Introduction to Peyote

Peyote, known by the botanical name Lophophora Williamsii, is a small, round cactus with fuzzy tufts instead of spines. In the wild the Peyote crown, colloquially called the 'button', rarely rises more than an inch or two above the soil surface, while the largest part of the cactus is underground in the long, carrot-like root. Peyote is known for its hallucinogenic properties; the cactus produces Mescaline -as well as a wide spectrum of phenethylamine alkaloids- to which it owes its visionary reputation. Peyote is known as one of the slowest growing species of cactus; in the wild it may take decades to reach the size of a silver dollar. In home cultivation, growth rates can be accelerated given the proper conditions, but it still takes years for a plant to reach flowering maturity. Growth can be accelerated even more by grafting Peyote to a faster growing columnar cactus like San Pedro or Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus Pachanoi or Trichocereus Peruvianus); cacti are almost unique in there abilily to be easily grafted, even when the scion, or graft, is of a different species then the parent stalk. Native to southern Texas and Mexico, primarily found in the Chihuahuan desert and in the states of Tampaulipas and San Luis Potosi, Peyote typically grows near shrubbery -especially around limestone (prefering an alkaline soil)- and has been used for centuries by Native Americans for its curative and transcendental properties.

Using Peyote

Ways of administration

Peyote is taken orally; via a range of methods from simply chewing the buttons to complicated chemical extractions, removing the alkaloids from the plant material and greatly reducing the volume of material required to be consumed. According to Alexander Shulgin, the target dose is 200-400mg Mescaline Sulfate, or 178-356mg Mescaline Hydrochloride -both are salts that can be obtained through Peyote extractions- but such accurate doseing can only be accomplished using the product of an extraction designed to isolate the Mescaline. Estimating doseage for fresh or dried Peyote buttons can be a much trickier buisiness then simply turning on a scale; the concentration of mescaline in fresh peyote is reportedly around 0.4% by weight, but alkaloid content can fluxuate greatly based on growing conditions, time of year, and even from plant to plant. The mescaline content of dried buttons can reach 5-6%, but may be as low as 1-2% or less. Erowid lists the following doseages for fresh and dried peyote buttons of a medium size (greater than 1 inch/2.5 cm in diameter when dried) and average potency.

Light: ~ 3-6 mid sized buttons ~ 50-100 grams
Common: ~ 6-12 buttons ~ 100-150 grams
Strong: ~ 8-16 buttons ~ 150-200 grams
Heavy: ~ 15+ buttons ~ 200+ grams

Light: ~ 3-6 mid sized buttons ~ 10-20 grams
Common: ~6-12 buttons ~ 20-30 grams
Strong: ~ 8-16 buttons ~ 30-40 grams
Heavy: ~ 15+ buttons ~ 40+ grams

Below is a list of threads describing the preperation of cactus for consumption. It should be noted that these methods are effective on all species of mescaline bearing cacti, from Peyote to San Pedro to Peruvian Torch, however quantity of raw material needed may differ with the relative potency of the cactus(cacti) in question.

Here are some teks on extracting mescaline from cactus:
Mescaline Acetate: 69Ron's d-limonene extraction
Mescaline Sulfate: From the Book: PEYOTE & Other Psychoactive Cacti by Adam Gottlieb, posted by Alfa
Mescaline Sulfate: Nans acid/base extraction, posted by OneDiaDem

Effects of Peyote

[​IMG]Mescaline (3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine) is the primary psychoactive alkaloid in Peyote, however, the cactus is known to produce upwards of 50 chemically related compounds, including Hordenine, Tyramine, Dopamine, Anhalidine, and Pellotine. Other then Mescaline, some of these alkaloids may be psychoactive and are said to contribute to the Peyote experience, as a Peyote trip reportedly differs from a pure Mescaline experience; Peyote is said to be a more gentle, dreamy, earthy trip then that of pure Mescaline. The come-up time for Peyote can range from two to four hours, peaking around the five hour mark with a usual plateau of three to five hours, and the total experience lasting ten to twelve hours after the onset of effects.

