Peyote Chemical Characteristics – Empower and Healer

Peyote Chemical Characteristics – Empower and Healer


Book: Illegal Drugs, A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse,Chapter 7 Devine Cactus:  The Story of Peyote and Mescaline, Chemical Characteristics, Page 410 – By Paul M. Gahlinger, M.D., and Ph.D.

Chemical Characteristics

Of the more than 55 pharmacologically active substances found in peyote, mescaline is considered the most important and accounts for the main psychoactive effects.  About one percent, or about 45 mg, of the dry weight of peyote is mescaline.  The action of the other constituents is not well known, but they may be very important in the overall effect and contribute to the efficacy of peyote in relieving alcohol and other drug addictions.

Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxy-phenethylamine) is an indole hallucinogen resembling the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine (see Chapter 6).  It has about 1/2000th the potency of LSD, and 1/20th the potency of psilocybin.  Mescaline can be extracted from peyote, but almost all available mescaline is produced synthetically.  A 500 mg dose of mescaline is equivalent to about a dozen peyote buttons.

Alcoholism and other drug abuse are common among Native Americans, and peyote appears to be remarkably effective in resolving these addictions.

The United States Public Health Service Hospital in Clinton, Oklahoma, has reported some success in a program at its alcoholism rehabilitation center using peyote in group sessions that resemble Alcoholics Anonymous.  The beneficial action of peyote in relieving alcohol or other addictions is poorly understood.  It is possible that certain biochemical alkaloids found in the peyote cactus, and not just mescaline, are pharmacologically similar to the neuroamine-derived alkaloids formed in the brain during alcohol intoxication.  By replacing the neurologic effects of alcohol, the alcoholic can more easily abstain.  The chemistry of this effect is not clear, but it does seem to work.  Theoretically, peyote tolerance develops quickly and there should be little effect if it is taken for more than a day or so.  The NAC, however, will encourage drug addicts to take peyote every day for weeks or even months, with the result that the addiction is often cured.

“Peyote is not harmful… It is a better antidote to alcohol than anything [the] American Medical Association, and the public health services have come up with.” – Dr. Karl A. Menninger, renowned psychiatrist