Mescaline is a hallucinogenic drug derived from the extract of a spineless cactus known as peyote. It can also be produced synthetically in a lab. It’s classified as a hallucinogen or psychedelic. Peyote has been used ceremonially for thousands of years by native cultures such as the Navajo, but mescaline is also used as a recreational drug that may be abused. This abuse can lead to tolerance and dependence. Aside from the ceremonial use of peyote by the Native American Church, mescaline is an illegal drug in the United States.

Mescaline Effects

Taking mescaline causes the user to experience changes in perception or what is known as  “tripping.” This may be pleasant, or it may be unpleasant, which is called a “bad trip.”

Effects of mescaline may include:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • High or feeling of euphoria
  • A dream-like or surreal state
  • Laughter
  • Feeling like time is moving more slowly
  • Synthesia or a blending of the senses
  • Dilated pupils

Mescaline Addiction

Although mescaline isn’t considered physically addictive like some drugs such as heroin and meth, it can sometimes cause psychological addiction. However, taking mescaline can also cause very uncomfortable side effects. Mescaline side effects or risks may include restlessness, depression, and memory problems as well as nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and dizziness, among others.

Mescaline Withdrawal Symptoms

As is common with taking many other drugs,  the more someone uses mescaline; the more they will build up a tolerance and need more to get the same effect. Then when they decide to stop taking it, they will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms such as a dip in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps with mood. This serotonin dip can cause dysphoria, which means the person feels depressed and dissatisfied. Other withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety and restlessness.

Shortly after someone stops taking mescaline, they may experience a drop in their mood, and they may feel depressed, anxious, and unhappy.

It’s important to note that there are two serious long-term health effects that can develop from chronic use of mescaline and other psychedelic drugs:

  1. Hallucinogen-Persisting Perception Disorder (HPDD), known in layman’s terms as “flashbacks.” Flashbacks usually happen without warning. They may include hallucinations and visual disturbances.
  2. Persistent or drug-induced psychosis, which causes serious changes in thinking and perception such as visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, and paranoia.

Mescaline Addiction Treatment

Just because mescaline isn’t physically addictive, don’t be fooled. It can still be psychologically addictive, which can make it hard to quit. Once the body develops a tolerance for the drug, it requires more of the drug to experience the same effect. You may also develop a particular routine or take the drug with certain friends at a specific location. These details become part of the process or ritual of taking the drug and fuel the psychological aspects of addiction.

Once you start associating these activities or people and places with taking mescaline, you may find it hard to not crave the drug when you’re in these circumstances. This is why it’s important to find an addiction treatment program to provide you with professional emotional and psychological support as you detox in a safe environment.

If you are addicted to other substances, a professional detox program will also help ensure your recovery from those substances as well. Maybe most importantly, a detox program, along with behavioral therapy, can help you learn key coping skills to avoid relapse and have a better chance for a successful recovery.

While it’s possible to go through a medical detox program or attend outpatient treatment, the most thorough approach to addiction treatment is to follow a full continuum of care. This is a comprehensive program that moves from the most intense level of care during the medical detox stage to gradually progressing through less intense levels of treatment.

It may sound like a lot but participating in a full continuum of care will give you a better chance at a successful recovery. The stages of treatment in this type of program usually include medical detox, inpatient and/or partial hospitalization, outpatient, and alumni or aftercare.

Medical Detox

When you enter a medical detox program, your goal is medical stabilization. During this first stage of addiction treatment, you will receive a complete medical assessment. This comprehensive assessment will determine your level of addiction, plus any other medical needs you may have. This includes any other substances used. This assessment also consists of a medical exam plus urine or blood tests to screen for drugs.

As part of your assessment, the doctor may also require additional testing. These other tests may include more blood tests, including a CBC (complete blood count), chest X-ray, ECG (electrocardiogram), and testing for other diseases.

After your doctor reviews your test results, he or she will design your detox plan. At that point, you will start the detox process under the care of your medical team. This medical team will include your doctor, plus nurses and support staff.

In addition to medical care, your treatment plan will also include behavioral therapy and emotional support.

Partial Hospitalization

After you have completed the medical detox stage, you will either continue with inpatient treatment for a longer period of time if you have co-occurring addictions or other medical conditions or you will move into a partial hospitalization program (PHP).

While going through the PHP stage, you’ll stay at a transitional living facility. You will participate in a supportive and structured treatment program. These treatment sessions are typically held daily during the week and last about six hours each day. Depending on your needs, you will attend a combination of individual, group, and family therapy programs.

This period will help you learn positive life skills, give you coping mechanisms, and arm you with other techniques to help prevent relapse. These skills and techniques will help you to be better prepared for long-term recovery as you transition back to your life outside of the treatment center.


The next step in the full continuum of treatment is the outpatient stage.

The outpatient stage is sometimes used as a standalone addiction treatment. During outpatient treatment, your therapy sessions won’t be scheduled as often. The program will also be more flexible. You will still attend intensive therapy sessions and continue with any required medication management.

The outpatient stage of treatment is designed to help you continue to be accountable for your recovery and prevent relapse. This stage also includes periodic weekly drug testing.


Once you have completed the formal treatment program, you will have an opportunity to join other treatment center graduates during weekly support groups and social events. These are great opportunities to meet other program alumni and develop new friendships. Building social support with others who understand the recovery process can be a vital resource as you continue to adjust to life after the treatment program and can help you stay focused on your recovery.


Mescaline is a hallucinogen or psychedelic drug that can be psychologically addictive. It’s essential to get professional help to withdraw from mescaline safely and have a better chance at a successful recovery.

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