Peyote is a small cactus that contains a psychoactive substance called mescaline that causes a wide range of physical and emotional effects. It has been used for thousands of years by Native North Americans.
The psychoactive effects of peyote are the main reason the plant is currently endangered. When properly harvested, the plant does not die. Instead, the harvester removes the psychoactive “buttons” and brews a strong, bitter tea. Although the taste of the tea prevents many people from experiencing the powerful Peyote trip, it is addictive.
Peyote grows in desert-like conditions, mostly southwest Texas and Mexico. Like other naturally occurring psychoactive plants, it is impossible to tell how strong peyote is by looking at it. Using peyote can result in a terrifying, sickening experience that can last for up to 12 hours.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a peyote addiction, we are available 24/7 to answer any and all questions you may have.
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The History of Peyote
Researchers have discovered peyote at Native North American architectural digs dating back over 5,000 years. The Huichol, Tonkawa, Apache and Mescalero tribes of North America are just some of the groups who used peyote during religious, healing and spiritual rituals. These tribes shared their knowledge with the Native Americans of the Northern Plains, where peyote grew in popularity in the Native American Church. Members called peyote the “sacred medicine,” and although concerns arose in the late 19th century about the safety of the psychoactive drug, it is still in use today.
It remains unclear how the drug spread to non-Native cultures. Peyote-fueled drug trips influenced the members of the Beat Generation. Author Ken Kesey and poet Allen Ginsburg are two who named peyote and other psychedelic drugs as influencing popular Beat works. Authoritative bodies have been reluctant to completely prohibit peyote, given its current uses and cultural significance. Nevertheless, peyote produces powerful side effects, and addiction is possible.
Mescaline, the active and most addictive compound in peyote, was first found in 1897 by a German chemist named Arthur Heffter, and the first synthetic version was created in 1919 by Ernst Spath, an Austrian chemist.
After the U.S. military learned that mescaline was being used for truth serum experiments by the Nazis, the Navy started its own interrogation techniques with mescaline under a secret program called “Project Chatter”, running from 1947 to 1953. By the early 1970s, American legislation and global treaties targeted mescaline and other drugs by classifying them as controlled substances, making them illegal.
Use of peyote in religious ceremonies, however, has been legal on the federal level since 1965. The federal government laid out clearer guidelines in 1996, citing the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act of 1993, making it legal in all 50 states for American use. However, some state laws have prevented peyote practices among Native Americans not affiliated with specific groups that have been granted permission to use the cactus by the federal government.
Peyote Side Effects
A full dose of peyote contains 200 to 400 mg of mescaline, and most individuals need about 6 peyote buttons to achieve that amount. The strongest side effects occur 2-4 hours after ingesting and then slowly decline over the next 8 to 12 hours.
Peyote effects are similar to LSD, altering the perception of reality and self and greatly intensifying emotions. Hallucinations and a trance-like state are common. Peyote hallucinations may include visual and auditory effects. The trance-like state resulting from peyote abuse causes many to call it a deeply spiritual or metaphysical experience. Although Native American tribes also used peyote for diverse medical purposes (to treat toothaches, diabetes, blindness and childbirth pain), there is no clinical evidence to support its effectiveness.
Within a half hour to 1 hour, most people begin to experience a version of physiological distress, discomfort, nausea, sweating, and chills. Physical symptoms can last a couple hours, then they’re typically replaced with a sense of calm and acceptance. Then, the psychological effects begin to occur.
Some peyote users fall into a deeply mystical and transcendental state, but bad trips can be common among people who have a history of mental illness. When compared to LSD, some say the effects of peyote are more on the sensual and perceptual side and less on the sense of self/altering of thought side. But some experienced takers have trouble telling the difference between both drugs.
Peyote can cause muscle twitching and weakness, poor coordination, shakiness, dilated pupils, numbness, and dizziness. Peyote also suppresses appetite, raises body temperature, and causes intense nausea and vomiting. Users typically feel disconnected from reality and may experience frightening effects such as panic, confusion or depression. Tolerance can build quickly.
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, call us now to get the right help.
Peyote addiction is not associated with physical addiction, but it can certainly be associated with psychological addiction. Users may also find themselves addicted to a substance that they think is peyote, but is actually something else, and this may occur because the slow growth and limited growing area of peyote severely restrict its distribution. To meet demand, it is common for dealers to sell another drug such as LSD or PCP as peyote. PCP, in particular, is extremely dangerous.
Am I Addicted to Peyote?
If you’re a frequent peyote user, and you’re worried about addiction, we can help. Ask yourself:
- Am I growing increasingly more obsessed with finding and taking peyote?
- Do I feel uncomfortable, depressed or anxious when I am not high on drugs?
- Have I started ignoring friends and family to spend more time taking drugs?
- Have I noticed problems at work, with friends or family, or with my reputation?
- Have I missed important events or obligations because of drug use?
- Have I tried to quit before, but always go back to using?
If any of this sounds familiar, we can help. Our professionals are available 24/7 to help you or your loved one.
What is Peyotism?
An entire religion was formed surrounding the use of peyote. It’s known as Peyotism. As of 2018, it is the largest indigenous religion among Native Americans in North America, including Mexico and Canada. It has an estimated 250,000 members so far. Peyotism, at its core, teaches a combination of traditional Native American beliefs and Christianity, with sacramental use of the peyote.
Native American Church (NAC) followers have different ceremonies and ways of practicing Peyotism. An example would be one group known as the CrossFire group, who use the bible for sermons, which are rejected by the Half Moon group. Both groups teach similar morals based on Christianity. Some ceremonies last all night long, starting Saturday night and ending early Sunday morning. Scripture reading, prayer, singing, and drumming are included. In general, the Native American Church believes in one supreme God, the Great Spirit.
Peyote Addiction Treatment
If you find yourself addicted to peyote and seeking treatment, 12 Keys Rehab is here to help. Call us now for more information about peyote and find your path to freedom. 866-480-4328