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Beautiful Huachuma Artwork by Drew Brophy

Huachuma: Old Man Mescaline

Huachuma, San Pedro, and Mescaline

You probably have some idea of what mescaline is.  You might be familiar with Peyote, but what is Huachuma? Huachuma is an ancient plant teacher used since pre-Incan times to facilitate healing, or impart knowledge upon the user.  Most of us know it as the mescaline containing cactus, San Pedro.   Also known by the names, Trichocereus pachanoi, Huachuma, and Peruvian Torch, the San Pedro Cactus is a fast growing native of South America.  

Huachuma’s family of cacti contain the magical alkaloid, Mescaline, similar to the North American Peyote.  Mescaline is a potent, naturally occurring  phenethylamine.  It’s chemical structure is very similar to neurotransmitters such as dopamine.  The effects are usually somewhere between those of ecstasy and mushrooms, but , at high doses, can become VERY powerful and long lasting.    Physically, the experience can be much more relaxed and soothing than some other psychedelics, which is why it is compared to MDMA(ecstasy).

Mescaline feels more like a dream than ayahuasca does, at least for me.  My experiences with Huachuma have been loving and calm with a touch of euphoria, but, as the visuals can be enveloping, I can see how people could get themselves into trouble.

Like all plant medicine/plant teachers, Huachuma can provide a wide array of experiences.  From soaring into the astral realms to scraping the muck off the bottom of your soul, these mescaline containing cacti are first and foremost, Healing Tools. 

Huachuma: The Forgotten Psychedelic

With a continous history of use going back over 3,000 years, it’s hard to imagine calling it ‘forgotten’.  It has, however, fallen behind other psychedelics/plant teachers in popularity.  Perhaps its due to the lack of native Huachuma in the Northern Hemisphere, or maybe the preparation takes too long for the casual voyager.  Whatever the reason, you’ll be hard pressed to find people experienced with mescaline and San Pedro, outside of psychonaut circles.

That’s why I found this documentary titled, Huachuma: The Forgotten Psychedelic, interesting.  It shows the whole experience from beginning to end.  From angelic heights to “why the Hell have I done this to myself”, follow Aubrey Marcus on his Huachuma journey in this Mitch Schultz documentary.