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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.
Other Names for Mescaline:
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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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:
- Visual hallucinations
- Altered states of consciousness
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Slowed passage of time
- A mixing of senses (such as “seeing a sound” or “hearing colors”)
- 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 illicit “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:
- Anxiety, fear
- Slowed reaction time
- Racing heart beat
- Nausea, vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Psychosis, panic, or paranoia
- Memory loss
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Addiction to Mescaline
While some hallucinogens can be addictive, mescaline and other serotonergic 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 hallucinogenic effect. Higher doses of mescaline increase the user’s chance of becoming violently ill.
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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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