April 28, 2023

Mescaline: Addiction, Effects, and FAQs

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Mescaline is a hallucinogenic substance derived from the extract of peyote, a spineless cactus. Mescaline is sometimes known as cactus psychoactive drug or cactus drug. You may also encounter synthetic mescaline. Either form of mescaline is prone to abuse.

Native cultures like the Navajo have used peyote ceremonially for generations, but the mescaline drug is also abused recreationally. Mescaline abuse is associated with the development of tolerance and physical dependence.

Mescaline is an illegal drug in the United States with the exception of sanctioned ceremonial use by the Native American Church.

What is Mescaline?

Mescaline is a psychedelic hallucinogen and an alkaloid that comes from the following types of cacti:

  • Peyote cactus
  • San Pedro cactus
  • Peruvian torch cactus

Mescaline has been used for hundreds of years ceremonially and for religious rituals. Today, many Native Americans still use mescaline in the form of the peyote cactus.

During the 1960s, there was an increase in the recreational use of psychedelics like mescaline by those seeking illuminating or transformative experiences with illicit drugs.

The peyote drug name may vary. Common names for mescaline include:

  • Mesc
  • Cactus
  • Peyote
  • Buttons
  • Mescaline tabs
  • Mescaline trip
  • Mescaline molecule

Although mescaline typically comes from peyote, the substance is also present in some Peruvian cacti. Chemists can also synthesize mescaline in labs.

Those who use mescaline smoke, chew, or ingest parts of the cactus plant extracted from its roots. These chunks of the plant are informally known as buttons or peyote buttons. Alternatively, mescaline can be consumed as a mescaline tablet or mescaline pill. Less frequently, mescaline is brewed or injected intravenously in liquid form.

The peyote cactus is relatively rare so there is not an abundance of authentic mescaline on the black market. Many drug traffickers sell damaging hallucinogens like PCP marketed as mescaline.

Is Mescaline Addictive?

Drug addiction is clinically termed SUD (substance use disorder). DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) recognizes ten types of substance use disorder, including hallucinogen use disorder. That said, mescaline and psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin are not generally regarded as addictive.

Although mescaline may not be physically addictive, tolerance to the drug forms with sustained use. When this occurs, the effects of mescaline diminish, and higher doses are needed to trigger the initial effects. Taking mescaline in higher doses raises the risk of becoming violently sick.

Ongoing use of a hallucinogen like mescaline may also trigger feelings of psychological dependence.

Is mescaline dangerous, then?

Is Mescaline Safe?

The safety of using mescaline depends on several factors, including the dose, individual health status, the setting in which it is used, and mental state. When taken in moderate doses, mescaline is generally considered safe and non-addictive, although it can produce intense and long-lasting effects. That said, high doses can lead to a range of negative physical and psychological effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychotic episodes

The use of mescaline is illegal in many countries, including the United States. Possessing, selling, or buying mescaline can result in legal ramifications.

Beyond this, some people may be more sensitive to the effects of mescaline, and others may have pre-existing medical conditions that could be inflamed by its use.

Any use of mescaline should be approached with extreme caution and only after thorough research and consideration of the potential risks and benefits. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any substance, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.

Effects of Mescaline

Mescaline is a psychoactive substance that can cause changes in perception, leading to what is commonly referred to as tripping. These experiences can be either positive or negative – a good trip or a bad trip.

The effects of mescaline usually begin to take hold within 1 to 2 hours of consumption, often lasting for 12 hours. That said, the way in which mescaline affects people can vary widely, depending on factors that include:

  • Size of the dose of mescaline
  • Previous experience with hallucinogenic drugs
  • Individual emotional state

While some users may report feelings of profound peace and spiritual transcendence, those living with mental illness are at heightened risk of experiencing prolonged psychosis and other negative effects.

Despite the potential risks, mescaline and other psychedelics have long been associated with deeply personal and meaningful experiences for users. Some religious traditions incorporate the use of mescaline as a tool for self-exploration and spiritual growth. It is nevertheless vital to approach the use of this potent hallucinogen with caution and respect for its potential risks.

