Friday, November 14, 2014

Article Number: 9903



How to use them - How to extract them

What they contain - Where to obtain them

How to cultivate them and increase their potency

35 different species discussed



For many years most of us have been aware of the psychoactive effects of

Peyote. More recently in drug-oriented literature there have been numerous

references to other cacti believed to have hallucinogenic properties. Among

these are Donana from northern Mexico, San Pedro from the Andes, three

related mescaline-bearing species from South America, and at least 15

species used by the Indians of Central Mexico as Peyote substitutes.

Botanists and Chemists are now studying the constitutes of these cacti and

are making some remarkable discoveries. In this guide we will consider each

of these cacti and bring the reader up to date on what scientists have learn-

ed about them. The various methods of using these cacti are also discussed.

Directions are given for cultivating cacti and increasing the yield of

mescaline and other alkaloids. There are instructions for extracting mesca-

line from Peyote and San Pedro, and mixed alkaloids from Donana and other

cacti. We also include a brief discussion of the legal aspects of these

hallucinogenic cacti and give the names and addresses of legitimate

suppliers from whom these plants can be obtained at reasonable prices.


Both mescaline and Peyote are illegal under the statutes of the Federal

Government and most States. Members of the Native American Church are

permitted the ritual use of peyote because they established it as a

religious sacrement long before these laws came into existence. Members are

not permitted to use mescaline, however. Several other cacti such as San

Pedro also contain mescaline. Technically it would be illegal to possess

these, but because they are common ornamental plants it is permissable to

use these cacti for normal horticultural purposes. If a person should

attempt to use any of these plants for a psychedelic experience, prosecution

is possible. If he were to extract the mescaline from these, the alkaloid

would definitely be contraband material. It is important that this point

be made clear because the mescaline extraction process is given in this

guide. To extract the alkaloids from Donana and other non-mescaline bearing

cacti is not illegal. The information in this guide is presented for the

sake of furthering knowledge. The Author can assume no responsibility for

how anyone may apply it.


This spineless, tufted, blue-green, button-like cactus, known botanically

as LOPHOPHORA WILLIAMSII, is the most famous of the hallucinogenic cacti.

It grows wild from Central Mexico to Northern Texas. It's known history

dates back to pre-Columbian times; possibly as early as 300 B.C. During the

past two centuries the religious use of Peyote has spread northward into the

United States and Canada among many of the Plains Indian Tribes such as the

Navajo, Comanche, Sioux, and Kiowa. This cactus eventually came to replace

the hallucinogenic but dangerous red mescal bean (SOPHORA SECUNDIFLORA) as

a ceremonial sacrement. During the 1800's the North American Peyote ritual

was standardized. By 1920 the ceremonial practices of most tribes were

identical with only minor variations.

(Note: In Mexico there is a popular liquor called mescal. Many people believe

that it is made from the Peyote cactus. Actually it is fermented from the

Maguey plant, a large succulent of the Amaryllis family with sword-like

leaves. This plant does not contain mescaline or related alkaloids.)

It was in 1896 that Arthur Heffter extracted mescaline from Peyote and tested

it upon himself. This was the first hallucinogenic compound isolated by man.

About 350 mg of mescaline is required for a psychotropic experience, although

definite effects can be felt from as little as 100 mg. Mescaline may comprise

as much as six percent of the weight of the dried button, but is more often

closer to one percent. An average dried button the diameter of a quarter

weighs about 2 grams. it usually takes 6-10 of these buttons to gain the

desired effect.

It has been noted that the peyote experience is quantitatively somewhat

different than that of pure mescaline, the former being more physical than

the latter. This is due to several of the other alkaloids present in the




substances have psychopharmacological activity when administered singly.

Some of them in combination apparently potentiate the effects of the

mescaline and definitely alter some of the characteristics of the experience.

Two of these alkaloids - Hordenine and Tyramine - have been found to possess

antibacterial activity, presumably because of their phenolic function. For

ages the Huichol Indians have rubbed the juices of fresh peyote into wounds

to prevent infection and to promote healing. The Tarahumara Indians consume

small amounts of peyote to combat hunger, thirst and exhaustion especially

while hunting. They have been known to run for days after a Deer with no

food, water or rest. Peyote has many uses in folkloric medicine including

the treatment of arthritis, consumption, influenza, intestinal disorders,

diabetes, snake and scorpion bites and datura poisoning. The Huichol and

other tribes recognize two forms of peyote. One is larger, more potent and

more bitter than the other. They call it TZINOURITEHUA-HIKURI (peyote of

the Gods). The smaller, more palatable, but milder buttons are called

RHAITOUMUANITARI-HIKURI (peyote of the goddesses). The difference between

the two forms may be due solely to how old the plants are. Alkaloids tend

to accumulate in these cacti with age. It is possible, however, that the

goddess peyote is a different species. Until recently botanists believed that

the genus LOPHOPHORA consisted of a single but highly varible species. But

in 1967 H.H. Bravo found near Queretaro in south-central Mexico another

species which he named LOPHOPHORA DIFFUSA. This plant is yellow-green, soft,

ribless and contains a somewhat different alkaloid mixture with far less

mescaline that L. williamsi.


