California is one step closer to legalizing psychedelics. A State Senate committee approved a bill that legalizes possessing certain psychedelic substances. The bill looks to legalize the “possession, preparation, obtaining, transfer, as specified, or transportation” of small amounts of psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline for personal use. LSD and MDMA will remain illegal due to an appeal to nature. While earlier versions of the bill included them, some felt LSD and MDMA are synthetic and thus not genuine plant-based […]
If we may say that the civilized man is clever but not wise, we may say, also, that the prairie is dry but not without water. Upon the prairie there are occasional rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and flooded buffalo wallows. Like the American System itself, most of the prairie ponds and lakes are fly-by-night operations. Although they may thrive temporarily, supporting a teeming food chain that can run from aquatic plants to muskrats to owls; from nymphal insects to sunfish to snapping turtles; or from salamanders to magpies to weasels, in time the ponds and lakes are invaded by vegetation filled with silt and reduced during summer droughts until they gasp (!) and die, changing into marsh and then prairie again. Often a prairie pond is not around long enough to earn a name.
Siwash Lake, since it found a home in a relatively deep depression between the hills of the terminal moraines left by the continental ice sheet, has enjoyed a certain permanence, although as evidenced by its imploding margins of arrowhead, cattail and reed, it, too, is entering the swamp phase of its existence and eventually will be unable to provide enough moisture to freshen a tadpole’s highball.
There are a few good years left on the little lake yet, however, and it was shimmering a blob of invisible ink when Sissy and Jelly caught sight of it from the hill behind the cinematographer’s blind. Sissy and Jelly walked over the crest of the hill, having tied their horses at the cherry tree, and there was the lake, taking. Knee-deep in wheatgrass and asters, Sissy and Jelly walked over the crest of the hill naked, having left their clothing at the cherry tree, and the lake was below them, shimmering. Sissy and Jelly walked over the crest of the hill naked, for the sunning that was in it, and it was truly difficult to believe, as they gazed at Siwash Lake, that they, too, Sissy and Jelly, were mostly water. (The brain, with its fragmentary and elusive qualities, yes, water; but body meat?)
Since the hidden cameras were trained on the lakeshore, they could not record the images that moved at the crest of the hill, nor could the concealed microphones steal conversation. Sissy and Jelly were talking when they walked over the crest, and after they had studied the lake for a while, they sat and talked again.
“She was living in Louisiana, in a shack town built by runaway slaves deep in the bayous. That’s one story, anyway. I’ve also heard that she was traveling through Yucatán with a circus, popping false eyelashes off a trained monkey with a bullwhip. It doesn’t matter. Wherever it was that she was, she ate peyote one night and had a vision. Niwetúkame, the Mother Goddess, came to her on the back of a doe, hummingbirds sipping the tears she was shedding, crying ‘Delores, you must lead my daughters against their natural enemy.’ Delores thought about it for a long time—it was one hell of a vivid vision—until she determined that the natural enemy of the daughters were the fathers and the sons. That night she whipped the shit out of her black lover, or the circus owner—it doesn’t matter which—and ran away. For a while she drove around, making a living selling peyote buttons to hippies. Then, Niwetúkame came to her again, saying that she must go to a certain place and prepare for her mission, the details of which would be revealed to her in another vision. The place the Peyote Mother directed her to come was the Rubber Rose Ranch. Isn’t that incredible? She zonks out on peyote at least once a week, but so far her Third Vision hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, she and Debbie are rivaling each other like a couple of crosstown high schools. Tension. Cowgirl tension! What a drag.”
‘‘What is Debbie’s position?” Sissy asked. A breeze swatted her ribcage with grassheads.
“Well, as I understand it, Debbie feels that people have a tendency to become what they hate. She says that women who hate men turn into men. Eee! That grass tickles, doesn’t it?” Jelly was being swatted, too. “Debbie says that women are different from men and that that difference is the source of their strength. Way back before Judaism and Christianity, women were in charge of everything, government, economics, family, agriculture and especially religion; both Debbie and Delores agree on that. But Debbie says that if women are to take charge again, they must do it in the feminine way; they mustn’t resort to aggressive and violent masculine methods. She says it is up to women to show themselves better than men, to love men, set good examples for them and guide them tenderly toward the New Age. She’s a real dreamer, that Debbie-dear.”
“You don’t agree with Debbie, then ?
“I wouldn’t say that. I expect she’s right, ultimately. But I’m with Delores when it comes to fighting for what’s mine. I can’t understand why Delores is so uptight about the Chink; he could probably teach her a thing or two. Or how can anybody dislike Billy West, that good ol’ rascal? God knows I love women, but nothing can take the place of a man that fits. Still, this here is cowgirl territory and I’ll stand with Delores and fight any bastards who might deny it. I guess I’ve always been a scrapper. Look. This scar. Only twelve years old and I was felled by a silver bullet.”
Jelly took Sissy’s hand, carefully avoiding its first or most preaxial digit, and helped her to feel the depression in her belly. It was as if she had bought her navel at a two-for-one sale.
Ignoring the possibilities that she had piqued Sissy’s curiosity or lit up her limbic switchboard, Jelly continued to speak. “God, I dig it out here. This raw space. Nobody has ever nailed it down. It’s too big and too tough. Men saw it as a challenge; they wanted to compete against it, to conquer it. For the most part they failed, and now they hate it. But women can regard it in a different way. We can flow with it, merge with it and love it. The Chink says that these plains exist on the edge of meaning, at a zone between meaning and something so great it’s got no meaning. I think I understand. Why any cowgirl wouldn’t be content with this I don’t know, but I reckon some people just can’t have fun unless everyone else is having fun, too.”
Sissy kept her hand on Jelly’s tummy, for as soon as the cowgirl quit talking she wished to inquire how she happened to catch a silver bullet in such a tender spot at such a tender age. Before she had a second to ask, however. Jelly lobbed a question of her own. “Say, Sissy, you working for the Countess and all, I wonder if you’ve had a chance to try the perfume trick we told the guests about the other day?”
“Er, well, no, I haven’t. It actually works, does it?”
“Sure it works. Why don’t you try it?”
“You mean now?”
She meant now, Sissy N for narcissus, N for nasty N for nigi (Nigi is Japanese for “rainbow.” It also means “two o’clock.” Thus, in Japan there are at least two rainbows daily); O for orchid, O for odoriferous, O for om (The meditation mat is the yogi’s horse; git along little yogi, gotta reach El Snuffing Out Candle before sundownownownownownownownownownownownownownown . . . Only mantra west of the Pecos); W for wisteria, W for wet. W for Walla Walla (a city in eastern Washington), Wagga Wagga (a city in southeastern Australia) and Wooga Wooga (a café in the astral dimension where Charlie Parker jams every Saturday night); N*O*W, Now. She wanted to watch you spread it, Sissy, opening like a ballet slipper, a gaping shellfish. She wanted to spread it, Sissy, her petite fingers wading in the swamp of it, raising its temperature, widening its smile. Oh why is it so difficult between women? Between a man and a woman it’s yes or no. Between women it’s always maybe. One mistake and the other runs away. Even when women embrace they must keep their hearts still, eyes blank. Words are out of the question. But it’s worth it, Sissy worth the pretensions, interruptions and caution. When a man is in you, you cannot imagine what it is his body is feeling, nor can he know your pleasures accurately. Between women, each is precisely aware: when she does that she is certain that the other is feeling this. And it’s so soft, Sissy. So soft.
