Psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA, ayahuasca and psilocybin have become popular in the last few years as researchers discover more about the substances and the therapeutic benefits they possess. While these substances have been a part of the popular culture in the West for some decades now, other psychedelics, including peyote, have been used by Indigenous people in spiritual and healing practices for many millennia.
Peyote, which is a less-popular psychedelic, is a spineless cactus that naturally grows in various parts of Mexico and Southern Texas. The cactus is small and bears the shape of a caterpillar cocoon, which explains how it got its name.
The peyote cactus contains different psychoactive compounds, with one of them — mescaline — being responsible for most of the psychedelic effects the cactus induces. The cactus is considered to be sacred to Indigenous populations in the region.
A report released more than a decade ago utilized radiocarbon dating to determine the age of two peyote samples that were discovered in Native American ruins. The findings noted that the samples dated back more than 5,000 years, which suggests that Native Americans have used peyote’s psychoactive effects for thousands of years now.
Similar to other psychedelics, mescaline activates the brain’s serotonin 2A receptors when ingested. This indicates that experiences under the influence of peyote may be similar in some ways to experiences on psilocybin and LSD.
Like other psychedelic substances, peyote’s effects will depend on an individual’s surroundings while under the influence, their mindset and the amount an individual has consumed. When individuals consume small doses of the psychoactive compound, they may feel more energized or experience some perceptual distortions. However, consuming larger doses may have greater effects on an individual’s state of consciousness and their perception as well as their cognition. The possible effects of peyote when consumed in heavier doses include anxiety, nausea, strong hallucinations and mystical-type experiences. The psychedelic’s effects typically last about 10 hours.
The substances also possess various health benefits. A study published this year found that using mescaline was linked to a decrease in symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression. The study also found that participants who had a history of substance and alcohol use disorders recorded a considerable decrease in drug and alcohol use after mescaline experiences.
Apart from its use in religious ceremonies by the Native American Church, peyote has also been used as a treatment for drug addictions, alcoholism, childbirth pain and toothache by Native Americans, who claim that it has healing properties.
As more becomes known about the different therapeutic uses of psychedelics, the work of companies such as Cybin Corp. (NEO: CYBN) (OTCQB: CLXPF) will be appreciated for its trail-blazing role in taking psychedelics to the mainstream of medicine.
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