Mescaline is een alkaloïde afkomstig van onder andere de cactussen Lophophora williamsii (peyote), L. diffusa, Echinopsis pachanoi en Echinopsis peruvianus. Het kan tegenwoordig ook synthetisch gemaakt worden. Mescaline is als recreatieve drug bekend onder de namen mescalito, mess, wizz en cactus. Naast recreatief gebruik wordt mescaline voornamelijk door psychonauten gebruikt voor verlichting en verkenning van de geest.

In Mexico is deze stof reeds lang bekend. Hij werd vooral toegepast in sjamanistische rituelen.

Het effect van mescaline zou door gebruikers beschreven worden als een innerlijke reis door de geest, waarbij zowel de negatieve als positieve kanten van de geest uit een ander perspectief kunnen worden verkend. Sommige gebruikers zouden alles omgeven zien door een soort van cartoonesk licht.

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2010 May;48(4):350-3. doi: 10.3109/15563650903586745.

Peyote and mescaline exposures: a 12-year review of a statewide poison center database.

Peyote, a cactus containing the hallucinogen mescaline, has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years. Illicit use is also known to occur, but reports in the medical literature consist only of isolated case reports.


We sought to identify characteristics of patients with reported exposure to peyote or mescaline.


We performed a retrospective review of the California Poison Control System database for the years 1997-2008 for all cases of single-substance human exposure using the search terms "peyote" and "mescaline."


There were a total of 31 single-substance exposures to peyote or mescaline. Thirty (97%) exposures were intentional; 30 (97%) exposures were through the oral route, whereas one patient (3%) insufflated mescaline powder. Five patients (16%) were managed at home, whereas the remainder patients were managed in a healthcare facility. Commonly reported effects included hallucinations, tachycardia, agitation, and mydriasis. Vomiting was reported in only one case.


Although uncommonly encountered, use of peyote and mescaline was associated with clinically significant effects requiring treatment in a substantial number of patients. Clinical effects were usually mild or moderate, and life-threatening toxicity was not reported in this case series.

Mescaline has been used by quite a number of well known people. Aldous Huxley experimented with the use of mescaline. So did Aleister Crowley as reported in his diary, as well as the famous sex psychologist Havelock Ellis. Hunter S. Thompson wrote an extremely detailed account of his first use of mescaline in First Visit with Mescalito, appearing in his book Songs of the Doomed. Dr Alexander Shulgin said he was first inspired to explore psychedelic compounds by a mescaline experience. According to Paul Strathern's book Sartre in 90 Minutes, Jean-Paul Sartre experimented with mescaline, and his description of ultimate reality (in La Nausee) as "viscous and obscene" was written under mescaline's influence. Carlos Santana told in 1989 about his mescaline use in a Rolling Stone interview.

Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is an alkaloid that occurs naturally in the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) and the Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana), and in a number of other members of the Cactaceae. Mescaline is also found in some other species of genus Echinopsis (i.e. Echinopsis lageniformis and Echinopsis scopulicola). It is also found in small amounts in certain members of the Fabaceae (bean family), including Acacia berlandieri.

Other mescaline containing plants

Apart from the plants mentioned above, a number of other plants also contain mescaline. There are a number that are simply known to contain the chemical, without much more being known about the rest of the plant. The following is a list of them. Details are from Christian Rasch’s Encyclopaedia:

Eriosyce Islaya - Eriosyce is a genus of cacti native to Chile and Rasch states that Eriosyce islaya contains mescaline

Gymnocalycium -, commonly called chin cactus, is a genus of about 70 South American species of cacti. The genus name Gymnocalycium (from Greek, "naked calyx") refers to the flower buds bearing no hair or spines. According to Ratsch at least two contain mescaline:

G. gibbosum

G. leeanum

Myrtillocactus- geometrizans - commonly known as Bilberry Cactus, Whortleberry Cactus or Blue Candle is a species of cactus in the genus Myrtillocactus native to central and northern Mexico. Ratsch lists it as containing mescaline

Pereskiopsis scandens - contain mescaline according to Ratsch. Pereskiopsis is from the Greek -opsis, "looking", because of its resemblance with the genus Pereskia. It is a genus of cacti

Polaskia chende spp – a peculiar form of cactus

Pachycereus [syn Pterocereus] is a genus of 9–12 species of large cacti native to Mexico and just into southern Arizona, USA. Pachycereus comes from the ancient Greek "pakhus" meaning "thick" and the Latin "cereus" meaning "torch". According to Rasch:

Plerocereusgaumeri and other spp contain mescaline

Pachycereus pecten-aboriginum is also hallucinogenic, but the alkaloid may not be mescaline

Stenocereus - Stenocereus (Gk. stenos, narrow , L. cereus ,candle) is a genus of columnar or tree-like cacti from the Baja California Peninsula and other parts of Mexico, Arizona in the United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Venezuela. A close relative is the peculiar chinoa or chende cactus, Polaskia chende [see above]. Varieties containing mescaline identified by Rasch are:

S. beneckei

S. eruca

S. stellatus

S. treleasei


Stetsonia coryne - The toothpick cactus is a species of cactus and the sole species of its genus (Stetsonia). The plant originates from the low northwest deserts of Argentina and Bolivia.