About half an hour after ingesting the buttons the first effects are felt.

There is a feeling of strange intoxication and shifting consciousness with

minor perceptual changes. There may also be strong physical effects,

including respiratory pressure, muscle tension (especially face and neck

muscles), and queasiness or possible nausea. Any unpleasant sensations

should disappear within an hour. After this the state of altered consci-

ousness begins to manifest itself. The experience may vary with the

individual, but among the possible occurences are feelings of inner tran-

quillity, oneness with life, heightened awareness, and rapid thought flow.

During the next several hours these effects will deepen and become more

visual. Colors may become more intense. Halos and auras may appear about

things. Objects may seem larger, smaller , closer or more distant than they

actually are. Often persons will notice little or no changes in visual

perception while beholding the world about them, but upon closing their

eyes they will see on their mind-screen wildly colorful and constant

changing patterns. After several more hours the intensity of the exper-

ience gradually relaxes. Thought becomes less rapid and diffuse and more

ordered. In the Navajo peyote ritual this change of thought flow is used

wisely. During the first part of the ceremony the participants submit to the

feeling and let the peyote teach them. During the latter part of the ritual

the mind turns to thoughtful contemplation and understanding with the

conscious intellect what the peyote has taught the subconscious mind.

The entire experience may last from 6 to 12 hours depending upon the

individual and the amount of the plant consumed. After all the peyote

effects have passed there is no comedown. One is likely to feel pleasantly

relaxed and much a peace with the world. Although there is usually no desire

for food during the experience one would probably have a wholesome appetite



The most common method of use is simply to chew up and swallow the fresh

or dried buttons after removing the tufts and sand. This is the way it is

almost always done at Indian ceremonies. Most people find the taste of this

cactus unbearably bitter. The Indians, however, feel if ones heart is pure,

the bitterness will not be tasted. Many have found that by not cringing from

the taste, but rather letting ones senses plunge directly to the center of

the bitterness, a sort of seperation from the offensive flavor is exper-

ienced. One is aware of the bitterness, but it no longer disturbs him.

This is similar to the practice of bringing ones consciousness to the center

of pain so that detachment may occur. It is not a difficult trick, but it

takes some mental discipline. People who cannot endure the bitterness of

peyote often go to various extremes to get it into the system without

having to taste it. One fairly effective method is to drink unsweetened

grapefruit juice while chewing it. The acids in the juice somewhat

neutralize some of the bitter bases. Another method is to grind the dried

buttons in a pepper grinder and pack the pulverised material into OOO

capsules which are washed down with warm water. This is an effective

method but it can take 20 capsules or more to get a 350mg dose of mescaline.

Often people will boil the buttons in water for several hours to make a

concentrated tea. A cup of this decoction can be swallowed in a few hasty

gulps. Another preparation that is occasionally used is a jello-type dessert

made with the fresh or dried plant. If spoonfulls are swallowed whole the

gelatine serves as a sort of shield protecting the tastebuds from contact

with the bitter material. It also slows down the the absorption of the drug

in the digestive tract. This can be of value. It is generally recommended

that anyone consuming peyote or mescaline ingest it gradually during a

period of an hour or take two half doses 45 minutes apart. This is done

to reduce the shock of the alkaloid to the system. Nausea or queasiness is

sometimes experienced half an hour or so after taking peyote or mescaline.

This usually passes in less than an hour. A sip of grapefruit juice will

sometimes dispel the sick feeling. During the peyote ceremony Indians

encourage vomiting rather than restraint if the urge presents itself.

Throwing up, they believe, is apurging of both physical and spiritual ills.

Most tribes fast for at least a day before taking peyote. This can also help

to minimize gastric distress. One should not have eaten for at least 6 hours

before taking either mescaline or peyote.

A method which avoids both the bitterness and the nausea is the rectal

infusion. 8-16 grams of dried peyote is ground into a fine powder and boiled

in a pint of water for 30 minutes. It is then strained and further boiled

to reduce it's volume to one half pint. After cooling, this is taken as an

enema using a small bulb syringe and retained for at least two hours. If

there is any fecal matter in the lower bowel, a small cleansing enema should

be taken and thoroughly expelled before having the peyote infusion. Otherwise

much of the drug will be taken up by the feces and later voided.


