Friday, November 14, 2014

Article Number: 9895


Newsgroups: alt.drugs





********************THE CACTUS GROWER'S FILE***************************





The following information is in addition to the information contained



in the alt.drugs Natural Highs FAQ.





Contents:





1. "TYPES" OF MESCALINE



2. EFFECTS



3. CACTUS SPECIES



4. GROWING FROM SEED



5. CULTIVATION



6. PREPARATION AND INGESTION



7. FINAL COMMENTS: A RECREATIONAL DRUG?







"TYPES" OF MESCALINE: Mescaline may be (rarely) obtained in pure form.



Many of the descriptions in the literature, and virtually all scientific



studies, are conducted on this form. Mescaline in the wild, however,



is always accompanied by a host of other alkaloidal compounds.



Most of these, when administered to man in pure form, produce either



no effects, or only nausea and dizziness. However, Andrew Weil



in "The Natural Mind" has this to say: "...this observation does not



mean that these other constituents are inactive in the whole plant.



Their action is to modify the action of the dominant constituent:



to play down some of its effects, to enhance others, much as



harmonic overtones modify the sound of a pure tone to produce



the distinctive timbre of a musical instrument." Thus it may



well be that each of the sources of mescaline should really be



considered separate drugs in their own right. (See the section



on cactus species below for descriptions of the following cacti.)



Peyote contains the largest number of other alkaloids, several of



which do cause unpleasant reactions when administered in isolation.



Some of these are in the nature of a stimulant, and some are more



sedative in action. San Pedro contains a much smaller spectrum



of active alkaloids... the most active of which seems to act



mainly as a sedative in man (drowsiness and slowed heartbeat).



The natural highs faq reports than T. peruvianus may contain



only tyramine, which would mean it represents the "purest"



source of just mescaline. Moreover, the method of preparation



of the cactus (boiling or not) may change the alkaloidal



composition by selectively degrading specific alkaloids. In



my own experience, *extensive* boiling of San Pedro produces



a trip that is mellower, more sedative, and with fewer visuals,



as well as reducing the potency in general (see the section on



preparation).





EFFECTS: From my limited experience with San Pedro cactus, I can



definitely state that the San Pedro high is very different from LSD



or psilocybin. The emotional impact is closer to MDA. I personally



find San Pedro to be less visual than either LSD or psilocybin,



although others have described pure mescaline as being more visual



than either. There is something of an amphetamine like central



stimulation, coupled with a general physical sense of sedation and



fatigue. For me, the effects are generally characterized by a contrast



of opposites: a simultaneous feeling of stimulation and sedation, of



physical restlessness and fatigue, of increased emotional sensitivity



and emotional inhibition. The effects last longer than for either



LSD or psilocybin, and take longer to take effect. In my experience,



the first significant effects do not occur for over an hour after



ingestion, and the effect gradually intensifies up to the three hour



point or beyond. The plateau is broad and long lasting, and it is



difficult to pinpoint when the effects begin to wear off. It can be



difficult to sleep even 12 hours after ingestion. The effects of San



Pedro can generally be described by "mild" and "mellow", and this is



somewhat dose independent. Although the visual and mental effects do



increase gradually with higher doses, the underlying physical symptoms



seem to increase at a higher rate, so that very high doses may cause a



"toxic reaction" type of trip (by which I mean that the subject



remains focused on uncomfortable physical sensations -- the sense



of having been "poisoned"). All of this description may be specific



to San Pedro cactus, as discussed above.





PREPARATION AND INGESTION: Regardless of the type of the mescaline,



several sources advise that the ingestion be spaced out over a



thirty minute period. This reduces the potential impact of



nausea. Note: nausea is an intrinsic characteristic of pure



mescaline itself, and so cannot be avoided entirely. In my



experience with San Pedro, nausea is strongest between about two



hours and four hours after ingestion, and largely goes away by five



hours after ingestion. Mescaline containing cactus have an



intensely disagreeable bitter flavor. Some people react more



strongly to this flavor than others. For this reason, many



people may be tempted to "slam it down" as quickly as possible...



but this can lead to more severe nausea. On the other hand,



spacing the ingestion out over a period much longer than 30 minutes



can cause more nausea as the intensely disagreeable flavor is made



even worse by the beginning mental and physical effects of the



mescaline ingested at first. (This is from the personal



experience of a friend who spread it over an hour and a half.)





I will now describe my own procedure for preparing San Pedro



cactus. I have heard of many methods, ranging from chemical



alkaloidal extraction to just eating it raw, like corn on the cob.



A brief description of the cactus physically: a normal column



of San Pedro is around 3" in diameter, and can be of any length.



