Mescaline is a natural alkaloid that occurs in the peyote cactus and the San Pedro cactus. It is an hallucinogen that is mainly used as a psychoactive substance in religious or spiritual practices. It is also used as a recreational drug.
Tolerance grows with repeated usage, lasting for a few days. Use of mescaline also causes cross-tolerance with LSD and other psychedelics. About half the initial dosage is excreted after 6 hours, but some studies suggest that it is not metabolized at all before excretion.
Mescaline hallucinations are different from those of LSD. Hallucinations are consistent with actual experience, but are typically magnified by the stimulus properties of objects and sounds.
Mescaline elicits a pattern of sympathetic arousal, with the peripheral nervous system being a major target for this drug with effects lasting up to 12 hours. Mescaline is, however, much less potent than similar hallucinogens, like LSD and psilocybin.
Mescaline can also cause users to become irrational in their thinking or the user may experience feelings of anxiety and waves of hatred. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea are common side effects as well. Mescaline use can also accelerate the users heart rate, sometimes to an unhealthy level that could be fatal.
Large doses of mescaline can lower the body’s glucose level, possibly causing unconsciousness, or can induce convulsions, heart failure, and death due to respiratory failure.
Although mescaline does not create a physical dependency in users, the drug can be addictive due to the possibility of psychological dependency. There are several dangers which are associated with mescaline, despite it’s reputation as a relatively mild hallucinogen. First, there is the risk of entering states of what amount to temporary mental illness. Users can go through periods of intense fear and anxiety, leading them to do foolish things. In extreme cases, tranquilizers might even need to be used to control the reaction.
Mescaline can produce intensely terrifying thoughts and fears, magnifying sensation to the point where they become unbearable.
Long-term effects of mescaline can include flashbacks, which is a re-occurrence of hallucinations long after the drugs have left the user’s system. These effects can occur after a single experience with the drug, and the scientific community is still puzzled as to why this happens.