The peyote cactus may be found in many areas throughout the Chihuahuan

Desert from central Mexico to southern Texas. When a site is found where

peyote grows it usually does so in abundance. Sometimes it grows in open

sunlit places, but more often it is found in clusters under fairly large

shrubs, among mesquite or creosote bushes or in the shade of large succu-


The best time to harvest any cactus is after a long dry spell. The worst

time is during or after a rainy period. The plants build up alkaloids

during dry seasons and draw upon them for growth when the rains come. If

the plants are harvested during or after a wet spell, the alkaloid content

may have dropped below 50 percent. If you have a soil test kit, you can get

a good indication of the potency of cacti growing wild. If the soil is rich

in nitrogen, the plants are likely to be rich in alkaloids.

When harvesting peyote, many people uproot the entire plant. This is

unnecessary and wasteful. The roots contain no mescaline. Some of these

plants have taken a long time to reach their size. A cactus three inches

in diameter may be more than 20 years old. To collect peyote properly

the button should be cleanly decapitated slightly above ground level.

When the roots are left intact new buds will form where the old was

removed. These will eventually develop into full-size buttons which may

be harvested as before. Faulty harvesting method have seriously depleted

populations of this cactus. Because of the presence of several phenolic

alkaloids peyote cacti do not spoil easily and may be kept in their fresh

form for several weeks after harvesting. If they are to be kept longer than

this they must be refrigerated, frozen, or dried. The enzymes which cause the

harvested plant to eventually decompose also destroy the mescaline and other

alkaloids. To dry peyote buttons lay them out in the hot sun or in an oven

at 250 degrees F until completely devoid of moisture.


There are several cacti which are used by the Tarahumares and other tribes

of central Mexico as substitutes for peyote. Many of these cacti are now

under investigation for their alkaloidal content and psychopharmacological

activity. Progress is somewhat retarded in the studies of the effects of

these plants because almost all experimentation has been conducted on

laboratory animals rather than humans. Some of these cacti have been found

to contain mescaline and other related alkaloids with known sympathomimetic

properties. Much further research is needed on these plants and their

activity. However, we will attempt to bring the reader up to date on what is

known about them at this time.


This small cactus is botanically called PELECYPHORA ASELLIFORMIS. It is

also known sometimes as the hatchet cactus because of its oddly flattened

tubercules. It is often found growing in the state of San Louis Potosi in

central Mexico. The plant contains traces of mescaline too minute to have

any effect. It also contains small amounts of anhalidine, anhaladine,

hordenine, N-methylmescaline, pellotine, 3-demethyltrichocereine,

B-phenethylamine, N-methyl-B-phenethylamine, 3,4-dimethoxy-B-pheneththyl-

amine, N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-phenethylamine, and 4-methoxy-B-phenethy-

lamine. Most of these are found in peyote but in much larger quantities.


The botanical name of this cactus is ARIOCARPUS RETUSUS. The Huichol name

tsuwiri means False Peyote. These people make long pilgrimages to the sacred

places where peyote grows in search of that sacrement. They believe that if

a person is has not been properly purified the spirits will lead him to the

False Peyote and if he partakes of it, he will suffer madness or at least a

bad trip. The plant is known among some tribes as Chautle or Chaute. These

names are also used for other Ariocarpus species. This cactus contains

hordenine, N-methyltryamine in fairly small amounts (about 0.02 percent)

and traces of N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-phenethylamine, and N-methyl-4-B-

phenethylamine. Aside from these alkaloids it also contains a flavone called

retusin (3,3',4',7-tetramethoxy-5-hydroxyflavone). Although alkaloid content

may very some at different seasons or stages of growth, from the scientific

point of view the amounts present in this plant appear insufficient to pro-

duce any psychopharmacological response.


This plant, ARIOCARPUS FISSURATUS, has been used in folkoric medicine of

Mexico and southwestern USA. It is believed to be more potent than peyote

and is used in the same manner as that cactus or made into an intoxicating

drink. Among some tribes it is known as Chaute (a generic term for Ariocarp-

us species), living rock, or dry whiskey. The latter name, however, is often

used for peyote and other psychoactive cacti. There are two varieties of

A. fissuratus: var. lloydii and var. fissuratus. Both have about the same

phytochemical makeup. The plant contains mostly hordenine, less N-methyl-

tyramine and some N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-phenethylamine. Two other species,

A. kotschoubeyanus also known as Pata De Venado or Pezuna De Venado, and A.

trigonus also contain these alkaloids.


This small cactus, CORYPHANTHA MACROMERIS, from northern Mexico has been

found to contain macromerine, a phenethylamine drug reputed to have about

1/5 the potency of mescaline. It also contains normacromerine, N-formylnor-

macromerin, tyramine, N-methyltramine, hordenine, N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-

phenethylamine, metanephrine, and synephrine (a macromerine precursor).