The potency can vary widely, depending on growth conditions (see



the section on cultivation), so calibration of the potency by first



trying what is expected to be a small dose is an absolute necessity.



Suggested lengths for one dose range from 3" to over a foot. The



cactus has a tubular core of woody fibers arranged in a ring. Most



of the mescaline is supposed to occur outside of this ring, near the



skin. The skin itself is somewhat like a tough, waxy paper which



tears easily. The flesh is very bitter, with the consistency



of an apple. It is mostly water and can be liquified easily. It is



possible to remove the spines with a knife and carefully peel away all



of the skin, taking care not to peel away any of the flesh directly



under the skin (the most potent part). I find this to be much too



tedious. My method, in short, is to blend the entire cactus, (spine,



skin, and all) and prepare a liquid extract. This extract can



be frozen for later use, although it may be illegal in this form.



(San Pedro is legal to possess, but illegal to consume, in the USA).



The liquid extract can be chilled to ice-cold temperatures before



ingestion, and prepared with lemon juice, both of which make it more



palatable.





To do this extraction, you need a food processor (ideally) or a blender,



and a strong course mesh filter of some type. Coffee filters are too



fine, and most metal kitchen strainers are too coarse. I use a nylon mesh



bag designed for sprouting seeds and grains -- I find this ideal. You



could probably use some kind of cloth filter (perhaps even an old



shirt would suffice). First, wash the surface of the cactus thoroughly.



Then slice it into half inch thick disks (actually stars). Optionally,



excise the small circular core from each disk. Slice the disks radially,



like a pie, into small wedges. It is *not* necessary to de-spine or



remove the skin of the cactus to do this. These small pieces may now be



liquified in a food processor or blender. You will almost certainly



have to do this in several small batches. For the first batch, you may



need to add a small amount of water to aid in the liquefaction, but



after this just add some of the previously blended liquid. Strain the



resultant broth, again in small batches, and set aside the liquid. Combine



all the solid mass that has been filtered out and set aside. For each foot



of cactus, put 1 cup of water (distilled is probably best) in a large pot,



preferably not aluminum. For each foot of cactus add the juice of two



lemons. Optionally, add one gram per foot of acidic vitamin C (ascorbic



acid) in powdered or granular form (easily obtainable in health food



stores). Heat this mixture to boiling. Now, reblend the the solid mass in



small parts with this boiling liquid. Blend each part for at least two



minutes. This step will convert any remaining mescaline to salt form,



improving its solubility, and bring the last of it into solution. Filter and



combine this with the first liquid, and mix well. If not used immediately,



this mixture should be frozen to avoid decomposition. This method



will result in two to three cups of liquid per foot of cactus.



I strongly advise against boiling this liquid down in an attempt to reduce



the volume, since it is my experience that this will adversely affect



the potency, and may increase the relative concentration of the non-



mescaline alkaloids. I also strongly advise calibrating your brew



for potency. A dose may range from one cup to over three cups.





Despite the lemon juice, it will be intensely bitter, so chilling it to



near freezing before drinking is probably a good idea. A number of



techniques can help with the taste. I suggest chasing each gulp



with unsweetened grapefruit juice. Alternatively, Adam Gottleib,



in "Peyote and Other Psychoactive Cacti" has this to say: "The Indians...



believe that if one's heart is pure, the bitterness will not be tasted.



Many have found that by not cringing from the taste, but rather letting



one's sesnses plunge directly into the center of the bitterness, a



sort of separation from the offensive flavor is experienced. One is



aware of the bitterness, but it no longer disturbs him...It is not a



difficult trick, but it takes some mental discipline."





CACTUS SPECIES: Peyote, the traditional source of mescaline,



is a very slow growing cactus which I think is actually illegal to



cultivate or possess in the USA (except for members of the Native



American Indian Church, in certain states). It is native to central



Mexico and southwest Texas, but is so rare as to be an endangered species.



I have no experience with peyote, and the bulk of this file is really



concerned with Trichocereus cacti.





Trichocereus pachanoi, or *San Pedro*, is a very common landscaping



cactus (not indigenous to the USA though) and is neither illegal



to possess, nor even particularly incriminating since it



is so widespread. It is also one of the fastest growing



of all columnar cacti. It grows fastest in a very sunny climate



with long summers (or under high intensity growth lights year round)



but will grow fairly well in more temperate ares as well. In



areas of the Southwest where cactus nurseries are to be found, it



can often be purchased as a specimen of three feet or more in



height. (One place I know of sells it for $6.50 per linear foot,



and has several hundred feet of specimens in stock). T. pachanoi



is quite easy to identify once you have seen it in person, but verbal



descriptions are probably not adequate to distinguish it from other



Trichocereus species (such things as the "roundedness" or "fullness"



of the ridges, the appearance of the growth cap at the top of the column,



and the exact shades of green are difficult to describe verbally).





