Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), commonly referred to by its scientific name Lophophora williamsii, became famous thanks to author Carlos Castaneda who popularized its use through stories he told about himself while under its influence. But what are its actual effects, and what should users expect when taking this hallucinogenic substance? Sort out the peyote cactus for sale.
Peyote is an integral component of Huichol culture from Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, used sacramentally by this tribe to connect with their ancestors and gods.
What is it?
Peyote (Lophophara williamsii), also referred to as Lophophora williamsii, is a small cactus with small buttons containing mescaline, which has long been an integral component of Indigenous Mexican religious ceremonies for millennia, used to gain healing skills, connect with ancestors and gods, understand nature better and develop healing capacities. Although peyote use is covered under surveys such as the 2020 National Drug Use Survey data, this is misleading due to relatively low abuse compared with LSD or mushrooms use.
Mescaline belongs to the phenethylamine class of psychoactive chemicals that produce psychedelic effects, altering serotonin and dopamine levels bound to nerve receptors on nerve cells and leading to altered thought processes, emotional turmoil, and feelings of alienation. Such experiences may change lifelong memories and lead to loss of identity; furthermore, they can trigger mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in vulnerable users.
Halpern bases his belief that peyote may help alcohol and drug addicts on observation of Native American Church members and their personal experiences using it, along with respecting religious precepts of its usage in his church community.
How does it work?
Cacti produce mescaline, a substance that attaches to receptors in the brain to alter how serotonin and dopamine work, cause changed thinking and increased emotions, and create an immersive connection with nature.
The Wixarika tribe harvests peyote from the desert, but roads and fences built by ranchers complicate their efforts. Due to limited governing power and income from ceremonial mescaline use, most income goes toward paying their bills and buying supplies for ceremonies. They firmly believe that peyote should only be used for religious/spiritual benefits rather than recreational use despite its abuse potential.
Teenagers are especially susceptible to the dangers associated with hallucinogen use. Teens may suffer from mood swings, feelings of alienation, and uneasiness due to taking these substances and losing touch with themselves.
Additionally, the cacti have come under threat due to increasing demand from those seeking mescaline-infused recreational trips and spiritual practices. Harvesting and poaching for such uses jeopardize their natural populations and impact local ecosystems’ health.
What are the risks?
Peyote use in the US is generally illegal for anything other than religious/spiritual purposes; however, members of the Native American Church still consume it – but to comply with US laws, they only take mescaline when in the presence of a shaman or maraka’ame (leader of their tribe).
Mescaline should only be consumed during religious ceremonies as its consumption can lead to unpleasant physical effects such as changes in heart rate and blood pressure, decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, psychosis with hallucinations and delusions, and may trigger psychotic episodes in teens predisposed genetically to mental illness – for instance, Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys experimented with LSD, leading him down a path toward decades of mental anguish afterward. At the same time, Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd spent much of his teen years using hallucinogenic drugs before living out his life in mental institutions for much of his adult years despite a genetic predisposition.
Halpern claims he has seen first-hand how peyote helps some alcoholics and drug addicts overcome their addictions through group meetings or sponsorship arrangements. Unfortunately, due to religious restrictions, he has yet to test peyote on non-Native peoples but believes the drug could be helpful for them, too.
What are the benefits?
Peyote provides spiritual experiences and physical pain relief and has even been used to treat other medical conditions. It can be consumed either smoked or eaten as buttons; its mild hallucinogenic qualities have been found to boost serotonin and dopamine receptors within the brain, leading to feelings of happiness and joy.
Peyote first gained broad public awareness in America through Carlos Castaneda’s bestseller books about his Yaqui Way of Knowledge (YWoK). Peyote use is central to Native American Church, established in 1918 to ensure they can practice religion while using peyote.
Teens drawn to psychedelic drugs because of their cultural associations may be disappointed with their effects, according to Halpern. According to him, long-term use can trigger mental instability for teens with genetic predispositions – as evidenced by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd being heavy users who later dealt with depression and other mental health problems.
Early media depictions of peyote caused widespread fear among many individuals that these drugs were highly hazardous and their users, Native Americans in particular, were madmen – leading them to criminalize both peyote itself and its religion-based use.