The Essential Psychedelic Guide by D. M. Turner

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Mescaline: Peyote & San Pedro Cactus

Shamanic Sacraments

INTENSITY: 3 to 8 for most experiences.


Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychedelic found in several cactus species, most notably, Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) and San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi). Several other members of the trichocereus family also contain mescaline.

Mescaline belongs to a family of compounds known as phenethylamines, making it quite distinct from the other major psychedelics which belong to the indole family. LSD, psilocybin, harmaline, and DMT are all indoles. Many synthetic "designer" psychedelics, such as ecstasy (MDMA) and 2C-B, are phenethylamines, and are related to the chemistry of mescaline.

In addition to containing mescaline, the cacti mentioned above contain a large variety of related psychoactive compounds, and will produce experiences that are qualitatively different than pure mescaline. The experience produced by Peyote is also quite distinct from that produced by cacti from the trichocereus family.

The literature I've read indicates that many members of the trichocereus family are psychoactive. I've only tried three or four of these and found them to be basically equal in potency. Many references indicate that one variety, Trichocereus peruvianus, is several times as potent by weight as the other trichocereus species. Psychoactive species include:

T. bridgesii, T. cuzcoensis, T. fulvinanus, T. macrogonus, T. pachanoi, T. peruvianus, T. taquimbalensis, T. tersheckii, T. validus, T. werdermannius.


Peyote and San Pedro are New World psychedelics. In ancient times their use was concentrated in the regions to which they are native. Peyote was used throughout Mexico to as far north as Texas, San Pedro in the Andes mountain region of South America. The earliest known depiction of San Pedro cactus is on a stone tablet found in Peru dating to 1300 B.C. Ritual objects containing images of Peyote have been found dating back to 500 B.C. The introduction of Peyote into the U.S. and Canada, and its use by North American Indian tribes, occurred much more recently, beginning sometime in the late 1800s.

As with mushrooms, the Roman Catholic church tried to abolish the use of Peyote and San Pedro. However, they were only partially successful. Peyote use spread from Mexico to North America, and the Native American Church was formed in 1918 to preserve Native Americans' right to use Peyote. And with San Pedro, the ceremony practiced by many South American shamans continued while incorporating several Christian symbols into the rituals. The name of a Christian saint was even adopted for the cactus.

Mescaline was the first psychedelic compound to be extracted and isolated, which occurred in 1896. In 1919 it became the first psychedelic to be synthesized. For the next 35 years it remained a somewhat obscure compound known primarily to the psychiatric community. In 1953 the popular novelist Aldous Huxley read about mescaline. Soon thereafter Huxley tried mescaline, and brought it to the attention of the public by writing The Doors of Perception.

Today, natives throughout North America still perform sacred Peyote rituals. In South America shamans continue to hold traditional San Pedro ceremonies which are associated with healing, imparting or counteracting witchcraft, and putting one in touch with supernatural and divinatory powers. A claim frequently heard about the San Pedro experience is that the user embarks on a flight of a telepathic nature being transported across time and space. A user who embarks on this "astral journey" may perceive events happening in distant parts of the world, or in metaphysical realms. This flight phenomenon, which I have not encountered in my experience with San Pedro, may result from solanaceous plants which are frequently included in the San Pedro brew and contain the Belladonna alkaloids.

SOURCES: In the U.S. Peyote is illegal for all but members of the Native American Church, and it is seldom seen in the psychedelic underground. Apparently there is even becoming a shortage for the Native American population, since the cactus grows at a very slow rate. A typical 2" diameter Peyote button may require 20 years to reach that size, and it has been harvested much faster than it can grow for many years.

Synthetic or pure crystalline mescaline is one of the rarest psychedelics, and misrepresentation of other substances as being mescaline is very common. I've only come across true synthetic mescaline once in my life, but have seen items ranging from LSD to DOB (a relative of 2C-B) being sold as mescaline several times.

Illegal drug labs rarely produce mescaline for the underground market because of its inefficiency, high cost, and lack of a market. It requires approximately 1/2 gram of mescaline sulfate to produce a psychedelic trip. This same amount of material would represent 4 doses of ecstasy, 20 doses of 2C-B, 50 doses of psilocin, or 2500 doses of LSD. And without the large market of substances like ecstasy, smaller, less efficient batches must be produced, raising the cost of production even higher. The small amount of mescaline that is produced for the psychedelic underground typically fetches from $100 to $200 per gram, ($50 to $100 per dose), clearly too expensive to become a popular street drug.

