The Ultimate Mescaline Cactus Guide

The Ultimate Mescaline Cactus Guide

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
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Welcome to our ultimate guide on mescaline. Below you will find details on exactly what mescaline is, which cacti it can be found in, its effects, how it is used and how to extract it - among other things.

What Are Mescaline Cacti?

With mescaline cacti is simply meant, cactus species that produce and contain the psychedelic drug mescaline. Known by manifold ethnographic work, the mescaline cacti Peyote and San Pedro have both become famous as inebriation and ritual plants. If we were to propose the existence of these two types deals with the mescaline cacti, however, we'd wrongly believe in a huge mistake. For there are, besides the two known representatives, a whole series of other cactus plants containing mescaline. And partly in large quantities.



Mescaline is a psychedelic compound found in a number of cactus species. Scientifically known as 3, 4, 5 trimethoxyphenethylamine, mescaline is a naturally occurring alkaloid of the phenethylamine family. Its hallucinogenic and mind friendly effects are similar to those of LSD, psilocybin, and DMT.

Mescaline containing plants have been used by indigenous people all over Mexico and South and Central America for thousands of years. Mescaline has a high affinity for the serotonin 5HT receptors in the brain and causes excitation of neurones in the frontal lobe. Why these phenomena cause hallucinations is unknown. However, it has been traditionally used by native peoples to uplifting and positive personal and social effect.

Mescaline was the first of the psychedelics to be isolated. In 1896 Arthur Heffter extracted mescaline from peyote and tested it on himself. Investigation showed that affects can be felt at 100mg, but 350 mg is needed for a psychotropic experience.

Mescaline is ingested and absorbed in the intestinal tract, which is why it takes some time to kick in. Extractions work much faster than consuming cactus chips or teas, and are far less nauseating.

It is impossible to become addicted to mescaline. Evolution has built in an anti-addiction feature. If it is taken for more than four or five days in a row, it simply stops working. Doing bigger and bigger doses is just a big fat waste of time.

VIDEO: The Origin Of Our Mescaline Cacti


There are a number of alkaloid-containing cacti. For our purposes here, we are going to concentrate on those that contain mescaline as the prominent active compound. In other cacti, the alkaloids are in far too tiny concentrations to be active at comfortable ingestion rates. Having to drink five litres of cactus tea or eat four kilos of cactus would certainly be a trial.

Cactus containing mescaline do so at a reasonable enough concentration for ingestion to not be so challenging. Peyote leads the way for active alkaloid concentrations at between 1 - 6% of dried weight. The 1% is more likely in general. The Trichocereus family (San Pedro and Peruvian Torch cacti) has between 0.3 - 1.3%. With either species, it is usually trial and error with dosing that determines strength on a plant to plant basis.

Zamnesia has several types of mescaline cacti for sale via our Smartshop, but we have chosen to highlight our five best sellers in the paragraphs below.


Peyote mescaline cactus

Peyote, or Lophophora Williamsii, is certainly the most well-known of the mescaline containing cacti. It has appeared in literature and movies alike and is recognised for what it is globally. Drug culture or not.

Peyote is a slow growing button type cactus. It is greenish blue sometimes greyish green. Rather than spines, it has tufts of "wool" sprouting from regularly spaced aureole. It grows wild from central Mexico to northern Texas and has been used by indigenous peoples since the pre-Colombian era. An average dried button about 2cm in diameter weighs about two grams. It would take 6 - 10 of these buttons to get the desired effects.

Peyote flowers with an often solitary, but sometimes multiples of pleasingly symmetrical pink petalled flowers. They have bright yellow and saffron anthers that contain pollen. The flowers appear between March and May and are surprisingly crisp and firm for something that appears so delicate. Propagation is by seed once they have formed inside the fruit after being pollinated. Buttons can be broken off and left to dry slightly and be potted on scar down. Left to its own devices peyote will happily, albeit slowly, spread and spread.


San Pedro Mescaline Cactus

San Pedro or Trichocereus pachinoi (Echinopsis pachinoi) has become a star in its own right with a number of strains available. Their fast growing nature has seen San Pedro cacti become very popular in the last decade.