Krishna, or as he is called in the West. Pan, the god Jesus Christ drove into hiding, was the only god who understood women. Krishna/Pan lured maidens into the woods, but he never raped, nor did he seduce with false promises or insincere declarations of love. He awakened them with special ancient vaudeville; he turned them on. It is that way that women visit each other: as music, as clowns.
Woman has not suffered civilization gladly. It has been suggested, in fact, that all of civilization was merely a dike thrown up by men, fearful of sexual competition, in order “to hold back wild and unruly feminine waters.” Now, however, She may be commandeering the shining inventions of civilized man and turning them to Her own dark uses. For example, kissing.
Kissing is man’s greatest invention.
All animals copulate, but only humans kiss.
Kissing is the supreme achievement of the Western world.
Orientals, including those who tended the North American continent before the ravagement, rubbed noses, and thousands still do. Yet despite the golden fruit of their millennia —they gave us yoga and gunpowder, Buddha and corn on the cob —they, their multitudes, their saints and sages, never produced a kiss.
The greatest discovery of civilized man is kissing.
Primitives, pygmies, cannibals and savages have shown tenderness to one another in many tactile ways, but pucker against pucker has not been their style.
Parakeets rub beaks. Yes, it’s true, they do. However, only devotees of premature ejaculation, or those little old ladies who murder children with knitting needles to steal their lunch money to buy fresh kidneys for kittycats could place birdbilling in the realm of the kiss.
Black Africans touch lips. Quite right; some of them do, as do certain aboriginal tribesmen in other parts of the world—but though their lips may touch, they do not linger. The peck is a square wheel, awkward and slightly ominous. What else did Judas betray Our Savior with but a peck: terse, spit-free and tongueless?
Tradition informs us that kissing, as we know it, was invented by medieval knights for the utilitarian purpose of determining whether their wives had been into the mead barrel while the knights were away on duty. If history is correct, for once, then the kiss began as an osculatory wiretap, an oral snoop, a kind of alcoholic chastity belt, after the fact. Form does not always follow function, however, and eventually kissing for kissing’s sake became popular in the courts, spreading to the tradesmen, peasants and serfs. And why not? For kissing is sweet. It was as if all the atavistic sweetness still remaining in Western man was funneled into kissing and that alone. No other flesh like lip flesh! No meat like mouth meat! The musical clink of tooth against tooth, the wonderful curiosity of tongues.
If women took short delight in lesser inventions, such as the wheel, the lever and the blade of steel, they applauded kissing, practicing it upon their men, for fun and profit, and upon each other—within limits. Because they were designed to suckle both male and female child at their breasts, women are not as sexually restrictive as men. They have always been prone to kiss other women, a practice that has made our Faith uneasy and our smut-sniffers pale. In 1899. even so relatively liberal a Victorian as Dr. Mary Wood-Alien felt compelled to write, in What a Young Woman Ought to Know, “I wish the friendships of girls were more manly. Two young men who are friends do not lop on each other, and kiss and gush. Girlish friendships that include fondling and kissing are not only silly, they are even dangerous.”
WHO WILL SING THE PRAISES OF SILLY AND DANGEROUS KISSING? She feared to fondle your secret parts, Sissy, and you feared to fondle them in front of her. But your mouths were bold—and silly and dangerous—and you leaned toward one another slowly, sliding cheeks, and kissed. Meeting with a passing bee’s pulsation, you mashed your mouths flat until soon your tongues were entangled in bubbles and breaths. Long, thick tongues painted each other with tongue stuff; painting away gradually the feminine fears so that you could extract your fingers from her sterling scar and slide them down her belly. When the hair and juice whispered against your fingertips—whispered dirty words such as “pussy,” “cunt,” and “snatch”—you thought of Marie, always grabbing you there, and you almost pulled away. But Jelly moaned in your mouth, hooding it with sweetness, and in a moment her own hand was exploring the hot folds of your vulva.
Embraced, you toppled over in the wheatgrass. Her Stetson fell off and rolled away in the direction of Oklahoma City. Maybe it wanted to say howdy to Tad Lucas. Your eyes sent an archeological expedition to Jelly’s face, and hers to yours; both unearthed inscriptions and pondered their meaning. She whispered that you were beautiful and brave. She called you a “hero,” meaning heroine, but her fingers were not fooled for an instant. You tried to tell her how much her friendship meant to you. Did you get the words out or didn’t you? Teeth of foam, lips of pie.
After a hungry stillness, like intermission at a wolf dance, rhythms were established. You were socked into one another now, it had been acknowledged and approved, and so you arched and pushed and corkscrewed and jackknifed, softly but with pronounced cadence. Fingerfucking is an art. Men indulge in it; women excel at it. Ohh. Fireman save my child!
You felt as if your hand were up a jukebox, a flesh Wurlitzer spewing colored electrical sparks as it played itself to pieces on the Dime of the Century. Your clitoris was a switch without an “off.” She snapped it on on on and further on. You crooked your tongue ’round an erect nipple. She smiled at your quiverings when she parted your asshole.
Everything became scrambled. You rocked each other in cradles of sweat and saliva, until you could see nothing. You imagined her in a bride’s trousseau, pictured her a mare. Did you ferment, the two of you? You smelled like it. Fans of funk and fever opened and closed, chins were aglisten with the juice of kissing. You rocked and rocked, your thumb swacking her belly in rhythm, adding to the excitement—hers and yours.
Eyes closed, or maybe only glazed, you pictured her tight young whatdoyoucallit in your mind. Hair by dripping hair, it gaped before you. Your own clitoris felt as swollen pink as a bubblegum cigar. Oh these things were made to be loved!
Suddenly you were weeping. Noisy breaths bucked out of you. You called “Jelly Jelly” when you intended only to murmur “mmmm.” It didn’t matter. Jelly bean couldn’t hear you. She was screaming. Hysterical from the scalding hot softness of girl-love.
Criminey, how that filly can come, you thought, after your own spasms had subsided. At the same moment, Jelly was wondering how a city apartment house could possibly contain your sex cries. For Jelly, too, was at rest. Only gradually did you both realize that a third auditory ingredient had mixed with Jelly screams and Sissy groans—a brasher, wilder sound, though obviously the work of the same composer.
Sticky fingers were pulled from melons. Soaked inside and out, the two of you sat up. There came that noise again, only louder, more eerie. Had your hairs, short and long, not been so damp they might have stood. It was a mighty trumpeting, a whoop such as the World might have made on the day it was born.
