Last Saturday evening I sat down with a bowl of dried Peruvian torch, a carton of Tropical juice, a puke bucket and Astrix's remix of Mescaline on the soundtrack. I was determined to eat this cactus. I had 20 grams of dried Pervuian torch I'd bought (happily legally) from an online head shop six months ago, and had never got around to cooking. I considering doing a distillation, but decided that if native American's can eat raw cactus, so can I. I ground the dried cactus chips into powder by hand and drank spoonfuls of it mixed with juice. The taste was pretty bitter, but no where near as bad as I'd been led to believe. (I've tried to drink dream herb (Calea zacatechichi) before, cactus is practically tasteless in comparison). The texture was not too snotty either- if you don't give the dehydrated powder time to reabsorb too much water.
Some extra details in the name of science, over the night I consumed about another 10 grams of cactus, 20 nitrous chargers and a couple of joints, (this is a minimal amount of pot for me to smoke in one night, but I wanted to keep my memory intact).
I spent the evening in my house with my trip partner, an old friend of mine who was tripping on acid, listening to acoustic trance music (Uttara-Kuru was a favourite for nitrous hits).
It's true what Hunter says, good mescaline comes on slow. I spent the next two hours laying very still, clutching my belly, trying not to throw up. Convincing myself that it would be worth it. I started obviously feeling it after and 1.5 hours and 3 hours late I was well into tripping and the nausea had even started to disappear. I had been looking forward to throwing up and getting rid of the constant reminder that I had a belly full of cactus. When I finally decided that I absorbed as much mescaline as I was going to, I found that I couldn't actually throw up. In true psychedelic logic, the only solution to this problem was to eat more mescaline. So I at another spoonful, around 10grams. The trip was very comfortable so far, and I was looking forward to getting even higher.
EffectsI agree with the general opinion that mescaline is a very gentle psychedelic, definitely easier than acid. But it is not to be underestimated, it is a full psychedelic, you can lose you shit on this stuff. It is more grounded in reality than acid. It's not so self concious and very easy to interact socially on, I had no problem speaking on the phone, sending text messages to arrange plans for the next day etc. My sense of time, space, perspective and theory of other people's mind was mostly intact. I wasn't close to becoming one with the white light/universal conciousness/insert your own interpretation or hacking my own brain. There were times at the peak where my personality had split in two, I thought that I had definitely gone crazy, and other trippy experiences. But in general it was much more relaxed than acid, more mellow, no restlessness. The comeup is not like a nuclear blast to the ego, more like a lifting of invisible burden so all you are left with is lightness.
I definitely got more insight into my emotions and how I interact socially. It was surprisingly easy to direct my emotions, I didn't get pissed off when I had an argument with my trip partner about ketamine, I couldn't just shut out his frustration like I usually would. I knew I had to resolve the situation if I wanted to continue with my trip. I was entirely positive in my interactions I had with other people that night. On the other hand, I thought I was acting pretty normally, but friend informed me afterward that I was pretty obviously tripping balls, starting sentences and not finishing them, not being able to explain what I was thinking about, etc.
The experience wasn't very serious or heavy. Things that would usually trip me out like zen koans, I just found hilarious. I was laughing so much I would get stuck in laugh spirals where I would keep laughing until I had tears running down my face. I couldn't tell you now, or even at the time, why there were so funny. I find most things hilarious on psychedelics, I think it is my brain's internal defense mechanism when it runs into a cognitive dissonance that it can't resolve.
It's not so intergalactic or alien as acid, I didn't get that feeling like I was in an alternate dimension, or that my familiar surroundings had become suddenly strange and different. It doesn't have the same feeling of amazement and wonder than acid. The trip was directed toward love though, at those points where you feel like you are really at sea.