Trichocereus peruvianus is a close relative of T. pachanoi with a higher



concentration of mescaline. It is very rarely found in the USA (not



indigenous and not used for landscaping) and for that reason is potentially



more incriminating than T. pachanoi. It will most likely have



to be grown from seed (see section below). It is very similar to



T. pachanoi in terms of growth rate and robustness. I have personally



never tried T. peruvianus, and it is not clear to me how much more



potent than T. pachanoi it may be. The only studies I am aware



of report that T. pachanoi contains up to 0.1 % mescaline content



*wet weight*, whereas T. peruvianus is reported at 0.8% *dry weight*.



Peyote is reported at around 1.0 % dry weight, so from this we



can infer that T. peruvianus is about as strong as peyote, but



it is difficult to compare to T. pachanoi. Most sources seem



to believe that T. pachanoi is generally less potent than peyote,



but I think this may depend on the method of cultivation of the



T. pachanoi. The mescaline content of T. pachonoi can vary widely



depending on growth conditions. In particular, the conditions



favoring most rapid growth (frequent waterings) do not produce the



highest mescaline content. See the section on cultivation for more



information.





There are several other species of Trichocereus with mescaline



content comparable to T. pachanoi. Several of them could easily be



mistaken for T. peruvianus, but are less potent and have different



alkaloidal contents. See the natural highs faq for more information.





GROWING FROM SEED: The main reason for doing this is probably to



obtain T. peruvianus, since T. pachanoi is a common landscaping



cactus and easily obtainable as large specimens. See the section



on species above. You should keep in mind that it will take at



least a year to get a plant large enough for one dose, and



unless you are using year round high intensity growth lights (such



as used for pot cultivation) coupled with an ideal watering and



fertilizing schedule, you can expect to wait two years. Growing



>From seed requires patience, knowledge, and experience. There are



many techniques... if you are going to invest the time required for



this, you should read up on several of them. Egdar and Brian Lamb's



"Pocket Encyclopedia of Cacti In Color" contains a very extensive



discussion of cactus growing in general, and growing from seed in



particular. I do have one immediate suggestion for those of you



growing from seed now: be very careful with the use of fungicides



and other chemicals! In particular, I suspect Daconil, the ingredient



in Ortho multi-purpose fungicide, of inhibiting seedling growth, even



when used in high dilution. A fungicide which I have seen



recommended for use with cactus seeds is *Chinosol*.





CULTIVATION:



This section is directed at Trichocereus pachanoi (San Pedro) and



Trichocereus peruvianus. The growth paramaters for these catus



are the same. They are different than most columnar cacti in that



they grow very rapidly, and enjoy a somewhat richer soil mix and



more frequent waterings than most cacti. They are quite hardy,



and will grow successfully in a wide range of conditions (I



have seen very large, vigorous specimens growing unattended in



the back of grass covered lawns, planted directly in the lawn



soil, watered by the lawn's automatic sprinkler system). However,



to achieve maximum growth rates their native environment should



be imitated as closely as possible. The native habitat of these



cacti is the western slopes of the Peruvian Andes, where the soil



is very rich with humus and minerals, rainfall is not too scarce, and



exposure to the sun and wind are at a maximum. I will describe ideal



growth conditions (compiled from personal experience, books, and from



the advice of someone who grows several dozen of them). However, I



should begin by stating that these conditions also produce cacti with



low mescaline content. The alkaloids in these cacti apparently are a



defense mechanism against invading organisms, and increase during stressful



conditions... particularly when the cacti are underwatered. This



is a very gradual response... the mescaline content can take one or more



growing seasons to increase after water starvation has commenced. Thus



one strategy for raising these cactus is to purchase them at the desired



size, and to "starve them out" for a full growing season before harvesting.



If this is the strategy, the following "ideal growth conditions" should



*NOT* be observed since they will contribute to decreases in potency!





For ideal growth, I have found the following variables to be important:





Lighting: One of the most important variables. Growth of these cacti



occurs mainly during the brightest months of summer. In locations



where intense, bright sunny days occur for only a few months, they



will not grow rapidly. Growth can be greatly stimulated with high



intensity plant growth lights such as used for marijuana cultivation,



but year round operation of these 1000 watt bulbs can be very expensive.



Also, as the cactus can be quite tall, care must be taken not to burn



the tops of the plants. Ideally, angled lighting from both sides should



be observed to allow full illumination along the entire column. When



underwatering to increase potency, the cacti should be placed in a



less exposed location, with partial shade. If the lighting is too



bright for maximum potency increase (but not for maximum growth) the



cacti will turn a lighter shade of green. This response occurs after



only a few weeks, so adjust the lighting to achieve a darker shade



of green.





