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Mescaline is a psychoactive phenethylamine chemical, best known for being the primary psychoactive component in peyote and San Pedro cacti. It was first isolated by Arthur Heffter in 1897 when he was trying to identify the mind-altering principals in peyote.

Mescaline is considered one of the classic psychedelic/entheogens, with a long history of traditional use in Central America (in the form of cacti), formalised modern ritual use in the Native American Church, considered by many experienced users as uniquely powerful, and widely known throughout the world because of the many accounts of its use. Both synthetic and extracted crystaline mescaline are available on the underground markets, but both are rare and usually quite expensive.

A standard dose for oral mescaline use ranges from 200 to 500 mg. One of the more common myths around its use is that it can come in the form of tiny microdot pills. Even 200 mg of material fills a medium size capsule, so obviously microdots are not mescaline.

Mescaline concentration in cacti varies from one species to the next. Peyote is traditionally eaten in pairs of buttons, with anywhere from a single pair (two buttons) to dozens of pairs of buttons (24 or more) being consumed over the course of an evening/night. Dosages of columnar cacti like San Pedro and Peruvianus are generally measured by the number of inches of cacti consumed. One rule of thumb for a relatively potent variety is approximately 30cm of cacti (approximately 10cm in diameter) per dose, another says a piece of cacti the length from your elbow to your fingertips.

It is Schedule I by United Nations Convention and is illegal to possess in most countries. Mescaline-containing cacti, however, are controlled very differently from country to country.

Mescaline was first isolated and identified by German chemist Arthur Heffter in 1897, but the use of mescaline cacti has been documented in Central and South America for thousands of years. Immediately after European subjugation of the native populations in the Americas, peyote and San Pedro use became persecuted by Christian zealots and the mescaline-using traditions were forced to go underground. In the late 1800s these traditions slowly began a resurgance as North American Indians began incorporating peyote use into their religious practices and persecution in South America diminished. Peyote was banned federally in the United States in 1967 and was placed in Schedule I when the Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1971.

Terminology / Slang
The Substance: Mescaline.
The Experience: Tripping.

Addiction potential
Mescaline is neither physically addicting nor likely to cause psychological dependence. Withdrawal effects following discontinuation have not been reported.

- Article used with the permission of Last modified April 2009.

Erowid caution and disclaimer

This Erowid article is a summary of data gathered from Erowid site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. As this field is complex and constantly changing, information should always be verified through additional sources.

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