What is peyote and how is it different from mescaline? People often use the two terms interchangeably despite the fact that they are completely different. In fact, one is sometimes considered legal while the other is constantly prohibited.
There’s no hiding the fact that these two things are related—they’re just not identical. Today we will discuss their differences.
The English name peyote comes from the similarly-spelled Spanish name. This in turn was taken from the Nahuatl name peyōtl, which is said to be derived from a root word meaning “glisten”. Other interpretations say that the word means “Divine Messenger”.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding its name, we do know that peyote, or Lophophora williamsii, is a small, spineless cactus that contains psychoactive alkaloids.
The Native North Americans were said to have used the cactus for spiritual purposes. They did this for at least 5,500 years, seeing visions and experiencing feelings of transcendence. This explains why the cactus is known as a divine messenger.
Peyote is native to Mexico, as well as southwestern Texas. It is found mainly in the Chihuahuan Desert, and also in the states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and San Luis Potosi.
The cactus is known for its psychoactive properties. When ingested, it provides euphoric effects for the user. It was often used in meditation, psychedelic therapy, and rituals.
The answer to this depends on where you are. In the United States, there’s an exemption pertaining to peyote in Article 32 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The cactus is considered legal if used for traditional purposes.
Meanwhile in Canada, possession and use of peyote plant is legal under all circumstances. Still, the psychoactive substances within it are considered illegal.
Peyote, particularly the substance it contains, has psychoactive effects which we will discuss later on. But in addition to that, Native American tribes use the plant for its curative properties. Peyote is used there to treat various ailments such as toothache, fever, skin diseases, rheumatism, colds, diabetes, and even labor pains.
Peyote is also used for preparations for asthma. It contains an alkaloid which is now called hordenine.
Mescaline, or 3, 4, 5-trimethoxyphenethylamine, is the hallucinogen that is obtained from peyote. This is the illegal substance within the seemingly harmless cactus. Mescaline comes from the disc-shaped buttons on the top part of the cactus known as the crown. These buttons are usually chewed, but they can also be soaked in water to produce a bitter liquid.
The drug produces visual hallucinations. Because of this, it is primarily used for recreation. It comes from the same family as LSD, and actually shares plenty of similar characteristics with it. For example, the vivid hallucinations are quite similar between the two drugs, during which users feel a heightened awareness of their surroundings.
It was first synthesized in 1919, but it wasn’t until 1970 before it was realized that the drug had no medicinal qualities. It was later banned in the US, categorized as a Schedule 1 drug.
It is suggested that mescaline can be used for the treatment of alcoholism and depression.
However, its status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance means research on this drug is limited.
Users often chew mescaline, but because of its bitter taste, many people prefer swallowing it in pill form. It can also be mixed in a drink like orange juice, soda, or coffee. Some users also inject it directly into a vein. The effects of mescaline may last up to 12 hours.
Aside from a radically altered state of consciousness that’s to be expected from a hallucinogenic drug, mescaline produces other effects. First and foremost, it gives users a sense of bliss and euphoria. This experience may be accompanied by feelings of anxiety and disgust.
Some people report being able to see hallucinations even with their eyes closed.
Common side effects include dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and palpitation. Despite these adverse effects, mescaline itself is not physically addictive. That means there’s no need for detoxification. There are also no withdrawal effects if someone tries to stop using it.
Still, mescaline has an effect on the body’s ability to control itself. It alters body movement and speech. The drug can produce anxiety, paranoia, and fear. In the worst cases, users may experience heart failure, psychosis, stroke, convulsions, and even death.
Because of its non-addictive nature, mescaline is often used as a gateway drug for other dangerous substances. If you think one of your loved ones is abusing the drug, there are some signs to look out for.
A mescaline user may see an increase in body temperature. They may also experience excessive sweating, headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, chills, and a spike in blood sugar. During the high, they will also give off a general sense of joy.
Rehabilitation may be needed for a person who continuously abuses the drug. The mental effects and dependence are two things the user needs to get under control. The drug causes emotional instability, as well as unwelcome flashbacks.
The person will need to relearn how to deal with their problems without relying on drugs for escape.
A good rehab center will offer various ways to eliminate these lingering effects. They will create a supportive environment so that the user can move on and rebuild their life. Drug dependency can cause strains on relationships, so showering the patient with love and support is essential.
Before the problem gets worse, allow the user to take on a different path: a sober path.