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Mescalin, meskalin, mezcalin, mezkalin, 3,4,5-trimethoxy-
phenethylaminePhenethylamine (PEA) is a natural monoamine alkaloid, trace amine, and psychoactive drug with stimulant effects. In the mammalian central nervous system, phenethylamine is believed to function as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter., 3,4,5-trimethoxyethyl- phenylamine,
Empirical formula: CllH17N03
Substance type: lophophora alkaloid, f3-phenethylaminePhenethylamine (PEA) is a natural monoamine alkaloid, trace amine, and psychoactive drug with stimulant effects. In the mammalian central nervous system, phenethylamine is believed to function as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter.
Mescaline was first isolated in 1886 from "mescal
buttons;' the aboveground parts of the peyote
cactus (Lophophora williamsii), and was named
after them. Mescaline is the most thoroughly
studied of all psychoactive plant constituents. In
the period between 1886 and 1950, more than one
hundred mescaline research studies were published
in the German language alone (Passie
1994). This alkaloid was found to be a component
of numerous cacti (see the table on page 847). And
it is possible that mescaline is produced from
dopamineA neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention, learning, and the brain’s pleasure and reward system. in vitro (Paul et al. 1969; Rosenberg et
Arthur Heffter was the first person to initially
test an isolated plant constituent on himself (Heffter
1894). The classic Heffter dosage consisted of 150
mg mescaline hydrochloride (HCL). A psychedelic
dosage is now considered to be 178 to 256 mg of
mescaline HCL or 200 to 400 mg of mescaline
sulfate. The highest measured dosage reported in
the literature was 1,500 mg. Taken orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance.,S mg/kg
of pure mescaline is regarded as a hallucinogenic
dosage. In the toxicological literature, there is no
known lethal dosage of mescaline when it is
ingested orallyRoute of administration in which the subject swallows a substance. (Brown and Malone 1978, 14).
Western psychiatry has been aware of
consciousness-altering drugs since the nineteenth
century. Mescaline was the first substance to be
tested and applied in psychiatry. At the time,
researchers regarded the effects of mescaline on a healthy subject as inducing a state that was otherwise
known only in psychopathic patients. This
led to the idea of pharmacologically induced
"model psychoses" (Leuner 1962*). The effects of
mescaline (and also of psilocybin) were described
as "intoxication, toxic ecstasy, clouding of consciousness,
hallucinosis, model psychosis, drug
intoxication, emphasis, daydream;' et cetera
(Passie 1994). Only in recent years has there been a
shift in thinking away from the model psychosis
concept and a recognition that psychedelic states
and psychoses do not have a common origin
(HermIe et al. 1988*, 1992*, 1993*).
The predominant effects of mescaline are a
"reveling of the individual senses and primarily
visual orgies" (Ellis 1971, 21). The mescaline
inebriation was first systematically described by
Kurt Beringer in 1927. To date, there have been
many encounters with the substance, and the most
commonly reported experiences are ecstatic and
visionary in nature:
My awareness of subject and object
disappeared, and I felt dissolved, rising in an
orchestra of sounds. This ecstatic state was
accompanied by an indescribable sensation of
happiness. (Ammon and Gotte 1971,32)
It has often been suggested that pure mescaline
can be taken in place of Lophophora williamsii.
"However, most peyote users are of the opinion
that synthetic mescaline cannot be compared with
the effects of peyote" (Harp 1996, 16).
On the Cultural History of Mescaline
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) made the psychedelic
effects of mescaline famous in his two essays "The
Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell:'
Usually the person taking mescaline will
discover an inner world that is so obviously
something given, so enlighteningly eternal
and sacred, as the transformed outer world
that I had perceived with my eyes open.
It is very likely that Hermann Hesse also had
contact with mescaline, and that it may have
inspired his novel SteppenwolJ, one of the cult
books of the hippie generation. The psychedelic
rock band Steppenwolf took its name from the
book, and the novel also became a motion picture
starring Max von Sydow (USA 1974).
Nationalgalerie, a German New Wave band,
sings on its album Mescaline, "To be transformed by a trickster fairy. My lawyer advised me to take
some mescaline" (Sony Records, 1995).