Other coryphantha species which contain macromerine with most of these other

alkaloids include: C. pectinada, C. elephantideus, C. runyonii and C. corn-

ifera var. echinus. Most of these alkaloids with the exception of macromerine

have also been found in other varieties of C. conifera and in C. durangensis,

C. ottonis, C. poselgeriana and C. ramillosa. Considering that there is

usually no more than 0.1 percent macromerine in Donana and that a gram or more

of this alkaloid may be needed to produce a psychotropic effect, one would

have to consume more than a kilo of the dried cactus or 20 pounds of the

fresh plant. Clearly this is not possible for most humans. If one wishes to

experiment with the hallucinogenic properties of Donana, is is necessary

first to make an extraction of the mixed alkaloids. Methods for this are

given latter in this guide.


Several tribes occasionally use any one of several species of Dolichothele

as a peyote-like sacrament. These include D. baumii, D. longimamma, D.

melalenca, D. sphaerica. D. surculosa, and D. uberiforma. Recent investig-

ations have revealed in these the presence of small amounts of the alkaloids

N-methylphenethylamine, B-O-methylsynephrine, N-methyltryamine, synephrine,

hordenine, and dolichotheline (N-isovalerylhistamine).


Several other cacti have been used by the Tarahumares as peyote substitutes.

Among these are Obregonia denegrii, Aztekium ritterii, Astrophytum asterias,

A. capricorne, A. myriostigma (Bishops cap), and Solisia pectinata. The

Tarahumares also consume a cactus which they call Mulato (Mammillaria micro-

meris) and claim that it prolongs life, gives speed to runners, and clarifies

vison for mystical insights. Another cactus similarly employed is known as

Rosapara (Epitheliantha micromeris) is believed by many botanists to be the

same species as Mulato, but at a later vegetative stage. The large cactus

Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum, known locally as Cawe, has occasionally been

used as a narcotic.

What little studies have been carried out on these cacti have revealed the

presence of alkaloids most of the other species we have discussed, but no

mescaline or macromerine. Many of these alkaloids have some psychopharma-

calogical properties, but nothing to compare with those two drugs. Further-

more, the amounts of these alkaloids are usually so small as to be insignif-

icant. For example, the species Obregonia denegrii contains tyramine 0.003

percent, hordenine 0.002 percent, and N-methyltyramin 0.0002 percent.

These are all known sympathomimetics, but the percentages are far too minute

to have any value. Several publications in recent years have mentioned the

sacramental use of these cacti. As a result thousands of people have obtained

these plants from cactus dealers and ingested them, usually with disappointing

(and sometimes nauseating) results. Sadly many of these cacti are quite rare.

If too many people destroy them experimentally, they may become a seriously

endangered species. The most suitable cacti for a true psychedelic experience

are peyote, which is for the most part illegal, and several species of Tri-

chocereus (such as San Pedro), which are still legal.


This cactus has gained considerable fame in the past five years after

numerous reports that it is hallucinogenic, contains mescaline, and is

readily available from cactus nurseries. This plant known botanically as

Trichocereus pachanoi, is native to the Andes of Peru and Equador. Unlike

the small peyote cactus, San Pedro is large and multi-branched. In it's

natural enviorment, it often grows to heights of 10 or 15 feet. It's

mescaline content is less than that of peyote (0.3 - 1.2 percent), but

because of it's great size and rapid growth, it may provide a more econom-

ical source of mescaline than peyote. One plant may easily yield several

pounds of pure mescaline upon extraction. San Pedro also contains tyramine,

hordenine, 3-methoxytyramine, anhalaninine, anhalonidine, 3,4-dimethoxyphen-

ethylamine, 3,4-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine, and 3,5-dimethoxy-4-

hydroxy-B-phenethylamine. Some of these are known sympathomimetics. Others

have no apparent effects when ingested by themselves. It is possible, how-

ever, that in combination with the mescaline and other active compounds they

may have a synergistic influence upon one another and subtly alter the qual-

itive aspects of the experience. It is also possible that any compounds in

the plant which act a mild MAO inhibitors will render a person vulnerable to

some of the above mentioned amines which would ordinarily be metabolized

before they could take effect.

The effects of San Pedro are in many ways more pleasant than those of peyote.

To begin with, it's taste is only slightly bitter and the initial nausea is

not as likely to occur. When the full psychotropic experience takes hold it

is less overwhelming, more tranquil and not nearly as physical as that from


San Pedro may be eaten fresh or dried and taken in any of the manners describ-

ed for peyote. Cuttings of San Pedro sold in the USA are usually about three

feet long by four inches diameter. A piece 4-8 inches long will usually bring

about the desired effect. The skin and spines must be removed. The skin

should not be thrown away, however. The green tissue close to the skin con-

tains a high concentration of mescaline. Some people chew the skin until all

the juices are extracted. If you don't what to do this, the skins can be

boiled in water for several hours to make a potent tea. The woody core of the

cactus cannot be eaten. One can eat around it like a corn cob. The core does

not have much alkaloid content, but can be mashed and boiled as a tea for

what little is there.

