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Peyote (Lophophora williamsii F.


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Common name: Peyote

Scientific name: Lophophora williamsii F. Cactaceae

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What is a Peyote cactus?
The oldest cacti date back 20.000 years ago. Its special looks are because of its
ability to survive extreme dryness and heat. The thorns are of course the most
qualifying characteristic of cacti. These are actually leaves without any moisture,
which turned them into thorns. They are also there to protect a cactus against
bright sunlight and from being eaten by animals. But some kinds do not have
thorns and protect themselves with poisons or psychoactive components.
Examples are the Peyote, Sunami, Pata de Venado, Pezuna de Venado, Tsuwiri,
Bishop's cap, Aztekium Retterii and Astropytum Astrias.

Cacti store water in their stems. The most effective relation between surface and

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contents is created by a balloon shape. The hotter the habitat ot the cactus, the
more balloonlike it will be; which is the case with the Peyote.


The Peyote cactus is a small, blue/green, thornless, balloonlike plant, with small amounts of wool on top and a thick root. It
can carry small pink flowers. There is a range of different varieties of the Peyote cactus: Lophophora williamsii decipiens
and Lophophora diffusa are most common.

The cactus grows very slowly and under natural circumstances only flowers after ten years. It seldom becomes bigger than
15 centimeters. Peyote grows in Mexico and the south of Texas.

This plant played a prominent role in the religion and culture of the Indians in
Central America. Images of the Peyote have been found, dating back long before
the start of our era. The oldest image of Peyote used in ceremonies ever found is
3000 years old.

Nowadays the Peyote is still strongly respected by the original inhabitants of this
region, like the Huichol, and also by researchers in entheogenics from all over
the world. These indians are still practising the native rituals with Peyote cacti,
because unlike other Indians they - in reality - have never been completely
colonised by the Hispanics. They lived in such an inaccessable area that
colonisation was never fully accomplished. Therefore their culture stayed in tact,
and the use of Peyote cacti is still relatively common in these areas. In Mexico it's
available as a medicine against infections and practically every complaint because
"the mind advises how the body must be healed..."

Active compounds: mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxy-B-phenethylamine)

Percentage: 10% of the dried material.

Aside from mescaline Peyote also contains tyramine, hordinenine, anhalaninine, anhalonidine, pellotine, N-methylmescaline,
N-acetylmescaline, anhalonnine, anhalonine, anhalamine, O-methyllanhalonidine and lophophorine.

It may take a while before the effects of the Peyote cactus can be noticed, but once the trip starts it could be one of the
most beautiful and divine experiences you will ever have.

The effects of mescaline are somewhat similar to those brought about by other psychedelics like Psilocybe cubensis
mushrooms, DMT containing plants or synthetic hallucinogens like LSD-25. The Peyote trip is stronger than the San Pedro
trip, but so is the initial nausea. A trip can last six to twelve hours.

The so-called hangover of a cactus experience comes before the actual trip starts. Cramps, vomiting and crying (tears
flowing from the eyes without feeling sad) are possible symptoms. Most of these disappear within one hour after the trip
has started.

Medical use
Traditionally it has been used as an analgesic, against toothache, rheumatism, asthma and the cold.

In psychotherapy, under medical prescription, Peyote has been used for the treatment of the neurasthenia. In the same way
it has also been used in cardiology. Research has shown that it has powerful antibacterial properties, being able to
eliminate bacteria that were resistant to penicillin.

The most common way to take Peyote is chewing the cactus (fresh or dried), until all mescaline has entered the body
through the mucous membranes. But this is very distasteful. A way to reduce the bitterness is drinking pineapple juice
during the chewing, but it will still remain quite unpleasant. The most comfortable way to consume Peyote is to fill capsules
with dried and grinded peyote heads. Best is not to eat approximately six hours before you start eating this cactus. You
might feel a little nausea before the trip begins. Some people say this can be avoided by eating ginger or smoking cannabis.

You can also make tea of Peyote cacti by cooking them in water and adding some herbs, like the ones shamans use with San

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Pedro: micha (Brugmansia suavenolens) and cimorillo (Coleus blumei).

It's advisable to spread the dosage over the period of an hour, to make the initial reaction of the body less intense.

The effects of mescaline are noticable when 100 mg is taken, but for a heavy trip 350 mg is needed. The other compounds
react with mescaline and with each other. The total experience will take six to twelve hours, and depends on the person's
level of sensitvity and the dose.

It is difficult to indicate how much mescaline one Peyote cactus contains, as this depends on its age and growing
conditions. The bigger and older a cactus, the more mescaline it will contain. An average mescaline dosage is about 120-300
mg, which is the equivalent of about 6-15 (or more) cacti of 2 gr.

The Peyote's roots contain no mescaline, and it is wasteful to destroy them. If the above ground portion of the plant is cut
with enough plant tissue remaining on the root (which is left planted), the plant will re-generate new heads or 'buttons'.

Remember that potency can vary greatly. Therefore it is best not to take the dosage all at once, but to build it up
gradually: take half of the dosage, wait 60 to 90 minutes to see what the effect is, then if desired take half of what is left
over and if necessary repeat. A Peyote trip takes about two to two and a half hours to reach its peak.

Mescaline dosages
150 mg Minimumdosis.
150 - 300 mg light to moderate dosage
300 - 400 mg strong trip last 6 - 12 hours
450 - 500 mg possible ego dissolution, trip will last about 12 hours
500 - 600 mg definite ego dissolution, trip can last up to 24 hours

As a general guideline 27 grams of dried Peyote contains about 300 mg of mescaline. This gives us the following table:

13,5 grams Minimumdosis.

13,5 - 27 grams light to moderate dosage
27 - 36 grams strong trip that lasts 6 - 12 hours
40,5 - 45 mg possible ego dissolution, trip will last about 12 hours
45 - 54 mg definite ego dissolution, trip can last up to 24 hours

Make sure you always have an experienced but sober person with you, for support and safety!

Don't drive a car or other vehicles when you're under the influence of psychedelics. Only take Peyote when you're in a safe
and familiar environment. Never trip by yourself. When things go wrong Seresta or Valium can help to bring fears down to
an 'easy to handle' level.

Peyote likes warmth and light. In nature it grows on spare places in the
sun, but also under bushes or other cacti. When you grow this cactus
indoors, behind the southside window is the best place; it better can
stay out of direct sun when it's young. Giving it some water on warm
days is really helpful.

Peyote is a slow growing cactus. But it's quite easy to grow and to
multiply them. You can start with seeds or a plant. Sprouts from a plant
must be left dry for 15 days. It grows best on basic calcareous soils with
a good drainage. Ph of 6 or 7. After placing it in a pot it only needs
water, and when you put it in a new pot every year fertilizer is not
necessary. Note that the small cactus at the start is prone to the
infections caused by fungi in the roots, when the drainage is not good.
In this case uproot, apply fungicide, let it dry for some days and replant again.

Links / Further reading

Erowids Peyote Vault

This article is based on the following pages:

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