Peyote is a small plant from the cactus family. It’s typically found in the Southwest region of America, Peru, and Mexico.
Peyote contains a hallucinogen known as mescaline. Mescaline is not known to cause physical dependence, but users of the drug may become psychologically dependent or addicted. Mescaline can be synthesized from the plant in a lab, and put into pill form. Peyote can go by street names such as Peyoto, Buttons, Cactus, and Mesc.
Mescaline, the main active hallucinogen in Peyote, is considered a Schedule I substance. This means that it is illegal in the United States.
What Are Peyote Buttons
Peyote buttons are the part of the cactus plant used to extract the mescaline. These “buttons” are dried, and then can either be chewed, soaked in water, or brewed into a tea.
Some users will grind the buttons down into a powder to be smoked on top of tobacco or marijuana.
How Does Peyote Work
Peyote alters the circuitry of the brain and adjusts the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Peyote, like other hallucinogens, alters the cerebral cortex area of the brain. This section of the brain is responsible for memory, language, and thinking. This would explain why Peyote has the side effects that it does.
Side Effects of Peyote
Peyote is considered a “classic” hallucinogen. It will have the same effects on the user as LSD (“acid”) or “magic mushrooms” (psilocybin). Using Peyote can result in visual or audio hallucinations.
Users of the drug can even develop a condition know as synesthesia. This condition is a “crossover” of the senses. The user can end up seeing sounds and hearing colors.
Effects of Peyote On The Brain
Short-term effects Peyote can have on the brain are:
- distorted feeling of the body (weightlessness)
- distorted perception of space and time
- impaired ability to focus
- intense focus on thoughts or ideas that would normally seem trivial
- altered sense of reality
- more intense sensory experiences
- feelings of anxiety, fear, or terror
Effects of Peyote On The Body
In addition to psychological effects, Peyote can affect the user physically as well. These effects include:
- Dilated pupils
- muscle twitches
- high blood pressure
- rapid heart rate
- acute nausea or vomiting
- loss of coordination
- decreased appetite
Combining with other substances can also be dangerous. This is especially true when it comes to other stimulants. If you take stimulant medications, it may be best to avoid taking Peyote. The combination of the two substances can cause serious central nervous system damage.
The mental and physical effects occur when someone “trips” on Peyote. That is the term used to describe the high users experience.
The effects are usually felt within the first 30-60 minutes after taking the drug. The trip can last for about 12 hours total. A user’s peak high is about 3-5 hours long, and then gradually goes away over the next several hours.
Users can have widely-varied experiences while on the drug. Their “trip” experience depends on the dose; their personality, mood, and expectations; their previous experience with hallucinogenic drugs; and where they decided to take the drug.
The biggest risk associated is its unpredictability. Every experience is completely different. Even if you’ve had experience with Peyote or other hallucinogens before, you never know what to expect when taking Peyote which makes it potentially dangerous. A user goes into every dose not knowing if they will have a good or bad trip.
Good trips are typically pleasurable experiences. After a good trip, the user may come away feeling enlightened or stimulated. Someone on a good trip may feel as though they are in a meditative state.
But, a bad trip is just as likely. And a bad trip can cause users to experience fear, anxiety, or even terror.
During a bad trip, someone may feel a total loss of control. They may even feel as if they are going to die. In addition, losing control of your senses may cause you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. You may even experience hallucinations that could potentially put you in danger.
Long-Term Effects of Peyote Use
Experts have not done much research into the long-term effects of Peyote. But, research has reported that one use of the drug can cause negative long-term effects in the user. Certain individuals have been known to have “flashbacks”. This is when a hallucination is experienced long after the drug has been taken. “Flashbacks” hit the user suddenly when they are sober.
Flashbacks are unpredictable and can cause serious harm. This condition of “flashbacks” is known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).
In extreme cases, Peyote use has lead to persistent psychosis. Instances of this happening are extremely rare, but it is still a possibility when taking Peyote.
Persistent psychosis is identified by:
- mood changes
- disorganized thoughts
- visual disturbances
Up until this point, there has been no evidence of users being physically dependent on Peyote. There also doesn’t appear to be any evidence of withdrawal symptoms. But, like many other drugs, it is still possible for someone to develop a mental dependency or addiction.
Addictive behaviors develop as a user starts to build up a tolerance. They need to take more and more of the drug to get the same desired effect. This causes them to take larger doses than normal; give up important activities and relationships to look for more; and starting to develop intense cravings.
Once the psychological dependency takes hold, someone using may want to stop but has difficulty doing so. They may tell friends and family “I can stop anytime I want”. But, it proves more difficult than they originally thought when they actually attempt to stop the drug.
People wrapped up in this addictive behavior will often take Peyote, knowing that it will do further harm to them physically and mentally. This is especially true if they have a pre-existing mental health condition.