Citation: Anonymous. "Successful but Mild: An Experience with San Pedro (exp43497)". Erowid.org. May 31, 2005. erowid.org/exp/43497
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May 27, 2005
Starting with 18 inches of 3” diameter San Pedro, freshly cut.
- De-spine, chop thoroughly.
- Boil for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1/2 cup lemon juice and blend with a soup blender until smooth.
- Boil another six hours on medium-low, with the lid on, adding H20 now and again and stirring occasionally.
- Strained through T-shirt, squeezing it out after it cooled.
- I still had about 8 cups of liquid, so I boiled it down to 9 oz (took about 1.5 hours).
- Let cool.
Last food other than water was at 11AM.
Now, the big question: how much to take? - San Pedro can vary wildly in potency. - This is a previously unassayed (by me, anyway) specimen. - 12” is the recommended dose all over the ‘net. However, I’ve had a handful of really mild experiences at 12”, and I’ve had one or two rather strong experiences at 12”. If this is a mild cactus, then 18” (i.e., all 9 oz of liquid extract) would be appropriate. If this is a fairly strong cactus, then 12” (i.e., 6 oz) will be right. I’m a seasoned tripper, but haven’t taken a psychedelic since I took mushrooms two years ago. Although I’ve tried San Pedro about 10 times, I haven’t done this in about 8 years. My intuition says that it’s likely to be too mild, as usual, and I should do the whole thing. My rational side says there’s no guarantee I wouldn’t be in for a hum dinger wham banger of a monstrous trip if I did so. Do I want that? According to some of the stuff I read online, the amount of cactus in 18” would catapult me fully into ego dissolution. However, based on my personal experience having 5-7 too-mild trips on San Pedro, this seems highly unlikely. But I can’t rule it out, and I’m not sure I want to go there on a solo trip. Yet, with how often I do psychedelics, I’ll be more than a little disappointed to have a too-mild trip because of caution in dosing. I don’t even trip yearly these days and I really want this to be a positive, strong enough experience. - The one time I *really* got off on San Pedro, it was with 12”, but a piece that had been cut and sitting in a dark place for a month. I’ve since read that this kind of aging or stressing can really improve the mescaline content. So if I have a fresh 18” piece, how does that compare to an aged/stressed 12” piece from a likely totally different stock? Someday I’ll have gathered enough info to be able to accurately gauge dosage strength with my personal stock of San Pedro, but for tonight, I’m flying mostly blind, gathering the bioassay data, as it were. - Sure, I could have gotten mushrooms and had a more “predictable” trip, but I’ve been growing these particular Trichocereus pachanoi individuals for several years now and they’ve just been *calling* to me for months. When I realized I’d have the space for my first trip in two years, I *knew* I wanted it to be San Pedro, despite the dosage uncertainties. Besides, how am I ever going to gather some data without actually dosing myself with my spiny green friends, right? Mescaline is qualitatively, experientially different than psilocybin, and I have SO enjoyed my San Pedro trips in the past. - I’m leaning toward a dosage compromise between my enthusiasm, intuition, and caution. I think I’ll take 7 oz, which should correspond to about 15” of the cactus.
I realize this will likely leave me in an “I wish I’d drank the whole thing” perspective, but caution isn’t a bad thing, right? As I have several more cacti growing (and that are large enough to eat!) that I bought at the same place at the same time several years ago, no matter how much I try, I should have a good idea how strong my particular stock is. - Then there’s the question of, for next time, do I try it again with fresh-cut cactus or do I try to increase the potency by aging/stressing it? Ahh, life is full of fun choices for the scientifically minded entheonaut. Also, I’ve never fertilized these, which I probably should do. But they look great, all bright green and thick! I’ve saved the tip from this one (about 4”) to plant after the bottom hardens off.
8pm – I drink 4oz. Nervous and excited. It’s been a LONG time.
8:20 – I drink 3 oz. Tastes as slimy and bitter as I remember!
8:30 – definitely feeling “something”, and a bit yucky in my stomach. I smoke a little pot, which helps.
8:35 – wandering around the house, definitely feeling slightly trippy…catching small tracers off my hands. DJ Cheb sounding ancient.
8:45 – lovely trippiness starting, mild. Nice, though. I can tell this won’t be a strong experience so, no longer apprehensive, I drink the last 2 oz of joy. I’m not nauseus, just a little stomach upset. This was my main sign I didn’t have a strong dose in me — I should have been feeling more nauseus. But it is definitely doing something….. Not wanting lights on must exit CRT…
9:15 – yep, this is a mild one. Oh well. Definitely working, but not *working*. Nice, but way mild.
(post-trip comments written the next day)
By 10:30, however, it had picked up some. I was still disappointed in how mild it was; after all, I had eaten 18” worth of cactus! But I had to admit it was working nicely at its low level. Hints of open-eye visuals, as well as complex, changing, small, interesting, but faint closed eye visuals for at least a couple hours (while I was listening to Brian Eno and Steve Roach in the dark). Definite feeling of being high and trippy. But none of this was very strong. I was solidly over the threshold, but not by much. Perhaps equal in strength to 2-2.5g of cubensis. It really did work! Played around on an electric bass, mostly just dinking around with lots of low end and reverb and tapping on the strings. Wow, maaaaan. When the small amount of visuals I was getting finally went away, I smoked some pot and spent an hour or so looking at nature photography books (listening to the Grateful Dead 5/22/1977). I was still definitely in a space where my perspective was altered in a lovely little trippy way, and it was really neat to look at and think about all those beautiful places in the world while Phil's bass bounced around. I didn’t fall asleep until about 5am.
Overall, I’d have to call it a success. I now know that 18” of my fresh cactus doesn’t amount to much, and 2-2.5 feet would really be in order. However, I think it would be worth trying 12” that had been sitting for a month. If mescaline’s role is in insect prevention, then it makes sense that the cactus would start to express it more highly in an environmental situation where it is more vulnerable to insect predation. So, hence, the people on E-bay selling “prestressed” San Pedro and the standard south American practice of letting cuttings sit for a month before selling (I read that somewhere). I even read about making small nicks in the outside of the cactus to fool it into thinking it’s under insect attack.
My cactus was in glowing health, not stressed at all, and that may account for the obviously low mescaline content. What I’m really wondering is if the wide variance in mescaline levels across commercially available San Pedros can be ascribed more to environmental variance than to individual or strain-based genomic variation? If environmental conditions (nurture) play a larger role than DNA variance (nature), then it should be possible to optimize growing conditions in order to maximize mescaline expression. Surely, someone already has thought about this and made some preliminary experiments and assays, right? It’s a rather long-term project, because you need a steady supply of the same strain/clones of San Pedro — and you need to be able to create the space for occasional Adventures in this Realm — in order to generate any data.
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