Yes, mescaline has great visuals, more visual than acid, less than a good dose of 2cb. There are very pleasant though, not the uninteresting repeating gif style visuals of 2cb, or the ancient hierogylphs of acid. Lots of rainbows (red, blue, green color seperation) on the edges of objects, patterns vibrate and move, color shifting, distortion of distances, pixelation and splitting of my vision into two. At the height of the experience, there were even DMT style geometric cathedrals overlaid on my vision. In the dark there are more OEVs (red/green pixellation overlay) and CEVs (neon colors, 3-dimensional structures, but still nothing to rival the CEVs I get coming down from MDMA).
Mescaline seems more emotional and more human than acid. I would definitely class it as an empathogen, I spent a lot of time thinking about my friends and family, about my life. I also had plenty of time on the come-up to consider why exactly I was lying on my couch with a bucket next to me, and what I was going to get from the experience. I had long thoughts about my social interaction with all my friends in the city. I tried to imagine their motivations for the things they, how I should change my behaviour to resolve disputes, and I shouldn't get angry at their unintentional mistakes.
Time dilation, there is a little, but less than acid, in my opinion. There were definitely some time 'anomolies', loopy time, deja-vu, etc. Which is strange because I'm usually pretty resistent to this stuff.
Affect on music. Not amazing. It didn't have the same incredible electric musical synaesthesia in my body that I get from acid. For a psychedelic I was surprised that it didn't really give the sound more texture, less even than MDMA. I wasn't particularly interested in listening to any psytrance music (my usual musical choice, sober or on psychedelics). This might be different if I was at a psytrance party or festival. The visual and interpersonal aspects were definitely more prominent.
My concentration was definitely impaired, I would have to keep reminding myself out loud what I was doing if I got distracted. I was using a singing bowl to keep focused on occasions when I was totally lost as a form of meditation. (I didn't even a need mandala, there was one right behind my eyelids).
Interesting thoughts from the experience.
I had some great nitrous moments. With eyes opened the visuals were really intensified. But more interesting was something that I was trying to practice. Seeing how deep you can go into nitrous but still stay focused, directing your consciousness toward one thing, a sound maybe or a mandala. It was like trying to see how close you could get to unconscious or the death experience and bring something back. At the time it seemed like a test of expression and concentration, like this was the point of my drug experiences, to bring something back from close to the beyond. I found the Uttara-Kuru chanting really helped to focus doing the nitrous, when I started to surface back from trance the rapid chanting forced my consciousness to stay focused in the experience.
While staring into the sink, trying to vomit up the pain in my stomach, my thoughts were totally directed towards my current place in my life. I stared in the sinkhole, intently watching the holes wobble around as if I was going to find my happiness in there. I don't know if all this was because of what I'd heard previously about mescaline being a rite of passage drug. I was trying to make this more of a special occasion instead of just eating acid and watching Baraka. I had waited six months to eat the mescaline and had prepared it very intentionally, I really wanted to get something positive and lasting from the experience.
ConclusionMescaline is Shulgin's favourite drug, and I can see why he likes, it's very warm, grounded and emotional. It has the healing effect of other psychedelics without performing a total mental reset. It has a relaxed positive afterglow. For (psytrance) parties, if you had a strategy for handling the initial nausea it seems like a great choice. At a house party, with a group of people on this stuff you could have a lot of fun. I would have no qualms about taking it by myself. I am always wary of getting too high on acid outside of situations like festivals because you can just get completely lost in the trip. But I would be entirely comfortable taking higher doses of mescaline alone.
I didn't feel that it altered my sense of reality enough to inspire me to write something like The Doors of Perception, perhaps if I had never had any other psychedelic experience it might have.
I was very, very pleasantly surprised by mescaline. I had a really fun night, experienced a new state of conciousness, a relaxed, carefree psychedelic state with lots of color.
Timeline6pm 20g dried Peruvian torch
7.30pm Definitely tripping.
9pm Nausea starting to disappear. Drink around 10g more.
10.30pm Somehow manage to eat some food, nausea disppears and start tripping way harder.
12-1pm Effects peak.
4-5pm Close to baseline.
12am next day finally go asleep.