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Reasserted My Persistent Fascination
Cacti - T. pachanoi & T. bridgesii
by Humanaut
Citation:   Humanaut. "Reasserted My Persistent Fascination: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi & T. bridgesii (exp107418)". Aug 22, 2018.

30 in oral Cacti - columnar (tea)


Experimentation with Psychedelic Cactus

As I awoke that average Tuesday morning my mind was consumed by only one thought; “what the hell am I going to do with all this cactus?”

You see, days earlier I purchased an inconspicuous foot long cutting of Trichocereus Pachanoi cactus, courtesy of every Australians favorite classified ads. Knowing that I required much more than a foot for what I had in mind, I soon contacted a second seller. Another T. Pachanoi cutting was purchased (this one about 3 times the size of the previous cutting) as well as 3 smaller T. Bridgesii. All up I had spent $170 on a pseudo-legal cactus, collecting roughly 8 feet of the spiky bastards.

“Packs”, as one of the vendors had nicknames the T. Pachanoi, is commonly known as the San Pedro cactus, a close relative of T. Bridgesii. One might wonder what a 21 year old with otherwise zero horticultural inclinations would be doing in possession of so much cactus, but I had an inkling that upon meeting the vendors we each knew exactly what the other was up to.


Dusting the sleep from my eyes and preparing breakfast, I assessed the situation. My mother was enjoying the Melbourne Cup along with the rest of the country and wouldn’t be home until the late afternoon. It was the perfect time, the house was clear and I set about my preparations. Measuring the length and weight of each specimen I decided upon which would be used in extraction and which would be potted to become unsightly house decorations. Roughly 4.8 feet of cactus (50/50 pachanoi/bridgesii) was sliced, at first perpendicular to its length like a cucumber into star shaped ‘buttons’ and the core removed, but later by slicing all of the flesh away from the core and dicing what was left. Feeling very much like a master chef I fantasized about establishing my own psychedelic cactus based restaurant, what a sight that would be. Too bad they taste like shit.

The diced cactus was blended with equal amounts of water and poured into two large cooking pots, then slowly boiled for 2-4 hours.
The diced cactus was blended with equal amounts of water and poured into two large cooking pots, then slowly boiled for 2-4 hours.
The pulpy green cactus goo started to froth as it heated, threatening to escape the pot. “No! My precious cactus juice!” After this point the concoction began to mix more uniformly, the froth receding, leaving some especially sticky clumps of cactus goo floating on the surface of the liquid. I sat and waited, watching the pots like a hawk and stirring diligently for fear of overcooking or burning it. At some point during the process my sister had dropped by my mum’s house. My heart raced as she barked out “What the fuck is on the bench?” She had caught me carefully slicing up the succulents, and there was no hope of convincing her they were simply mutant spiky cucumbers. I educated her about how cactus smoothies were supposed to be particularly healthy, despite the taste. To my surprise she bought it and left me to my business, crisis averted.

The cacti were boiled for roughly 3.5 hours to ensure as much mescaline was extracted into the liquid as possible. By this time my friend B had arrived and assisted with the rest of the process. The mixture was allowed to cool a little before it was poured through a sheet of cloth into another large pot, tying the sheet up and letting it hang above the pot to drip, squeezing any remaining liquid out as the cactus pulp inside cooled. The cooking process complete, we set about packing the car for our journey to a friend’s holiday house out of the city where we could sample the brew in peace. It was out in the bush, undisturbed by peeping neighbors and sounds of overpopulation ever present in city life. This location had served as the site of many memorable weekends away. My memories of the house were perfused with a heavy haze of marijuana smoke, and it didn’t seem like that was about to change.

B and I arrived and quickly set up camp. The house was a small wooden cottage with a seated area out the back, surrounded by an embankment of trees and infested with insects. We unloaded the car, transferring the necessities to the outdoor table. The house belonged to a friend of ours S, whose family the house belonged to. S would be joining us in a few hours with the key and until then we were stuck with the millipedes, spiders and god knows what else. A 4L container of cactus juice (much more than I had anticipated), laptop, portable speaker, notebook, pen and water bottle were laid out on the table, along with a bong, lighter, half an ounce of marijuana and grapefruit juice. Just the essentials.


I cannot think of a way anymore unpleasant to consume such an unpalatable liquid than the way we drank it that evening. The liquid was still warm from the cooking process and being drank out of a plastic bottle – remember we were locked outside with no cups. Not to mention that it tastes foul at the best of times. First ingestion was made at 5.20pm as I scribbled the time in the notebook. I knew that a pen and paper were crucial tools for any psychedelic experience, learning from the mistakes of MJK who forgot his pen in the epic Rosetta Stoned. The liquid tasted like nothing I could ever have imagined, and produced the almost inescapable urge to vomit if more than a few tablespoons was consumed at a time. It was a slow process but we managed to get it down over the next hour. I consumed as much grapefruit juice as possible during the process (it has been known to potentiate the effects of psychedelics), but it had a taste hauntingly similar to the cactus. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at a grapefruit again without having flashbacks to that horrible experience. *shivers*. We each enjoyed a couple tokes of marijuana to calm the stomach and sat in anticipation, waiting for the effects to take hold.