San Pedro is a columnar type cactus that grows in clumps. It has 7 - 9 ridges along which grow aureole containing clusters of small spines. A well-buttressed column can grow to four metres and contain a substantial amount of mescaline. They propagate by seed, spreading from the base with new growth or pups, and can even sprout new plants from felled columns. Left unattended, San Pedro can spread considerably - especially when columns break and several pups spring up along its length.

During seasonal full moons, the night blooming San Pedro produces large, showy white flowers the size of dinner plates. First, large flower pods appear on their own stalk. Then, some nights later, often unexpectedly, the flowers burst open. This show lasts two nights before the flowers die back to the fruiting body.


Peruvian Torch

Peruvian Torch, or Trichocereus Peruvianis, is distinguished by its long spines that fade from base to tip in the colours of wildfire. These spines are ridiculously sharp and pierce the skin with no warning prick at all. Just straight in. Far sharper than a hypodermic. Keep out of reach of children.

Peruvian Torch grows so similarly to San Pedro that it does not need its own description. It is mainly set apart because the effects are noticeably more intense and deeper in context than San Pedro. It has a more generous girth and is grey-green in the flesh rather than dark green. It grows at a similar rate under the same conditions as other cacti in this genus.


Echinopsis zamnesiana

As Zamnesia's own cultivated strain of cactus, Echinopsis zamnesiana takes the finest parts of the Echinopsis genus to create a truly unforgettable psychoactive experience. This hugely popular type of cactus that will effortlessly blow the minds of all those that try it.

At first glance, you may be forgiven for thinking Echinopsis zamnesiana looks quite similar to other mescaline cactus varieties. It bears a shape similar to Echinopsis pachanoi and Echinopsis lageniformis, and there are small outcrops of spines that run the length of the cactus. However, the devil is in the details, quite literally. Echinopsis cacti were used in ancient shamanic rituals over 2,000 years ago to purge evil spirits and open the mind to more divine entities. Echinopsis zamnesiana is well-equipped for modern times too, as it provides huge psychedelic effects.

When cultivating Echinopsis zamnesiana, it tends to grow long and tall, meaning it needs plenty of room to stretch out. Overall, Echinopsis zamnesiana requires very little in the way of maintenance. This cactus performs well in a shaded area for a few weeks to get its bearings. Once settled, all that's required is a light watering about twice a month for it to truly flourish. When ready, users can enjoy all the psychoactive power this cactus has to offer; rich in the alkaloid mescaline, there's plenty to check out. 


Bolivian Torch (Echinopsis lageniformis)

Otherwise known as the Echinopsis lageniformis, Bolivian torch is a fast-growing mescaline cactus whose origins can be traced back to its native Bolivia. Much like other mescaline-bearing cacti, Bolivian torch has long been harnessed by the indigenous shamans of La Paz, who call this cactus “Achuma” or “Wachuma”. It is said to have been used in religious ceremonies; however, this cactus has become highly sought-after in modern times, and for some great reasons.

Tall-growing, Bolivian torch displays around 4–8 ribs on average, located on the trunk. This gives it a robust base and allows it to reach heights of up to 5 metres. Boasting a unique look, the cactus is adorned with nodes bearing up to 4 spines, with a length of up to 6–7cm each. This is an effortless cactus to cultivate. With very little maintenance needed, Bolivian torch is often favoured by those looking for an easy way to grow mescaline cacti at home.

When it comes to effects, Bolivian torch features a potent cocktail of psychedelic substances, and overall has a higher mescaline level than the Peruvian torch and San Pedro cacti. With an average of just 0.3–0.4 grams of mescaline needed to experience effects, it can provide a compelling psychoactive experience that's not for the faint of heart. 



  • Bridgesii
  • Cuzcoensis
  • Fulvinanus
  • Macrogonus
  • Taquimbalensis
  • Terschekii
  • Validus
  • Werdermannianu

Most are distinguished by individual spine arrangements and overall stature. Some are thin with very prominent ridges. Others are chubby, and the ridges are less noticeable. Some have small aureole with many tiny spines. Some have well-spaced aureole with large needles. In all cases, care must be taken as every species is very, very sharp. All, however, give their own nuanced interpretation of the mescaline fuelled psychedelic experience.