To dry San Pedro slice the cactus into disks (actually stars) 1/2 inch thick

and dry thoroughly in the sun or in an oven at 250 degrees F. The spines must

be removed either before drying or before chewing. Also one must be careful

of the splinters from the woody core.

If a tea is made from fresh San Pedro, the cactus must be either sliced,

chopped or crushed before boiling.

San Pedro is a hardy cactus and endures cold climates quite well. It grows at

altiudes from sea level to 9000 feet high in the Andes where it is most freq-

uently found on western slopes. The soil in this region is very rich in humus

and various minerals. This helps in the production of mescaline and other


There are several cacti which look much like San Pedro and have even been

mistaken for it by trained botanists. In 1960 when Turner and Heyman disc-

overed that San Pedro contained mescaline they erroneously identified the

plant as Opunita cylindtica. A few other South American species of Tricho-

cereus also contain mescaline with related alkaloids. These include:


There is evidence that the ritualistic use of San Pedro dates back to 1000

BC. Even today it is used by Curanderos (medicine men) of northern Peru.

They prepare a drink called CIMORA from it and take this in a ceremonial

setting to diagnose the spiritual or subconscious basis of a patient's



Any cactus can be grown from either seed or cutting. Seed grown plants can

take many years to develop to a usable size, but should ultimately provide

strong, healthy stock from which cuttings may be taken. Plants have to grow

through the lengthy seedling stage. A San Pedro plant started from seed may

be no more than 1/2 inch high after it's first year and perhaps an inch high

after it's second; It's diameter being 1/8-1/4 during this time. A cutting

of San Pedro may be 2 feet high by 4 inches diameter when planted. After 6

months it might easily gain 4-6 inches in height, send forth one or two

branches 6-8 inches long by 2 inches diameter, and have sprouted several

branch buds which will do the same within the next six months. When these

offshoots are 6 inches or more long they may be broken off and planted

following the instructions below. Or they may be allowed another 6 months

growth until they deepen from pale to dark-green to give them time to accum-

ulate alkaloids and then consumed.

Live plants of any of the species mentioned in this guide - with the excep-

tion perhaps of peyote - can be purchased from suppliers named at the end

of this chapter. Freshly harvested peyote cuttings are frequently available

on the underground market for 50 cents to one dollar per button. When select-

ing peyote cuttings for planting choose ones which are firm and unbruised

with at least 1/2 inch of taproot below the top. If the bottom of the tap-

root is still delicate where it has been cut, the button should be placed

bottoms up in partial shade for a day or two until the severed area has a

dry corky texture. If this is not done, the plant will be prone to rot.

The best soil mix can be prepared from 3 parts coarse sand, 1 part loam

and 1 part leaf mold. Bake this mixture in an oven at 400 degrees F for an

hour to kill fungus, bacteria, weed seeds and insect eggs. After the soil

mix has cooled it is ready to use. The taproot of the plant may be dipped in

a rooting mixture, such as ROOTONE, before planting. This enhances root

development and hinders decay. Place the bottom just deep enough so that

the soil does not quite touch the green part of the plant. The soil should be

kept slightly moist and evenly so. If you are planting a tall cactus like

San Pedro, the cutting should be placed deeply enough in the soil that it will

have sufficient support to stand. San Pedro type cacti can also be laid upon

the ground and will send down roots from their sides while the buds grow

upwards. San Pedro can grow well in almost any soil as long as there is

decent drainage.

Cacti tend to grow mostly during spring and autumn, to send down roots in

the summer, and to rest through winter. Although cactus cuttings may be

planted anytime of the year they stand the best chance if planted in the late

spring. They should be watered thoroughly once or twice a week depending upon

how rapidly moisture is lost. The soil an inch below the surface should

always contain some moisture. Watering can be cut back to less than half

during the winter.


There are several factors which influence production of mescaline and related

alkaloids in cacti. Presence of a wide variety of trace minerals is import-

ant. Occasional watering with Hoagland A-Z trace mineral concentrate provides

these minerals. Combine 1 part concentrate with 9 parts water and water cacti

with this once every two months.

Experiments conducted by Rosenberg, Mclaughlin and Paul at the University of

of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1966 demonstrated that dopamine is a precursor of

mescaline in the peyote cactus. Tyramine and dopa were also found to be

mescaline precursors, but not as immediate and efficient as dopamine.

It appears that in the plant tyosine breaks down to become tyramine and dopa.

These then recombine to form dopamine which is converted to nor-mescaline

and finally to mescaline. One can take advantage to this sequence by inject-

ing each peyote plant with dopamine 4 weeks prior to harvesting. Much of the

dopamine will convert to mescaline during this time, giving a considerable

increase in the alkaloid of the plant. Prepare a saturated solution of free

base dopamine in a .05 N solution of hydrochloric acid and inject 1-2 cc into

the root of each plant and the same amount into the green portion above the

root. Let the needle penetrate to the center of the plant, inject slowly and

allow the needle to remain in place a few seconds after injection. It is

best to deprive the plant of water for 1-2 weeks before injection. This makes

the plant tissues take up the injection fluids more readily. If dopamine is

not available, a mixture of tyramine and dopa can be used instead 6 weeks

before harvesting for comparable results. San Pedro and other mescaline-

bearing cacti can be similarly treated for increased mescaline production.