The come up was very slow as expected, almost sneaking up on me through the haze of my much faster acting marijuana high. At first it was difficult to distinguish between the weed, the mescaline, and possible placebo. I explained to B the details of the Shulgin Rating Scale (the product of legendary psychonaut and researcher Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin), marking myself down at a ± 90 minutes after first ingestion.

Slowly but surely the mescaline started to weave its magic as our brains were flooded with serotonin. I first noticed altered patterns of thought, as if my mental state was more interested in abstract thought than anything particularly concerning. In the journal I noted down the following whilst pondering the spider teetering precariously about me; “Does the spider hear the music? Does the spider enjoy the music?” Such was my state at the time.

I noticed an increase in the fluency of conversation between B and myself, each commenting about feeling slightly different, although how exactly we couldn’t quite yet identify. Music took on the characteristic of being significantly more pleasing to the ear (to an extent more so than weed), and we sifted through my itunes library listening to bands of various genres. I started to realize that I felt perfectly comfortable around B. Although I would call him one of my best friends, complete comfort in the presence of another human being isn’t something I would claim to experience regularly, and I noted this pleasantly. My mood had also improved beyond what would be expected of weed alone (it was particularly hard to tell because we had never tried this particular batch of weed before). I was relaxed but excited, euphoric and completely at ease. We remained lost in conversation, dancing through multiple topics, and noting ourselves as a solid ++ roughly 3 hours after ingestion
a solid ++ roughly 3 hours after ingestion

We discussed how we would handle the situation of our friend S arriving whenever he did, feeling a noticeable immersion in conversation which was particularly pleasant. I was not being distracted by my thoughts. I was listening to B as he spoke, really listening, and responding appropriately almost without thinking, as if my subconscious had been planning my speech all along. The volume had been turned down on my incessant inner monologue, and I felt that I was truly listening for the first time in my life. I sounded particularly well-spoken (video recordings from the night have confirmed this) from that point on and throughout the night, exhibiting a kind of verbal fluency usually reserved only for my writing.

S arrived, we exchanged pleasantries, went inside, and proceeded to confuse him. He had no idea that we had consumed mescaline (or that mescaline existed at all), but insisted on trying it himself once we had filled him in. It is probably important to note that I do not consider S a well-adjusted person (socially or emotionally), as well as someone who generally struggles to remain functional under the influence of even small doses of wee. That said, I believe everyone has the right to decide what they put in their own body given they know what they’re in for. We educated S as best we could about the cactus, handed him the remnants of the mixture and assured him that he would join us in the psychedelic world soon enough. At this point in time, B and I were both clearly experiencing the effects of the cactus, nearing the 3 hour point since ingestion. We continued to talk and laugh together over dinner whilst the effects continued to take hold.

During the preparation of dinner I managed to escape into the lounge room for a few minutes of some much desired solitude, and I was interested in seeing how the psychedelic had influenced my mental state when I had a chance to sit alone and recollect. Sitting down in an armchair, I was overwhelmed with extremely pleasurable body sensations, as if my entire body was becoming one with the chair. Music continued to sound amazing, but to my surprise there was no real change in the state of my cognition that I can remember. I was expecting massive changes in my perception of the universe or life changing revelations, but instead I was happy to sit and enjoy whatever the drug might expose me to. A sense of true contentedness overwhelmed me and the world fell away.
A sense of true contentedness overwhelmed me and the world fell away.
From that moment forward it was as if the world outside of that living room ceased to exist. There was no future, no past, and nothing to be concerned about. To say I was fully immersed in the experience doesn’t quite do it justice. I could comfortably say I knew what a mescaline trip felt like, and I was along for the ride at a +++.

I became increasingly aware of visual changes. The appearance of closed eye visuals (CEVs) fascinated me as strangely colorful and complex geometric patterns danced across the blank canvas that was the inside of my eyelids. I continued to observe and enjoy the sensations, noticing feelings of synesthesia, a blending of the senses. This had me giggling in fits on the couch as prominent bass line was experienced as a tickling sensation across my ribs. I pulled myself together and sat down with the others to talk about what was happening. We all felt odd, as if we had found ourselves just in a very strange situation. Our conversations were fluid and varied, seamlessly and effortlessly seguing from topic to topic. We talked about music, our lives, our futures and the big questions of the universe.

At points throughout the evening I took the role of dj, looking to expose my friends to my ‘unique’ taste of music. We listened to the metal band Between the Buried and Me, with the frantic transitions between utter chaos and flowing, beautiful melody exhibited in Selkies: The Endless Obsession blowing our minds.

Slip into something more comfortable, proceed into space…

The music seemed to perfectly reflect the nature of our trips. It was almost endlessly painful drinking the vast amounts of that vile liquid, but pushing through we had emerged into a space of beauty, extending infinitely and in all dimensions.