How To Dose Mescaline Cacti Properly

How To Dose Mescaline Cacti Properly

Mescaline is a psychedelic substance that can be found in a variety of sacred cacti, including Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), and the Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana). It is important to know that finding the right dosage of mescaline for a trip isn’t always straightforward, since there are numerous variables to consider. Here is all the information you need to know about mescaline cacti and how to dose them properly.

The effects of mescaline are comparable to those of LSD and mushrooms. It is not uncommon for psychonauts to consider their experiences and visions during a mescaline trip as deeply profound and life-altering.



Mescaline is normally taken in the form of a powder, pill, or liquid. An effective dosage for a psychedelic trip can vary. In most cases, users take between 200–500 milligrams of mescaline at a time if they want to experience a moderate to strong trip. Once ingested, the effects of mescaline will normally set in after 1–2 hours.

Given that dosage is contingent on many factors, we cannot offer a silver bullet value for everyone. Individuals can and will react differently to the same dosage. What is just enough for one person may be too much for another.

Likewise, mescaline dosages that you find listed on the web are often based on mid-sized plants with average potency. However, the mescaline content and therefore potency of mescaline cacti can vary greatly. This can depend on the age of the cactus, where the plant is coming from, and even the season it was harvested. For instance, cacti harvested in winter can be more potent than those harvested in summer. Keep these things in mind and always start with low dosages at first. Gradually experiment from there, so you can find what works best for you.


Keep the above cautions in mind when looking to find your ideal dosage for the peyote cactus. On average, 27g of dried peyote or 125g of fresh cactus will make for about 300mg of mescaline.

In case you are not weighing a dry or a fresh plant, but instead measure by “buttons” (with each button measuring 2.5cm in diameter), you will need 8–10 buttons for the same dose, either dried or fresh.


Besides the Peyote cactus, columnar mescaline cacti such as San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi), Peruvian Torch (Echinopsis peruviana), and Bolivian Torch (Echinopsis lageniformis), along with some lesser-known mescaline cacti such as the Trichocereus macrogonus, have long played important roles for healing and spiritual purposes in Middle and South America. Columnar cacti all have one very specific growing trait in common: they grow tall and straight, like a column. Hence the name.

Traditionally, columnar cacti are measured by length for determining the right dose for a mescaline trip. On the other hand, recommendations such as “a piece the length of your forearm, from elbow to knuckle” do not take into account their diameter, which makes this way of measuring rather inaccurate for dosing. After all, it is the volume of the cactus that determines the total mescaline content, and not just the length. That being said, a cactus piece about 25–30cm long with a thickness of 5–8cm normally makes for an average dose.

If you are weighing cacti instead of measuring, 100g of fresh columnar cactus contains, on average, 120mg of mescaline, which means you’d require anywhere from 170–420g of cactus to get about 200–500mg of mescaline. Know that the skins of these cacti hold most of the mescaline, so one should remove as little of it as possible.


What we mentioned earlier about the varied strength of peyote and other hallucinogenic cacti is true for columnar cacti as well, like the San Pedro cactus. A recent precise chromatographic measurement of six different samples of San Pedro found that their mescaline content ranged from 1.09–23.75μg per mg of dried material. In other words, their potency can vary substantially!

Keep these considerations in mind when you want to go on a psychedelic journey with mescaline cacti. Remember, it’s always better to start with a lower dosage first, which you can always gradually increase later.



Each species provides a quantitatively different experience to pure mescaline. Differing alkaloid profiles that exist in each species give nuance and character to the individual experience. The enthusiastic mescaline consumer will soon find particular plants that flick all their switches in just the right way. These friends can be propagated and enjoyed for a whole lifetime.

"The ether was wearing off. The acid was long gone. But the mescaline was running strong. Good mescaline comes on slow. The first hour is all waiting. Then about halfway through the second hour, you start cursing the creep who burned you because nothing's happening. And then - ZANG!" Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson.

