3.2.13 San Pedro Cactus

San Pedro Cactus #

Binomial / Botanical Name Echinopsis Pachanoi
Street Names San Pedro
Major Active Compound Mescaline
Indigenous Source Ecuador
Form Powdered Plant Matter
RoA Oral
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale +++


The san pedro cactus has been in continuous spiritual and medicinal use in Peru for over 3,000 years. This even survived post Spanish Conquest attempts to suppress it.

I had originally booked a San Pedro Experience whilst I was on my ayahuasca mission, but I was far too ill to proceed (due to a mixture of altitude sickness and a bug I imported from the UK). I did, however, benefit from a detailed introduction to this remarkable cactus, and its shamanic use, as the organizer was generous enough to spend time with me and provide a degree of education.

The psychoactive part of the cactus is layered just inside the skin. Apparently, this is scraped off, and then dried and turned to powder. I have also seen this sold on the markets as “chips”, which are simply cut from the plant.

Regarding dosage, I researched this heavily, particularly online, but with little joy. To put it mildly, the forums were all over the place: some posters cited modest amounts; others suggested doses which bordered on the ludicrous. It was very hard to find any real consensus.

I therefore asked the vendor, which was tricky given that this was sold as “not for human consumption”. However, through various coded messages, I eventually got there: 25g should be sufficient for a first dose.

This did seem to be sensible, and looking at toxicity data for mescaline, it wouldn’t create undue risk. I therefore placed this measure into a large mug, and poured boiling water upon it. I stirred occasionally.

Over the next half hour I sipped this slowly. It was revolting, but I had tasted worse. I then sat back and waited, not really expecting too much. My pessimism was wholly misplaced.

Soon, I was flying high, and I knew that I was still coming-up. At one point I felt momentary alarm, wondering how far this would go. Fortunately this passed as the mescaline pulled me along with a significant mood lift. I knew I was tripping hard.

My expectation had been set by the many posts across social media, and substantially by those who claimed similarity with LSD. So was it really like LSD?

Yes and no. It was certainly LSDish in broad terms, with similar visuals, general headspace and so forth, but there were real differences. It did seem to be more natural although I have to accept that knowing that this was a botanical could have influenced this perception. The wave I felt myself riding felt richer in nature, and the euphoric edge felt more intense.

The nausea I had anticipated didn’t materialize, which was a bonus. The bottom line was that I really enjoyed it. It was intense, it was compelling, and it was profound. It was a ride I was not expecting. I was floating for hours, well into +++ territory.

In terms of recording the trip I was ill prepared, as I had expected merely to scratch the surface: hence the brevity of this report. This in no way does justice to this remarkable cactus.

A nice fat chunk of san pedro sitting behind some peyote buttons

A nice fat chunk of san pedro sitting behind some peyote buttons

I fully intend to repeat this exercise, as I feel certain that it has much to offer in terms of personal development.