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What’s the Difference between Psychedelic Mushrooms and Peyote?

Peyote and mushrooms are two psychedelic hallucinogenic drugs that are commonly used with the intent to experience a high that is spiritual in nature. The two drugs share a number of similarities, but there are differences as well.

What Are Mushrooms and Peyote?

mushrooms growing from ground


Mushrooms containing psilocybin may be found in the US, Central America, and Mexico. They are literally mushrooms, a fungus that is harvested and ingested for its psychedelic properties. When fresh, they have dark brown caps or light brown caps with white in the middle and stems that are white or a light gray. When dried, mushrooms containing psilocybin may be reddish brown with beige spots.

Mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I drug according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that they are not legal for medical or recreational use and have been identified as a substance that is of high risk for abuse and addiction.


mescaline peyote


Peyote is a cactus without spines that comes from the southwestern US and northern Mexico. but the part that is used is often called a crown. It has buttons that are removed and used for the purposes of getting high.

Peyote is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no legal medical use and is not legal for recreational use in the US. It is also a substance that has a potential for abuse and addiction.

Active Ingredient


The active ingredient in mushrooms is psilocybin, a chemical that can be found in certain types of fresh or dried mushrooms. This drug belongs to the indole family of compounds.


Mescaline is the active ingredient in peyote, and some extract this substance from peyote “buttons” and ingest it in pill, powder, or liquid form. Mescaline belongs to the phenethylamine family of compounds and has a chemical structure that is similar to the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine.

Street Names

Lights at a party or dance clubMushrooms

Street names include shrooms, mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, among others.


Peyote is often referred to on the street as buttons, peyoto, or cactus.

How They Are Ingested


Mushrooms are usually ingested orally. They may be soaked in hot water to form a tea, eaten alone, or prepared in foods with other ingredients.


The buttons that are removed from the crown of the peyote cactus are either chewed by the user or soaked in water, which is then swallowed. In some cases, the peyote buttons are dried and ground into a powder, which is then put into a capsule or sprinkled on top of a marijuana joint or cigarette and smoked.

Physical & Psychological Effects


After taking mushrooms, people often experience nausea and vomiting as well as a lack of muscle coordination and weakness.

Mushrooms can cause hallucinations as well as a loss of a sense of reality. Users may have an altered perception of space and time, and sensory perceptions may be altered as well. In some cases, psychedelic mushrooms can trigger a deep and abiding sense of anxiety, panic, terror, or psychosis.

Since mushrooms containing psilocybin are sold on the street, there is a risk that they may be poisonous or otherwise carry pathogens that can cause illness or death. Additionally, there is the risk of medical emergency that may be physical or psychiatric in nature. The risk may increase if the person is already living with a mental health disorder and/or if the person ingests a large dose of the drug.



Peyote triggers an increase in body temperature and heart rate, heavy sweating, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, and lack of coordination.

Hallucinations are common among users of peyote, as is a feeling of euphoria. In some cases, high doses or a poor response to the drug can result in feelings of extreme anxiety, panic, or fear.

Regular use of peyote, or mescaline, can lead to increased tolerance in less than a week. Additionally, medical emergency caused by use of the drug may occur as well. In some cases, addiction can develop.

Other Schedule I Drugs

Psychedelic Drug Use and Abuse

Though it is possible to become addicted to both peyote and mushrooms, in most cases, people who struggle with addiction report difference drugs of choice as their addictive substance and describe regular use of these and other hallucinogens as a contributing factor. High rates of hallucinogen use, however, can cause high tolerance, which in itself can be dangerous and trigger medical emergency.