What is Mescaline?
Mescaline is in a group of psychedelic drugs. The alkaloid that occurs naturally and is known for the hallucinogenic effects it causes. It can be found in the peyote cactus, San Pedro cactus, the Peruvian torch and several other members of the cactus plant family. It can also been found in specific members of the bean family. It is most commonly used by soaking or chewing on peyote buttons which are the small, knobby shapes that form on the peyote cactus.
The History of Psychedelic Drugs
Mescaline was first isolated and identified by a German pharmacologist named Arthur Carl Wilhelm Heffter in 1897. In 1919, an Austrian chemist by the name of Ernst Spath was the first person to ever synthesize mescaline. Indigenous native tribes in Central America and some the more southern parts of North America are rumored to have consumed peyote for more than 3,000 years as part of religious rituals. Some tribes (with government permission) still use mescaline in this way today.
What Type of Drug is Mescaline?
Mescaline is classified as a hallucinogen, in the same class as drugs such as LSD, PCP and DMT. If taken from the buttons of the peyote cactus or other such natural source, mescaline is likely to be genuine. When taken in a pill form, the chances are high that what the user is taking is, in fact, not mescaline at all. It may be a synthetic form of the drug but will more likely be PCP or some other similar hallucinogenic. As far as use goes, mescaline is not one of the more widely abused drugs as the peyote cactus can be extremely difficult to find.
How mescaline effects users can vary depending on each individual and how much of the drug you consume. Typically, the effects are noticeable within the first 30 minutes after consumption and can last up to 12 hours. Once the drug takes hold, there are a number of effects that users may notice:
- Altered vision
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- High blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Changes in motor function
- Shaking in extremities
- Contractions in intestines
- Lack of motivation
- Hallucinations of death or other frightening experiences
- Uncontrollable moods
- Altered perception of time
- Sensation of floating
- Inability to tell the difference between fantasy and reality
Researchers also believe the abuse of mescaline may cause damage to blood vessels and permanent brain damage. After prolonged use of the drug, there is an increased risk of psychological problems, trouble with memory loss, dependence on the drug and tolerance to the substance. In some instances, individuals have been known to have horrible flash backs years after taking the drug only once.
Individuals with preexisting emotional problems are at a higher risk of having an adverse reaction or experience when taking psychedelic drugs. The experience may produce highly disturbing and negative feelings, hallucinations, anxiety, fear of insanity and very bad headaches. Users are also prone to causing injury to themselves or others as a result of the disruption to their normal reality, lack of physical coordination and motor function and the decreased cognitive awareness.
Despite the fact that mescaline is not considered to be a physically addictive substance, users can build up a tolerance to the drug, which means they will need to take increasingly higher doses in order to achieve their desired high. It is very possible for users to become mentally addicted to the substance for the continued feeling of spiritual experiences, or to lose touch with the reality of their current situation.
Why Psychedelic Drugs are Dangerous
Psychedelic drugs are considered to be less addictive than most abused substances such as stimulants and opioids which makes them less likely to be abused long-term. They are also less likely to cause overdose or intense physical side effects, so they are often considered less dangerous than other drugs available. This could not be farther from the truth. Psychedelic drugs actually share many of the same dangerous properties as other abused substances, you just aren’t as likely to hear about them being associated with hallucinogens.
Hallucinogens will typically cause the feeling of an altered reality. While some find it enjoyable, the effects of hallucinogens can be unpredictable and will vary from person to person. The effects can even vary from use to use in the same person. Their first use may be pleasant and exciting – colors may be brighter, or they may feel more connected to things in some way. Their next experience might cause extreme moodiness, depression, anxiety and extreme highs and lows of emotion. They may be confused by the abrupt change in mood or may lose sense of where they are.
Insomnia, vomiting and loss of appetite are side effects that are commonly associated with hallucinogenic drugs as well. Users may feel a racing heart, have dizzy spells, get terrible headaches or have diarrhea. They may also start sweating profusely or be unable to control their motor functions.
The number one concern faced by users when it comes to psychedelic drugs is the fear of having a “bad trip”. This is true of almost every type of psychedelic drug because if you take the drug and it doesn’t have the desired effect, the negative effect will still last for up to 12 hours. Some of the negative psychological issues that can result from a “bad high” would be:
- Toxic Psychosis. This causes a person to have visual disturbances and extreme paranoia. Almost any psychedelic drug taken in the long term can cause toxic psychosis.
- Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder. HPPD causes the user to have flashbacks back to previous drug trips. These flashbacks are usually terrifying and are flashbacks to unpleasant or adverse trips and can happen months or years after the individual stops using the drugs. It can even occur after just one use. The symptoms have been known to mimic the same symptoms as a stroke.
- Addiction. While it is not considered common, psychological dependency on the drug is definitely possible.
- Depression. Long-term use of psychedelic drugs substances can cause severe depression, especially if use is suddenly cut off. This can lead to attempted suicide or thoughts of harming oneself.
- Violent behavior. Psychedelic drugs can cause users to exhibit extremely violent behavior towards others and themselves. Oftentimes, it is the loss of motor control or disconnect from reality that causes them to do harm. Accidental drowning, leaping from high places, motor vehicles accidents or episodes of self-mutilation or suicide have been reported as a result of use. Those under the influence can become delusional and throw themselves from high places thinking they can fly, or may harm others thinking that they are in some sort of danger.
You can experience any one of these side effects after just one use of any psychedelic substance. Between the distorted views of reality and having to experience reoccurring nightmares or flashbacks to times that you had an adverse reaction to the drug, there are very few positive reasons to experiment with this type of drug. The consequences from using even once can come back to affect you anytime, anywhere and when you least expect it.