiled, or drunk as tea. There is also the option to take the dried fruit or seeds and grind them off into a white powder which can be put into pills or capsules, or rolled in with tobacco.
Like most other substances, mescaline can also be derived from chemical synthesis which produces mescaline sulfate. Mescaline sulfate is the purest form of the drug and takes the form of white crystalline material.
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What Does Mescaline Do?
Mescaline has long-lasting effects that last roughly 10-12 hours, however, when used in sacrament the ceremony takes place over two days. Like other hallucinogenics, mescaline induces an altered state of consciousness where people can experience different levels of thinking and perception. Some users report experiencing a euphoric, dream-like state that was an overall pleasant experience.
While visual hallucinations are to be expected from psychedelics, users often report a distortion in their sense of time while taking mescaline which, depending on the perspective, could be taken as a good or bad thing.
Risks and Side-Effects
There are some risks and/or side effects that are associated with mescaline use. As well as visual hallucinations, some individuals may experience increased agitation which could manifest in the form of nervousness or excitement. This agitation can escalate into a panic in some individuals if the increased level of worrying and anxiousness continues to spiral which can make this substance dangerous in certain situations.
An increased or rapid heart rate (Tachycardia) is another side-effect of mescaline use which is defined as a heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute. This fast heart rate does not pose any outright serious physical consequences, but this increased heart rate could develop anxiety or even panic in users. Some less frequent side effects are nausea and vomiting.
peyote cactus is well known for its hallucinogenic effects; the plant contains at least 28 alkaloids, the principal one of which is mescaline. Peyote figures prominently in the traditional religious rituals of certain North American Indian peoples as well as in the current rituals (many adapted from traditional rituals) of the Native American Church. The sale, use, or possession of dried mescal buttons or live plants is prohibited by law in many places, although a number of areas also provide exemptions for use in formal religious rites. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (1978) is the primary legislation governing the religious uses of peyote in the United States.