Pure mescaline, in general, comes as a white or brownish crystalline powder, either loose or compressed into capsules as a pill. The powder also comes in the form of a liquid solution or brew. However, when it comes to comparing other psychedelics, mescaline extraction tends to be few and far between in most parts of the world.
Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive alkaloid that is the major psychedelic compound in a variety of psychedelic cacti endemic to the Americas, such as peyote, San Pedro, and Peruvian Torch. In its natural state, mescaline has been used in Native American religious and shamanic ceremonies for thousands of years.
Though it is not as ubiquitous today, mescaline was the first psychedelic to go through mainstream Western culture—before the extensive use of LSD and psilocybin. More lately, the extracted compound has demonstrated assurance in the medical and psychotherapeutic treatment of substance abuse and depression, among other situations.
Behavioral and non-behavioral effects
Mescaline induces psychedelic conditions similar to those that induce LSD and psilocybin, but with unique characteristics. Subjective effects can include altered thought processes, altered sense of time and self-awareness, and visual phenomena with eyes closed and open.
Color expression is distinct, vivid and intense. The repetitive visual patterns seen during the mescaline experience include stripes, checkerboards, corner spikes, multicolored dots, and very simple fractals that become very complex. Aldous Huxley described these self-transforming amorphous forms as animated stained glass windows illuminated by light passing through the eyelids. Like LSD, mescaline causes distortions and kaleidoscopic experiences, but these are more pronounced with closed eyes and in low light conditions. Mescaline can cause chronic hallucinogenic disorder.
As with LSD, synesthesia can occur especially through music. An unusual but unique feature of the use of mescaline is the “geometrization” of three-dimensional objects. The subject may appear squashed and distorted, as in a Cubist painting.
Mescaline elicits a pattern of sympathetic arousal, with the peripheral nervous system being the primary target for this substance.