Peyote is one of those substances that’s dramatized in movies and fiction. It’s usually portrayed as a portal to enlightenment, and the movies featuring peyote are typically set in the western United States.
But peyote isn’t just a path to spiritual enlightenment. It’s a recreational drug to some, and while it’s not the most popular drug, it’s certainly one of the most potent. Read on to find out more about peyote and whether you can become addicted to the substance.
Is Peyote Addictive?
To answer your most pressing question, peyote is not an addictive drug, physically. Your body will not become dependent upon peyote. It was the first mainstream psychedelic drug in the United States, and the use of the substance in American dates back to the Native Americans.
If you use peyote, it’s not likely that your body will become physically addicted. However, as with many other drugs, it’s possible to become psychologically addicted to peyote.
Again, it’s not likely that you’ll become addicted to peyote if you use it. However, as of 2014 it was reported that 1.2 million Americans over the age of 12 were using hallucinogenic drugs like this one. It’s unclear how many of those children and adults were using peyote, specifically.
Peyote Side Effects
There are “positive” and negative side effects of peyote. The positive side effects are what keep peyote users coming back for more, and are the desired effect of the drug. These side effects can be best described as bizarre. Some users see visions, hallucinations or “mirages.” Others hear music playing where there is none.
Some users have stated that after using peyote, they saw a world “made up of rainbows.” Nothing was the right color, and depth perception was altered drastically. Many have experienced visions which were more akin to nightmares. They were terrified and vowed never to use the drug again.
There are negative peyote side effects, of course. When you first take the drug, you’ll feel nauseous. Most people throw up within a few minutes of taking it. You’ll feel dizzy and hot, and you’ll begin to sweat. Your heart rate will increase, and it’s possible that you’ll feel numbness. Your pupils will dilate and your blood pressure will rise.
So with all the negative side effects, why do people still take the drug?
Where Does Peyote Come From?
Peyote comes from the cactus plant Lophophora williamsii, which is native to Mexico and the southeastern United States. Its seeds look like little buttons, and those buttons are chewed to produce a psychedelic effect. In some cases, the buttons may be steeped in water to make a tea. The tea produces the same effect as chewing the seeds.
We don’t know too much about the use of peyote prior to the arrival of European settlers to America. But archaeological studies suggest that the drug use dates back as far as 3780 BCE. The first written accounts of peyote described it as one which caused the natives to feel no fear. More scathing reviews stated that it was a “diabolical root.”
European settlers to America and Mexico were a superstitious lot, and there was an almost instant stigma placed on the drug. However, natives had been using the drug as a spiritual tool for millennia before their arrival.
Today, peyote is illegal for consumption with one exception: the native American Church. The drug is still used as an important tool in spiritual ceremonies.
How Does Peyote Work?
No one is entirely certain how hallucinogens work. We do know that the block receptors in the brain, and impacting the interaction of nerve cells with serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical that’s in charge of mood balance.
Interestingly, in addition to its use as a recreational drug and a spiritual tool, peyote is also effective as a treatment for fever, rheumatoid arthritis and even paralysis. It’s also used to treat fractures and snakebites.
Peyote vs LSD
There’s no safe drug. But those who compare peyote vs LSD have said that the difference between the two is night and day. Most prefer peyote. They claim that using peyote can be an enlightening experience, while LSD can cause anxiety.
Peyote users describe their experience as “deep” and “meaningful.” LSD is more of a party drug, with users describing the effects as awkward at best. Both are hallucinogens, and neither LSD nor peyote are considered addictive drugs.
Peyote vs Mescaline
For all intents and purposes, there’s no comparison between peyote vs mescaline. The reason for this is that peyote is a plant, the cactus discussed earlier in this article. That plant produces button-like tubercles. Those buttons are synonymous to “mescal buttons.”
Mesacline is the psychedelic drug contained in those mescal buttons. The peyote plant isn’t the only which produces mescaline, but it’s the most well known.
Peyote has been used for a very long time. Most who use it as a spiritual tool do so with a full knowledge of how the drug works. Those who don’t may put themselves at risk.
There are peyote dangers to consider if you’ve thought about trying the drug. Along with the side effects listed above, you do run the risk of overdose. Shortness of breath is common, as is weakness. You may fall unconscious, causing harm to yourself or others. Those with heart conditions are at a particular risk because of the increased heart rate associated with the drug.
Peyote, like LSD, cannabis and other drugs, can cause flashbacks. This is possibly the most dangerous side effect of the drug. Flashbacks are unexpected, and you may experience them while driving or during a similar activity.
Can you Overdose on Peyote?
When you take high doses of peyote, you’re likely to suffer anxiety which can last for days. Taking the drug in excess can lead to hospitalization. It’s rare that a user die from peyote overdose. The exception is when peyote is taken with other drugs. Barbiturates, in particular, may cause a slowing of respiration. With peyote, these drugs can be fatal.