Inject at the base of the plant and again every 3-4 inches following a spiral

pattern up the length of the plant. A series of booster injections can be

given to any of these cacti every 6-8 weeks and once again 4 weeks before

harvesting for greater mescaline accumulation.

It is also possible to increase the macromerine and nor-macromerine content

of Donana cacti using tyramine or DL-norepinephrine as precursors. Injections

should be given 20-25 days before harvesting. Series of injections can be

given 45 days apart for higher alkaloid accumulation.


The isolation of mescaline from cacti containing this alkaloid is not diff-

icult to perform and is perhaps one of the most rewarding alchemical pro-

cesses that one can attempt. The chemicals required for this process are

readily available and their purchase arouses no suspicion or interest on the

part of Government agencies. The equipment employed is not expensive or

particularly complicated or can be constructed very easily from ordinary

household items. The entire process can be carried out in any kitchen in the

matter of hours by following the instructions below and in the final stages

one can verify the success of the procedure by actually watching the crystals

of mescaline precipitate in the solution. One kilo (2.2 lbs) of dried peyote

buttons may yield between 10 and 60 grams of pure white needle crystals of

mescaline depending on the potency of the plants used. On average the yield

is about 20 grams. The usual underground price of a kilo of dried peyote

ranges between $125 and $250 (25 to 50 cents per button). From indians in the

southwestern USA the price is closer to $50 (10 cents per button). The street

price for a gram of pure mescaline is $20 to $30 - if one is lucky enough to

find it. One can obtain from a kilo of dried peyote $200 to $1200 worth of

mescaline. If San Pedro is employed on may anticipate a yield of 3 to 12

grams of mescaline per kilo of dried cactus. One can legally purchase a kilo

of dried San Pedro for $5 to $10 and from it extract $60 to $250 worth of

pure mescaline.

Grind a kilo of the dried cactus, place this in a large pressure cooker,

cover with distilled water, and boil for 30 minutes. Strain the liquids and

save them. Return the pulp to the pot, add more water and boil again for 30

minutes. Strain the liquids and combine them with the first strainings.

Repeat this process about five times or until the pulp no longer has a

bitter taste. Discard the pulp and reduce the volume of the combined strain-

ings by boiling in an open pot. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM WARE. When the liquids

have been concentrated to the thickness of cream (about one quart), stop the

boiling and stir in 400 grams of sodium hydroxide (lye). This makes the

mescaline more soluble in benzene and less in water. If a large separatory

funnel is available pour the liquids into it and add 1600 ml of Benzene.

Shake the funnel well for five minutes and let it stand for two hours.

If a separatory funnel is not available the process can be carried out in

a one gallon jug with a siphon attached.

After standing for 2 hours the water layer will settle to the bottom and the

benzene layer will float to the top. Between the two layers will be a thin

emulsion layer of mixed water and benzene. Drain off the water and emulsion

layers if you are using a separatory funnel or siphon off the benzene layer

if you are using the makeshift jug-siphon apparatus. Be certain that neither

the water or emulsion layers get into the benzene layer when separating. If

any of these layers do get into the benzene during separation pour everything

back into the separator, let it stand and repeat the separation more care-

fully. It is better to leave some benzene layer in the water and emulsion

than to get emulsion and water into the benzene. Nothing will be wasted. All

of the benzene which contains the mescaline will eventually be salvaged.

Sometimes the layers will fail to separate properly. If this is the case

immerse the funnel or jug in a deep pot of hot water for two hours. This will

break up the emulsion and bring about the separation.

Prepare a solution of 2 parts sulfuric acid and one part water. (never add

water to the acid or it will splatter; add the acid a little at a time to

the water by pouring it down the inside of the graduate or measuring cup

containing the water.) Add 25 drops of the acid solution one drop at a time

to the benzene extracts. Stopper the jug and shake well for one minute. Then

let stand for five minutes. White streaks of mescaline sulfates should begin

to appear in the benzene. If these do not appear, shake the jug more vigor-

ously for two to three minutes and let it settle for five more minutes. I

have found that when extracting mescaline from San Pedro it is sometimes

necessary to shake the mixture more thoroughly and for a longer time to get

the mescaline streaks to form. This is probably because of the lower mescal-

ine content in the plant. This would also apply to any peyote that does not

have a high mescaline content. After the streaks appear add 25 more drops of

the acid solution in the same manner, shake as before and let settle for ten

minutes. More streaks will appear. Add 15 drops of acid, shake and wait 15

minutes for streaks to form. Add 10 drops, shake and wait about 30 minutes.

