What Is Psychedelic Cactus? Effects, Health Risks, and Treatment
- A psychedelic cactus causes psychedelic effects that can last for several hours with a high abuse potential.
- This substance is often associated with spiritual rituals and ceremonies.
- Psychedelic cactus contains mescaline which is currently listed as a Schedule I controlled substance.
- Mescaline isn’t a physically addictive substance like heroin or alcohol, however, the drug can lead to psychological addiction.
- Holistic, evidence-based treatment is the best way to address and overcome an addiction to psychedelic cactus.
What Is Psychedelic Cactus?
Psychedelic cactus has been used in shamanism for centuries–including the present day. While some cultures honor and respect the substance as part of traditional rituals, others find themselves abusing psychedelic cactus as a means to achieve a high. Here’s what you need to know about the uses, legality, and risks of using psychoactive cactus.
Psychedelic cactus refers to the many types of cactus that contain psychoactive compounds, such as the Peyote Cactus, the San Pedro Cactus, and the Peruvian Torch cactus. These compounds, most commonly known as mescaline, cause psychedelic effects that can last for several hours.
This substance is often associated with spiritual rituals and ceremonies, which can lead some individuals to mistakenly believe that the use of psychedelic cactus is inherently safe.
How is Psychedelic Cactus Used in Traditional Ceremonies?
Archaeological and historical evidence suggests that psychedelic cactus has been used in sacred ceremonies as far back as 1500 BC. Today, shamans use psychedelic cactus to heal the sick, including both physical and metaphysical maladies.
The psychoactive parts of the plant are typically dried and chewed but may also be used to make tea or ground into a powder which is then placed into a capsule or smoked with cannabis or tobacco leaves.
Is Psychedelic Cactus Legal?
Mescaline is currently considered a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. This status means that using psychedelic cactus has a high abuse potential and is not approved as part of medical treatment.
However, certain states and Federal law permits the cultivation and use of psychedelic cactus for tribal religious ceremonies, but all proper filings must be completed prior to ensure no laws are broken.
What are the Risks of Psychoactive Cactus?
Although this substance is regarded as highly powerful and spiritual, some individuals abuse the substance recreationally, leading to a range of physical health conditions and exacerbated mental health conditions.
Mescaline can produce hallucinations, anxiety, an increase in body temperature, increased blood pressure and heart rate, profuse sweating, and mobility issues when the drug is active in the body. It can also lead to worsening of anxiety disorders and mood disorders.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Using Psychoactive Cactus/Mescaline?
Long-term use of mescaline can result in severe mental health conditions, including Drug Induced Psychosis and Hallucinogen-Persisting Perception Disorder. Here’s what you need to know about these two conditions:
This condition is caused by the ingestion of certain substances and can result in severe changes in an individual’s thought patterns and perceptions. Drug-induced psychosis can lead to disorganized thinking, auditory or visual disturbances, delusions, and severe paranoia.
Drug-induced psychosis may last hours or up to several days and is considered a medical emergency due to the high risk of suicide of those experiencing these symptoms.
Mescaline is not the only drug that can cause drug-induced psychosis. Other drugs include ketamine, LSD, PCP, and amphetamines.
If you or someone you know is showing signs of drug-induced psychosis, seek emergency medical interventions immediately.
Hallucinogen-Persisting Perception Disorder (HPDD)
A rare but serious condition, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) causes “flashbacks” in those who have had exposure to hallucinogenic substances. These flashbacks happen with no discernible trigger and include hallucinations, visual and auditory disturbances, panic, and paranoia.
These flashbacks may occur for months and even years after an individual has last taken a hallucinogenic drug.
Is Psychedelic Cactus/Mescaline Addictive?
Mescaline isn’t a physically addictive substance like heroin or alcohol. However, the drug can lead to psychological addiction. As an individual continues to use mescaline, a tolerance may be developed, meaning that more of the drug must be taken to achieve the desired effect.
Once the individual ceases taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms such as decreased serotonin may result. This can cause depression, anxiety, restlessness, and panic, leading the individual to continue taking the drug to negate uncomfortable side effects.
How to Treat a Mescaline Addiction
If you or someone you know is experiencing an addiction to mescaline, it is important to seek the intervention of a professional. Drug addictions often do not improve without treatment.
