Can You Smoke Peyote Cactus? (Mescaline Cacti Smoking/Vaporizing)

Can You Smoke Peyote Cactus?

Smoking or vaporizing dried cactus material. An occasionally discussed topic, which usually turns out to be of little use. This “as good as nothing” has always interested me, because where something like this is traditionally used, the opposite is claimed.

The main active chemical in Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is mescaline, a psychedelic drug known for its effects that cause sensory and cognitive distortions, euphoria and hallucinations. The drug was first discovered in 1897 by Arthur Heffter and has since been used for medicinal purposes as well as recreational use. These days it’s most commonly found in pills or capsules under the name of Mescaline Hydrochloride, but it was traditionally ingested by either chewing the buttons on top of the plant or brewing them into a tea.

In the Native American Church (NAC), Peyote is used during ceremonies to produce feelings of ecstasy, transcendental awareness, and connection to ancestors, deities, and nature while reducing anxiety, fear, and depression. It’s also used as an analgesic in rituals involving physical pain such as those endured during childbirth or menstruation. Recent studies have shown that Peyote is effective at reducing chronic pain and helping people to stop using alcohol

So one evening I vaporized the two little heads, at 180 degrees, not much steam came out when exhaling, actually not at all, but it tasted potatoy and a bit earthy/moty (like mushrooms) and very slightly metallic.

 Somehow I felt like I was on some kind of coke and at the same time like a monster/animal version of myself. Peaceful but also powerful. That was cool. At first, it was impossible to sleep. Except for a very clear view, and quite bright colors not much happened visually. Think that was the peak. In the late afternoon, I was able to sleep.

The days after, the colors were brighter than usual and I always felt a bit stoned, especially after meals. But that’s always the case with cactus for me. Didn’t think it was the same with vaping/smoking though. Now I know it. 

All About Mescaline Cacti

Cacti species that produce and contain the hallucinogenic substance mescaline are known as mescaline cacti. Through various ethnographic works, the mescaline cacti Peyote and San Pedro have become well-known around the world as both intoxicating and ritual plants as well as medicinal plants. However, it would be obvious that one was making a serious mistake if they attempted to manage the mescaline cactus in the presence of these two species. There are many other cactus plants that contain mescaline in addition to the two well-known specimens. And occasionally in great amounts.

Which Cacti Contain Mescaline?

There are currently 16 genera of cacti, some of which contain mescaline-producing species. The plants are listed with their current scientific names in the overview that follows. Recently, certain cacti had various names. Because many cacti are still sold by their current names and are frequently featured in botanical gardens, we have included the historical names for these species. You always have a useful resource available with this overview.

 The mescaline cacti at a glance


Aztekium ritteri
Cereus jamacaru
Echinopsis lageniformis Trichocereus bridgesii
Echinopsis peruviana Trichocereus peruvianus
Echinopsis pachanoi Trichocereus pachanoi
Echinopsis cuzcoensis Trichocereus cuzcoensis
Echinopsis deserticola Trichocereus fulvilanus
Echinopsis macrogona Trichocereus macrogonus
Echinopsis spachiana Trichocereus spachianus
Echinopsis strigosa Trichocereus strigosus
Echinopsis tacaquirensis subsp. taquimbalensis
Echinopsis terscheckii Trichocereus terscheckii
Echinopsis valida Trichocereus validus
Echinopsis werdermanniana Trichocereus werdermannianus
Eriosyce islayensis Islaya minor
Gymnocalycium calochlorum
Gymnocalycium comarapense
Gymnocalycium gibbosum

Gymnocalycium horridispinum
Gymnocalycium netrelianum
Gymnocalycium riograndense
Gymnocalycium striglianum
Gymnocalycium uebelmannianum
Gymnocalycium valnicekianum

Lophophora diffusa
Myrzan geometrictus
Opuntia acanthocarpa
Opuntia cylindria
Opuntia basilaris
Opuntia echinocarpa
Opuntia ficus-indica
Opuntia imbricata
Opuntia spinosior
Pachycereus gaumeri Pterocereus gaumeri
Pelecyphora aselliformis
Pereskia corrugata
Pereskia tampicana
Pereskiopsis scandens
Polaskia chende
Stenocereus beneckei
Stenocereus eruca Machaerocereus eruca
Stenocereus stellatus Steno Turcereus
Stetsonia pseudo Turbinicarpus
macrocarpus lophobinipectina

Gymnocalycium vatteri
Lophophora williamsii

Cacti That May Contain Mescaline

Matucana madisoniorum is another species of cactus that may contain mescaline but has not yet been chemically studied. 