Effects as per Erowid:
  • feelings of insight
  • brightening of colors
  • closed and open eye visuals
  • mood lift, euphoria
  • increased giggling and laughing
  • increase in energy (stimulation)
  • increased tactile sensation
  • happy, dreamy feelings
  • feelings of hope or rejuvination
  • increased access to spiritual ideation; deep esoteric experiences

  • general change in consciousness (as with most psychoactives)
  • loss of appetite
  • change in body temperature regulation
  • unusual thoughts and speech
  • unusual focus on either small details or large concepts; changes in meaning or significance of experiences
  • mild to extreme distractability
  • changes in perception of time
  • changes in perception of "reality"
  • changes in self control
  • unusual body sensations (facial flushing, chills, goosebumps, body energy)
  • ego softening
  • pupil dilation
  • body tremors
  • urge to urinate (in early stages of experience)
  • restlessness

  • (likelihood of negative side effects increases with higher doses)
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • chest and neck pain (in early stages of experience)
  • shortness of breath
  • uncomfortable changes in body temperature (sweating/chills)
  • confusion, difficulty concentrating, problems with activities requiring linear focus
  • difficulty communicating
  • inhibition of sex drive
  • insomnia
  • unpleasant or frightening visions
  • unwanted and overwhelming feelings, depression, anxiety
  • paranoia, fear, and panic

Combinations with Peyote

Different Uses for Peyote

[​IMG]Native Americans believe Peyote has curative properties and use it for many medicinal purposes as well as for its psychoactive properties. Peyote is used as a home remedy for tootheaches, arthritis, nerve spasms, fever, breast pain, skin disease, rheumatism, diabetes, colds, blindness, and hearing disorders. It has also been used as a psychotherapeutic drug to treat alcoholism and drug addictions, problems with stress, and acute depression. The Native Americans are likely not far off the mark; Peyote has been shown to contain high levels of Peyocactin, also known as Hordenine (N,N-dimethyl-4-hydroxyphenylethylamine), a phenylethylamine alkaloid with antibacterial and antibiotic properties. Peyocactin is the primary antibiotic substance in the Peyote cactus. In a study done on mice, Peyocactin was observed to have inhibited Staphylococcus aureus in all mice treated with the antibiotic. The control group died within 60 hours of infection of S. aureus. The antibiotic activity of this extract of the Peyote plant has been proven to inhibit a wide variety of bacteria and one species of imperfect fungi. In addition, this antibiotic exhibited inhibiting action on 18 strains of penicillin-resistent S. aureus.[1] Peyocactin also stimulates the release of Norepinephrine in mammals, acting as a stimulant, and may result in antidepressant qualities. The United States Dispensatory lists peyote under the name Anhalonium which can be used in cases of neurashtenia, hysteria, and asthma. There are also antiseptic effects of the Peyote cactus; by cleaning open wounds with the plant, a very strong scab forms which closes up the wound; this is often described as being "better than stitches".

The dangers of Peyote

In 2005, a study was conducted on three groups of Navajo Native Americans, the first group consisted of regular, life-long Peyote users, the second group consisted of former alcoholics, and the third group reported minimal use of Peyote, Alcohol, and other substances. A screening interview, the Rand Mental Health Inventory (RMHI), and ten standard neuropsychological tests of memory and attentional/executive functions were administered to each group; compared to Navajos with minimal substance use, the Peyote group showed no significant deficits on the RMHI or any neuropsychological measures, where as the former alcoholic group showed significant deficits on every scale of the RMHI and on two neuropsychological measures. Within the Peyote group, total lifetime Peyote use was not significantly associated with neuropsychological performance. The test concluded that there were no evident psychological or cognitive deficits among the Navajos using Peyote regularly. [2]
These are the dangers common to all psychedelic drugs:

Accidental injury. When on a psychedelic drug, it is easier to accidentally injure yourself. Also because of the disorientating and potentially delusion inspiring nature of the experience, you could be lead to inflict harm on others or yourself. People have fallen off rooftops, run into traffic, attempted to throw people off rooftops as 'sacrifices', drowned, and so on. The best way of protecting against this is to have a friend with you who is sober to look after you and handle any negative situation that might arise.

