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The Effects & Dangers of Peyote Use, Abuse, And Withdrawal

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

What is peyote?

Peyote is a plant that belongs to the cactus family, and grows in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

The compound mescaline is found on the top part of the cactus plant, often called the crown, which contains a button-shaped disc. Peyote is considered a hallucinogenic drug and was used in certain Native American groups’ tribal ceremonies for spiritual aid. The mescaline in peyote is said to cause hallucinations, change one’s state of thinking, and cause synesthesia (a crossover of senses, such as hearing colors and seeing sounds). Among the names used for peyote are buttons, mesc, nubs and tops.

The Effects of Peyote Use

What are the effects of peyote?

The effects of peyote include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Feeling euphoric or “high”
  • Hypothermia
  • Hyperthermia
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Nausea
  • Personality changes
  • Changes in appetite (increase in food intake or loss of appetite)
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Perceptions become distorted
  • Rapid breathing

When peyote is abused, several psychological side effects occur. If the user has been using peyote for a long period of time, the negative effects may lead to the following:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Distorted perception of reality
  • Episodes of hallucinations

There are also cases where the user may experience such psychological effects as:

  • Emotions that project happy state of mind and unpleasant emotions
  • Flashbacks
  • User may see objects breathing
  • Schizophrenia
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

These side effects may vary and change during the peyote trip, and will gradually disappear when the effects of peyote have subsided.

What is peyote withdrawal?

Since peyote doesn’t cause addiction, there is no risk of developing a physical dependence on this drug. There is a risk of developing a psychological dependence, or suffer psychological consequences. Peyote use can result in a trip that lasts for days, months, or even years. Peyote use can also lead to later flashbacks to the experience.

What is a “bad trip” from peyote?

Bad trips occur when peyote produces the following effects:

  • Scary or frightening visions
  • Unexplained feeling of sadness or depression
  • Feeling of insects crawling on the skin (tactile sensation)
  • Hearing loud noises

These bad trips usually arise when a user’s states of mind is angry or depressed. During bad trips, users may become dangerous both to themselves and others.

What are the long-term side effects of peyote?

Prolonged peyote use may cause users to experience psychological difficulty due to the chemical imbalances in the brain. Peyote users may complain of certain difficulties even years after quitting, including:

  • Continuous delusions
  • Flashbacks
  • Severe case of paranoia
  • Psychosis

Can peyote use cause addiction?

PeyoteIn general, peyote users may not develop an addiction because it doesn’t contain chemical ingredients that cause an addictive response. Peyote has minimal levels of toxicity, and users won’t experience withdrawal symptoms even after prolonged use. After an intake of peyote, the user will experience a “trip” lasting between 7 and 12 hours.  Users may also experience a rapid build-up of tolerance, but the tolerance is only expected to last for a few days.

Although this drug isn’t physically addictive, it can eventually cause psychological addiction.

What factors affect peyote addiction?

Abuse of peyote will not lead to physical addiction, but can cause psychological dependence if the user has a “good trip.” A trip’s quality is dependent on the following factors:

  • Physical environment
  • One’s state of well-being
  • Amount of dosage
  • Previous experiences on the drug

Is there treatment for peyote addiction?

Treating peyote addiction in more focused on psychological dependence. If the user has abused this drug, he or she should seek immediate help at a treatment rehab facility dealing with peyote or hallucinogens. The peyote treatment facility can only be effective if it utilizes behavioral treatment programs.

There are peyote rehabs where the approach is holistic and customize a treatment plan to cater to the specific needs of the peyote user.

The overall outcome of a peyote treatment is heavily dependent on the peyote rehab facility, the treatment programs used, and the ongoing love and support of family members, friends, local organizations and professionals who are knowledgeable of the effects of peyote, as well as the rising problem of its abuse.

Developing high dependency on peyote can cause many harmful effects, not only to the psychological and physical well-being of the user but also to his or her relationships with others. In fact, with prolonged usage of peyote, users can end up deeply in debt, without a job, or even in jail. Peyote can significantly affect a user’s cognitive, emotional and mental state.

Published on: January 21st, 2024

Updated on: January 30th, 2024


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