The most common effects triggered by mescaline include:

  • Euphoria
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Dream-like state
  • Slowed passage of time
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Confusion of senses
  • Pupil dilation

The use of psychedelics is also associated with periods of emotional turmoil and confusion in the immediate aftermath of drug use. These feelings may persist for several days.

Cacti containing mescaline may also induce severe nausea and vomiting and nausea, which may lead to hospitalization.

Side effects associated with mescaline use include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Memory loss
  • Flashbacks
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mescaline Addiction

Although mescaline shares many similarities with LSD, mescaline has a much lower potency. Indeed, it is the least potent naturally occurring hallucinogen, being 30 times less potent than psilocybin. Mescaline is also prized for its long-lasting effects, making it a preferred option for some people.

Despite its mildness, mescaline can still lead to the development of tolerance in users. This means that over time, you may require higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects that you once experienced. Regrettably, chasing that initial experience can quickly lead to a growing dependency on the substance. Ultimately, those who become dependent on mescaline may require larger and more frequent doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects. This can be dangerous and harmful.

Fortunately, mescaline use is not generally associated with any serious withdrawal symptoms. While some people may experience mild effects like anxiety and depression after discontinuing use, these are typically short-lived and do not constitute a formal withdrawal syndrome. Nonetheless, anyone considering using mescaline should do so with caution and be aware of the potential risks associated with this substance. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any psychoactive substance.

Signs of Mescaline Addiction

While mescaline is not considered as addictive as some other drugs like opioids or stimulants, some people may still develop a dependence on the substance over time. Here are some signs of mescaline addiction to look out for:

  • Cravings: Someone who is addicted to mescaline may experience intense cravings for the drug, even when they are not under the influence of it.
  • Tolerance: Over time, it is possible to develop a tolerance to mescaline, meaning that higher doses are required to deliver the desired effects.
  • Withdrawal: When someone using mescaline after a period of regular use, they may experience mild withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, anxiety, and depression.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: A person who is addicted to mescaline may start to neglect their responsibilities at work, school, or home in favor of using the drug.
  • Continuing to use despite negative consequences: Even when mescaline use begins to cause negative consequences in someone’s life – relationship problems or legal issues, for instance – they may continue to use the drug.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time and money on mescaline: An individual with a drug addiction may spend a lot of time and money obtaining and using mescaline, often at the expense of other important aspects of their life.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of mescaline addiction, it is imperative to seek professional help. Recovery from substance abuse is possible with the right support and resources.

Mescaline Addiction Treatment

Mescaline use can be risky and potentially harmful from a legal and health standpoint. While it may not be addictive in the traditional sense, long-term use of mescaline can still significantly impact a person’s life. For example, it may lead to experimentation with other drugs that have greater risks of addiction and overdose.

Currently, no FDA-approved medications are specifically designed to treat mescaline abuse. However, there are still many options for individuals who are looking to stop using the drug and get help for their addiction. Seeking behavioral support and treatment is often the best course of action for people struggling with mescaline addiction. This might include individual counseling or group therapy sessions, which can help individuals get to the root of their addiction and learn healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and other triggers.

Ultimately, overcoming mescaline addiction is a difficult and challenging journey. However, with the right combination of professional support, behavioral therapy, and a strong commitment to change, it is possible to overcome addiction and build a healthier, more fulfilling life. We can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge.

Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you require drug addiction treatment in Southern California, consider kickstarting your recovery at Gratitude Lodge in Newport Beach or Long Beach, CA.

All our pet-friendly treatment centers offer evidence-based programs for drug addictions, mental health conditions, and co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis of addiction and mental health disorders).

Take the safest and most comfortable pathway to recovery by engaging with our supervised medical detox program. Access medications, clinical care, and emotional care as you transition from active drug addiction into ongoing recovery. Following detox, move directly into one of the following programs:

  • 30-day inpatient program
  • IOP (intensive outpatient program)
  • Dual diagnosis treatment program

All treatment programs at Gratitude draw from the following interventions:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapies like CBT and DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Holistic therapies like yoga and meditation
  • Aftercare

Call admissions today at 800-994-2184 for immediate assistance.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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