Test the solution with wide range pH paper. It should show that the solution

is between pH 7.5 and 8. Allow the mescaline sulfate crystals to completely

precipitate. Siphon off as much of the benzene as possible without disturbing

the crystals on the bottom of the jug.

The next steps are to salvage any mescaline still in the water and emulsion

layer. Combine the benzene siphonings with the water/emulsion layer, shake

these well together for 5 minutes and let settle for two hours as before.

Carefully remove the benzene layer, treat it again with acid, precipitate the

crystals and siphon off the benzene as in the previous steps. Recombine the

siphoned benzene with the watery layer and repeat this again and again until

no more crystals precipitate. Siphon off as much benzene as possible without

drawing crystals through the siphon.

The next step involves removing the remaining benzene from the crystals.

There are two methods to choose from. The first is the quickest, but requires

ether, which is dangerous and often difficult to procure. Shake up the cryst-

als with the remaining benzene and pour it into a funnel with filter paper.

After the benzene has passed through the filter rinse the empty jug with

100 ml of ether to salvage any crystals in the jug and pour the ether over

the crystals in the filter. After the ether has passed through the filter

repeat the rinsing with another 100 ml of ether. Then let the crystals dry.

If ether is not available or you do not wish to use such a highly combustible

substance, the precipitate and residual benzene can be poured into a beaker.

The jug should be rinsed several more times with a little benzene and added

to the beaker so no crystals are left behind. The beaker is then placed in

a heat bath until all of the benzene has been evaporated.

The next step is to purify the mescaline sulfate crystals. Dissolve the dry

crystals in 200 ml of near-boiling distilled water. Add a pinch of activated

charcoal (Norite) and filter while still hot through number 2 filter paper.

The hot water which contains the mescaline will pass through the filter. The

Norite absorbes impurities from the mescaline. After the liquids have passed

through the filter pour a little more hot water over the filter to rinse

through any remaining mescaline which may have impregnated the filter paper.

Add 10 percent ammonia solution a few drops at a time to the hot filtrates

until the solution registers between pH 6.5 and 7. Place a boiling stone in

the solution and reduce it's volume to 75 ml by boiling. Remove the boiling

stone and allow the solution to cool to room temperature. Place the solution

in a freezer or in a refrigerator set to the coldest possible temperature

and allow the solution to cool to almost freezing. Tiny white needle-like

crystals form around the bottom and sides of the beaker. Break up the cryst-

als with a glass stirring rod while the solution is still ice cold and pour

through a filter. Mescaline sulfate is insoluable in near freezing water and

will not pass through the filter. Rinse the beaker with fresh ice water and

pour this over the filter. The crystals will now be pure white and can be

dried under a heat lamp or in an over at 250 degrees F. More mescaline can be

salvaged from the water that has passed through the filter by boiling these

liquids down to about 20 ml, adding Norite while hot, filtering through

number 2 paper as before, chilling the filterate to near freezing as once

before, filtering while cold, rinsing with ice water and drying the crystals.

This repetition should obtain at least two more grams of mescaline sulfate.

If large volume mescaline extraction is being conducted it would be worth-

while to repeat this salvaging procedure several more times.


There are numerous methods for extracting a mixture of the alkaloids from

cacti. Different methods may result in varying degrees of purity. For exam-

ple, the dried, pulverized material can be defatted with petroleum ether

or lighter fluid prior to extraction to remove lipid content; solvent

combinations such as methanol/chloroform/ammonium hydroxide can be used for

extracting; The extractions can be made acidic (pH 9.5) with 1-N hydrochloric

acid, filtered and washed in a separatory funnel or improvised siphon-jug

apparatus with diethyl ether, neutralized with ammonium hydroxide and evapor-

ated to dryness. However, most of these solvents are difficult for the non-

professional to obtain. Perhaps it is just as well since many of these

solvents are either toxic or explosive if handled improperly. Also, we do not

always know precisely what we are trying to extract. Some of the active

principles may be non-alkaloidal. Too much purification might remove some of

the active substances. The approach given here employs materials which may

be purchased inexpensively at any supermarket and are safe to work with.

This procedure extracts all of the alcohol and water-soluable alkaloids and

non-alkaloidal materials and permits only the fibrous pulp to be discarded.

Pulverize the dried cactus (tufts and spines need not be removed). Prepare

a mixture of two parts isopropyl rubbing alcohol and one part clear, non-

sudsing, unscented and untinted ammonia. Make the pulverized material soggy

with this mixture and allow it to stand covered overnight. Do not use alum-

inum or iron wares during any of these steps. After soaking, cover the mash

with isopropyl alcohol and boil in a heat bath for six hours. Strain the

liquids through muslin and press as much liquid as possible from the pulp.

With fresh alcohol repeat the boiling and straining three more times. Combine

the strained liquids. Evaporate this in a heat bath until only a tar remains.