Mescaline sulfate can be distinguished by the structure of its crystals. These are approximately 1/4" long and look like fine needles or shards of glass. The amount of mescaline needed for a high can fill two double 0 gelatin caps. Those who claim they've had mescaline in tiny microdot pills, or as a white powder in a capsule where only 1/8th of a gram produced a powerful experience, have been given something other than real mescaline. Another form of mescaline which I've never tried, mescaline hydrochloride, is said to be about 25% more potent than mescaline sulfate.

The most readily available source of mescaline is trichocereus cacti which can be found in many large nurseries, particularly ones that deal exclusively in cacti and succulents. I tend to buy only from nurseries that mark their cacti with the botanical names, and try to avoid asking for psychoactive cacti by name. I was quite blown out when a redneck cacti wholesaler responded to my request for Trichocereus peruvianus with "That's supposed to be a high alkaloidal content cactus, I don't know if that's the reason you're looking for it." Another cacti wholesaler sold me an unmarked cactus claiming it to be T. peruvianus. It was psychoactive, but no more so than other trichocereus species I've tried.

If the cacti sellers do not know people are buying their cacti for psychoactive purposes it is less likely to become an issue with the authorities. And since this magical plant is one of my favorite "legal" highs, I'd like to see it remain legal and available indefinitely. Trichocereus cacti are considered legal for ornamental purposes only. It is illegal to ingest, extract, or sell for psychoactive purposes: a fairly gray area of the law.

Before going cactus shopping I've found it useful to look at pictures and read physical descriptions of these varieties. Many large libraries will have a selection of books on cacti and possibly lexicons. Most varieties of trichocereus are difficult to tell apart, and I've even seen conflicting information in the keys of lexicons. However, these books should at least give one an idea of which cacti to examine the name tags on. These cacti are also frequently available from various herb and plant dealers that cater to the underground.


The amount of mescaline sulfate required for a full experience is about 500 mg (or approximately 350 mg. of mescaline hydrochloride). Pure mescaline should be taken in two half-doses about 30 minutes apart. This will minimize disturbance of the stomach, which usually passes after the first couple hours of the high. When consuming whole cacti one is actually taking a combination of alkaloids which synergistically interact with each other, producing an experience which is different, and sometimes more desirable, than pure mescaline.

The potency of Peyote, as well as different people's tolerance to it, seems to vary widely. Some people report powerful experiences from as few as three or four Peyote buttons. More often users consume 12 to 15 buttons, and eating more than two dozen is not unheard of. The amount of San Pedro cactus one must consume to obtain the full effects is a piece approximately 10" long and 3" in diameter. Cactus is most potent when harvested during the hotter times of the year.

Trichocereus cacti are relatively quick growing and easy to make cuttings of. Each plant may produce one or more highs worth per year. When harvesting these cacti the top four inches of growing tip can be cut off to be replanted. A length from beneath this can then be cut to consume. The remaining cactus stub will also continue to grow, frequently putting out several branches where it was cut off. The tip cutting should be laid on its side in the sun until the exposed flesh calluses. Once this has occurred, it should be placed upright in a half soil/half sand mixture with good drainage. When cutting the lower, consumable section of the cactus, care should be taken to cut at an angle, going upwards toward the middle of the plant. The fleshy part of the cactus will shrink in where it was cut, and if cut straight across it will form a bowl that will hold water and tend to mold.

To prepare San Pedro for consumption I first cut out the spines, which is fairly easy to do on most trichocereus. The next step I take is to cut the skin off in "V" strips, cutting from the outside of each rib into the central section of the cactus. These "V" strips are saved as they contain the most potent flesh, although the skin itself is thick, waxy and not edible.

The process of eating San Pedro is definitely not fun. It can be tolerated by most serious trippers, but it is difficult to consume enough cactus to get a powerful high. The taste of different trichocereus species ranges from very bitter to tasteless, the varieties with less taste tending to have a slimy consistency. With these varieties the texture is the main obstacle to consuming large quantities. I chew the cactus to a pulp and then wash it down with some liquid. It also helps to eat some full-grain bread as I'm doing this to soak up the liquid in my stomach.

The dark green flesh next to the skin is the most potent part of the cactus and should be eaten first. I do this by flattening out the "V" strips and scraping the flesh off of the skin with my teeth. I then proceed to the central part of the cactus. This should be eaten around like corn on the cob. The flesh on the protruding ribs should be eaten first. The core is woody and not edible. The high begins coming on some 45 minutes after ingesting, and since it takes a while to consume the cactus, one may start feeling high while they are still eating.

