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Mescaline
Basics
by Erowid
DESCRIPTION #
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), formalized modern ritual use in the Native American Church, considered by many experienced users as uniquely powerful, and widely known througout 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 200-500 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 anwhere from a single pair (2 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 one foot of cacti (approx 4 inches in diameter) per dose, another says a piece of cacti the length from your elbow to your fingertips.
Price #
Pure crystaline mescaline is very rare in the underground and is usually expensive when available (40+ USD per dose). Live trichocereus range in price from 10$ per foot for the cheapest cut columns to 80$ per foot or more for rooted columns. Prepared trichocereus is almost unheard of for sale. We have no data on the current price of peyote buttons in the US. (August 2000)
Mescaline is illegal to possess in the United States (schedule I). 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. In the U.S. peyote possession is federally illegal except for some native American ritual use, while some states allow even broader use. Canada excepts peyote from its scheduling as do some other countries. Many other species of mescaline containing cacti are uncontrolled in both the U.S. and other countries.
Chemistry Summary Needed.
Pharmacology #
Pharmacology Summary Needed.
Production #
Production Summary Needed.
Mescaline was first isolated and identified by German chemist Arthur Heffter in 1897, but the use of mescaline cacti has been documented in Central & 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.
EFFECTS #
Effects Summary Needed.
Onset #
Onset Summary Needed.
Duration #
Duration Summary Needed.
Visual Effects #
Visuals Summary Needed.
PROBLEMS #
Problems Summary Needed.
Contraindications #
Contraindications Summary Needed.
Addiction Potential #
Mescaline is neither physically addicting nor likely to cause psychological dependence. Withdrawal effects following discontinuation have not been reported.
Long Term Health Problems #
Long Term Health Problems Summary Needed.
Risk of Death #
Risk of Death Summary Needed.
CAUTION & DISCLAIMER #
Erowid Basics pages are summaries of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but the field is complex and constantly changing. Information should always be verified through multiple sources.