Difference between Peyote and Mescaline

Difference between Peyote and Mescaline

Peyote and Mescaline

The primary difference between peyote and mescaline lies in their nature and context of use. Here’s a detailed comparison:



  • Peyote is a small, spineless cactus (Lophophora williamsii).


  • Peyote contains several psychoactive alkaloids, with mescaline being the most prominent. Other alkaloids include pellotine, anhalonidine, and anhalamine.

Cultural and Historical Use:

  • Indigenous peoples of North and Central America have used peyote for thousands of years in religious and healing ceremonies.
  • It holds significant spiritual value and is used in the context of rituals and spiritual practices, particularly within the Native American Church.

Form and Consumption:

  • The cactus is typically dried and then chewed or brewed into a tea.
  • It can also be ground into a powder and consumed in capsules.

Legal Status:

  • Generally classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States.
  • Exceptions are made for its religious use by members of the Native American Church.



  • Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive alkaloid (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine).


  • Found in several cacti species, primarily peyote, but also in the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) and the Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana).


  • Mescaline is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of peyote and other mescaline-containing cacti.
  • It induces altered states of consciousness, vivid visual and auditory hallucinations, and changes in thought processes and perception.

Historical and Recreational Use:

  • Has been used in traditional rituals and ceremonies for its psychoactive effects.
  • Gained popularity in the mid-20th century, especially during the 1960s counterculture movement, for recreational use and exploration of consciousness.

Form and Consumption:

  • Mescaline can be extracted and purified from the cactus, resulting in a white crystalline substance.
  • It is typically consumed orally, either as a powder, capsule or dissolved in liquid.

Legal Status:

  • Classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, making its use and possession illegal except for specific religious contexts involving peyote.


  • Peyote is a cactus containing mescaline among other alkaloids, traditionally used in spiritual and healing practices by indigenous peoples.
  • Mescaline is the primary psychoactive compound in peyote and other cacti, responsible for their hallucinogenic effects, and can be used independently of the cactus.

While peyote is a natural source of mescaline, mescaline itself can be isolated and used separately. Peyote has a broader cultural and spiritual context, whereas mescaline is often discussed in terms of its chemical and psychoactive properties.


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