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by Erowid
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a small button shaped cactus 2-5 inches in diameter, which grow in Mexico and the Southwest United States. Peyote is a hallucinogen, producing significant physical, visual, and perceptual changes. It is traditionally dried and eaten in a ritual setting to induce visions, and has been used by natives of Mexico for thousands of years.

Though Peyote is used recreationally by some, it is relatively uncommon on the street. Because a single Peyote button can take 5-15 years to mature, there is some concern about the over-harvesting of Peyote in the wild.
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Lophophora williamsii is one of the few plants specifically named as illegal in the United States. It is a schedule I substance, along with its active ingredient Mescaline, making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess. There is a notable exception to this law which allows the use of Peyote by member of the Native American Church.
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The primary effects of Peyote come from it's main active alkaloid: Mescaline.
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The use of Peyote as a psychoactive was first recorded by Spanish conquistadors when they first arrived in the new world in the late 15th century. Based on historical Chichimeca and Toltec events, estimates are that Peyote has been used by native Mexicans for thousands of years. Use of Peyote spread during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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The Substance:
Peyote; Lophophora williamsii; Mescal; Buttons; Big Chief; Mescalito.
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Peyote is neither physically addicting nor likely to cause psychological dependence. Withdrawal effects following discontinuation have not been reported.
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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.