It was then that you ladies, your rosy bodies imprinted with patterns of crushed leaves and stems, looked to see a squadron of white satin airliners circling Siwash Lake, a flock of birds so grand and giant and elegant that your hearts squeezed out eternity’s toothpaste.
Describe the whooping crane (Grus americana) in twenty-five words or less.
The whooping crane is a very large and very regal white bird with long black legs, a sinuous neck and a thrilling trumpetlike voice.
Okay. I’ll grade that a C.
Only a C? May I try again?
The most spectacular of our native wading birds, the whooping crane stands about five feet tall and has a wingspread of nearly eight.
No improvement, I’m afraid. Still a C. One more try?
Be my guest.
Imagine Wilt Chamberlain in red yarmuIke and snowy feathers…
Hold it. You’re assuming that the reader knows who Wilt Chamberlain is. Many people don’t follow basketball and wouldn’t understand that Wilt signifies size and strength and arrogance made palatable by grace.
I give up. The whooper enters one’s spirit the instant it enters one’s senses. It is perfect radiant sky monster and I cannot describe it.
Better. Make that a B.
Patute Indians called the crane kodudududududu,” said Sissy. “Isn’t that a funny name?”
Jellybean was delighted. “Say it again,” she urged.
“Kodudududududu. Six dus. Kodudududududu.”
They both laughed.
“You know a lot about Indians, don’t you?” asked Jelly. She brushed dead cherry leaves from her panties before stepping in.
“A little,” said Sissy. She was slower getting into her undies because of her thumbs.
“And birds, too. I can’t get over the way they let you walk up so close to ’em. Whoopers are supposed to be really skittish. ’Specially if they’re migrating.” “Maybe they’ve never seen a human being nude before. We’re different when we’re naked. But I do have a way with birds, I guess. I told you about Boy, only parakeet to ever flag down a Diesel rig.” Sissy looked at Jelly’s popover tits as they disappeared into glossy shirt of cactus sunset design. In the looking, her blue gaze grew solemn. “I understand a tad about Indians and birds,” she said softly, “but I don’t know if I understand what happened up there.”
“No, oh no. I don’t feel bad. I feel … different. Or maybe I don’t feel different; maybe I feel like I should feel different.” She was thoughtful. She zipped up. “Have you had sex with girls much before?”
“Only since I’ve been at the Rubber Rose. Between Miss Adrian and Delores, every eligible male’s been scared away from here, and there’s usually trouble of one kind or another if we fool around with the hicks in Mottburg. That leaves your fingers or other women, and at least half the cowgirls on the ranch have been in each other’s pants by now. There’s not a queer among ’em, either. It’s just a nice, natural thing to do. Girls are so close and soft. Why did it take me all these years to learn that it’s okay to roll around with ’em? It’s ’specially good when it’s somebody you really like a lot.” She hugged Sissy and sugar-doodled a few kisses around her neck and ears.
A pair of smiles rode across the Dakota hills.
Perhaps a person gains by accumulating obstacles. The more obstacles set up to prevent happiness from appearing, the greater the shock when it does appear, just as the rebound of a spring will be all the more powerful the greater the pressure that has been exerted to compress it. Care must be taken, however, to select large obstacles, for only those of sufficient scope and scale have the capacity to lift us out of context and force life to appear in an entirely new and unexpected light. For example, should you litter the floor and tabletops of your room with small objects, they constitute little more than a nuisance, an inconvenient clutter that frustrates you and leaves you irritable: the petty is mean. Cursing, you step around the objects, pick them up, knock them aside. Should you, on the other hand, encounter in your room a nine-thousand-pound granite boulder, the surprise it evokes, the extreme steps that must be taken to deal with it, compel you to see with new eyes. And if the boulder is more special, if it has been painted or carved in some mysterious way, you may find that it possesses an extraordinary and supernatural presence that enchants you, and in coping with it—as it blocks your path to the bathroom—leaves you feeling extraordinary and supernatural, too. Difficulties illuminate existence, but they must be fresh and of high quality.
To the obstacles that had conspired to prevent Sissy Hankshaw Gitche, white female Protestant of South Richmond, Virginia, from attaining normality, from filling a responsible and orderly role, from operating as a productive, well-adjusted contributor to the human community, now must be added friendship with Bonanza Jellybean. Whether this latest obstacle was to elevate Sissy or nudge her toward the breaking place, as a certain straw is reported to have done to a certain burdened camel, was impossible to judge from her smile, for it was simultaneously gladdened and apprehensive. It is of little or no value to analyze mental states such as this. The kingdom of formal ideas will always be a weak neighbor to the kingdom of thrills, and Sissy was a princess of thrill. Blood bunched in her head like grapes in a wig. It sang there like a popular ballad—even though the only radio station in the area played nothing but polkas. Jelly had promised to come to her room that night, with marijuana and new positions. If those prospects excited her, she was also excited by the memory of the whooping cranes, a sight all the more breathtaking because of the knowledge that those huge, elegant fugitives were so few in number and perched so precariously on the brink of total extinction. No heat, no agony, no bloody struggle, but a band of exquisite creatures (for which the world has no replacement) poised coolly—defiantly!—on the winking eyelid of doom.
Perhaps crane and cowgirl merged in her mind into a single bright-eyed beaky goblin of love.
The word ‘entheogenic’ might not have been very popular a few years ago, but it’s sure making headlines now. Why? Because more and more US locations are passing legalization and decriminalization measures for entheogenic plants. So what does this word mean? And which plants does it refer to? Read on.
Entheogenic plants – what are they?
The word ‘entheogen’ refers to any substance that can alter perception, mood, behavior, cognitive abilities, and/or consciousness. They are specifically psychoactive substances meant to help spiritual development, in some kind of religious or sacred way. Throughout history, such substances have been employed for religious, magical, shamanic, healing, or spiritual traditions, all over the globe.
Entheogens are used to drive forward different traditional practices meant to bring a person to a higher spiritual level. These include but are not limited to: meditation, yoga, healing, prayer, and divination. Psychedelics are one of the more popular forms of entheogens, but we’re not looking at all entheogens right now, and not all psychedelics qualify. What we’re specifically looking at is entheogenic plants, meaning this no longer includes synthetically made entheogens like LSD or MDMA.
The term ‘entheogen’ came about in 1979 by some ethnobotanists and mythology academics. It comes from the combination of two words from Ancient Greek: éntheos and genésthai. The former translates to “full of the god, inspired, possessed,” and is where we get the word ‘enthusiasm.’ While the latter translates to “to come into being.”
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Put together, and it translates to the idea of being inspired; whether for greater spiritual understanding, personal growth, or something else related. The word ‘entheogen’ is sometimes confused for the words ‘psychedelic’, and ‘hallucinogen’, but its not exactly either, though it can encompass drugs of those specifications.