The psychoactive alkaloids can also be extracted using water or alcohol. To extract in water one needs to mash the cactus and boil for several hours. One friend reports excellent results by boiling just the skin with 3/8" of flesh attached to it, evaporating off all the liquid at about 140 degrees F, and then powderizing the resulting residue and packing it in gelatin capsules.

Peyote is even more difficult to eat than San Pedro as the taste is extremely bitter. Some people find that by accepting the flavor and not cringing from it they are able to get past any aversion to eating it. One friend even told me that dried Peyote took on the flavor and consistency of good chocolate. However, those like myself who find the taste intolerable can pulverize the dried buttons and pack them into gelatin capsules.


The mescaline experience is my favorite of the traditional psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline). I find it has the advantages of acid: a lucid, penetrating, focused ability of the mind, rather than the more dreamy, drifting state I get from mushrooms. However, I feel totally relaxed with mescaline, even calmer than I feel on mushrooms, and there's no trace of the metallic edge usually felt on acid.

Eating whole cactus produces a more body-oriented high than pure mescaline. San Pedro usually produces a very smooth, flowing experience. However, the effects of Peyote are quite different due to its unique mixture of alkaloids. With Peyote, the first couple hours of the experience are very dream-like, drifting, almost a delirium type state. During this time I feel groggy and sleepy and can do little more than lay back and sink into the feeling, which is not unpleasant. Some element of Peyote also acts as an emetic, making most people nauseous about two hours into the trip.

I find the mescaline experience to be more visual than mushrooms or acid. However, I've only experienced really spectacular visuals when using synthetic mescaline. My high tolerance to most psychedelics, along with the capacity of my stomach, has prevented me from ever being as high as I would have liked when eating whole cactus. Like psilocybin, mescaline tends to link me with collective evolutionary consciousness more than synthetics like LSD. The experiences produced by these natural psychedelics seem more "significant" than an acid high, which is more analytical. An acid high often seems to be a by-product of magnifying the mind, whereas with mushrooms and cactus one feels they are in touch with something ancient, spiritual, and personal. Mescaline has a unique signature in this context which I find most magical, a feeling that the Gods or protective allies are smiling down on me. The duration can be 6 to 14 hours depending on the amount consumed. The "coming back" portion of a mescaline trip is smoother than with the other traditional psychedelics. And I've never felt the "drained of energy" or "neural overload" feeling that can come after an intense acid trip. This allows for a more conscious and therapeutic return to regular consciousness, after which I can easily sink into sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Some aspects of the mescaline high are quite distinct from LSD or mushrooms. The visions produced by mescaline have a different character and structure. When being overtaken by a full strength mescaline trip, I've felt more than with any traditional psychedelic that I was an extraterrestrial being, immersing myself in new sensory phenomena for the first time. Where LSD or psilocybin heighten and clarify the sense of hearing, mescaline produces auditory hallucinations, heightening the hearing sense but also causing sounds to be quite different than normal. Mescaline also sharpens the olfactory sense to a much finer degree than LSD or psilocybin. I've particularly noted this in my ability to perceive the smells of numerous different plants when using synthetic mescaline outdoors. As for aphrodisiacal use of mescaline, wow!, it brought energies out of me that I never knew I had.

At the conclusion of this chapter is one of my favorite descriptions of a psychedelic experience. It illustrates the depth and spiritual significance that a mescaline experience can produce. This is a description of a Peyote experience which Bernard Roseman undertook with members of the Native American Church in the late l950s. It was published in The Peyote Story, Wilshire Book Company, 1963.


The Belladonna alkaloids are reputed to potentiate mescaline. I haven't tried this.

Mescaline may be significantly intensified and possibly dangerous if combined with MAO inhibitors.

Bernard Roseman from The Peyote Story:

The only mind that strayed from the meeting was my own. The resounding drum thundered throughout my being. I could not distinguish the hogan from the interior of my own skull. I drifted further away from the meeting until I was completely unaware of sounds or the presence of others. I walked over to a huge velvet curtain and as I touched it, it slowly parted...

On the other side a magnificent world sprang up. This world was sprinkled with little shining crystals, and the absolute silence lent itself to a silent song that continued without an apparent end. Little droplets of pure molten silver were falling from the heavens, and each blending of non-existent sound had blended to become the purest light. Each sight in this most magnificent of worlds represented infinite perfection. A sharp knife-like distinction separated each spectacle from all others.

All about were the most perfect cogs, too perfect to be known in my everyday world. These cogs were spinning in opposing direction to one another, with no other purpose than BEING. The universe was enclosed in a huge round dome and contained millions of replicas of the same world, each representing a different plane of consciousness.

