Mescaline, also known as 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine, is a psychedelic substance that occurs naturally in a number of different cactus plants. It is commonly used and abused for its hallucinogenic effects. The drug is often compared to other hallucinogens, like LSD, peyote, and mushrooms, and many who regularly abuse mescaline for the purposes of getting high do so at parties and clubs and often abuse other club drugs as well.
Abuse of mescaline can lead to medical emergency as well as accidents under the influence. Chronic abuse of the drug can lead to a life-altering addiction.
How Mescaline Works
Step 1: Mescaline is ingested.
Mescaline is ingested orally, in the form of a liquid, pill, or powder. In most cases, users ingest between 300 and 500 milligrams of mescaline at a time.
Step 2: Mescaline impacts the brain.
Mescaline belongs to a classification of substances called phenethylamines, and according to a report published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, the drug impacts the central nervous system. Absorbed through the intestinal tract, mescaline is then processed through the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and spleen, then binds to serotonin receptors in the brain and stimulates the cortical area.
Step 3: Effects begin.
Within 1-2 hours, the effects of mescaline begin to take hold. These effects will vary considerably from person to person based on the dose taken, other drugs ingested, external stimuli, the mental health and stability of the individual, personality traits, drug history, and more.
In general, however, physical effects of mescaline can include:
- Raised body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Heavy sweating
- Flushed skin
- Lack of coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Psychological effects of mescaline can include:
- Altered vision and perception of colors and sound
- Altered perception of the body in space and time
- Extreme visual images
- Extreme emotions (e.g., anxiety, fear, joy, etc.)
- Preoccupation with details
- Lost sense of reality
- Inability to focus or concentrate
In some cases, a “bad trip” can occur, causing users to feel panic, extreme paranoia and anxiety, intense fear, and confusion, and to experience terrifying hallucinations.
Symptoms associated with the use of mescaline peak within a couple of hours of onset, continue for the next 10-12 hours, and then fade.
Step 4: Addiction develops.
With continued abuse of mescaline, addiction to the drug can develop over time. One aspect of addiction is physical tolerance that builds to the substance. This means that an increasingly larger dose is needed in order for the person to experience the effects or to get “high.” This can occur within 3-6 days of regular use of mescaline.
In addition to this, psychological dependence must also be present, or cravings for drug. Both of these factors can contribute to an individual’s continued use of mescaline despite the negative consequences that develop. Generally, this is more likely to occur in individuals who use a range of club drugs and other substances.
Treatment for Mescaline Abuse and Addiction
The good news is that substance use disorders of all kinds, including addiction to mescaline, are treatable. With professional help, you can safely withdraw from all substances of abuse and learn how to live without returning to substance abuse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mescaline is the main psychoactive compound found in peyote, which refers both to a cactus and the drug derived from ingesting the cactus. Mescaline itself is a naturally occurring amphetamine, and when ingested, it produces hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists mescaline and peyote as Schedule I substances, meaning they have no known medicinal use and can be very intoxicating and dangerous.
What drugs interact with Mescaline?
Since mescaline is related to amphetamine, it can have interactions with some drugs, both legal and illicit.
It is harmful to mix stimulant drugs with mescaline, as the associated increased breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure can be physically dangerous. Additionally, mixing these two types of substances increases a person’s chance of developing intense paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, and frightening hallucinations.
Can you overdose on mescaline?
Although mescaline can induce intense hallucinations, delusions, and other mental health effects, it is not believed to be addictive, nor are there any recorded overdoses on mescaline. The amount most people would need to ingest to overdose on the drug is many times higher than the amount ingested to induce any euphoria or other related effects.
While it is not addictive, people who take mescaline regularly are likely to build up a tolerance to the drug, which can translate to other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, magic mushrooms, or bath salts. This could cause an overdose on another drug because the person’s body has an existing tolerance to some hallucinogens.
What harm does it do to the body?
The primary purpose of ingesting mescaline is to experience euphoria and hallucinations. Although many people report pleasant “trips” on peyote or mescaline, hallucinations can become negative and lead to mental and physical harm. Altered perceptions of touch, sight, taste, and sound can all lead to frightening hallucinations or delusions. Feelings of euphoria can be accompanied by anxiety or aggression since mescaline is so closely related to amphetamine, which is a stimulant. Hallucinations associated with mescaline can last 12 hours, which can be very disorienting; people who are at risk of psychological problems like mood disorders or schizophrenia may develop these conditions after ingesting mescaline.
- Rising body temperature
- Changes in heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
What are the comedown effects from mescaline?
Mescaline can cause a hangover or comedown in some people. Symptoms include:
What forms does mescaline come in?
The drug can be harvested naturally from the peyote cactus: “buttons,” or small protrusions, are cut off and dried. Once sufficiently dried, a person can either chew the buttons straight or soak them in water and drink the liquid. Occasionally, peyote buttons are ground into a powder and mixed with tobacco or cannabis to be smoked.
Mescaline can also be produced as a powder, tablet, capsule, or clear liquid. These forms are found when mescaline is extracted from peyote, and they are not as popular as ingesting the plant itself. When watered down, mescaline can be injected, but this is extremely rare since ingesting the drug orally achieves the desired effects very rapidly.