Mescaline, a member of the phenethylamine family of drugs, is an illicit hallucinogenic drug. In the United States, mescaline is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This status indicates that the drug has a high risk for abuse and has no accepted medical use in the U.S. It was declared illegal in 1967 and classified as Schedule I in 1970.
The drug has been has been used for centuries, as far back as 4000 B.C., in Native-American or Shaman ceremonies as part of their religious cleansing rites and to treat some illnesses.
The street names for mescaline include: Buttons, Cactus, Mesc, Peyote and Peyoto.
How Mescaline Is Made
The drug is the product of a small, spineless cactus, the Lophophora williamsii, or peyote, which is found in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Mescaline can also be synthetically produced in a drug lab.
The button-like tops of the cacti, also called crowns, are soaked in water to drink or chewed to obtain the intoxicating liquid. Mescaline has a very bitter taste. The buttons can also be ground into a powder, which is rolled in a leaf material and smoked or poured into a gelatin capsule to avoid the bitter taste. Mescaline is taken by mouth.
Mescaline delivers similar effects to that of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin (mushrooms) and phencyclidine (PCP), including the classic flashback of past drug experiences. The effects of mescaline are unpredictable and vary from from user to user.
It is not as addictive as cocaine, heroin or alcohol. Mescaline lacks the drug-seeking compulsion of other addictive substances.
The mescaline dose that produces the hallucinogenic effects is 0.3 to 0.5 grams (300 to 500 mg). The effects of the drug start within 1 to 2 hours of ingestion and last about 10 to 12 hours, with a gradual decline in the effects.
The typical physical and psychological effects of mescaline include:
- Visual hallucinations
- Altered consciousness, usually pleasurable but can be anxiety-provoking
- Psychedelic experience
- Dream-like state
- Increased blood pressure, body temperature and pulse
- Muscle twitching and weakness
- Appetite suppression
Mescaline users often experience nausea before the desired mental effects start.
Daily use quickly develops into a tolerance to the drug, usually after only three to six days. Physical addiction is not associated with mescaline. Instead, the abuser develops a tolerance, which means that they need to increase the dose of the drug in order to attain the same high. Users do become psychologically addicted to the drug.
Some drug authorities have coined the use of mescaline to be a chemically induced model of mental illness.
Side Effects of the Mescaline
There are many dangerous and concerning side effects to this drug, which include:
- Rapid heart rate or tachycardia
With regard to long-term side effects, mescaline is a potentially dangerous drug that can result in a bad trip, even after only a single experience, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Kicking Mescaline Addiction
A structured rehabilitation program is advised to detox from mescaline abuse. For ongoing help after detox, support programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer strong peer support and recovery encouragement. If you or someone you know is seeking help, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to start the path to recovery today.