And that's how it goes. Extractions can come on faster, but eating dehydrated chips or drinking a reduction will take some time. An hour at least, sometimes four. Mescaline is absorbed in the intestinal tract. This is why it is good to fast before a mescaline session. A clean digestive tract means the consumed material is digested faster.

In the early stages, there are physical nudges and visual teasers. Gentle waves of perceptual shifts surprise and delight. Colours and sounds intensify. Natural living things take on halos. Water and sky fill with fractally receding polygons. Intense body loads come and go in waves. From crushingly hot to light and cool, the anticipation is agonisingly beautiful.

If you have been drinking teas or reductions, you are going to be purging about now. Really go with it. You will barf right up out of your boots. It is a lavishly cleansing experience. Physically intense for sure. Throwing up in that "trying to turn yourself inside out way" can be absolutely exhausting. However once done you will be floating in a multiverse of oneness with everything. Here, colours fluoresce, and a sense of languid serenity that cannot be supplanted reigns supreme. In this temporary alternate universe, all is well and conversation is easy.

The dolls house effect is common. Where objects can appear hyper coloured and flat or two-dimensional. The visual landscape may alter. Perspectives can ebb and flow, and pulsating tracings and other pleasing effects will last for many hours. Some types of cactus may only slightly alter the open eye surroundings, but put on a bright, surreal light show behind closed eyes. The movie screen of your mind becomes awash with colours and arrangements that would make Dr. Mandelbrot proud.

Feelings intensify as the hours progress. It is in this subconscious state that mescaline imparts the teachings. Mescaline, as with other psychedelics, speaks to the subconscious mind in a fundamental universal code. Once the central hallucinogenic experience is over, a refreshed and relaxed literal mind can interpret these subconscious messages for use in the real world. On other occasions, it can be damn good fun. Mescaline and concerts or social situations go hand in hand. Light shows become alive, and the music is five dimensional. Conversations glide effortlessly, and you really do see the beauty in all people.

Is it possible to have a bad trip with mescaline? Depends on what you call bad. Set and context play their important role as with other hallucinogens. State of mind entering the process plays a big part and mescaline is a master emotional amplifier. Sometimes, if you are not in the right frame of mind, it can give you a full emotional kicking. As such, should you consider the use of mescaline, it should be done somewhere you feel comfortable and safe, with someone watching over you. Large public events are not recommended for first-time users for this reason.


Weight for weight, peyote has a more profound effect than the Trichocereus family. Peyote also has a more trippy aspect to the experience with a chronic body load. Hallucinations can be jarring and resemble LSD and thought processes will be in full flow.

San Pedro offers heightened visual perception and mental flow. The physical pressure is not as intense as Peyote or Peruvian Torch, and although very intense in nature, it is not as jarring and more welcoming. Like a warm, welcoming hug from an ethereal giant. Uplifting and soothing, calming and joyous, San Pedro feels very natural. Even at the hallucinatory peak, there is a flow with which it is easy to go.

Peruvian Torch has a body load equal to that of peyote. The effects are very intense. An invisible hand clutches you by the soul and drags you down the rabbit hole, ready or not. Not necessarily super hallucinogenic, but very, very intense. Peruvian Torch feels very ceremonial, and it demands you move. It is good to have friends around and dance, dance, and dance.



There are many different psychoactive cacti. Out of 70 species, currently, about 300 cactus plants are known to include the psychoactive agents. And it does not always necessarily have to be mescaline. There are a variety of other psychoactive compounds detectable in the cacti or their detection is still pending. For the most part, the substances of the plants are actually not yet researched.

