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Mescaline is a Hallucinogen from Mescaline-containing cacti, such as the Peyote cactus, that is commonly used recreationally and for ritualistic purposes in Native religious practices.

What Is Mescaline?

Mescaline is a Psychedelic Hallucinogen Alkaloid acquired from small, Mescaline-containing cacti, including: the Peyote cactus, the San Pedro cactus, and the Peruvian torch cactus. People have used Mescaline for hundreds of years, particularly for religious rituals or ceremonies, and many Native Americans still utilize Peyote today within legally-protected religious practices. Widespread use of Psychedelics and Mescaline drastically increased in the 1960s, as more and more people began to search for the mystical experiences and introspective effects that the drugs offer; unfortunately, these means more people are at risk for Mescaline addiction.

Other Names for Mescaline include:

  • Peyote
  • Buttons
  • Cactus
  • Mesc

Although modern use of Mescaline has declined, it is still used for recreational purposes and is also sometimes used to supplement various types of meditation and Psychedelic therapy.

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Short-Term Effects Of Mescaline

Psychedelics like Mescaline often stimulate deeply personal and spiritually meaningful experiences, or “trips,” in users, which is why they’re commonly used in some religious practices and during journeys of self-exploration.

Common effects of Mescaline include:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Slowed passage of time
  • A mixing of senses (such as “seeing” a sound or “hearing” a color)
  • Pupil dilation
  • Dream-like state

Psychedelics can also often cause periods of confusion and emotional turmoil immediately following drug use, which can sometimes last an upwards of a few days. Mescaline is no different and can elicit “bad trips” that last up to 48 hours after drug use. Mescaline-containing cacti can also induce severe vomiting and nausea, which may result in hospitalization.

Side effects or risks of Mescaline include:

  • Anxiety, fear
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart beat
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Psychosis, panic, or paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss
  • Flashbacks
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

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Long-Term Effects Of Mescaline

The fact that use of Mescaline is legal in the right context (it is lawful when Native Americans use the substance as part of a religious ceremony, as the DEA has granted an exemption for use in this manner) means that there is an opportunity to study the long-term effects of the drug on members of the Native American Church who view it as a sacrament and partake in Mescaline use on a somewhat regular basis.

That’s precisely what 1 study did. Three groups of Navajo Native Americans participated in the research: some who regularly took Mescaline, some who had struggled with alcohol dependence previously but had attained at least a brief period of sobriety since that time, and some who did not use much of any substance at all.

The 3 groups were given a variety of tests in order to measure psychological function and detect damage to the brain. Those who took Mescaline regularly did not differ significantly from the group that did not use substances very much. This suggests that the long-term effects of Mescaline, at least on the brain, may be relatively mild or nonexistent. The researchers behind the study, which was published in Biological Psychiatry, did allow for the possibility that “[the] test battery was not sensitive enough to detect residual deficits from [Mescaline].” What’s more, those who take the drug in an illicit context may see different effects from use; the long-term safety of Mescaline use is not guaranteed.

Addiction To Mescaline

While some Hallucinogens can be addictive, Mescaline and certain other Psychedelics, such as LSD and Psilocybin, are typically regarded as non-addictive and aren’t known to cause any harmful long-term effects. However, there are documented cases of life-time Psychedelic use inducing flashbacks and Hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a condition of recurrent psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and panic attacks. It is important to note that symptoms of HPPD are also present in people who have never used Psychedelics before, especially among those with anxiety disorders, so it’s unlikely that the majority of cases are caused as a result of drug use. In an interview of over 500 Native Americans that regularly participate in Peyote ceremonies, none of them reported having any flashbacks or persistent visual symptoms.

Despite the fact that it has not been proven to be physically addictive, frequent users of Mescaline can develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Higher doses of Mescaline increase the user’s chance of becoming violently ill.

Finding Treatment For Mescaline

There are no current FDA approved medications to treat the abuse of Mescaline or other Psychedelic drugs, it is simply recommended that the user discontinue use and seek behavioral therapy. Although Mescaline has a comparatively low physical-addiction risk, people can become addicted to certain behaviors or feelings that are induced by Mescaline. Behavioral therapy targets the origin behind addiction to these behaviors and can be extremely helpful in quitting Mescaline use. If you’re struggling with Mescaline abuse and are ready to start on the path to recovery, contact a dedicated treatment provider today.

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