The most well-known are definitely Lophophora williamsii, also called Peyote, Peyotl, Pellote, Híkuli, Hikuri, Mescalito, Schnapskopf, and drug cactus, and Echinopsis pachanoi, known as San Pedro, which until recently was still called Trichocereus pachanoi and popularly also called Símora, Aguacolla, Kachum, etc.


Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a small, spineless cactus native to the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. The peyote cactus is found in the desert regions of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico.

In prehistoric times, peyote was used ritually in the American Southwest. The oldest finds of peyote buttons date back to 6000 BC. In North America, peyote has been used for religious and medicinal purposes by indigenous people. The most important users are the Huichol or Wixárika (Wirrarika) Indians and members of the Native American Church.

The cultural importance of this cactus cannot be overestimated. Peyote is considered a remedy plant, intoxicating plant, shamanic plant, plant teacher, cultural pacesetter and much more.

 Peyote contains approximately 60 different alkaloids, namely beta-phenethylamines. Chief among these is the entheogenic psychedelic 3,4,5-trimethoxy-beta-phenethylamine, better known by its name mescaline.

Dinis-Oliveira RJ, Pereira CL, da Silva DD. Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Aspects of Peyote and Mescaline: Clinical and Forensic Repercussions. Curr Mol Pharmacol. 2019;12(3):184-194. doi: 10.2174/1874467211666181010154139. PMID: 30318013; PMCID: PMC6864602.

Dangers and Risks?

Basically, not much can happen when dealing with mescaline cacti. In the worst case, you stab yourself with a thorn or get caught by the police. There are not many significant dangers inherent in dealing with cacti. Just three:

1. Mescaline overdose
A person who takes a large amount of mescaline at once is more likely to vomit, which reduces the amount of mescaline absorbed by their body. Those who take a smaller dose are less likely to vomit and so may absorb more of it into their system.

Because it is so difficult to overdose on peyote, it is rare for individuals to die from a mescaline overdose. However, in very rare cases, severe toxicity or negative physical effects can occur.

In some cases, death has occurred as a result of consuming large amounts of peyote over an extended period of time or mixing peyote with other substances such as alcohol or opiates. An individual’s reaction to mescaline depends on the dose and tolerance for the drug.

2. Confusion with other plants
Inexperienced psychonauts may mistake mescaline cactus for members of the milkweed family of plants. Peyote in particular is readily mistaken for the toxic Euphorbia obesa, for instance. If you consume it, the fun is over. The best bodyguards are therefore those who have experience, knowledge, and situational awareness.

3. Psychosis / Bad Trip
Mescaline, like all psychedelics, can, of course, cause a poor trip or awaken a dormant psychosis. The emergency physician will give a benzodiazepine like Valium, Dormicum, or Tavor if psychosis develops suddenly. A psychedelic excursion is typically over with these medications within minutes. When on a difficult journey, the user needs to be comforted by friends, given water and fresh air, and talked down.

What About the Law?

The chemical mescaline is basically prohibited everywhere. However, laws governing the mescaline-containing cacti vary from nation to nation.

Lophophora williamsii (peyote) and Echninopsis pachanoi (San Pedro), for instance, have been covered by the Narcotics Act in Switzerland since 2002, although mescaline cacti are only considered illegal in Germany if they are “designed to be misused as narcotics,” as the law’s wording specifies.

The mescaline cactus can be exchanged, owned, grown, and passed on legally in Holland.

Since 1995, it has been legal for Native American Church members to perform rituals using the psychoactive peyote plant, its buttons, or a powder made from the buttons.


What Do You Need to Know About the Peyote Cactus?

The peyote cactus is a small plant native to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and northeastern Mexico. It contains many psychoactive chemicals, mainly mescaline, which is used in religious ceremonies to increase awareness and induce a mental and physical high. Growing peyote is a laborious process, requiring extensive knowledge about when to water it, soil type, and temperature, but if you’re careful about nurturing it, you can reap the rewards.

Peyote has several compounds that are psychoactive, including mescaline, which can cause euphoria, psychedelic effects similar to LSD, perceptual changes, altered thinking processes, mood swings, and altered time perception.  The effects can last up to 12 hours after ingestion. 