These worlds were forever missing each other by inches; and as I mentally moved them up a degree where they met and formed the one complete world, the state of perfect order became. I laughed at my former prejudices and what I had considered to be sin in myself and others. I saw all this as being my own manifestations, and only my considering it sin had made it so.

I was living in a timeless pulsation that bridged the gap between all barriers. I reached many eternities, and felt akin with infinity. At long last I knew the relation all things had for one another!

All objects seemed to be complete in themselves; as I searched the depth of an object I would see many worlds buried in it. And as I examined each world, I saw that each had objects of its own which were seen as worlds and objects endlessly. Everything had a new interest for me, for everything was continuously in flux, and each new thing became newer than it was the instant before.

All my senses merged and acted as one as they caressed and encompassed everything they perceived. A thousand sense feelings closed in upon me, stirring up within waves of climaxes that kept sending my mind to even greater, undreamed-of heights. The beginning was forgotten and no end was in sight. I had arrived back to the place of my origin. As each mystery exposed its true nature to me, each revelation was accompanied by vast explosions of vibratory color, flowing liquid blending perfectly together to form a sea of radiant beauty.

A consummation of me, my purpose and creator unfolded and seethed to further heights undreamed of; a tremendous upsurge of blissful emotion poured its intention into a tiny shell that expanded larger and larger. It reached its unbearable breaking point, and then release as the shell burst and a huge burning white flower grew bigger and bigger at a slow unceasing rate; the petals reached out to their fullest extreme, and then closed at the same unceasing rate, to rest...

I continued to float in this heaven of satisfaction and contentment for an immeasurable time. Then far off in the distance I heard a thunderous sound which vibrated my world of infinite color; the sound became louder, and I was wisked backwards through the velvet curtain of confusion once again.

As I returned to the hogan I saw myself as a huge magnet and all my worldly emotions and attachments as being small iron shavings and at the instant of returning these shavings sprang up, charging in on me, until I was once again a victim of sense objects and emotions. I reluctantly opened my eyes and saw the Indians across from me still singing and chanting. Tears formed in my eyes and I realized the world that someday awaits my return. A peace descended over me that I was heretofore not familiar with, and I recognized it as being the peace that descends when life transcends to death.

I looked about me and felt more Indian than white as I was carried along in the rhythm of the chants as we gave our combined thanks to Pioniyo.

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This is a recipe from PiHKAL. If you're interested in how the hardlinks were chosen, read noding PiHKAL for Everything2.

#96 M


SYNTHESIS: A solution of 20 g 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, 40 mL nitromethane, and 20 mL cyclohexylamine in 200 mL of acetic acid was heated on the steam bath for 1 h. The reaction mixture was then diluted slowly and with good stirring, with 400 mL H2O, which allowed the formation of a heavy yellow crystalline mass. This was removed by filtration, washed with H2O, and sucked as dry as possible. Recrystallization from boiling MeOH (15 mL/g) yielded, after filtration and air drying, beta-nitro-3,4,5-trimethoxystyrene as bright yellow crystals weighing 18.5 g. An alternate synthesis was effective, using an excess of nitromethane as solvent as well as reagent, if the amount of ammonium acetate catalysis was kept small. A solution of 20 g 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzaldehyde in 40 mL nitromethane containing 1 g anhydrous ammonium acetate was heated on the steam bath for 4 h. The solvent was stripped under vacuum and the residual yellow oil was dissolved in two volumes of hot MeOH, decanted from some insolubles, and allowed to cool. The crystals formed are removed by filtration, washed with MeOH and air dried yielding 14.2 g. of bright yellow crystals of beta-nitro-3,4,5-trimethoxystyrene. The use of these proportions but with 3.5 g ammonium acetate gave extensive side-reaction products even when worked up after only 1.5 h heating. The yield of nitrostyrene was, in this latter case, unsatisfactory.