The term ‘entheogen’ is not more specific than this, partly because its not an actual part of nomenclature. Rather, it’s a broad term that can be used in different ways. Since it implies any psychoactive substance used for spiritual purposes, or some kind of personal development; it refers to many different substances, and personal opinions on whats included, can vary.
Some publications list entheogenic plants as plants with psychedelic properties alone. Other publications look at in terms of drugs used specifically in rituals. Regardless of exactly how you want to break it down, an entheogen is a plant with psychoactive effects, that’s used in some kind of traditional practice of spirituality or healing.
As hallucinogenic substances (often lumped together under the heading ‘psychedelics’) gain popularity, we see this reflected in new legislative measures that have already passed in different locations; which have been proposed, but didn’t make their way through; or are currently in the system. Different locations define what they want to legalize or decriminalize differently, but more and more often, there’s a designation specifically for entheogenic plants.
Right now, Colorado stands as the best example for changing legislation regarding entheogenic plants. In the November 2022 elections, the people of Colorado voted on Proposition 122, which passed with 53.64% of the voting public saying yes, meaning 1,296,992votes. 46.36% of the voting public – 1,121,124 votes – didn’t want this change.
The bill is called the Decriminalization, Regulated Distribution, and Therapy Program for Certain Hallucinogenic Plants and Fungi Initiative. This new law defines certain plants containing psychoactive and entheogenic compounds, as natural medicines, including DMT, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, and psilocin. The measure does not mention the word entheogen, but that’s exactly what it’s talking about.
It decriminalizes the personal possession, use, transport, and cultivation of the plants with the compounds mentioned above, so long as the user is 21 or above. It also creates the Regulated Natural Medicine Access Programwhich is to be an industry of regulated healing centers where these compounds will be administered as natural medicines.
Incidentally, as a showing of how much Colorado is in support of hallucinogens, it passed HB 1344, which was signed into law June 8th of 2022. This first-of-its-kind law pre-emptively legalized the medical use of MDMA, but is contingent on the federal government passing a legalization measure first, before it becomes valid. MDMA, however, as a synthetic drug, is not considered an entheogenic plant.
Did Oregon legalize entheogenic plants?
Oregon became the very first state to legalize a previously illegal entheogenic plant, when it put Measure 109 before its people, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. 55.75% of voters were all for this change, while 44.25% of voters were a bit more hesitant. This measure was not as well defined as Colorado’s upon the vote, and it wasn’t until 2022 that some things became clear. Although one point that was clear at voting time, was that this only applied to magic mushrooms.
When draft rules finally came out, they stipulated that not only is it only magic mushrooms allowed, but limited it to only one species: Psilocybe cubensis. Colorado, much like Oregon, is looking to set up treatment centers where the drugs can be given as natural medicine. Only, it seems Colorado is more geared to doing this medicinally, and Oregon doesn’t make that stipulation. How much Colorado allows ‘spiritual’ and ‘medical’ to overlap, is hard to say at the moment.
Colorado decriminalized the use of these plants as well for adults. Oregon did likewise through a different ballot measure called Measure 110, which decriminalized the personal possession of controlled substances, bringing them down to a class E violation which comes with no more than $100 in fines. Between Oregon’s two measures, and Colorado’s one, they do provide similar overage, with Colorado going just a bit farther for what it will offer in treatment centers. In neither state was a full recreational legalization made.
Where else is there legislation for entheogenic plants?
Different individual locations within the US have passed decriminalization measures for different hallucinogenic substances. These vary between locations in exactly what they permit. One of the more recent additions was San Francisco. In September 2022 its Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution which doesn’t make a legal change, but which does instruct law enforcement to put possession and use of the included plants as the lowest priority for arrest. And it does specifically define them as entheogenic.
The resolution, called Supporting Entheogenic Plant Practices (resolution 220896), decriminalizes the “full spectrum of plants, fungi, and natural materials that can inspire personal and spiritual well-being.” It even stipulates that this covers “planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with” these plants. This decriminalization does nothing to limit punishment for drugs like LSD and MDMA.
Seattle did something similar in October 2022, also not making it fully legal, but passing a resolution which states “that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities and stating the Council’s support for full decriminalization of these activities.”
Detroit also went the way of specifically decriminalizing entheogenic plants. Voter measure Proposal E, which was voted in on November 2nd, 2021, asked the question: “Shall the voters of the City of Detroit adopt an ordinance to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority?” The city responded yes with 61.08% of the voting population onboard with this.
On a state level, Michigan attempted to legalize some hallucinogens, but the bill was defeated last spring. California also attempted a psychedelics legalization, but the bill tanked out as well. It has, however, come back, introducing Senate Bill 58 in December which would “decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs.” These include “psilocybin, psilocyn, Dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.”
Washington also had a failed bill to legalize psychedelics, and is also already back in the saddle with the “Psilocybin Services Wellness and Opportunity Act” which was introduced on January 11th, 2023. The bill aims to “facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable psilocybin service centers to provide citizens of Washington who are at least 21 years of age with opportunities for supported psilocybin experiences for wellness and personal growth.”
The term ‘entheogens’ includes many different substances. Many of these substances, particularly of the entheogenic plant variety, are now making their way to decriminalized or legal status; as hallucinogens in general rise in popularity.
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Laws are definitely good a lot of the time, because society would go a little crazy without them. But that doesn’t mean all laws are good, or that they make sense. That’s where loopholes come in. Sometimes the only good thing about a law, is the way to get around it. Such is the case with the mescaline loophole. Here’s what you need to know.
Mescaline isn’t known as the most popular psychedelic, but perhaps the mescaline loophole will increase popularity in time. This cannabis and psychedelics publication focuses on breaking news and ongoing stories in these new and burgeoning industries. We also put out theCannadelics Weekly Newsletter for readers to access updates on stories, as well as obtain product promotions for all kinds of stuff like vapes and other smoking paraphernalia, edibles, and cannabinoid compounds including the ever-popular Delta 8 & HHC. You can find more info in our ‘best of’ lists, so check them out, and please only purchase products you feel comfortable using.
With all the talk on psychedelics recently, magic mushrooms, DMT, and LSD have sure gotten a lot of attention, along with dissociatives like ketamine. One of the classic psychedelics that gets slightly less attention, is mescaline. However, of all the classic psychedelics, mescaline is the only one that comes with a handy little loophole in the form of the San Pedro and Peruvian Torch cacti.
Mescaline (3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a psychedelic compound that occurs naturally, like psilocybin from magic mushrooms and DMT. This is unlike MDMA and LSD which are only made in a lab. It’s most well-known association is with the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), although it’s also found in the Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana), San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), and in the Cactaceae plant and Fabaceae bean families. It belongs to the phenethylamine class of drugs, and like the rest of the classic psychedelics, it exerts its biggest effect on serotonin receptors.
Mescaline produces a number of effects, including intense hallucinogens, with both open and closed-eye visuals; distortion in time, sound and vision; an increase in introspective and conceptual thinking; the loss of ego; and feelings of euphoria. It’s often considered gentler than other psychedelics with less negative come-down, while possibly producing greater insight than these other compounds. It’s the subject of a growing body of research for its potential medical properties.