With peyote, a 20 to 500 milligram dose usually leads to hallucinations which can take up to 3 hours to reach their peak and can last up to 12 hours after ingesting the drug. As with any hallucinogen, the use or “trip” may vary from time to time and for each person.

Peyote (Mescaline)

Is the Peyote Plant a Medicine for the Body?

Among peyote connoisseurs, it is also known as a remedy for body and soul. Let’s take a look at the history of peyote in the lives of indigenous peoples and how this sacred succulent has changed the perception of Westerners who have studied peyote, used it and listened to the knowledge it has to teach.

The history of peyote is closely tied to that of psilocybin mushrooms, but as a plant, peyote has been used for hundreds of years by indigenous peoples in North America. The Aztecs had been using peyote for ceremonial purposes before the Spanish came to conquer them in the 16 th century. In fact, Spanish missionaries found evidence that the Aztecs had been using this plant since they first arrived in Mesoamerica—they even named it peyotl after one of their own deities.

Is the Use of Cactus Crown Peyote Illegal?

The crown parts of the cactus can be chewed or soaked in water to make a tea. It is illegal to possess peyote in the U.S., although possession for use in religious ceremonies is permitted by law if the church has been granted an exemption by the federal government. Peyote can be used in Indian church religious ceremonies.

The crowns of the cactus are cut from the roots and chewed to extract the psychoactive mescaline. The bitter taste can be covered with honey or chocolate syrup or juice. The crowns are also soaked in water to make a tea.

Peyote contains up to 53 different alkaloids, including mescaline, which causes hallucinations. Some people who use peyote experience nausea, vomiting, muscle twitches, sweating, and loss of appetite. Effects usually occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating peyote and last approximately 12 hours.

What Did the Aztecs Use Peyote For?

One of the first hallucinogenic substances is peyote. It was frequently employed by the Aztecs of pre-Columbian Mexico, who regarded the cactus as mystical and heavenly. The use of peyote then moved from Mexico to North America, where it was utilized for ceremonial purposes and for communicating with spirits by various Native American tribes.

Where Do Mescaline and Peyote Come From?

Mescaline, an amphetamine, is the main active psychedelic compound in peyote. It is a hallucinogen derived from several different cacti – the peyote cactus that grows in the southwestern United States and Mexico, the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) found in Peru, or the Peruvian torch cactus (Trichocereus peruvianus).

 The peyote plant contains mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine), which is an ingredient that produces hallucinatory effects similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin (shrooms).

The plant also contains small amounts of other psychoactive alkaloids such as hordenine, N-methyltyramine, and 3-methoxytyramine.

What Are the Buttons on the Peyote Cactus For?

The top of the crown of the peyote cactus has disc-shaped buttons. These peyote buttons contain psychedelic alkaloids, most notably mescaline, which is an alkaloid drug that has a hallucinogenic effect on humans. People cut these buttons from a cactus and dry them so they can be chewed or used to make a psychoactive tea.

How Did the Peyote Cactus Get Its Name?

The name peyote comes from the Aztec name for the peyote cactus. The top of the crown of the peyote cactus has disc-shaped buttons. These peyote buttons contain psychedelic alkaloids, most notably mescaline, which is an alkaloid drug that has a hallucinogenic effect on humans.

What are the different uses for peyote?

There are different ways to consume peyote. The buttons that are dried are harvested from the roots of the peyote cactus. Once this happens, peyote can be eaten, brewed as a tea, or made into a powder. The powder form can be placed into capsules. Peyote can also be smoked wrapped in marijuana leaf or tobacco.

How does peyote affect the brain?

Mescaline works by increasing the amount of serotonin and dopamine bonded to receptors in the brain. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of happiness and elation, and in large quantities produce psychedelic effects. When taken in moderate doses, mescaline produces euphoria and a relaxing feeling that can last from six to 24 hours. Negative side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.

Is peyote a narcotic?

The question of whether peyote is a narcotic or not has been debated for many years. During the debates surrounding the Controlled Substance Act, the Native American Church claimed that the use of peyote was protected by their First Amendment rights. The debate centers around three parts: whether it qualifies as a narcotic and what definitions are used to classify narcotics.


Anwar Hossain

My name is Anwar Hossain. I am a cactus lover, researcher, and cactus blogger.

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