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The peyote cactus, or Lophophora williamsii, is a natural psychedelic high in the chemical mescaline (compared to San Pedro and Peruvian torch). It has a distinctively small, green, and globular appearance, growing close to the ground without any spines. These “crowns” or “peyote buttons” are traditionally cut from the root of the peyote plant and dried for ceremonial use.

Typically, they’re either chewed to release the active alkaloids or brewed as peyote tea—an infusion of peyote buttons and water. The peyote trip is characterized by visual effects (e.g. enhanced colors and breathing environments), philosophical/introspective insights, and feelings of euphoria.

Native to Mexico and the Southwestern US, the peyote cactus has long been a focus of Native American and pre-Colombian ceremonial traditions. Its name derives from the Nahuatl (Aztec) term peyotl and it remains legal for ceremonial use in the US under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Nowadays, it’s also used in other contexts elsewhere, including in meditation and psychotherapy. Actually, it may have been the first psychedelic to come to mainstream Western attention.

Disclaimer: Peyote is an endangered species and care should be taken to avoid purchasing specimens that have been illegally poached from the wild. Mescaline, the primary psychoactive alkaloid, is also an illegal substance in many countries, and we do not encourage or condone the use of this it where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use peyote responsibly.

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