For example, we know through ethnobotanical research about Epithelantha micromeris and its fruits, the Chilitos, that are consumed by Indians, together with the psychoactive mini cactus for doping purposes, because they act as stimulants. Earlier on we talked about the Doñana cactus Coryphantha macromeris. Some cacti contain caffeine, such as Harrissia adscendens, Leocereus bahiensis and Cereus jamacaru (contains mescaline as well). Other fairly well known psychoactive cacti are Ariocarpus species with their numerous phenethylamines, which are regarded as "maddening drugs," the bishops' mitres, of those their operating principles are still unknown, the Opuntia, which contain many substances etc. Echinocereus triglochidiatus shall even contain the potent psychedelics 5-MeO-DMT. Many cacti can also be used for therapeutic purposes, a good number of cactus plants are edible. Cacti are versatile ethnobotanical plants.


A cactus often mentioned in connection with Peyote and San Pedro, is the Doñana or Dona-Ana cactus Coryphantha macromeris. It is called Mulato, also belongs to the indigenous sacred plants and is used for entheogenic purposes. It does not contain mescaline, but Macromerin and other (psychoactive) phenethylamines. Macromerin induces effects similar to mescaline, only weaker.


The term Fake Peyote does not mean faked cacti are sold. Fake Peyote is an indigenous term for plants that act and/or are used alike Peyote. This must, though, not contain mescaline, but can definitely house other substances. For instance, many species of these cacti Mammillaria, Ariocarpus, Obregonia, Aztekium, Pelecyphora and Turbinicarpus, but also non-cacti plants, for example, a Tillandsia species, various ragwort species and many more.



Dealing with the botanical naming is not always easy. It is generally like that, but especially with the cacti, it is a real back and forth This is partly because there is no binding recognized system, so to speak, but each cook cooks his own soup. San Pedro and his relatives were until recently still listed under the generic name Trichocereus, but now they belong to the Echinopsis genus. Formerly they were grouped to the Cereus genus. And off you go to the confusion: The mescaline containing Pterocereen are suddenly available as Stenocereus and the also psychoactive agent housing Dolichothele genus has been completely moved to the Mammillaria genus. Further examples could be added arbitrarily.

The researchers and users will be facing a problem then. What if, for example, one has the old, long common nomenclature in mind, but the commerce is already working with the new one? What if the situation was reversed? Without brand new cacti guide or detailed knowledge of the current situation, you are often in a fix. But it gets even more complicated. Even when it comes to the diversity of a species, there is disagreement: for example, with the Lophophora (Peyote) genus. Some claim there is only the species of Lophophora Williamsii with its varieties Lutea and Williamsii, others opinion are, that in addition to that, there are, apart from the Williamsii, at least the species of Lophophora Fricii, Lophophora Diffusa and Lophophora JourDiana. However, the botany of the plant is divided the most rational - all species and varieties contain mescaline and other phenethylamines.



All mescaline cacti can be grown from seed. The corresponding seed is available in both gardening and ethnobotanical stores. Cactus seeds are placed on the potting soil and perhaps covered with some sand. This is done for mould prevention. Then moisturize well and keep in greenhouse climate, for example, with a small propagator.

The seeds germinate more or less rapidly, depending on the type and are afterwards, as stable seedlings, set and transplanted into separate pots. Now we have to be patient. Gradually the cacti will grow and develop from seedlings to plants. The cacti want to be watered regularly, but not excessively. Whenever the substrate is dry. However, this can vary from cactus to cactus. Furthermore, they need one thing: light. Therefore, they have to be kept on the window sill or, in the summer, even outdoors.


With a clean knife, simply cut a piece of a cactus, let the surface dry out completely and then just put the cuttings in the growing medium. At the vascular bundles, it will develop the new rootlets and thrive and grow as an independent.

Some cacti form kindles which are offshoots that can easily be detached from the mother plant and further cultivated. With most cacti, the vegetative propagation is a real breeze.


Kicking off with a cactus cutting is a great way to get a head start on the growing process. Find out how to grow cacti from cuttings with our easy How-To Guide:

The Easy Guide To Cultivating Mescaline Cactus Cuttings

The Easy Guide To Cultivating Mescaline Cactus Cuttings


Congratulations, your cactus cutting has arrived. When you first inspect it, don’t freak out if you see the odd blemish. Trichos and lots of other cactus species bruise pretty easily. Occasionally, your mescaline cactus cutting might arrive with a few visible black spots. This is bruising. Not signs of rot. A rotted cactus will feel extra soft and usually oozes from rotted sections that appear as orange/black discoloured patches. Black spots from bruising will scar and heal in a few weeks to a few months. Should you discover actual rotting flesh, you must carefully cut the section away.