The French novelist and artist Henri Michaux
(1899-1984) studied mescaline during the 1960s
and ingested it to see what effects it might have
upon his creativity. Like many other FrenchJmen,
however, he summarized his experience as an
"accursed miracle" and scribbled his experiences of inner turmoil on paper (Michaux 1986). Today,
these "drawings" are still reproduced in publications
as an example of the "psychosis-like"
effects of mescaline.
|Cacti Containing Mescaline
(from Doetsch et al. 1980; La Barre 1979; Mata and McLaughlin 1982*; Shulgin 1995*; Lundstrom
1971; Pardanini et al. 1978; Ott 1993*; Turner and Heyman 1960)
Commercial Forms and Regulations
Mescaline is available primarily as a hydrochloride
or sulfate. In Germany, it is considered a "narcotic in which trafficking is prohibited." In the United
States, the Controlled Substances Act lists mescaline
as a Schedule I substance (Korner 1994,38*).
See also the entries for Lophophora williamsii,
Trichocereus pachanoi, Trichocereus spp., and ~phenethylamines.
Ammon, Gunter, and Jurgen Gotte. 1971. Ergebnisse
fruher Meskalin-Forschung. In
BewuBtseinserweiternde Drogen aus
psychoanalytischer Sicht, special issue,
Dynamische Psychiatrie, 23-45.
Beringer, Kurt. 1927. Der Meskalinrausch. Berlin:
Springer. Repr. 1969.
Blofeld, John. 1966. A high yogic experience achieved
with meskalin. Psychedelic Review 7:27-32.
Doetsch, P. W., J. M. Cassidy, and J. L. McLaughlin.
1980. Cactus alkaloids. XL: Identification of
mescaline and other phenethylamines in Pereskia,
Pereskiopsis and Islaya by use of fluorescamine
conjugates. Journal ofChromotography 189:79.
Ellis, Havelock. 1971. Zum Phanomen der MeskalinIntoxikation,
Bemerkungen zum Problem der
BewuBtseinserweiternde Drogen aus
psychoanalytischer Sicht, special issue,
Dynamische Psychiatrie, 17-22.
Frederking, W. 1954. Meskalin in der Psychotherapie.
Medizinischer Monatsspiegel, 3:5-7.
Harf, Jurgen C. 1996. Meskalin und Peyote. Grow!
Heffter, Arthur. 1894. aber zwei Kakteenalkaloide.
Berichte der deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft
Kluver) Heinrich. 1926. Mescal vision and eidetic
vision. American Journal ofPsych0 logy 37:502-15.
---. 1969. Mescal and mechanisms of
hallucinations. Chicago: The University of
La Barre, Weston. 1979. Peyotl and mescaline.
Journal ofPsychedelic Drugs 11 (1-2): 33-39.
Lundstrom, Jan. 1971. Biosynthetic studies on
mescaline and related cactus alkaloids. Acta
Pharm. Suecica 8:275-302.
Michaux, Henri. 1986. Unseliges Wunder: Das
Meskalin. Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser.
Pardanani, J. H., B. N. Meyer, and J. L. McLaughlin.
1978. Cactus alkaloids. XXXVII. Mescaline and
related compounds from Opuntia spinosior.
Lloydia 41 (3): 286-88.
Passie, Torsten. 1994. Ausrichtungen, Methoden und
Ergebnisse fruher Meskalinforschungen im
deutschsprachigen Raum (bis 1950). In Jahrbuch
des Europiiischen Collegiums fur
Bewufltseinsstudien (1993/1994), 103-11. Berlin:
Paul., A.G., H. Rosenberg, and K. L. Khanna. 1969.
The roles of 3,4,5-trihydroxy-~-phenethylaminePhenethylamine (PEA) is a natural monoamine alkaloid, trace amine, and psychoactive drug with stimulant effects. In the mammalian central nervous system, phenethylamine is believed to function as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter.
and 3,4-dimethoxy-~-phenethylaminein their
biosynthesis of mescaline. Lloydia 32 (1): 36-39.
Rosenberg, H., K. L. Khanna, M. Takido, and A. G.
Paul. 1969. The biosynthesis of mescaline in
Lophophora williamsii. Lloydia 32 (3): 334-38.
Turner, W. J., and J. J. Heyman. 1960. The presence of
mescaline in Opuntia cylindrica. Journal of
Organic Chemistry 25:2250.
Wallraff, Gunter. 1968. Meskalin-Ein Selbstversuch.Berlin: Verlag Peter-Paul Zahl.