Users should be aware that psychedelics can produce anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and psychosis in some users, though only temporarily. Mescaline, like the other psychedelics, has never shown to be an addictive or toxic substance. It’s lesser popularity in the world of psychedelics is probably related to its long growing time, and greater cost of production. Much of the time its bought off the street, its not real mescaline, but a synthetic derivative like 2C-B.
Peyote has a rich history, particularly in MesoAmerica, going back as far as 5,700 years. Mescaline cacti are generally found as far north as the south of North America, and throughout Central and parts of South America. It’s been used for spiritual and religious purposes in different native communities through this time, and still today.
In terms of more recent history, its entrance to Western science came in 1897, when German chemist Arthur Heffter first isolated the compound from the Peyote plant. In 1919 it was synthesized for the first time by Ernst Späth. It was Aldous Huxley’s 1954 essay entitled “The Doors of Perception” that helped mescaline gain prominence in the mid-1900’s.
How the mescaline loophole works
The mescaline loophole is similar to the two magic mushroom loopholes. The first magic mushroom loophole concerns the seeds. As the seeds contain no psychoactive components, they are usually legal to buy and sell, though growing the mushrooms is illegal. The second mushroom’s loophole relates to how mushrooms themselves were never scheduled by the Convention on psychotropic substances in 1971, though their components psilocybin and psilocin were. The loophole is that the plant itself it legal in many places outside the US, while what’s in it, is not.
This is similar to how it works with the mescaline loophole. Mescaline itself is a Schedule I compound on the Controlled Substances list. The plant Peyote also resides on that list specifically. But the San Pedro cactus does not, and neither does the Peruvian Torch cactus, or any other mescaline-producing plant. Much like magic mushroom seeds, its perfectly legal to buy, sell, and grow these cacti, but it’s technically not legal to harvest them for mescaline. This is the same with mushroom seeds, and mushrooms themselves where the loophole applies. The seeds can be sold and purchased, but you’re not supposed to grow the mushrooms.
As Peyote is the only specifically-listed mescaline containing plant on the Controlled Substances list, this mescaline loophole applies to any other plant that produces mescaline. According to the US government, these cacti are legal for religious purposes across the board (possession, sale, and transport), and are legal for cultivation without rules.
In terms of Peyote, its not even completely illegal like other Schedule I substances. As of 1994’s American Indian Religious Freedom Act amendments, harvest, possession, consumption and cultivation of peyote are protected for religious ceremonies. Though the Act was originally made only for Native American use when instituted in 1978, this was expanded in 1991 to include anyone using Peyote for religious purposes, through the US vs Boyll ruling. As of right now, Idaho and Texas are the only states that bar the religious use of Peyote by non-native-American, non-enrolled people.
Does this make sense?
No, not really. But a lot of laws don’t make sense. In this case, the loophole is in favor of the people. Such loopholes happen quite a bit in the world of drugs, where laws don’t always match up. The magic mushroom loopholes are a couple of examples, but there are still more.
Consider that in some places like Thailand cannabis with THC levels over .2% is decriminalized, but not legal. Yet growing hemp is perfectly legal, making for the industrial hemp loophole. Not only is it not illegal in a place like Thailand to grow hemp, but it’s actually encouraged for the general population to do so. So much so that the government handed out one million free cannabis plants to residents upon instituting the decriminalization policy. This same concept is seen elsewhere in places like Slovenia, Argentina, and Iran.
Sometimes a loophole isn’t even a real loophole, but still acts that way. Like delta-8 THC. The compound undergoes synthetic processing for creation, meaning it doesn’t fall under the definition of hemp, and is technically illegal, even if its sourced from hemp. However, it also falls into the no-one-will-do-anything-about-it loophole. The US fought such losing wars on drugs (and still is) that to go after any compound (natural or synthetic) related to a drug on the cusp of federal legalization, is so non-financially viable, and so unwanted, that it would only lead to negative consequences for the government. And so there is essentially no legal reaction to the industry.
Even delta-9 falls into that same loophole, when its made from CBD derived from hemp. Sure, it undergoes processing that no longer qualifies it as ‘hemp’, but at a time when half the country already lives in places where high-THC cannabis is legal, going after it, isn’t going to happen. Or at least, it hasn’t yet.
Ketamine is another fantastic loophole example. While it was never approved for use with pain or psychological disorders, it is approved as an anesthetic. In the US, doctors are allowed to prescribe any approved medication for any use they see fit. This has spawned a large gray-market ketamine industry whereby the ketamine is prescribed by a doctor at a clinic, and treatment is given for unapproved purposes.
The world of loopholes is an interesting place, though sometimes it can work against the general population. Take Malta, for example. Malta recently legalized cannabis, becoming the first EU country to do so, but prior to this, it operated off a strange loophole. That loophole came about because Malta legalized home-growing for personal use, but only one plant, without any specification for weight or size. Which means if a person had two plants the same size as one, even for medical use, it no longer fell under the personal use allowance, making it illegal. A person could have three plants that equaled less weight than one big plant, and the same would’ve still applied.
How did this happen?
The US sure likes to illegalize drugs, right? So, how did it allow such a loophole to happen? Probably for the same reason as yet another loophole, the amanita mushroom loophole. Amanita mushrooms are considered ‘poisonous mushrooms’ and not ‘psychedelic mushrooms’ based on a different mode of action that centers around GABA rather than serotonin. They haven’t shown to be deadly, and are simply another form of hallucinogenic mushroom. Unlike their psilocybin counterparts, they were never illegalized.
In both the case of amanita mushrooms, and mescaline-producing plants like San Pedro, they’re less commonly found and used in the US. Amanita mushrooms are found mainly in places like Siberia, whereas some mescaline plants are found more in Latin America. Mescaline also comes with the detraction of a much longer production time, making it less popular than other drugs. When drug laws were made, these compounds/plants either never came up, or were passed-over since they weren’t popular enough in the US at the time. As Peyote showed up more often, it was made illegal, while its less common counterparts, were not.
This does make sense. Countries don’t tend to make laws for things they don’t deal with. The US thought it was outlawing mescaline by making it and Peyote illegal, and it didn’t consider the lesser-known mescaline-producing plants. Just like, it left out amanita mushrooms, because they weren’t known about by anyone in the US at that time. As plant-based hallucinogens grow in popularity and acceptance, it makes it harder for the US to come in now and change things, meaning these loopholes will likely remain until they’re replaced by legalizations.
It’s not my job to tell anyone what to do or not to do. As mescaline is illegal, I’m definitely not telling anyone they should go out and find a San Pedro or Peruvian Torch cactus. And I’m unquestionably not telling anyone that just because they found one, they should tend to it and grow it. And I’m 100% certainly not telling anyone to take that tended-to plant, and then extract the mescaline from it. And I most assuredly am not telling anyone to take that extracted mescaline, and use it. But…for anyone looking for the experience, its sure nice to know that such a mescaline loophole, does, in fact, exist.