The right level of care for you will depend on the severity of the addiction and whether or not co-occurring conditions are present. Those entering recovery are often referred to a residential program, followed by a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Outpatient Program (OP), and aftercare treatment.
Remember, however, that addiction treatment is not always linear, and you may complete these stages of recovery in a different order. For example, you may not require inpatient care and may be referred directly to PHP.
Within each of these programs, you will partake in several different therapies that will help you uncover the root causes of your addiction and heal from any traumas, hurts, or hang-ups that lead you to abuse substances in the first place. You will learn adaptive coping strategies that do not involve drug use, allowing you to flourish and thrive using your own inner strength and spirituality.
Heal from Psychedelics Addiction With Epiphany Wellness
At Epiphany Wellness, we understand the complex nature of psychedelic addiction. Many people who seek out the use of psychedelics do so because they are on a spiritual journey that, unfortunately, results in more spiritual, mental, and emotional turmoil.
We help guide you through your healing journey with spiritual therapies that bring you self-awareness and understanding, allowing you to see inside (and beyond) yourself without the use of psychedelic drugs.
If you or a loved one are struggling with psychedelic cactus abuse or abuse of any other psychoactive drugs, we are here to help. Contact a member of our team today to learn about our holistic drug addiction therapies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Psychedelic Cactus
Below are answers to common questions we receive about the use of psychoactive cactus.
Some of the most common slang terms for mescaline include:
- Blue caps
- San Pedro
- Big Chief
In the United States, cultivating species of cacti that contain psychoactive compounds is illegal, with the exception of specific tribes that use mescaline as part of traditional religious ceremonies.
Mescaline, LSD, and Magic Mushrooms are all psychoactive drugs but differ in chemical makeup, source, effects, and other key differentiators. Below, we’ve compiled a chart highlighting the key differences among the three substances:
|Chemical Name||Lysergic acid diethylamide||4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine||3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine|
|Source||Synthetic||Naturally occurring in specific types of mushrooms||Naturally occurring in specific types of cacti|
|Duration of Effects||6-12 Hours||4-6 Hours||8-12 Hours|
|Psychedelic Effects||Hallucinations (auditory/visual), time/space perception, euphoria, altered mood||Hallucinations (auditory/visual), time/space, introspection, altered perception||Hallucinations (auditory/visual), time/space, introspection, altered perception|
|Legal Status||Illegal in the United States||Illegal in the United States with the exception of a few localities and states||Illegal in the United States with the exception specific tribal ceremonies|
Spiritual bypassing is the use of psychoactives to achieve spiritual experiences without doing the internal work it takes for long-term spiritual growth.
Many individuals who use psychedelics are seeking spiritual enlightenment but use substances such as mescaline as a shortcut rather than taking steps to get there without the use of psychedelics. This can lead to emotional and psychological turmoil, depression, and anxiety.
At Epiphany Wellness, we understand the significance of spirituality in your journey in healing. Our therapies include a spiritual component that helps you achieve self-awareness and connectedness with a higher power without the use of psychoactive substances.
A bad mescaline trip can be frightening. During a bad trip on mescaline, an individual may experience intense fear, anxiety, and paranoia, as well as frightening, distorted perceptions of reality. An individual may also experience physical symptoms of a bad trip, such as nausea, vomiting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
No. Although the two words are similar, mesclun and mescaline are not the same thing. Mescaline is a psychoactive substance derived from specific species of cacti that produce psychedelic effects, whereas mesclun is a mixture of young lettuce leaves that can be purchased at most grocery stores.
If you have more questions about psychoactive cactus, psychedelics, or recovering from an addiction to psychedelics, contact a member of the Epiphany Wellness team today.
 CB;C.-A. F. J. V.-C. (n.d.). [mescaline and the San Pedro Cactus Ritual: Archaeological and ethnographic evidence in northern Peru]. Revista de neurologia. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16625512/
 Home | dea.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Peyote%20and%20Mescaline-2020_0.pdf
Ford H, Fraser CL, Solly E, et al. Hallucinogenic Persisting Perception Disorder: A Case Series and Review of the Literature. Front Neurol. 2022;13:878609. doi:10.3389/fneur.2022.878609, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9120359/