One of the illegal hallucinogens is Mescaline, found naturally in certain cacti species, including the peyote cactus and the San Pedro cactus. The top of the cactus is cut close to the ground and then dried. The small button like crowns of the plant can be eaten or soaked in water, but, because of the unpleasant, bitter taste, mescaline is most often ground into a fine powder and placed into capsules for easier consumption. Mescaline can also be produced synthetically and is often used to make psychedelic tea.
Mescaline users typically ingest four to twenty buttons, or capsules, per dose. The average effective dosage is 500 mg, but hallucinations can begin after 300 mg. A typical high can last up to twelve hours. Mescaline is, however, much less potent than similar hallucinogens, like LSD and psilocybin. This drug is popular because of the altered, dreamy state of consciousness it produces, along with visual and audible hallucinations, often said to be enlightening and enjoyable.
Besides intense hallucinations, mescaline users may also experience a number of other side effects. Uncontainable laughter and dreamy visions with the eyes both open and closed are common, as well as new and unusual thinking processes. Euphoric and psychedelic states are also experienced under the influence of mescaline. Users usually have dilated pupils while on the drug, and may feel hot and cold sensations.
Mescaline can also cause users to become irrational in their thinking or the user may experience feelings of anxiety and waves of hatred. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea are common side effects as well. Mescaline use can also accelerate the users heart rate, sometimes to an unhealthy level that could be fatal. Large doses of mescaline can lower the body's glucose level, possibly causing unconsciousness, or can induce convulsions, heart failure, and death due to respiratory failure.
Although mescaline does not create a physical dependency in users, the drug can be moderately addictive because of the possibility of psychological dependency. There are a number of organizations available to help those who have problems with mescaline addiction, as well as other drugs. Variety of organizations treats addictions based on the problems caused by both physical and psychological substance dependencies.