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There’s something embedded in our brains from a time before, something instinctual, that urges us to collect. We can likely trace this all the way back to hominids, who would collect fruit or seeds and hide them for a hungry day. As time has continued and we have evolved into homosapiens, the things we save have vastly expanded from just seeds hidden in the hole of a tree.
Along that path of evolving (about 16,000 years ago) we started domesticating things. Domestication in short is the act of collecting similar plants or animals, then breeding them to present the desired characteristics of the collective into one. Some of the first things we domesticated were dogs, goats, wheat, and barley. Flash forward to the present, the need to domesticate has waned, but that desire to collect has flourished. Most people today collect something. From computer files, literature, images, plants, glass, or art, it could be as innocuous as a jar of rocks, or maybe it’s as in your face as a greenhouse full of different varieties of one type of plant.
My Own Experience
I have always had an infatuation with plants, I remember as a kid planting and growing birdseed, just to see what would grow. After high school I went to culinary school in Northern California, and this was my first real introduction to foods produced on a small farm. I grew up in Southern California, so the thought of a commercial farm that grew fruits and veggies you won’t find in stores was a foreign concept, but one I welcomed. This inspired me to try and grow all those cool things that I had never known about. As someone that partakes in cannabis, you know I had to grow some of that as well.
About eight years ago a friend of a friend was moving and couldn’t take a cacti graft with him. Knowing that I had both Peruvian and Bolivian torch, he asked me if I wanted it. I obliged, and I received a pot with a San Pedro root base and a round cacti slightly larger than a golf ball with a little one coming out the side attached to that. It lived on my porch for about a year while the main graft got bigger, and so did the little guy on the side. One day I went to the Orange hardware store, and they had a row of San Pedro in a variety of sizes, and I knew what I needed to do. Later that day I tried my first graft. With the help of a search engine I found some basic videos and gave it a shot. Low and behold, it worked. Every time a new one was big enough, it got grafted. Eventually I traded grafts, and the variety grew. Unconventional grafts are a favorite lately. (An unconventional graft is one that has multiple cacti grafted to one rootstock.)
Plants are a special thing to collect, as they’re not just items – they’re silent living beings, something not for everyone.
I am not throwing shade here, today it takes different strokes to move the world. About a hundred years ago almost everyone had to interact with plants or animals, because that was your food. In today’s day and age you can be a computer programmer that only drinks meal replacements. This person might go years without interacting with, or consuming, an unprocessed plant, and that’s fine… I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for everyone to have a relationship with plants. Just as I’ll bet that the programmer mentioned above would love for everyone to have a relationship with programming.
But I feel plants truly reciprocate the energy you give them. Now when I say energy I mean any amount of care that you give them; watering, fertigating, culling. That’s energy you’re giving – or spending – on these living things. What you receive in return are larger, more robust plants, some with flowers, and almost always bearing some sort of bounty, be it fruit, roots, or seeds.
Cacti are en Vogue
Everyone that’s into plants has different plants that interest them for different reasons. Lately cacti have been gaining popularity, especially in the cannabis culture, as people like lotcomedy and Hamilton Morris are influential, and regularly sharing information about their plant addictions. While this is helping to popularize this ‘hobby’ with the next generation, the act itself is an age old practice.
Outside of succulents, Dragonfruit is one of the most popular of the cacti. Native to Central America and some surrounding areas, it was introduced to Vietnam in the 1800’s by the French. It’s easy to grow, develops fast, and the blooms are always large and vibrant. Obviously, the fruit is amazing, which is why the cacti bears the fruit’s name.
A close second is the Trichocereus cacti. They have a similar bloom to the Dragonfruit, but the Alkaloids they contain make them valuable to the shamanic world. To be clear, it is completely legal to grow any type of trichocereus. The line in the sand of legality is when you harvest and process it to consume. For about 8,000 years shamans in South America have processed a piece of San Pedro or Peruvian Torch into a tea to extract the mescaline. This tea is given to a group of people with ailments from depression to alcoholism, under the supervision of the shaman.
The Most Infamous Cacti
There’s one specific spineless cacti that is just too neat to consume that has really made a resurgence, as a houseplant. It’s name rhymes with keyote, and I’m sure you could figure it out. It’s a slow, deliberate plant that is never in a rush. One that almost forces you to slow down with them. Interestingly, it’s regarded the same as cannabis in the eyes of federal law (it’s a Schedule 1), but for some people, that’s part of the allure and fun. One of the coolest parts of this particular cacti is that the flower’s stamen moves when touched. It’s a reaction called thigmonasty and it only happens in a few plants. These cacti are getting so popular they have been seen for sale at farmers markets and in sponsored advertisements on platforms like Instagram. They look very similar to Astrophytum (a fully legal cacti), however you want to play that to your advantage.
The Joy of Plants
One thing that really does it for me is that blooms are always fleeting. You can’t pick them, nor do they last a week like they do with Dahlias. Each variety of cacti has different blooms, and they vary widely. Some are pure white and the size of a dime, others are a vibrant fuchsia, and the size of a funnel. A few only open at night.
The economic adage “a rising tide lifts all boats” somewhat applies here. I have watched this play out multiple ways. Usually you get a plant you think is neat, but then you see a variegation (variation of color), or a crested (abnormal growth) graft. Maybe it’s a rare type, or wild. You say to yourself “I need one of those.” Since you are already caring for one, what’s a few more? Some people, like me, end up getting more than a few.
Just like any living thing, it isn’t rainbows and unicorns all the time. Cacti get sick, and they die too. However, if you “listen to the plants,” like lotcomedy has coined, and have access to a search engine, you can troubleshoot most issues.
In the end, we need the oxygen plants produce, and they need the CO2 we exhaust. We eat plants, and the animals we consume eat plants, but they also absolutely consume our decomposed matter, so who is really farming who here? It’s a chicken or the egg paradox, but maybe they’re really farming us.
The world of psychedelics is a huge place, and we’ve only investigated a portion of it. One of the main and most intense psychedelics from nature is the compound mescaline. While DMT, (and its derivatives magic mushrooms and bufotoxins), has gained prominence in this new psychedelic awakening, we’ve not heard as much about this other compound yet. However, it looks like it too can do some good for humanity. According to a 2021 mescaline study, this compound reportedly helps with psychiatric improvements and for making positive life changes.
Recent mescaline study highlights how the drug helps to improve the lives of those who use it. We’ll probably hear way more about it in the future. This news publication offers independent reporting on the growing cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Keep up with everything by signing up forThe Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and get yourself in first place for all new product promotions.
What is mescaline?
Mescaline (3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound, unlike drugs like LSD and MDMA which are made in a lab. Mescaline joins other natural components like DMT, psilocybin mushrooms (also a form of DMT), and Salvia divinorum. It’s found in nature in the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), the Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana), San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), and in the Cactaceae plant and Fabaceae bean families. It’s of the phenethylamine class of drugs, and like LSD and mushrooms, is serotonergic in how it works in the human brain.