To a gently refluxing suspension of 2 g LAH in 200 mL Et2O, there was added 2.4 g beta-nitro-3,4,5-trimethoxystyrene as a saturated Et2O solution by use of a Soxhlet extraction condenser modified to allow the continuous return of condensed solvent through the thimble. After the addition was complete, the refluxing conditions were maintained for another 48 h. After cooling the reaction mixture, a total of 150 mL of 1.5 N H2SO4 was cautiously added, destroying the excess hydride and untimately providing two clear phases. These were separated, and the aqueous phase was washed once with 50 mL Et2O. There was then added 50 g potassium sodium tartrate, followed by sufficient NaOH to bring the pH >9. This was then extracted with 3x75 mL CH2Cl2, and the solvent from the pooled extracts was removed under vacuum. The residue was distilled at 120-130 °C at 0.3 mm/Hg giving a white oil that was dissolved in 10 mL IPA and neutralized with concentrated HCl. The white crystals that formed were diluted with 25 mL Et2O, removed by filtration, and air dried to provide 2.1 g 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine hydrochloride (M) as glistening white crystals. The sulfate salt formed spectacular crystals from water, but had a broad and uncharacteristic mp. An alternate synthesis can employ 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenylacetonitrile, as described under beta-D.

DOSAGE: 200-400 mg (as the sulfate salt), 178-356 mg (as the hydrochloride salt)

DURATION: 10-12 h

QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 300 mg) I would have liked to, and was expecting to, have an exciting visual day, but I seemed to be unable to escape self-analysis. At the peak of the experience I was quite intoxicated and hyper with energy, so that it was not hard to move around. I was quite restless. But I spent most of the day in considerable agony, attempting to break through without success. I learned a great deal about myself and my inner workings. Everything almost was, but in the final analysis, wasn't. I began to become aware of a point, a brilliant white light, that seemed to be where God was entering, and it was inconceivably wonderful to perceive it and to be close to it. One wished for it to approach with all one's heart. I could see that people would sit and meditate for hours on end just in the hope that this little bit of light would contact them. I begged for it to continue and come closer but it did not. It faded away not to return in that particular guise the rest of the day. Listening to Mozart's Requiem, there were magnificent heights of beauty and glory. The world was so far away from God, and nothing was more important than getting back in touch with Him. But I saw how we created the nuclear fiasco to threaten the existence of the planet, as if it would be only through the threat of complete annihilation that people might wake up and begin to become concerned about each other. And so also with the famines in Africa. Many similar scenes of joy and despair kept me in balance. I ended up the experience in a very peaceful space, feeling that though I had been through a lot, I had accomplished a great deal. I felt wonderful, free, and clear.

(with 350 mg) Once I got through the nausea stage, I ventured out-of-doors and I was aware of an intensification of color and a considerable change in the texture of the cloth of my skirt and in the concrete of the sidewalk, and in the flowers and leaves that were handed me by an observer. I experienced the desire to laugh hysterically at what I could only describe as the completely ridiculous state of the entire world. Although I was afraid of motion, I was persuaded to take a ride in a car. The driver turned on the radio and suddenly the music 'The March of the Siamese Children' from 'The King and I' became the most perfect background music for the parody of real life which was indeed the normal activity of Telegraph Avenue on any Saturday morning. The perfectly ordinary people on their perfectly ordinary errands were clearly the most cleverly contrived set of characters all performing all manners of eccentric activities for our particular hilarity and enjoyment. I felt that I was at the same time both observing and performing in an outrageous moving picture. I experienced one moment of transcendant happiness when, while passing Epworth Hall, I looked out of the window of the car and up at the building and I was suddenly in Italy looking up at a gay apartment building with its shutters flung open in sunshine, and with its window boxes with flowers. We stopped at a spot overlooking the bay, but I found the view uninteresting and the sun uncomfortable. I sat there on the seat of the car looking down at the ground, and the earth became a mosaic of beautiful stones which had been placed in an intricate design which soon all began to move in a serpentine manner. Then I became aware that I was looking at the skin of a beautiful snake--all the ground around me was this same huge creature and we were all standing on the back of this gigantic and beautiful reptile. The experience was very pleasing and I felt no revulsion. Just then, another automobile stopped to look at the view and I experienced my first real feeling of persecution and I wanted very much to leave.

(with 400 mg) During the initial phase of the intoxication (between 2 and 3 hours) everything seemed to have a humorous interpretation. People's faces are in caricature, small cars seem to be chasing big cars, and all cars coming towards me seem to have faces. This one is a duchess moving in regal pomp, that one is a wizened old man running away from someone. A remarkable effect of this drug is the extreme empathy felt for all small things; a stone, a flower, an insect. I believe that it would be impossible to harm anything--to commit an overt harmful or painful act on anyone or anything is beyond one's capabilities. One cannot pluck a flower--and even to walk upon a gravel path requires one to pick his footing carefully, to avoid hurting or disturbing the stones. I found the color perception to be the most striking aspect of the experience. The slightest difference of shade could be amplified to extreme contrast. Many subtle hues became phosphorescent in intensity. Saturated colors were often unchanged, but they were surrounded by cascades of new colors tumbling over the edges.

