There are plants whose healing and hallucinogenic properties have been known by the natives for thousands of years. One of them is Peyote, an endemic species from Mexico that today we can find all over the world, although its consumption is limited by the regulations of each country.
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What is peyote?
Peyote is an almost circular cactus that grows in northern Mexico and in the southern United States. Its scientific name is Lophophora williamsii and its intake causes hallucinogenic effects produced by mescaline, a very powerful alkaloid that also has possible medical applications, although in much lower doses.
This cactus is about 5 centimeters tall and grows under the desert scrub to avoid being part of the menu of some predators. The body is divided from 5 to 13 segments or “buttons”, from green to bluish through gray. The areoles do not have spines and are covered with white fuzz. The flowers are pale pink and bloom between March and May.
Although its consumption does not generate addiction and does not produce any adverse health effects, the hallucinations are so powerful and long-lasting (the effects can last 12 hours) that they can compromise the physical and mental integrity of the individual.
Before European settlers arrived, Native Americans used peyote to carry out their rituals, a tradition that soon spread throughout the United States. Currently, the members of the Native American Church call it “The Medicine”, and they use it to combat social conditions such as alcoholism.
Etymologically, the word “peyote” may have an Aztec origin and mean something similar to “riot” or “stimulation”. However, other experts consider that it comes from the Nahuatl word “peyotl”, which means “silky” or “cocoon”. What effects does it have? Mescaline, one of the active alkaloids contained in peyote , is a powerful hallucinogen whose effect can last for hours. Those who consume it ingest one or more of the upper lumps of the plant or “buttons”. Its effects have been widely described, resulting in the following process. 1. Alteration of perception
Half an hour after ingestion, the alteration of perception begins, followed by a strange sensation of intoxication. In the vision they cross“shapes and dots” of very vivid colors . This is because mescaline begins to have an effect on the central nervous system. 2. Physical
effects Physical effects can also occur, such as shortness of breath, nausea, or tension in the muscles of the neck and face. These unpleasant effects tend to disappear after the first hour. 3. Altered state of consciousness
One hour after ingestion, the individual experiences an altered state of consciousness that may be different in each session. The effects range from total relaxation to a state of paranoia that can be dangerous. The hallucinogenic effects intensify in the following hours.
Objects may appear larger or smaller, vividly colored figures and auras appear, and individuals may gaze at non-existent objects or entities . This state can last from 6 to 12 hours.
Subsequently, the effects are softened until the individual returns to the initial state. In some Native American rituals (the Navajo being an example), participants indulge in the disturbances of the first phase and take advantage of the “low” for meditation and relaxation. According to them, this facilitates “inner peace.” 4. Possible overdose
An excess of mescaline can cause dangerous arrhythmias and, ultimately, cardiac arrest. This fact should be considered a medical emergency and can be counteracted with 20 milligrams of Diazepam or a similar relaxing medication, although it is best to seek the help of a medical professional. There is no exact number of “buttons” from which the risk of overdose increases. Peyote regulation
Its consumption is regulated according to the legislation of each country. As in most cases, there are stricter laws with this type of substance and other more permissive ones. 1. In the United States and Mexico
In the United States and Mexico, the countries where you can find more peyote, its consumption is allowed by indigenous tribes. However, according to the State Law for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and Communities, peyote is a “sacred plant” and cannot be transported or cultivated. On the other hand, its possession is allowed as long as it is for personal consumption in the domestic sphere or for ornamental purposes. 2. In Spain
The same thing happens in Spain. You can have peyote as long as it is for your own consumption (in small amounts) or you have it for decorative purposes. Its sale is strictly prohibited due to the high degree of toxicity, although the sale of seeds is allowed. There are not a few associations in Spain that perform rituals with peyote, although in most cases without the supervision of a professional.
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