Peyote has been used for ritualistic activities as far back as 5,700 years. Mescaline containing plants are found mainly in the South of North America and below, so mescaline use in history was done mostly by Native Americans in Mexico, and throughout South America.
In terms of modern use, mescaline was isolated from a peyote plant in 1897 by German chemist Arthur Heffter, and first synthesized by Ernst Späth in 1919. It was one of the first drugs used by the likes of Aldous Huxley, who went on to describe it as “The Doors of Perception” in a 1954 essay.
The drug produces a number of subjective effects, like hallucinogens, including both open and closed-eye visuals; distortion in time, vision and sound; introspective and conceptual thinking; ego loss; and euphoria. It’s actually considered more gentle, and more insight-producing, than other psychedelics
Much like other psychedelics, bad trips are experienced by some users, and this can include anxiety, paranoia, delusions, and psychosis. However, bad trips aside, mescaline has never shown to be addictive or physiologically toxic. It’s not as common as other drugs because of the time to grow it and the cost of production. Often the term ‘mescaline’ or ‘synthetic mescaline’ simply denotes other non-mescaline compounds, or derivatives like 2C-B.
The mescaline study
In 2021, the studyNaturalistic Use of Mescaline Is Associated with Self-Reported Psychiatric Improvements and Enduring Positive Life Changes, was published. The purpose of the study was to measure mescaline’s psychotherapeutic potential. This was done through the administration of a questionnaire to adults who had reported mescaline use. The survey was anonymous, and there were 452 respondents, all of whom reported using mescaline in natural settings.
The survey covered questions about any benefits in mental health that respondents thought were attributable to mescaline. Study investigators assessed self-rated differences in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol and drug use disorders.
Researchers found that of the subjects who reported histories of these conditions, 68-86% described improvements in their own opinion following a more memorable experience with the drug. Researchers also found that those who reported such improvements, also reported trips which were more likely to have “mystical-type, psychological insight, and ego dissolution effects”, more so than their counterparts who did not report psychiatric improvement.
Subjects often rated a mescaline experience as one of the top five experiences in their lives, in fact 35-50% did. It was also found that when there were more intense experiences of insight during a trip, that there was an increased rate of reporting on improvement in depression, anxiety, and drug use disorder symptoms, in the study.
The authors concluded, “Additional research is needed to corroborate these preliminary findings and to rigorously examine the efficacy of mescaline for psychiatric treatment in controlled, longitudinal clinical trials.”
More research coming…
It’s not shocking that research efforts are increasing around mescaline, as its yet another untapped drug source that looks to provide benefits for consumers; especially those of a psychological nature. The company MindMed, publicly traded under (Nasdaq: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ), announced last year that it had been approved by a local Swiss ethics committee to begin trials for a mescaline study. The purpose of the study is to evaluate “the acute effects of different doses of mescaline and the role of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor in mescaline-induced altered states of consciousness.”
The location for trials is the University Hospital Basel Liechti Lab, in Basel, Switzerland, and the study was slated to begin already a year ago, so its underway now. The investigation will look at subjective effects of the drug at different doses with the use of modern psychometric measurements. This, as well as exploring how the 5-HT2A receptor reacts in mescaline-induced states of consciousness, by using a 5-HT2A receptor blocker called ketanserin before high doses are given.
The study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, which contains six separate dosing possibilities. Everything is randomized so neither subjects nor researchers know which exact medication (or placebo), each participant gets.
MindMed President Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli put it this way: “At present there are no modern studies that we are aware of using validated psychometric outcome measures that directly compare different doses of mescaline. With our rigorous clinical trial, we aim to characterize the subjective effects of different doses of mescaline and provide a description of the acute mescaline effects to help clarify the involvement of the 5-HT2A receptor in mescaline-induced altered states of consciousness in healthy people.”
She continued, “We believe the drug will have a powerful effect on enhancing the communication between different parts of the brain in unique ways that are otherwise inaccessible to the conscious mind. As we move forward, further studies on patient populations will be targeted to help us distinguish the relationship between the drug-induced experience and its integration into the psychotherapeutic process.”
She concluded, “The hope is that this will then allow a better understanding of the behavioral changes and the unique effect of these powerful drugs on neuroplasticity.”
Mindmed for its part is a Swiss biotech company that is already knee-deep in psychedelic research. The company is currently investigating how LSD and MDMA can work together, and developed MM-110, a synthetic version of the natural compound ibogaine.
Cacti like peyote and San Pedro are popular mescaline plants, but they’re not as easy as eating a mushroom, or smoking weed. They involve a lot more time and work. The growing process for peyote, for example, is not short, and can take over 10 years for the plant to reach maturity, highlighting why other plant compounds are more popular. In traditional cultures, when dealing with peyote, the top of the plant is cut down to ground level, leaving just large tap roots, which then grow new heads. The heads are the important part, and after they’re cut off, they’re dried into disc-shaped buttons that the user can chew. Alternately, the heads are soaked in water, which the user can drink.
The more modern process is to grind the head into a powder which is put in capsules. This is preferable to some since peyote has a bitter taste which makes it difficult to get the plant down directly. The average mescaline head button has about 25mg of mescaline and is 76mm (3″) in length. Humans generally consume between 200-400mg of mescaline sulfate, or 178-356mg of mescaline hydrochloride
What’s the difference between mescaline sulfate and mescaline hydrochloride? They’re both mescaline salts, but which you end up with depends on the extraction technique used. For basic instructions on extraction processes, look here.
10 years ago no one was talking about CBD vs THC, or any of the other cannabinoids that came into prominence in the last few years. But we sure talk about them now. The same is with psychedelics like mescaline. It might not be the most talked about drug at the moment, but as the psychedelics industry expands, there’s no doubt that in a few years from now, it’ll be the next big thing.
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On April 19, 1943, a Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman decided to take a trip unlike any other. Bicycle Day Genesis Albert Hoffman, a chemist working in Switzerland, ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. He was so disoriented by the effects that in order to get home, he rode his bicycle and experienced one of the most […]
There’s something about those vast desert landscapes – overflowing with emptiness, hostility, and a unique style of beauty – that seem to trigger deep and introspective spiritual experiences in many of us.
It’s a fact that since ancient times, humans have gravitated toward the artistic and transcendental nature of the desert. This phenomenon can be noted throughout different periods of time, from desert theology in the Old Testament, to Jim Morrison’s “lizard king” adventures in New Mexico, to the droves of artists and free thinkers currently flocking to the Mojave. If there’s one thing that can be said about desert landscapes, it’s that they are truly magical – in their own rugged, untamable, and dangerous type of way.
All that magic, wonder, and spiritual freedom also leads to curiosity and, more often than not, an urge to become more connected to the surrounding environment. Where can I go to be even more alone? What else is out there? What kind of plants can get me high and boost my meditative experience? All valid questions, but let’s focus on that last one.