(with 400 mg) It took a long time to come on and I was afraid that I had done it wrong but my concerns were soon ended. The world soon became transformed where objects glowed as if from an inner illumination and my body sprang to life. The sense of my body, being alive in my muscles and sinews, filled me with enormous joy. I watched Ermina fill to brimming with animal spirit, her features tranformed, her body cat-like in her graceful natural movement. I was stopped in my tracks. The world seemed to hold its breath as the cat changed again into the Goddess. As she shed her clothes, she shed her ego and when the dance began, Ermina was no more. There was only the dance without the slightest self-consconciousness. How can anything so beautiful be chained and changed by other's expectations? I became aware of myself in her and as we looked deeply into one another my boundaries disappeared and I became her looking at me.

EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: Mescaline is one of the oldest psychedelics known to man. It is the major active component of the small dumpling cactus known as Peyote. It grows wild in the Southwestern United States and in Northern Mexico, and has been used as an intimate component of a number of religious traditions amongst the native Indians of these areas. The cactus has the botanical name of Lophophora williamsii or Anhalonium lewinii and is immediately recognizable by its small round shape and the appearance of tufts of soft fuzz in place of the more conventional spines. The dried plant material has been classically used with anywhere from a few to a couple of dozen of the hard tops, called buttons, being consumed in the course of a ceremony.

Throughout the more recently published record of clinical human studies with mescaline, it has been used in the form of the synthetic material, and has usually been administered as the sulfate salt. Although this form has a miserable melting point (it contains water of crystallization, and the exact melting point depends on the rate of heating of the sample) it nonetheless forms magnificent crystals from water. Long, glistening needles that are, in a sense, its signature and its mark of purity. The dosages associated with the above "qualitative comments" are given as if measured as the sulfate, although the actual form used was usually the hydrochloride salt. The conversion factor is given under "dosage" above.

Mescaline has always been the central standard against which all other compounds are viewed. Even the United States Chemical Warfare group, in their human studies of a number of substituted phenethylamines, used mescaline as the reference material for both quantitative and qualitative comparisons. The Edgewood Arsenal code number for it was EA-1306. All psychedelics are given properties that are something like "twice the potency of mescaline" or "twice as long-lived as mescaline." This simple drug is truly the central prototype against which everything else is measured. The earliest studies with the "psychotomimetic amphetamines" had quantitative psychological numbers attached that read as "mescaline units." Mescaline was cast in concrete as being active at the 3.75 mg/kg level. That means for a 80 kilogram person (a 170 pound person) a dose of 300 milligrams. If a new compound proved to be active at 30 milligrams, there was a M.U. level of 10 put into the published literature. The behavioral biologists were happy, because now they had numbers to represent psychological properties. But in truth, none of this represented the magic of this material, the nature of the experience itself. That is why, in this Book II, there is only one line given to "dosage," but a full page given to "qualitative comments".

Four simple N-modified mescaline analogues are of interest in that they are natural and have been explored in man.

The N-acetyl analogue has been found in the peyote plant, and it is also a major metabolite of mescaline in man. It is made by the gentle reaction of mescaline with acetic anhydride (a bit too much heat, and the product N-acetyl mescaline will cyclize to a dihydroisoquinoline, itself a fine white crystalline solid, mp 160-161 °C) and can be recrystallized from boiling toluene. A number of human trials with this amide at levels in the 300 to 750 milligrams range have shown it to be with very little activity. At the highest levels there have been suggestions of drowsiness. Certainly there were none of the classic mescaline psychedelic effects.

If free base mescaline is brought into reaction with ethyl formate (to produce the amide, N-formylmescaline) and subsequently reduced (with lithium aluminum hydride) it is converted to the N-methyl homologue. This base has also been found as a trace component in the Peyote cactus. And the effects of N-methylation of other psychedelic drugs have been commented upon elsewhere in these recipes, all with consistently negative results (with the noteworthy exception of the conversion of MDA to MDMA). Here, too, there is no obvious activity in man, although the levels assayed were only up to 25 milligrams.

N,N-Dimethylmescaline has been given the trivial name of Trichocerine as it has been found as a natural product in several cacti of the Trichocereus Genus but, interestingly, never in any Peyote variant. It also has proven inactive in man in dosages in excess of 500 milligrams, administered parenterally. This observation, the absence of activity of a simple tertiary amine, has been exploited in the development of several iodinated radiopharmaceuticals that are mentioned elsewhere in this book.

