The Peyote Drug – Peyote is a spineless cactus native to parts of Peru, Mexico, and the southwest U.S. The peyote drug is psychoactive due to the presence of mescaline, a hallucinogen found in and on the peyote cactus. Peyote is relatively rare, and for this reason, drug dealers may deceptively label LSD or PCP as mescaline in an attempt to expand their market.
On the street, peyote is referred to by various names, including the following:
- Half moon
- Bad seed
Mescaline itself is sometimes referred to on the street as:
- Cactus buttons
- Cactus joint
The peyote drug is among the oldest known psychedelic substances. The Aztecs venerated it as being magical and holy. Many other Native American tribes have used peyote for medicinal purposes, such as for treating alcohol dependence. In addition, peyote has seen regular use in Native American spiritual ceremonies.
Both mescaline and peyote are classified as Schedule I controlled substances in the United States. This classification means that they are considered by the U.S. government to have a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical purposes.
Routes of Administration
Small offshoots from the cactus, known as buttons, are removed and dried, after which they can be chewed and swallowed. These peyote buttons may be immersed in water to filter out the psychoactive ingredients into a solution. Similarly, these buttons can be boiled in water for several hours to generate a hallucinogenic tea. Dried peyote buttons can also be crushed into a powder and smoked.
Peyote’s Mechanism of Action
Chemically, mescaline is classified as a phenethylamine and is therefore unrelated to other psychedelics such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms. However, it does belongs to the same category as synthetic psychedelics like ecstasy (MDMA).
Peyote produces its effects by targeting norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmitters, as mescaline is similar in structure to them. Mescaline, therefore, intervenes with normal processes in the brain that involve these two chemicals.
Dopamine is a chemical in the central nervous system (CNS) responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure, and well-being. Norepinephrine is responsible for stress, and the activation and modulation of the fight-or-flight response.
Peyote Drug Effects
The mescaline in peyote produces cognitive, emotional, and perceptual effects, including the following:
- Vivid mental images
- Distorted vision
- Altered perception
- Heightened senses
- Loss of sense of reality
- Feeling heavy or weightless
Adverse effects may also include:
- Feelings of terror
- Anxiety and panic
- Fear of death
- Loss of control
The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) states that some individuals may encounter physical effects from peyote use, including the following:
- Numbness and weakness
- Twitching muscles
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Excessively sweating
- Loss of appetite
Long-Term Effects of Peyote
Although rare, adverse long-term effects can occur after a single use of peyote. In some cases, an individual who has previously used peyote can experience a “flashback,” in which he or she relives past hallucinations without the presence of the substance. When a person experiences repeated flashbacks following a psychedelic experience, they may be suffering from what is known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).
Despite long-term side effects associated with peyote use being uncommon, there have been a few reported diagnostic incidences of paranoid schizophrenia following prolonged trips. Evidence has suggested that those with a past history of mental illness are at a heightened risk of developing further mental health problems due to long-term hallucinogen exposure.
Is Peyote Addictive?
There are currently no reported cases of peyote addiction, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. Because of its mechanism of action, it seems to lack the essential properties needed to produce physical dependence.
However, a person can develop a psychological addiction to any substance or behavior. Therefore, despite there also being no documented cases of psychological dependence related to peyote, it is still technically possible. Moreover, habitual peyote abuse typically occurs in combination with the abuse of other substances, such as other drugs or alcohol.
Treatment for Peyote Drug Abuse
Although rare, peyote can be abused and become psychologically addictive. If you or someone you love is abusing peyote, please seek help as soon as possible in the form of professional, evidence-based addiction treatment.
Harmony Recovery Center is a specialized treatment facility that features services essential for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted treatment, health and wellness programs, aftercare planning, and much more.
Our caring specialists provide our clients with the resources and support they desperately need to fully recover from drug or alcohol addiction and foster healthier, more fulfilling lives for themselves and their loved ones.
Contact us today and discover how we help people break the cycle of substance abuse for life!