COMMON NAMES:: anhalontum, beans, buttons, cactus, hikori, huatari, mesc, mescal, mescal buttons, moon, plants, seni, wakowi
Mescaline is the hallucinatory heart of peyote. Excised from the scrubby peyote cactus, Lophorophora williamsii, bY the scalpel of chemistry and transplanted into the mind of man, mescaline beats its LSD-like rhythm with only a slight change of tempo.
Just one of several alkaloids in peyote (see Peyote), mescaline is the main psychoactive chemical, triggering the senses into creating an illusion-filled world. It is available in its natural state as peyote buttons, or it may be extracted as organic mescaline, which.looks and tastes like brown dirt.. Synthetic mescaline sulfate comes in white needlepoint crystals, without much improvement in flavor. Since dosage ranges from 300 to 800 mg, a capsule of mescaline sulfate would have to be either a No. 1 or No. 0 size, or as large as a horse capsule. True synthetic mescaline is rarely, if ever, sold on the street. What is usually passed off as mescaline is either PCP, LSD, a combination of LSD/PCP, amphetamines, STP, belladonna alkaloids, or improperly synthesized contaminants.
A member of the amine group of chemicals, which includes speed, STP, and: adrenalin, mescaline differs structurally from other hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin. Its chemical name is 3,4,3-trimethoxyphenylethylamine and it is related to the hormone epinephrine and the neurohormone norepinephrine.
Rarely injected, mescaline can be made into capsules, tablets, or a liquid, but cannot be compressed into little pills. It is most commonly ingested in capsule form, one way to disguise its unpalatabillty, or chewed as peyote buttons. One to six buttons are held in the mouth until soft, then swallowed, either chewed or unchewed. Some prefer macerating the buttons in a coffee grinder first, but either way, there's no avoiding the inevitable bitter, soapy taste and probable subsequent vomiting. Throwing up, if necessary, is recommended. It does not alter the drug's effects, and the relief it provides is immense:
Stomach disruption is common. Peyote fibers are emetic, and though they may be cleaned off, nausea-producing elements of the mescaline itself will remain. Synthetic mescaline sulfate is preferred over natural peyote because its side effects, including nausea, are less intense.
Medically classified as a hallucinogen, mescaline has been used in psychotherapy and as a treatment for opiate dependency and alcoholism. The drug acts as a heart and respiratory stimulant, though pulse may decrease slightly.
Once absorbed by the intestinal tract, mescaline heads immediately for the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen. Within twenty-four hours, 60 to 90 percent of the drug has-been excreted unchanged in, the urine. Effects appear within one to two hours after ingestion, peak after two hours, and may continue up to twelve hours.
Mescaline's action stimulates the visual and visuo-psychic areas of the brain. Blocking effects have been noted on muscles and neuromuscular complexes, and an increase in deep `tendon reflexes, systolic blood pressure, and temperature, as well as pupil dilation, may occur.
All of this body action is preparation for a trip to what has been called an "optical fairyland." Visual perception is altered' to such a degree that even the mundane becomes miraculous. Colors gain a stained-glass depth and richness, concentrating on central, bright color rather than peripheral, dim color. Everyday objects undergo a phantasmagorical transformation, shifting and slipping in color and form, creating their own reality. Synesthesia, a crossover of the senses where color is heard and music is seen, is common.
True hallucinations do not occur. The tripper is aware that the illusions and fantasies which dance through his head are a vaudeville show he entered with a mescaline ticket. Aldous Huxley and Carlos Castaneda saw mescaline as not merely the source of show, but as an entree into a mystical world as well. While sensual perception-sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell-is in delightful turmoil, intellect and judgment remain clear and functional. Past experiences may not only be recalled but re-experienced, as well, in the mind.
As with LSD, set and setting are vital in determining the , direction of a mescaline trip. Set (the mood, expectations and personality of the tripper) and setting (physical surroundings and emotional environment) psychologically affect the tripper and may tip him to either side of the illusionary tightrope. One way, and he's off on a mystical sensory trip; the other, and he may exhibit schizophrenic tendencies-extreme moodiness, unprovoked blasts of emotion, anxiety, confusion, depression, and tremors. Nausea, anorexia, and insomnia may occur, regardless of the direction the trip is taking g, Ambivalent feelings are not uncommon; feeling happy and sad, giddy and mad, the tripper may be bewildered by the haphazard rain of emotions he experiences.
While tolerance develops rapidly--within three to six days-mescaline is not considered either physiologically or psychologically addicting, since withdrawal symptoms do not occur. A cross-tolerance to LSD and psilocybin exists. Overdose is unlikely unless mescaline is combined with other drugs such as barbiturates, physostigmine, and insulin. Hyperin sulinism may result from the combination of mescaline and insulin.
A bad trip should be treated psychologically rather than chemically. Reassurance, comfort, and support can transform a frightening experience into a learning experience. Introduction of other drugs may magnify the bad trip, causing possible shock or death.
Other hazards include the drug's potential for pushing borderline schizophrenics over the edge, and, in the case of needle freaks, exposing trippers to the problems of injection: hepatitis, tetanus, gas gangrene, local abscesses, and other in fections. Lung disease, heart disease, and diseases of the blood vessels have been known to occur. Like most other drugs, mescaline should be avoided during pregnancy.
Listed along with LSD, STP, marijuana, and psilocybin as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, mescaline is legal only for members of the Native American Church (see Peyote). Manufacture, production, and distribution of mescaline is punishable by a maximum prison sentence and fine of five years and/or $15,000. Possession is punished by imprisonment of not more than one year and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.
The name "mescaline" comes from the Mescalero, Apaches, a tribe that adopted the. peyote ritual of the Mexican Indians and helped spread the mystical religion northward to other American Indian tribes
A German chemist first isolated mescaline from the peyote plant in 1896, long after the Indians had discovered its effects. The drug was synthesized twenty-three years later.
Mescaline made its street debut in the form of peyote but- tons in the 1950s, then graduated in the late 1960s to popular use in both organic and synthetic states. Former LSD users, frightened by the Great Chromosome Scare, turned to mescaline and other chemicals to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Difficult to obtain, surrounded by myth,: mescaline remains an elusive guide to our inner visions.