The fourth modification is the compound with the nitrogen atom oxidatively removed from the scene. This is the mescaline metabolite, 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenylacetic acid, or TMPEA. Human dosages up to 750 milligrams orally failed to produce either physiological or psychological changes.

One additional manipulation with some of these structures has been made and should be mentioned. These are the analogues with an oxygen atom inserted between the aromatic ring and the aliphatic chain. They are, in essence, aminoethyl phenyl ethers. The first is related to mescaline itself, 2-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenoxy)ethylamine. Human trials were conducted over the dose range of 10 to 300 milligrams and there were no effects observed. The second is related to trichocerine, N,N-dimethyl-2-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenoxy)ethylamine. It was inactive in man over the range of 10 to 400 milligrams. Mescaline, at a dose of 420 milligrams, served as the control in these studies.

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Mescaline was made popular with the use of peyote, (l. williamsii) but, by and large, most mescaline these days is derived from the San Pedro cactus (trichocereus pachanoi).

It has higher concentrations of mescaline in it, and, more importantly, is a helluva lot easier to grow. Not only that, but the cactus is used throughout the United States and other countries as a decorative plant. If you live in Arizona, odds are, you've seen one. Preparing mescaline from San Pedro is surprisingly easy, and although I would like to node the procedure, certain new internet laws prohibit it, since it's illegal in many countries.

Mescaline is one of the most-researched psychotropic drugs ever, and since the 1950's, mescaline has been used as the benchmark of comparison to other psychotropics. It's not at all uncommon to see drug effect reports that say "intensity: 2x mescaline" or "duration: 1/2 mescaline". It's use goes back to Native American shamanistic ceremonies, much like Salvia Divinorum and has no known adverse side-effects. Placebo effect and psychosomatic responses are always possible, of course.

On a side note, while general mescaline possession is illegal in the United States, there is a condition that allows you to possess and consume it: The Native American Church. Unfortunately, you have to be a member, and they won't let you join without being Native American.
Mescaline is a psychoactive derived from the peyote cactus and others from the Trichcereus family (namely the San Pedro).
The first use of mescaline dates back several centuries, when native American Indians harvested it from the peyote cactus to use in religious ceremonies.
These tribes believed that mescaline provided a link between them and their god, because of the hallucinations and different perspectives it attributes to the user.

San Pedro is the most common cacti that mescaline is harvested from today because the peyote cactus is almost extinct. It is nearing extinction because a single plant can take 100 years to mature.

Mescaline today is cheifly administered orally, although certain preparations allow it to be smoked.
Mainlining is unheard of.

Mescaline is generally accepted to be somewhat a tribal drug and less harsh than other hallucinogenics such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or Lysergic Acid (LSD).

Preparing mescaline from San Pedro cactus using household implements

If you think that taking drugs is stupid and immoral, please visit before passing judgement.

This is a writeup about making a potentially harmful drug from a commonly available plant. Following the instructions in this writeup may involve breaking the law, depending on where you live, and endangering yourself and anyone who takes your mescaline preparation. I have extensively researched the risks involved in making and taking a san pedro mescaline preparation, and believe that (for myself) they are outweighed by the benefits, so long as the normal precautions for taking psychedelic drugs are observed. You must make your own decision. The strength of this preparation can vary wildly due to the variable concentrations of mescaline found in san pedro cacti, and so this preparation should not be taken by anyone without extensive experience at taking psychedelic drugs. Do not attempt this preparation unless you can be absolutely sure which species of cactus you have. I cannot stress this point enough. Preparing mescaline containing cacti is illegal to most people in many countries, including America. To determine whether this includes you, you will have to research the drug laws in your country.

San pedro cactus or Trichocereus Pachanoi is a large, fast growing cactus which contains between 0.3 and 2 percent (dry weight) of the potent psychedelic drug mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxy-ß-phenethylamine). Rarely is the concentration greater than 0.5%. This is a much lower concentration than is found in peyote, and so it is difficult to ingest enough san pedro to experience a full trip. The preparations found in this node are a refinement of methods I and my accomplices have found from various sources, and makes it easier to ingest the recommended dose of around 250 - 350 mg. Note that when I say "easier", that ingesting raw san pedro plant matter triggers the gag reflex, and that preparations that I have tried from other sources which involve concentrating the product have produced a thick, stinking gunk which tastes worse than the worst thing you can imagine. This is not an exaggeration.

This preparation does not require any knowledge of chemistry or lab gear, and requires the partakers to ingest around 300 mls of unpleasant green phlegm. This is only for dedicated psychedelic explorers, people. I find it a lot easier to ingest than the required amount of a solid preparation.