The base of the cactus cutting should be dry to the touch and well-calloused. Fresh, green, wet cuttings simply will not root. The bottom of your cactus must not be moist. If the bottom of the cutting is damp for any reason, it’s trouble. You need to put a moist cutting in a low-humidity, shaded area for about a week to dry it out completely. Dryness will encourage roots to emerge in search of nutrients.



You can mix your own medium, but there really is no need. It’s far more convenient to pick up a bag of pre-fertilised ornamental cactus soil from the local garden centre. Using sand or perlite as a standalone substrate is not recommended. Although, many cactus growers favour a very well-draining and highly aerated soil with 50% perlite added. Amending store bought cactus soil with 50% perlite might sound like a lot, but for rooting a young cutting, it is an ideal medium.


Rooting a cactus cutting is relatively easy. After you have premixed your substrate, you are ready to introduce your cactus cutting to its new home. Do not water the soil. Not a drop. Again, contrary to rooting most other plant species, cacti require a dry medium. At most, you can lightly mist the soil with a sprayer. Cacti don’t absorb water through the skin, so don’t worry if some of the mist makes contact with the cactus flesh.

Be careful not to bury the cutting too deep. Use your fingers to scoop out about 5cm deep into the container and plant your cutting vertically. Larger cuttings can go 10cm deep. Most growers will use a small pot until the cactus matures, then pot-up to a larger container. We will explain how to repot a little later.



After you plant your cutting, you need to place it in a dry spot out of direct sunlight. For the next 3-4 weeks, you will need to play the waiting game and be patient until your shaded infant cutting takes root. You can check for root development by gently brushing away soil and pulling up the cutting a bit from the pot. Another couple weeks of patience may be required if your cutting has not rooted yet.

Watering needs to be applied with a “less is more” mentality. Once the cutting has rooted, you can think about watering. Regular weekly feeds should be a small volume of water/nutrient solution; less regular monthly watering can be a larger volume feed. Never should the soil be saturated. Excess moisture will cause rot.

A rooted cutting is ready to receive sunlight. If possible, try to get them started at temps in the lower 20’s Celsius until they mature some. A red-hot baking summer day is not the best time to give your cutting its first day of sunshine.



Cacti thrive in higher temperatures typically between 20-35°C during the daytime, and above 15°C at night. However, cuttings should be rooted in temperatures closer to the lower end of the scale until they mature. Dry conditions are favoured by Peyote and San Pedro, although San Pedro is a little more tolerant to humidity as it originates in the Andes. Indoors, San Pedro cuttings are some of the fastest rooting and growing cacti. A greenhouse can also make a perfect cactus habitat. Some can grow as much as 50cm per season if you treat them right.


Contrary to most other plant species, cacti don’t require much nitrogen. In fact, they do not require much fertiliser at all. What nutrients you do feed need to be in the correct ratio for optimal growth. An N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio of 7-40-6 is recommended. Alternatively, 1-7-6 fertilisers are also popular amongst cactus cultivators.


Repotting or transplanting a cactus is simple. After a few months, your cuttings may become root bound. This means they need more space for the cactus to continue growing. Fill a larger container with cactus potting soil and make a hole deep enough for the small container to fit. Remove the cactus from the small container by pushing gently from the base and lifting the whole medium and root mass all in one. This is pretty easy once the soil is really dry (and if you use a small plastic container to start your cutting). Then, transfer the cutting to the hole in the larger container.


Large cuttings that are 50-60cm need support. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple process. Bamboo stakes or redwood garden stakes used by vegetable farmers are readily available and the perfect cactus supports. Set two stakes vertically in the soil, one to the left and one to the right of the cactus. Then, use gardening twine to create a tense support line on two sides of the cactus. This should help larger cuttings stay upright.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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