What is Mescaline? Is Mescaline Therapy The Next Big Thing

January 3, 2023

Nue Life

Nue Life

Psychedelic treatment for symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety has possibly become one of the most cutting-edge developments within the medical and mental health world. The studies of psychedelics like mescaline have shown promising results. Medical professionals are starting to turn to these off-label options for many patients who haven’t had any luck with mainstream solutions and medications. 

Mescaline therapy is a fairly new treatment that surfaced in the world of psychedelic treatment, but what is mescaline therapy exactly? How does it treat depression? How does it make patients feel? Do they actually go on a psychedelic trip? These are all valid questions that anyone who’s considering psychedelic treatment should be asking. 

Read on to discover why mescaline therapy may or may not be the next big thing in psychedelic research. 

What Is Mescaline?

Mescaline is one of the main active ingredients from a small, spineless cactus known as the peyote cactus or Lophophora Williamsii. Peyote is indigenous to the southwestern portion of the United States and the northern part of Mexico. Early records show that natives have used mescaline, or 3, 4, 5-trimethoxyphenethylamine, from peyote to conduct certain religious rituals and ceremonies. 

Mescaline induces psychedelic effects that can change perception and cause various hallucinations, but how safe is it? Many are curious about its safety, specifically regarding its legal use, if any, its addictive properties, and how it is administered. Whether you are researching mescaline for mental health purposes or pure curiosity, it’s important to know the answers to these commonly asked questions. So, here you go. 

Is Mescaline Legal?

Even though mescaline has shown promising results in scientific and medical research regarding the treatment of mental health, it is still regarded as an illegal schedule one substance. Researchers have not found a consistently safe way to administer it, it has a high probability of abuse, and there is no currently accepted medical use for it. 

While it is not legal for the general population, a few groups of people are still legally allowed to use mescaline. Scientists are allowed to conduct further research on it, and specific religious groups like the Native American Church are still allowed to use it for their religious traditions that are protected under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. 

Even though the drug remains illegal, many can still obtain it and use it for its hallucinogenic effects. Over time, this type of use has earned mescaline street names like buttons, cactus, San Pedro cactus, and mescal. 

Is Mescaline Addictive?

Those who take mescaline do not exhibit the same compulsive drug-seeking behavior that those who use other addictive drugs like cocaine, alcohol, and heroin do. For this reason, peyote use is not believed to be addictive. However, it can easily be abused. 

Similar to alcoholism, people who repeatedly and consistently consume mescaline accumulate a tolerance to it, causing them to require increased doses over time. Because the drug is so unpredictable and medically unsafe, the practice of increasing doses and consistently using peyote can be very dangerous to a person’s mind and body and is highly not recommended, especially outside of a medical context. 

What is Mescaline Used For? 

Mescaline is primarily used for its psychoactive properties, offering profound psychological insights and experiences that are being explored in various ceremonial, religious, and now therapeutic contexts. Its application has extended into modern psychotherapy to address conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Researchers are investigating mescaline's potential for enhancing creativity and problem-solving abilities through microdosing. Its use, however, is tightly regulated in many countries due to its psychoactive effects.

How Do You Take Mescaline?

The part of peyote cacti that is above ground is known as the crown because of its circular shape and crown-like ornaments. This above-ground portion of the plant can be either green, red, yellow, or blue. More frequently, it is expected to be a combination of greens and reds. Typically, people who wish to ingest mescaline will cut these disc-shaped ornaments, or buttons, off from their roots and then dry them. After the drying process is complete, people will either chew on them or soak them in water to produce a liquid that is filled with its contents. After ingestion, the experience you have can be anywhere from enjoyable to severely uncomfortable. 

How Does Mescaline Make You Feel?

The ingestion of peyote can induce intense physical and mental reactions. Some of these can be considered enjoyable and a similar experience to other psychedelics like DMT or LSD. Other reactions may not be so enjoyable. 