Most deserts have some type of hallucinogenic plant, but not all psychedelics are created equal. For example, in my neck of the woods (Joshua Tree) you’ll find Jimson Weed everywhere, a beautiful white flower which can certainly get you high… but it’s usually a bad trip that ends with illness and sometimes even death. No fun. Now, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Chihuahuan desert a bit further east, you’ll find a small cactus that doesn’t look like much but is world renowned for the emotional, spiritual, and physical experience it can provide – Peyote.
Peyote, or Lophophora williamsii, is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, the main one of interesting being mescaline. Peyote is a Spanish word derived from the Nahuatl peyōtl meaning “caterpillar cocoon”. It’s native to Mexico and southwestern Texas, and some parts of southeastern New Mexico. It is found primarily in the Chihuahuan desert and Sierra Marde occidental regions.
The Peyote cactus grows among thorny shrubs in the high regions, mainly between 330 and 4,920 ft, although in some rare circumstances, it has been found at elevations as high as 6,200 feet. It’s a very hardy plant that can grow in many different types of increment weather conditions, mainly, it just needs that dry desert air. It’s common to find it growing on or near limestone hills.
Peyotes are small, round, and somewhat flat, earthy green in color with tiny pink flowers at certain times of the year. It looks very similar to a green gourd with little flowers. The flowers bloom throughout spring and early summer, mostly from March to May, but can continue into September if conditions are ideal.
French botanist Charles Antoine Lemaire first identified the species as Echinocactus williamsii in 1845. A few decades later, it was recategorized in the newly established genus Lophophora by American botanist John Merle Coulter in 1894.
More about mescaline
Mescaline is a naturally occurring, plant-based psychedelic protoalkaloid belonging to the phenethylmine class. It’s known for its powerful hallucinogenic properties, comparable to those of LSD and psilocybin. In addition to Peyote, mescaline can be synthesized from a few other cactus species as well such as the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), the Peruvian torch (Echinopsis peruviana), and others.
A common dose for peyote is roughly 200 to 400 mg, depending on the person’s size, level of experience with the plant, and other factors. This translates to about 10 to 20 grams of dried peyote buttons, although potency can vary considerably between plants. The effects of mescaline last about 10 to 12 hours and can trigger very rich visual and auditory hallucinations.
Mescaline binds to virtually all serotonin receptors in the brain but has a stronger affinity for the 1A and 2A/B/C receptors. It’s structurally similar to LSD and often used as a benchmark when comparing psychedelics. Proper brain function is dependent on accurate signaling between these receptors.
Spiritual and cultural history
Cacti containing mescaline have a long history of use in Central and South America. Peyote, specifically, has been documented use dating back about 5,700 years, but it was likely being utilized way before then. Many Native American religious ceremonies included the use of peyote, and this was first noted by European settlers in the 1500s.
Although peyote use was widespread at the time, misguided Spanish conquistadors, banned the act in most regions. Yes, they went to a country that was not theirs and prohibited acts they knew nothing about. That said, religious persecution confined peyote usage to a few select areas near the Pacific coast and up to southwest Texas.
However, by the 1800s, peyote use began to spread away from those area, north into Central America. This was credited to a “new kind of peyote ceremony” initiated by the Kiowa and Comanche people. In 1920, these religious practices were written into United States under laws established to protect the beliefs and rituals of the Native American Church.
It has since spread throughout the United States and as far north as Saskatchewan, Canada. To this day, peyote is LEGALLY used in religious tribal ceremonies. Although it is federally prohibited for most U.S. citizen, there are exceptions in place for members of the Native American Church.
In traditional peyote preparations, the top of the cactus is cut off, leaving the large tap root along with a small, green photosynthesizing area where new heads can grow. These heads are then dried to make disc-shaped buttons. The buttons are chewed or soaked in water to make a beverage. Peyote is extremely bitter though, so, more contemporary users will usually grind the dried buttons into a powder and pour into capsules to consume.
What does the science say about Peyote?
In various indigenous cultures, peyote is used medicinally as well. For example, it has been used to treat various ailments and illnesses including snake bits, diabetes, skin conditions, general pain, hormonal issues, viruses, and even blindness. Aside from mescaline, peyote also contains an alkaloid called peyocactin, or hordenine as it’s more commonly referred to. In numerous studies, hordenine has been shown to assist with athletic performance and weight loss.
Peyote’s powerful effects on the serotonin system makes it a promising option for treating depression, PTSD, addiction, and other mental health disorders. In fact, research indicates that mescaline can increase blood flow and activity in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain regulates our ability to make plans, solve problems, control our emotions, and monitor our behavior. Low activity and poor circulation in this brain region has been linked to depression, anxiety, and subsequently, addiction and other disorders. All problems that psychedelics, including mescaline, have been used to alleviate.
Furthermore, following a peyote high, many users experience something known as the “afterglow”, that can last up to 6 weeks after a trip. During the afterglow period, users report feeling happier, less anxiety, more empathic, less prone to cravings, and more open to communication. These afterglow effects can increase the efficiency of therapy sessions while allowing the patient/user to feel some clarity and peace. Despite all being anecdotal, this information does have some obvious implications for future psychiatric treatment options to relieve depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
When it comes to side effects, especially long term, the research is extremely limited. It’s is considered a generally safe substance (depending on who you ask), and a lethal dose has not yet been identified. Meaning, there are no documented deaths from a peyote overdose.
Some studies have found a correlation between certain mental health problems and bad trips, although that is subjective as a bad trip can be triggered by many different external factors. However, in a 2005 study of Native American ceremonial use, there were no indications of any negative, long term health effects from regular peyote use. According to the research, “peyote appears to present little risk of flashbacks, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).”
What to expect
Should you decide to try peyote for yourself, you can expect to start feeling the effects coming on in about 30 minutes. Typically, you will experience some mild physical discomfort such as sweating or feeling bloated, but that subsides pretty quickly, eventually giving way to feelings of calm, peace, and acceptance.
You will peak, or feel the maximum psychoactive effects, at around two to four hours into your trip. Many people describe it as mystical, transcendental, profound, and eye-opening. They feel deeply connected to themselves, their thoughts, and the world around them. Visual distortions are also common – colors can seem more vibrant, patterns can looks like they’re moving, and you might see walls or other inanimate objects that appear to be breathing. Some believe they’re seeing the actual energy or lifeforce in everything around them.
Bad trips, or negative highs, are also a possibility, but they’re more likely to occur when a user overlooks the importance of setting the stage before they get high. It’s important to make sure you’re somewhere safe with people who you feel comfortable around. Any anxieties about your immediate environment have the tendency to result in a bad trip.
If you’re looking for a natural, therapeutic hallucinogen that is deeply rooted in Native American shamanic culture, look no further than the peyote cactus. It’s a powerful psychedelic, endemic to the Chihuahuan desert, that is still used in religious ceremonies to this day.