Perhaps you’ve watched a movie where people are drinking Peyote, but you weren’t quite sure what it was. It’s not a common occurrence in America to see people using Peyote, but in other countries, it’s much more common among the indigenous folks.

What is Peyote?

Peyote, sometimes called ‘payote’ comes from a cactus that grows low to the ground. The cactus can be greenish with blue or yellow tint, although sometimes it’s got some reds in it. It has little buttons that people remove so that they can be dried out and later used as a psychoactive substance. The little buttons can be soaked in water too.

The plant is quite interesting. During the day, little, flat spheres open where there resides a pink fruit that is edible.

Indigenous people use peyote for medicinal purposes, but also for the psychoactive purposes.

Where Can You Find Peyote?

Native Americans have been using Peyote for centuries all over Mexico. You can find Peyote in the Mexican regions of Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua Desert, Coahuila, and in some parts of Texas. The cacti tend to bloom its beautiful flowers during the spring months. While most people call the cacti Peyote, some use slang words like buttons, nubs, mescal, or tops to describe it.

Indigenous History

Indigenous people of Mexico are no strangers to using plants for medicinal purposes. They’ve been using Peyote for many centuries as part of their religious ceremonies, as well as medicinal uses.

Native Americans believe that Peyote can better the relationship between man and God. This is why they use it in their religious ceremonies. However, because of its psychoactive characteristics, the US government has banned the use of Peyote in America. The indigenous people still use Peyote in Mexico, asserting that it is helpful for spiritual enlightenment.

An interesting story about Peyote comes to us from the time of the American Civil War. It is recorded that Union troops captured some Texas Rangers and the Rangers become quite intoxicated when they ingested water-soaked Peyote buttons.

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What Do People Use Peyote For?

For many centuries, indigenous people used Peyote for religious ceremonies, as well as medicine. Medicine wise, it’s been used to help reduce pain, fever, skin wounds, and may help those who have vision impairment. For religious ceremonies, it is primarily used as a means to have visions of the spiritual world and for prayer. The Native American Church continues to use Peyote for such purposes today.

Is Peyote Illegal?

Outside of the Native American Church, Peyote is illegal in the United States. The reason is because it is a hallucinogenic drug, and could potentially be dangerous.

How Do People Use Peyote?

Just like many other drugs, the Peyote drug can be used in different ways. Some people take the button tops and let them dry out. From there, some people choose to eat the buttons, some make tea from them, and some make capsules out of the Peyote, grinding it into powder.

Still others roll it and smoke it, much like they’d smoke marijuana leaves.

What Is a Peyote Ceremony Like?

A Peyote ceremony may differ from place to place, but there are some similarities. A medicine man, or Shaman, will be the leader of the ceremony. A group of people will meet inside a teepee or whatever structure they’ve allotted for the ceremony. Many times there’s a fire going and some may be sitting around drumming. There may be some chanting or praying going on, and the Peyote will be passed around the circle for people to consume.

The medicine man will keep an eye on those partaking in the ceremony. He will offer assistance or prayer as he feels led. He may speak words of wisdom or prophecies over the people too, as he feels led. He is the divine connector between the earthly realm and the spiritual realm, there to assist the participants in ways that can foster spiritual growth.

Do People Use Peyote Recreationally?

Some people do use Peyote recreationally, just like people use other drugs recreationally. Medicine men do not advocate this, as they believe the plant is sacred and should only be used for ritual or ceremonies. Additionally, outside of the Native American Church, using Peyote is illegal in America.

What Happens When You Take Peyote?

When someone ingests Peyote, because it’s a hallucinogen, they may begin to hallucinate. This means that they see or hear things that are not real, like they would if they used other drugs like LSD.

The brain makes some pretty big changes when someone takes a hallucinogen, as it primarily affects the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. As such, the brain can begin to perceive things differently, and mood can be affected as well. Some call the experience “a trip” in which people become “out of their mind” with their senses heightened.

The “trip” can last around 10 to 12 hours, with the person left feeling tired.

Is Peyote Addictive?

Before we answer the question of whether Peyote is addictive or not, let’s discuss how it works on the brain. When someone ingests Peyote, the brain goes through some changes, as serotonin and nerve cells are affected. The Peyote will increase serotonin, which can make someone feel those happy feelings, but once it wears off, the person can be left feeling quite depressed.

Peyote is not considered addictive, but there is the potential for abuse. There are some people that take Peyote for recreational purposes and may become psychological dependent on the drug. They may not necessarily go through withdrawal when they stop using it, but they may be more inclined to use it again due to the effects.

The more someone uses Peyote, the more their tolerance can be built up. This means you have to ingest more of the drug to get the same effects. While many people don’t go on to abuse Peyote, there are those that will continue to use it because they like the effects of the “trips” it creates.

Hallucinogen Effects of Peyote

A hallucinogen is a substance that causes a person to feel a certain way that included seeing, hearing, or feeling certain things. It heightens their senses and changes their perception. This all goes on in the prefrontal cortex in the brain and can cause someone to have a “good” trip or “bad” trip.

A good trip would be generally feeling, seeing, or hearing pleasant things. A bad trip would be having an experience that was scary, confusing, or sad. It may even scare them so much that they think they’re dying. No one knows ahead of time what type of “trip” they’ll have, as there’s no way of knowing.

Hallucinogens can cause people to lose sense of time and space. They may not have any idea where they are or feel like they are time traveling. It’s like they’re not in this reality, but in some alternative form of reality. Some people see all sorts of colors in the air, or hear sounds like the trees talking or the wind whispering. It’s not rational, but to them, it’s real.

Peyote is a bit different from other hallucinogens because it contains a stimulant called mescaline. This can give the person an extra boost of energy.

Peyote Side Effects

Many people start off feeling quite nauseous and may even vomit soon after ingesting Peyote. This isn’t indicative of all hallucinogens, but ones like Peyote or Ayahuasca can cause vomiting. People can also experience rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure, insomnia, sweating, and increased body temperature.

Peyote is a Schedule 1 Drug in the United States and is illegal. There is some potential for abuse, so experts advise people to stay away from this – and any – hallucinogen. If you’ve become addicted to any drug, know that there is treatment available. Simply reach out for help to Chapters Capistrano and we will make sure to do everything in our power to help you overcome addiction.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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