Soil: The cacti should be planted in very porous soil. A typical cactus



potting soil mix is OK, but can be improved by addition of extra pumice.



The more porous the soil mix, the more frequently the cacti will have to



be watered, and the less danger there will be of root rot and other



problems of over-watering. However, the soil mix should also be fairly



rich. I take 3 parts high pumice soil mix (much more pumice than in



Hyponex cactus potting soil) and mix in one part forest compost.



Additionally, I use a lot of plant fertilizer. Cactus are damaged



by high nitrogen contents, so be sure to use a fertilizer with low



nitrogen. Check the label... there are three digits (like 10-7-12)



and the first is the nitrogen content. Use a plant food with the



lowest ratio of this number to the other two. Special catus



fertilizers are available... I use one called "Catus Juice" which



has a 1-7-6 ratio, plus calcium which is a special factor for cactus.



I feed my cactus at the recommended dilution about once a week.



Don't begin this treatment immediately after repotting; let the



roots set in. When attempting to increase potency, this feeding



is not necessary since the cactus will not be receiving water.





Potting: These cacti like to send out far ranging lateral root systems



near to the surface, so if potted they should be placed in very wide



clay pots. Deep but narrow pots will result in stunted growth. Clay



pots are required for proper drainage. Use of large clay pots is in



many ways preferable to planting directly in the ground, since



the watering, drainage, and feeding can be controlled more precisely.



However, if attempting to increase potency, the cactus can be



placed in small, constricted pots since good growth conditions are not



desired. In any case, repotting cactus should not be idly done since



it shocks the root system and injures the cactus. It is best to



choose a suitable pot and stick with it.





Watering: When in full growth, the cactus should be watered quite



frequently. The cactus should be watered when the subsurface soil is



not damp to the touch. This will depend on many other factors. At one



extreme, for a cactus in very well-drained, high pumice soil, potted



in porous clay pots, receiving bright full sunlight all day long, in



an exposed, windy, hot location, the cactus can be thoroughly watered



every four days. If fed this frequently, the plant food concentration



should be halved. One way to test soil dampness is to insert a small,



clean redwood stake into the soil. If it comes out with small particles



of sand clinging to it, the soil is still moist and should not be watered.



During dormant winter months, the cactus should be watered much less



frequently, perhaps once a month or so. This will stimulate root



growth and result in faster growth during the hot season. As



mentioned above, when attempting to increase potency, the cactus



should not be watered at all for an entire growing season, and placed



in a less exposed, partially shaded location.





"Doping": Adam Gottlieb, in "Peyote and Other Psychoactive Cacti"



reports that the mescaline content can be increased by injection



of dopamine, or a mixture of tyrosine and dopa. The treatment



should be done on water starved cactus, and harvesting should



wait for four weeks (for dopamine, or six weeks for tyrosine



and dopa). The book recommends a saturated solution of free base



dopamine in a .05 N solution of HCl. Instructions are to inject at



the base of the plant and repeat again every 3-4 inches up the column



of the plant following a spiral pattern. I haven't tried this



personally...





FINAL COMMENTS: A RECREATIONAL DRUG? Mescaline containing cactus



produce one, or at most, two doses of mescaline a year (for fast



Trichocereus species -- peyote cactus produces far less). Relative



to other hallucinogens, these cacti can be difficult to obtain unless



one lives in precisely the right area. Preparation of the cactus



is time consuming, and a relatively large quantity of extremely



disagreeable tasting substance must be consumed. The initial



effects are usually accompanied by considerable physical



discomfort. The experience is very long lived and inhibits sleep



for an even longer time, much more so than LSD, thus the



use of mescaline requires setting aside a considerable chunk



of time (typically an entire day, with possibility of fatigue



the next day). These facts may make cactus seem like a poor



choice for a recreational drug... and I would agree with this.



Many other compounds are better suited for recreational use.



But this is also precisely its appeal for me... I have tremendous



respect for mescaline containing cactus. Like the Native American



Indians, I think one can view these "negative" aspects of cactus



as features which are present to insure that it is treated with



the proper respect. To me, the use of mescaline containing



cactus is a rare, and spiritual, event.





REFERENCES:



=====================================================================



Lamb, Egdar and Brian. Pocket Encyclopedia of Cacti in Colour.



Blandford Press, 1981. ISBN 0-7137-11973.





Gottleib, Adam. Peyote And Other Psychoactive Cacti. Kistone Press,



1977. (A small pamphlet available in head shops.)


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