Mescaline is a psychedelic alkaloid, which produces mind-altering hallucinations similar to the effects of LSD. It occurs naturally in the peyote cactus as well as other members of the Cactaceae plant family. History shows evidence that Native Americans in Mexico have been using Mescaline for the past 5700 years. The top of the cactus is cut, which causes the taproot to produce new ‘heads’. These heads are then dried. The dried heads are then chewed or soaked in water to prepare a drink, which produces the mind-altering effects of Mescaline. Mescaline is and always has been primarily used for the psychedelic side effects that it produces. The effects are similar to those experienced after a dose of LSD.
The Convention on Psychotropic Substances has classified Mescaline as a Schedule I controlled substance internationally, limiting its availability only to researchers for scientific purposes. Treatment of alcohol addiction and depression are among the suggested uses of Mescaline. Normal dosage of Mescaline can be anywhere between 200mg to 300mg, which is equivalent to consuming 6 to 12 dried heads of the peyote cactus. Mescaline was made illegal in 1970 by the United States Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
Side Effects of Mescaline
- Altered thinking
- Visual hallucinations
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Enhanced or distorted view of colors, lights, and shapes
- Stomach aches
- Psychological problems
Addiction and Overdose
Unlike drugs such as heroin, cocaine etc., mescaline abuse does not lead to physical addiction. However it is a habit-forming drug. Repeated use causes the user to develop tolerance towards the drug, eventually causing the user to consume higher quantities to feel the same effects. This in turn may cause the user to develop psychological dependence on the drug.
An overdose of mescaline can have life threatening side effects. It can cause the user to experience severe anxiety that may last for a couple of days. It can also cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a condition that causes the user to experience hallucinations and other mind-altering effects of the drug long after they have consumed it. The biggest threat that this condition poses is that the user may have a flashback while doing some task that requires full mental attention, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. In such a case, the user may pose a threat to his own life and the people around him or her. Other side effects of an overdose may include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Suicidal thoughts
- Violent behavior
- Shallow breathing
In case a user presents any of the side effects mentioned above, he or she should be rushed to get medical attention before any severe physical reaction occurs.
In order to quit using mescaline, a patient might need to undergo therapy such as group therapy, family therapy, behavioral therapy etc. However, in case of a mescaline overdose, supportive care is provided to the patient. In case of anxiety attacks, medicines are administered to reduce the impact. A patient might need a few days alone in a silent, calm room to recover from the mental side effects of the overdose. Activated charcoal may be administered to reduce further absorption of the drug. The patient may also need to be provided with assisted ventilation.