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Mescaline

Mescaline (C11H17NO3), also called 3,4,5-trimethoxy-phenethylamine,
is a naturally-occurring phenethylamine class psychedelic alkaloid. It has been used as a recreational drug, an entheogen, and as a tool for exploring altered states of consciousness.

It is found in nature in a number of cactus species including Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) and Peruvian Torch (Echinopsis peruviana), among others. It is also found in certain members of the bean family, including Acacia berlandieri.

Peyote has been used ceremonially by Native Americans in Mexico for over 3000 years. Mescaline was first identified and isolated in 1897 by Arthur Heffter, and first synthesized in 1919 by Ernst Späth. Aldour Huxley famously experimented with mescaline and wrote of its "profound alterations of consciousness" in The Doors of Perception. Other famous users include Aleister Crowley, and Havelock Ellis.

The effective human dosage is 200–500 milligrams of pure mescaline. Hallucinations occur at 300–600mg. Interestingly, dosages at the lower end of these ranges have been described as having a subjective quality of experience very similar to a low dose of MDMA or "Ecstasy".

  • Threshold 100 mg
  • Light 100 - 200 mg
  • Common 200 - 300 mg
  • Strong 300 - 500 mg
  • Heavy 500 - 700 mg
Mescaline acts similarly to some other psychedelic agents in that it binds to, and activates the (serotonin) 5-HT2A receptor with a high nanomolar affinity. How such receptor activation leads to hallucinations is still unknown, but it likely somehow involves exciting cortical neurons. Between 20 and 50% of mescaline is excreted in the urine unchanged, and the rest is excreted as the carboxylic acid form of mescaline, a likely result of MAO degradation.

PiHKAL Entry - Mescaline

Mescaline is an illegal drug in most/all countries, however, some mescaline containing plant material is sometimes legal to possess in certain countries. See the Erowid Law page on mescaline for more info.




"DMT is a neurotransmitter that, when ingested and allowed to come to rest in unusually large amounts in the synapses of the brain, allows one to see sound [synaesthesia], so that one can use the voice to produce not musical compositions, but pictorial and visual compositions. This, to my mind, indicates that we're on the cusp of some kind of evolutionary transition in the language-forming area, so that we are going to go from a language that is heard to a language that is seen, through a shift in interior processing." - Terence McKenna - The Archaic Revival

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