Bad trips. A bad trip is a negative psychedelic experience. It can range from a mildly negative feeling of anxiety/discomfort, to full-blown psychosis. Bad trips usually ruin a psychedelic experience for the tripper and everyone else. Most bad trips are manageable, just very uncomfortable and difficult. Some are extreme and unmanageable though. It's not uncommon for a bad trip to result in lingering psychological issues. Usually just a few days of negative emotions and anxiety. Sometimes, however, a week or so of serious anxiety, destabilized mental state and impaired functioning is possible. On very rare occasions, a month or two of severely diminished functioning, traumatized mental state, depression & crippling anxiety can occur. More information on bad trips can be found here. The best way of avoiding a bad trip is having the correct set and setting.

Permanent psychosis. Psychedelics are believed by researchers not to cause permanent psychosis, however they could trigger a latent mental illness in someone who was already predisposed to it, or make existing mental illnesses worse. If there is a history of mental illness in your family, you are more likely to be predisposed. Everyone is at some risk, however.

PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression & depersonalization. There are anecdotal reports of the trauma inflicted by some bad trips leading to depression and anxiety which while usually temporary, could potentially develop into lasting disorders. While no different to the potential of any traumatic event to cause lasting disorders, nonetheless this is a danger of psychedelic drug use.

Growing Peyote

Like most other cacti, Peyote is fairly simple to grow from seed, with a little know-how. Growing Peyote, however, is an endeavor for those prepared to wait for the pay-off; in home cultivation and given the right conditions, it can take a Peyote cactus up to five years to reach maturity. Of course, simply growing the plant can be a rewarding experience, as any avid gardener can attest to, and one which requires relatively little maintenance.

Growing Peyote from Seed:
Peyote seeds require a warm, humid environment to germinate, the soil should be kept moist until the seeds have sprouted. Until the roots are well established the seedlings must not be left dry for extended periods.

Treating Infection/Infestation of Peyote:

Harvesting Peyote:
[​IMG]When harvesting Peyote, one must be mindful of the fact that good technique can preserve the plant and ensure optimal chances for regeneration of a new crown, while poor technique can damage the root and kill the plant. Peyote should never be uprooted, instead the crown should be sliced off at or just above soil level with a sharp, clean knife; this way some green flesh should remain with the root, leaving tubercles to sprout new crowns. The wound will form a hard, cork-like callous as it dries, and the edges of the cut will curl upwards slighty; for this reason the cut should be made at a slight angle, to help slew off any water that may collect from dew or rainfall. Done correctly, the root should survive and begin to shoot new crowns in anywere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years.

Grafting Peyote:

Forms of Peyote

Peyote is the common name for a species of cactus called Lophophora Williamsii, which has several variants. There are also a few nearly identical variants of a different species known as 'False Peyote', containing little-to-no mescaline. However, False Peyote does contain other psychoactive alkaloids, reported to have delerient effects.

[​IMG]Botanical names for variants of true Peyote include:
* Lophophora Williamsii
* Lophophora Williamsii Caespitosa variant
* Lophophora Williamsii Cristata variant
* Lophophora Williamsii Texensis variant

[​IMG]Variants of False Peyote include:
* Lophophora Diffusa
* Lophophora Diffusa Fricii variant
* Lophophora Diffusa Kubesae variant
* Lophophora Diffusa Koeheresii variant

United Nations




Peyote is legal in Canada. Mescaline is listed as a schedule III substance in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, but the act specifically omits Peyote:
"17. Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxybenzeneethanamine) and any salt thereof but not peyote (Lophophora)" [3]

History of Peyote

More Peyote Sections


  1. ^McCleary, J.A.; Sypherd, P.S.; Walkington, D.L. (1960). "Antibiotic Activity of an Extract Of Peyote [Lophophora williamsii (Lemaire) Coulter]". Economic Botany 14: 247–249
  2. ^Halpern, J.; Sherwood, A.; Hudson, J.; Yurgeluntodd, D.; Pope Jr, H. G. (2005). "Psychological and Cognitive Effects of Long-Term Peyote Use Among Native Americans". Biological Psychiatry 58: 624–631. http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjourn...855-3/abstract
  3. ^Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

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