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.









"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


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


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


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*.


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


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.



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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