A few common questions about mescaline’s effects include: Does mescaline cause euphoria? How does mescaline change what you see? Does mescaline have any negative effects? And how long does a mescaline trip last? 

Ultimately, peyote is so unpredictable that it can be hard to say exactly what it would do to you. Here are a few answers to the questions above that are rather common experiences regarding mescaline trips. 

Does Mescaline Cause Euphoria?

The ingestion of peyote often leads to altered states of consciousness. In this state of mind, a person’s perception of the world, their body, and their thoughts can be completely altered, similar to the way that other hallucinogens alter perception. This feeling is enjoyable, blissful, and often euphoric for many people. 

Hallucinogens often bring about a new perspective on self-reflection and day-to-day surroundings. This is why many hallucinogens have been used throughout the years in religious contexts. 

People believed that it provided a state of mind that was valuable to understanding life and furthering one’s spiritual journey. This spiritual experience can often lead to a feeling of enlightenment which could certainly be described as euphoria. Many still believe that psychedelic drugs have this effect to this day. 

While many experience euphoria while on a mescaline trip, this is not the experience that everyone has. It can often lead to adverse mental experiences that may leave the user anxious and afraid long after the effects of the drug wear off. 

How Does Mescaline Change What You See?

The ingestion of peyote, whether through chewing on its buttons or by ingestion of its liquid, will cause a change in perception and thought. Often referred to as a dream-like state. This happens because, when in your system, peyote affects your brain by disrupting how your nerve cells interact with the neurotransmitter serotonin. 

Your serotonin system is directly involved with many bodily functions, such as sex drive, mood, perception, muscle control, hunger, and body temperature. 

Having this type of effect on your serotonin system will alter the way you perceive most sensory input. These visual hallucinations can cause you to see things larger or smaller than they are, closer or farther away than they are, and oftentimes things that are not even there. In some rarer cases, it may even cause you to hear things that are not there. 

Does Mescaline Have Any Negative Effects?

Ingesting mescaline can potentially come with an assortment of negative psychological and physical effects. The physical effects can take place before, during, and after the psychedelic trip and include any of the following experiences. 

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Perspiration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Intense headaches
  • Dilated pupils 

As the psychedelic effects set in, some users will experience a euphoric state of mind with a dream-like perception. Others could have a horrible experience that lives with them long after the effects wear off. This can include feelings of intense fear, loss of control, and anxiety. In severe cases, the user may be convinced that they are going mentally insane or even dying. 

After the effects have worn off, if the user has had a negative psychedelic experience, they may continue to receive intense flashbacks, also known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). 

This means that they may have recurring experiences with the hallucinations that they encountered under the effects of mescaline long after the trip has ended. This has been known to happen to people after just one experience with peyote, and it is still unclear exactly what causes this to happen.  

How Long Does a Mescaline Trip Last?

The length of a mescaline trip can depend on several varying factors specific to your situation. Variables like your height, weight, age, and amount of peyote can all affect the length of your trip. 

Most people looking for a hallucinogenic experience with mescaline will use anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5 grams. After ingesting it, you can expect to start feeling the psychedelic effects after about an hour or so. Once it has fully taken effect, the psychedelic experience can last around 12 to 18 hours. 

What Is Mescaline Therapy?

While the unsupervised use of mescaline for its hallucinogenic effects is illegal and unsafe, there have been successful results within the medical community regarding mescaline therapy. Mescaline therapy utilizes a clinical method to treat certain mental illnesses and increase cognitive abilities in certain patients. 

The idea behind clinical psychedelic therapy is it can be a safe way to utilize the benefits of psychedelics like mescaline and ketamine without the risk of severely negative psychedelic experiences or abuse. 

Mescaline Therapy and Mental Health

As the research regarding psychedelics and mental health has progressed, studies have shown that mescaline treament can be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and many more. 

While there is still much to learn about how mescaline affects the human mind, this type of therapy is believed to improve the psychological flexibility and durability of its patients.