(When evaporating a solvent use and electric range or hot plate rather than

a gas stove. Have adequate ventilation and avoid breathing the fumes.) The

tar can be further dried by spreading it thinly on a baking tray and placing

it in an oven set at the lowest possible heat. Remove the tray once every

fifteen minutes to examine the material. When it appears to be almost dry

place it back in the oven, shut the heat off, and let it stay there until

the oven cools.


Anhalidine: Tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloid (2-methyl-6,7-dimeethoxy-8-

hydroxy-1,2,3,4,-tetrahydroisoquinoline) Found in Lophophora and Pelecyphora.

B-O-methylsynephrine: Phenolic B-phenethylamine found in citrus trees and

some cacti. No data on pharmacology, but similar compound B-O-methylepin-

ephrine produces considerable CNS stimulation.

3-dimethyltrichocereine: B-phenethylamine alkaloid (N,N-dimethyl-3-hydroxy-

4,5-dimethoxy-B-phenethylamine). Found in Pelecyphora and some Trichocereus


Dolichotheline: Imidazole alkaloid properly known as N-isovalerylhistamine

or 4(5)-[2-N-isovalerylaminoethyl]imidazole. Found only in Dolichothele and

Gymnocactus species. Pharmacological action still unknown.

Homoveratrilamine: a dimethoxy form of the mescaline molecule (3,4-dimeth-

oxy-B-phenethylamine). It has no activity by itself, but may alter the

mescaline experience slightly when taken in combination. It is found in San

Pedro cactus and in the urine of certain types of schizophrenics.

Hordenine: Phenolic B-phenethylamine found in barley roots and several

cacti. Also known as anhaline (N,N-dimethyltyramine). Has mild sympatho-

mimetic activity and antiseptic action.

Macromerine: Nonphenolic B-phenethylamine (N,N-dimethyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-

hydroxy-B-phenethylamine. Found only in Coryphantha species. Reputed to

possess 1/5 the potency of mescaline.

Mescaline: Nonphenolic B-phenethylamine (3,4,5-trimethoxy-B-phenethylamine).

main psychoactive component of Peyote, San Pedro, and several other tricho-

cereus species. Also found in traces in Pelecyphorea.

Metanephrine: Weak sympathomimetic found in Coryphantha species.

3-methoxytyramine: Pheneolic B-Phenethylamine found in the plant kingdom

for the first time in San Pedro cacti. Also found in the urine of persons

with certain types of brain disorders and cancer of the nervous system.

N-methyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-Phenethylamine: Found in Pelecyphora aselliformis,

Coryphantha runyonii and Ariocarpus species, but not in peyote. Has slight

activity in depletion of cardiac norepinephrine.

N-methylphenethylamine: Nonphenolic B-phenethylamine alkaloid recently found

in the Dolichothele species. Also found in Acacia species and other plants.

Goats and sheeps in Texas sometimes eat Acacia berlandia and suffer a condition

known as limberleg or Guajillo wobbles. Pressor action of this alkaloid has

been shown experimentally to occur with low toxicity. Phenealanine and meth-

ionine are it's biosynthetic precursors.

N-methyltyramine: Phenolic B-phenethylamine found in some cacti, mutated

barley roots and a few other plants. Probably an intermediate phytochemical

step in the methylation of tyramine to form candicine. Has mild sympathomim-

etic action and probable antibacterial properties.

Normacromerine: Nonphenolic B-phenethylamine (N-dimethyl-3,4-dimethoxy-B-

hydroxy-B-phenethylamine) found in Coryphantha species. Shows less effect

on rats than macromerine.

Pellotine: Tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloid (1,2-dimethyl-6,7-dimethoxy-8-

hydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline) found in Lophophora and pelecyphora.

Synephrine: Phenolic B-phenethylamine (N-methyl-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine)

found in citrus plants, some cacti, and human urine. Well known sympathomim-

etic agent. Probably an intermediary in phytosynthesis of macromerine.

Tyramine: Phenolic B-phenethylamine found in several cacti. Mild sympatho-

mimetic with some possible antiseptic activity.


The following companies are established cactus dealers. They carry San Pedro

and other cacti mentioned in this guide at reasonable prices. When ordering

from them do not inquire about the psychoactive potency or in any way hint

that you are using the plants for such purposes. Before ordering from them

request their catalog. Enclose $1.00 to cover the cost of the catalog and

mailing. If you wish to inquire about the availability of a species not

listed, ask for it by it's Latin botanical name. Do not inquire about the

availability of Lophophora williamsii or you will arouse suspicion.

Cactus Gem Nursery, 10092 Mann Drive, Cupertino, California 95014

The Desert Plant, 2519 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, California 94704

Desert Plant Company, PO Box 880, Marfa, Texas 79843

A. Hugh Dial, 7587 Deer Trail, Yucca Valley, California 92284

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