We developed this preparation because extracting it from san pedro is the only means we have of obtaining mescaline. I also prefer to make my drugs from natural sources as opposed to buying them because then I am in control of the contents of the drugs. My "300 mls of phlegm" preparation may be a lot less pleasant than ingesting a nice little capsule, but at least I know that the preparation contains mescaline, and no other drugs except for other alkaloids found in san pedro.

Materials: 50 cm of san pedro per person, 1 large pot, some form of stove, a large knife, a blender, some water, a cloth straining instrument such as a tea-towel, a large bowl.

Notes: Do not try this preparation unless you are completely sure that the cactus you have is Trichocereus Pachanoi. There are several cacti which look similar to san pedro but contain hazardous chemicals which will kill you or fuck you up if you ingest them. Go to and other respectable drug sites, and get several pictures of san pedro cactus against which to compare your target. The cacti I use for this preparation are between 4 and 6 inches in diameter. If your cacti are not so large, compensate by increasing the length. For information on solid san pedro preparation, see the Psychedelic Guide: Mescaline.

You may first wish to remove the spines. This should be done by cutting them out at their base, taking care to remove as little of the green skin and flesh as possible. Most or all of the mescaline is in and around the outer green skin, so your next task is to remove the outer 1 cm of the cactus. This can be done by cutting the cactus into slices, and then slicing the edges off of the star shaped sections, or by inserting the blade parallel to an edge and slicing big long strips of skin off. The former method is far more time consuming, but the latter tends to collect more of the white inner goop, which adds to the phlegm like consistency of the preparation dramatically. I tend to prefer the latter method, but I have an obedient stomach. With either method, bits of white flesh which are collected should be removed from the bits you cut off, and bits of green flesh which are left behind should be collected.

Next, if you cut the cactus into strips, cut them into squares. Put some squares into the blender and blend them. This is kind of tricky, and you will need to use an implement of some kind to push uncooperative cactus pieces into the blades. If you used the strip method, the white core of the cactus works well for this. Don't push while the blades are turning. A heavy duty juice extractor works much better than a blender for this, but it can't be good for the juice extractor. Never try to blend more than a handful of cactus at once, or you'll just clog up the blender so that the blades are not contacting any cactus. You won't be able to actually puree the cactus, so you're just trying to badly traumatise it. Occasionally add a little water to the blender to improve the flow. Once all of the pieces in the blender are fairly mangled, put them into the pot, and repeat until all of the cactus is blended.

Shake the pot so that the mangled cactus is sitting fairly level. Push it down to reduce the amount of empty space below the cactus level. Then add water slowly until the water level is just above the level of the cactus. Now turn the stove on a medium setting and stir the pot. If stirring isn't really an option, add a bit more water, but remember, with this preparation, the more water you add, the more gunk you're going to have to drink. Bring the pot to the boil, and simmer it for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.

Allow to cool for an hour. Place the tea towel over the bowl. Pour the contents of the pot into the bowl, through the tea towel. For this step, either tape the tea towel to the bowl or get someone to hold it, so that the contents of the pot don't overflow into the bowl without being strained by the tea towel. This step should be done slowly. When the pot is empty or the tea towel is too full to continue, grab the edges of the tea towel and lift them up so you can grab them in one hand. Twist the dripping green ball of goop-in-a-tea-towel, and squeeze the juice out of it. Be careful not to break the tea towel. The process of squeezing most of the juice from the tea towel into the bowl will take a while. When you're too bored to continue, or the tea towel is barely dripping any more, assess the liquidity of the stuff in the bowl. If it has lots of solid matter in it and you can't see the bottom of the bowl, you may want to strain it again. Otherwise, refrigerate, since warm green goop is harder to drink than cold green goop.

And there you have it. This method was developed from methods found on the web and in books, and produces a larger quantity of weaker liquid which is merely revolting, as opposed to half a glass of repugnant slime which smells and tastes worse than the worst thing you can imagine. To drink, prepare a chaser of some kind (orange juice is not too bad, cola works well too) and drink it as fast as you can. The goal is to get it down before your throat and stomach realise what you're doing. Around 300 mls per person should do it. Mescaline concentration in san pedro is generally around 0.02% (fresh) but can apparently get as high as 0.14% (fresh. Dry weight: between 0.3% and 2%).

Refrences and Additional Information: the Psychedelic Encyclopedia,, Psychedelic Guide: Mescaline, For data on san pedro mescaline concentrations, see the excellent article at

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