Essentially, many believe that administering small doses of clinically tested mescaline can give a patient a minor psychedelic experience that can improve their mental health. It’s believed that this type of experience alters a person’s perception, allowing them to gain the psychological flexibility needed to endure distressing situations that would often trigger mental issues like depression and anxiety. 

Who Can Benefit From Mescaline Therapy?

Many different types of people can benefit from this type of psychedelic therapy. The main people groups this type of therapy is meant for are those who struggle with illnesses like treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, paranoia, and other mental diseases. However, it does not exclusively benefit people who fall under those categories. 

There are many varying levels of mental struggles with the stress of day-to-day life. You don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with anxiety to feel anxious when your work life or home life gets stressful. 

Anyone who feels like they are stuck in a spiral of stressful situations can potentially benefit from mescaline therapy. With the increasing struggle with mental health that many are facing in this day and age, psychedelic therapy is becoming a valid option for treatment. 

Is Mescaline Therapy Safe?

This is the main question. Is mescaline a safe alternative to other treatments for mental health issues? For mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, antidepressants have been the prevailing medication that many take. 

The unfortunate thing is that the most popular antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), have some of the worst side effects and don’t work for a large fraction of those who use them. This is why the use of psychedelic therapy has become popular for the treatment of these kinds of conditions. 

In many cases, clinically prescribed mescaline therapy is safe, but there are a few other psychedelic treatment options out there, and mescaline may not be the safest or best option available to you. 

Mescaline Therapy vs. Ketamine Therapy: How Do They Compare?

Along with the increase in psychedelic research and the effects of psychedelics on mental health, ketamine therapy has become a promising off-label treatment for anxiety, depression, and PTSD. 

What Is Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine therapy is a treatment in which the dissociative psychedelic drug, ketamine, is administered to a patient over time in small doses. 

Ketamine was originally FDA-approved as an anesthetic for humans and animals in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Since then, research has shown that ketamine may be effective at relieving symptoms of depression.

Presently, ketamine does not have an FDA label for this specific use but is often turned to as a solution for many people’s mental health needs.  

While there are a few ways to take ketamine, some treatment centers administer ketamine therapy in the form of an oral pill that you can take in the comfort of your own home. As opposed to IV infusions that must be done in person, sublingual ketamine is a time-saving, painless, and more affordable means of achieving mental wellness. 

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine, being an N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, directly affects parts of the brain that deal with neurotransmission. 

Similar to mescaline therapy, ketamine treatments can provide the patient with a light psychedelic experience. This experience is often relaxing for the patient, providing a dream-like state with an enhanced perception of their surroundings. 

Is Ketamine Safer Than Mescaline Therapy?

Among all of the psychedelic drugs, including mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms, and lysergic diethylamide (LSD), ketamine appears to be the safest. In the search for psychedelic treatment regarding mental health, ketamine has proven to be the most promising option. 

When taken in a clinical setting, patients have only exhibited mild side effects like faint headaches, slight restlessness, and subtle dizziness. Even so, these side effects are relatively rare and much more tolerable than those of mescaline therapy. 

When it comes down to it, ketamine and mescaline are both capable of treating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Still, ketamine appears to be a safer and more well-studied method. Medical professionals are more aware of its side effects and are more likely to prescribe it as an off-label treatment for their patient’s mental health needs. 

The Bottom Line

Mescaline therapy has shown promising results in early studies that use it to treat depression and anxiety. When used in a medical context, it can cause patients to experience a light psychedelic trip that can provide them with a dream-like state of mind and altered perception. 

While the results have been promising, there are still various severe side effects and unknown aspects of the drug that make it a risky choice. 

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.


Mescaline | Streetdrugs

Peyote & Mescaline | Drugs of Abuse

Peyote (Mescaline): Risks, Warning Signs & What Parents Should Know | Partnership to End Addiction

Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP | National Institute of Drug Abuse  

Ketamine for depression | National Library of Medicine  

Daily Oral Ketamine for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety in Patients Receiving Hospice Care: A 28-Day Open-Label Proof-of-Concept Trial | NCBI

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