The peyote scientific name Lophophora williamsii , is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline. Peyote is a Spanish word derived from the Nahuatl peyōtl , meaning “caterpillar cocoon”, from a root peyōni, “to glisten”. Peyote is native to Mexico and southwestern Texas. It is found primarily in the Sierra Madre Occidental, the Chihuahuan Desert and in the states of Nayarit, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosí among scrub. It flowers from March to May, and sometimes as late as September. Lophophora williamsii
Why Do People Use Peyote?
There are different reasons people might use it. The original reasons, as were discussed above, were for medicinal purposes and religious ceremonies. The Native American Church still uses it for reasons that include communicating with spirits, prayer ceremonies and seeing the future. Medicinally, Native American tribes feel peyote can help treat many conditions, including helping with pain during childbirth, fever, diabetes, blindness, joint pain, skin wounds and general pain People who use peyote outside of Native American religious ceremonies are doing so illegally. They may want to experience hallucinations, escape life and reality, or just get away from the stress of their lives. Unfortunately, people often feel that since peyote is natural, it is safe. This isn’t necessarily true.
What Does Peyote Do
- It is a hallucinogen, meaning it can cause profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality (known as hallucinations), including seeing, hearing, and feeling things that seem real but are not.
- Hallucinogens are thought to affect neural circuits in the brain involving the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a role in mood, sensory perception, sleep, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, and muscle control.
- The effects of peyote (which can range from a deeply mystical transcendental state to a “bad trip” and dysphoric symptoms) will depend on the potency and amount that is ingested, as well as the user’s expectations, mood, surroundings, and mental health history. Many users describe the high as dream-like.
- The effects are often intensified when the drug is combined with substances like alcohol or stimulants, which can potentially harm
Common Side Effects
The amount of mescaline needed to produce hallucinations is very small—usually 0.3 to 0.5 grams. The effects can last up to 12 hours but will depend on a user’s size, metabolism, and how much is ingested.
The physical effects of peyote are similar to those of LSD and may include:
- Appetite loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- Profound sweating
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Uncoordinated movements