Interesting Facts About Mescaline: Known For Its Hallucinogenic Effects

Mescaline is a drug that can be artificially created in laboratory conditions, but is most often extracted from cacti plants. It’s a drug that has been consumed for more than 3,000 years, having its roots in the Native cultures in North and South America. You might recognize this drug by a more popular name: peyote.
Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid of the phenethylamine class, known for its hallucinogenic effects comparable to those of psilocybin and LSD.
It occurs naturally in the peyote cactus, the San Pedro cactus, the Peruvian torch, and other members of the Cactaceae plant family. It is also found in small amounts in certain members of the Fabaceae (bean) family, including Acacia berlandieri.
Mescaline has a wide array of suggested medical usage, including treatment of alcoholism and depression. However, its status as a Schedule I controlled substance in the Convention on Psychotropic Substances limits availability of the drug to researchers. Because of this, very few studies concerning mescaline’s activity and potential therapeutic effects in humans have been conducted since the early 1970s.
Below are some interesting facts about Mescaline:
1. Mescaline was first synthesized in 1919 by Ernst Späth from 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoyl chloride. Subsequent to this, numerous approaches utilizing different starting materials have been developed.
2. The Native American Church was formed in 1918 specifically to preserve the right to use mescaline for religious ceremonies. By 1922, there were an estimated 13,000-22,000 ceremonial users of mescaline in the U.S.
3. Mescaline is produced when products of natural mammalian catecholamine-based neuronal signaling such as dopamine and noradrenaline are subjected to additional metabolism via methylation, and mescaline’s hallucinogenic properties stem from its structural similarities with these two neurotransmitters.
In plants, this compound may be the end-product of a pathway utilizing catecholamines as a method of stress response, similar to how animals may release compounds such as cortisol when stressed.
4. In the United States, mescaline was made illegal in 1970 by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, categorized as a Schedule I hallucinogen. The drug was prohibited internationally by the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mescaline is legal only for certain religious groups (such as the Native American Church) and in scientific and medical research.
5. In Canada, France, The Netherlands and Germany, mescaline in raw form and dried mescaline-containing cacti are considered an illegal drug. However, anyone may grow and use peyote, or Lophophora williamsii, as well as Echinopsis pachanoi and Echinopsis peruviana without restriction, as it is specifically exempt from legislation. In Canada, mescaline is classified as a schedule III drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, whereas peyote is exempt.
6. In 1955, English politician Christopher Mayhew took part in an experiment for BBC’s Panorama, in which he ingested 400 mg of mescaline under the supervision of psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. Though the recording was deemed too controversial and ultimately omitted from the show, Mayhew praised the experience, calling it “the most interesting thing I ever did”.
7. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Oregon could ban the use of mescaline in Native American religious ceremonies. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993 allowed the use of peyote in religious ceremony, but in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the RFRA is unconstitutional when applied against states.
Many states, including the state of Utah, have legalized peyote usage with “sincere religious intent”, or within a religious organization, regardless of race.

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