Cacti - T. peruvianus
Citation: Boogie-dy. "Gnostic Experience: An Experience with Cacti - T. peruvianus (exp61098)". Erowid.org. Mar 1, 2007. erowid.org/exp/61098
A bit about my background:
I'm a 42 year old white male, professional education, married with two boys, aged 13 months and 2 months. I frequently used psychedelics and cannabis in my late teens and early twenties. I spent about 12 years from my mid-twenties to mid-thirties in a 12 step program, completely sober. A very good experience, actually. I drink moderate amounts of alcohol these days, though it did take a couple of years to adjust my body and I did drink fairly heavily for a while after leaving sobriety.
Medications: I do take prozac between 20-40mg for depression/anxiety, propanolol 40 mg (beta blocker) also for anxiety, adrenaline blocker, and a statin for cholesterol. The prozac and propanolol needed to be monitored and adjusted during this experiment.
Reasons for trying cacti:
I have been having a considerable amount of trouble dealing with work, marriage, fatherhood, etc., and was becoming very bored with work and dissatisfied with myself. I was later to learn why this was.
Preparation and dosage:
4 oz of peruvian torch incense was purchased and 93% isopropyl alcohol was used to perform an extraction over a period of a week. The resulting extract was scraped and rolled into 10 small balls, the size of small marbles. I estimate the extract was yielded about 1000mg of mescaline. 1/2 half of extract was consumed about 11:30 a.m. on a Friday morning, the other half at around 12:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Initial feelings were slight nausea and fidgeting, excess energy and nervousness. The nervousness evolved into panic and the nausea evolved into extreme stomach discomfort (probably the alkoloids) by 2:00 p.m. The panic lasted for the rest of the experience, as did the stomach discomfort. I had excruciating pain in my lower back the entire experience, most likely related to stress.
Other than 1 small glass of yogurt smoothie at about 3:00 p.m., I ate nothing and only drank water and milk for the entire experience. The cactus itself sufficiently wore off after about 20 hours after ingestion. I did not sleep however for nearly 48 hours.
The brain chemistry effects noted include severe anxiety and nervousness, constant paranoid thoughts, and continuous schizophrenal and/or schizotypal audio and visual hallucinations. I experienced very notable time dilation, especially while listening to music. Music listened to from between 4:00 p.m. and about 6:00 p.m. consisted mostly of old latin salsa, latin rumba, latin jazz and contemporary salsa. Because of the time dilation, listening to any music was extremely taxing and uncomfortable.
I had a recurring strong desire to smoke cigarettes, but because of prior habitual smoking of both tobacco and cannabis, avoided tobacco smoking during the experiment. The result would likely have been strong euphoria, increased visual hallucinations, and noticeable pain and discomfort to my lungs.
I would like to have had a glass of wine at some point, but for a variety of reasons chose not to. First and foremost, my stomach was in extreme discomfort. Second, I had nothing to eat in my stomach which would cause alcohol to enter my blood stream too fast, either causing a craving for more alcohol or causing dehydration, headaches and stomach cramping. As stated, I stuck to water and milk.
Though the most strong visual effects (which were extremely interesting pastels of various shapes and organic patterns like wall paper) generally became manageable around 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m., effects did not become totally manageable until around 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m. As previously stated I did not sleep the entire next day and maybe got 1 hour sleep at best around 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Lingering anxiety and panic did not subside for at least 72 hours.
A very interesting phenomenon experienced is what I'll label as gnostic thinking. I had a very firm belief that the entire world was created by evil and exists as evil, all permeating, the substance of all relationships, animals, persons, clients at work, my family, wife, my sons, even the musicians playing on the CDs I was playing. All observable reality was really an illusion used by beings (human, animal, spirits, ghosts, devils, etc.) to manipulate others in order to increase their own gnostic power. Life and death were only a complex game, a means of instilling fear and consuming other's souls in order to amass psychic power.
I nearly reviewed the entirety of my earthly relationships while under the experience through the lens of gnosticism. For about 17 hours of the experience I wanted the experience to be over, but of course, the cactus extract takes 12-14 hours to metabolize. In my case in took longer, probably due to the amount of the dose and the presence of an SSRI in my bloodstream.
The experience was mostly mentally and physically uncomfortable and disturbing. One thing that I did conclude was that a great deal of my regular day to day thinking bore a remarkable resemblance to the disorganized, paranoid and delusional thinking experienced during the experience. This has obviously given me a better idea of what thought process, judgments, conclusions, and analyses I use on a daily basis that are flawed. At least for the short term, I've adjusted my attitude towards my wife, children, business partners, friends and neighbors, and of course myself.
I drink alcohol less, eat less, sleep in bed with my wife more, clean up the house more, make the bed more, wake up in the middle of the night to feed the babies more, work harder and more efficiently, drive slower and safer, and act more respectable towards my co-workers.
I do not recommend cacti to anyone, especially in high doses, to be used as a euphoric or recreational drug. It can cause very disorganized thinking and cause the user to experience mental illness-like thoughts as well as audio and visual hallucinations. The bodily discomfort can be very painful.
I will likely not use cacti again for a long time, though I cannot say I would never use it again. It did have the benefit, at least this time, to allow me to see and understand many of my unpleasant characteristics and behaviors so as to provide me a reference point to adjust my thinking and behavior to be less narcissistic and less prey to my own irrational insecurities and fears.
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