Several times I motioned for the others to try closing their eyes and see what happened, and we all would proceed to do so. Unburdened with the constant bombardment of my visual system, my mind was free to drift as it would please, but I was never fully able to immerse myself in a fantasy to the point where I felt that I was seeing things that did not exist. My senses had most definitely experienced a sort of augmentation, but I never reached that illusive next level, the breakthrough that many people talk about with psychedelic experience.

Although none of us experienced something of the sort, at times throughout the evening I was given glimpses of its existence, however fleetingly. I am of the mind that we were not prepared for such a truly mind-blowing transcendental experience. I hadn’t ”put in the work” for the trip, as they say, but I was inspired to do so, confident in the sense that such a state is in fact possible.

Coming down

The hours ticked by incredibly slowly. I can’t imagine how many times we stared in awe at a clock which had passed only 10 minutes feeling like hours. I became aware of a growing headache and painful sensitivity to light
I became aware of a growing headache and painful sensitivity to light
as the others fashioned the lounge room into a sort of Turkish lounge, covering the floor in pillows and blankets to lie on. My headache became extremely painful, and once noticing it I found it very difficult to distract myself from the pain, only intensifying it. Once again, it felt like the cactus was testing me. I felt as if teetering on the edge. The pain was tempting me towards negative emotions, luring me towards a bad trip, but I was able to remain grounded, noticing the pain for what it was and trying to accept it as just another sensation. My headache was testing my emotional reactivity, the drug was teaching me the importance of emotional regulation, and I felt like I was handling it perfectly.

Nausea crept up on me, but I was no longer willing to smoke to calm my stomach. I went to the toilet to purge, something which I had been expecting to happen at some stage during the trip. As I writhed in pain above the bowl I remained calm, emerging feeling instantly revitalized. Reassuring the others that I was okay, I withdrew to the bathroom for a moment of solitude in the shower. Cleansing myself felt amazing, I’ve never felt cleaner than after that particular shower. Once again, however, I was surprised. My initial interest in psychedelics was in their apparent ability to completely alter ones state of being, opening them up to the possibilities of the universe. Passages about becoming one with the universe, ego death and the prying open of the third eye spring to mind, but I had an altogether different experience.

Standing there, naked, staring at myself in the mirror, I considered my situation. I thought about the point in life where I found myself, and I was surprised at what came up. For really the first time in my life, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of competence. I felt capable. Reflecting on that moment in the days since my experience I can distinctly remember the feeling, and it remains comforting. I looked in the mirror and I liked what I saw. I was happy. Not the fleeting happiness that comes with a couple of drinks, jumping out of a plane or making love, but true, ubiquitous happiness. It was almost a happiness transcending the limits of time. An inescapable feeling of seeing myself for the first time, and liking who I saw. Needless to say, that felt good.

I returned to my friends as we sat out the rest of the night. Tired and stoned we enjoyed each others company until we departed to bed 3.30am.

Last Words

Mescaline opened my eyes to the existence of a state of consciousness which previously I had only read about, despite several weaker psychedelic experiences. Our perceptions are constantly filtered through millions of years of evolution, adaptations tailored towards survival. Psychedelics have the power to life this veil, however fleetingly, and perhaps allow the lessons learned to persist after reintegration to sober life. I believe that my experience that night will have a lasting impact on my sense of self and of the world around me. My memories of the night are permeated with a pertinent sense of well being and belonging, a sense of contentedness. I was aware of the feeling that as if for the first time, my psychological defenses (conscious and otherwise) were completely lowered. But I didn’t feel vulnerable, I felt free, and perfectly safe. Free to see the world around me for what it truly was, and free to be happy with the person that I am. Since that evening I am invigorated with the feeling that I really am on the right track. It’s okay to be different, to follow an alternative path, that’s just me and it always has been me. Society is full lost souls trying to fit into predetermined character roles, but not everyone fits, and that’s okay.

If anything, this experience reasserted my persistent fascination with psychedelics. Although not my first psychedelic experience, it was most absolutely the strongest, and opened my eyes to the fact that so much remains just outside our perception of consciousness. I don’t believe that it was the strongest of doses, but for my first taste of the drug it allowed me a valuable insight into its potential. Truly altered states of being are accessible, and can provide lasting changes in perceptions (through the use of psychedelics, or other more traditional methods), for better or worse. Psychedelics, when used with the noblest of intentions, can open up an incredible world almost inconceivable to the naïve senses. Sure, synesthesia might not provide any valuable advantage for promoting survival, but it’s absolutely beautiful to experience it for the first time. The world emanates beauty when viewed through the lens of psychedelics, and I wholeheartedly await my return there.

Exp Year: 2015ExpID: 107418
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 21 
Published: Aug 22, 2018Views: 1,179
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Cacti - T. pachanoi (64), Cacti - T. bridgesii (448) : Music Discussion (22), General (1), Small Group (2-9) (17)

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