Peyote is a mescaline-containing cactus with a history of religious use among Indigenous peoples in North America.


Also called:



Half Moon









What you need to know

Your individual experience may vary based on your medical history, genetics, environment, habits, and other factors.

You may experience

Altered perception of time, altered states of consciousness, changes in mood, hallucinations, spiritual ideation, and mystical experiences.

Possible effects

Body tremors, chest and neck pain, distractibility, increased heart rate and salivation, nausea, perspiration, sensations of both hot and cold, shortness of breath, and vomiting.

How long it takes to feel effects

Peyote’s peak psychedelic effects are usually felt within two hours of ingestion and can last as long as eight hours.

How long do effects last?

Including the come-up and come-down period, a peyote experience can last up to 12 hours.

Risks of taking peyote

People who have a history of mental disorders or cardiovascular disease should not take peyote. Peyote can interact with certain medications and substances, so it shouldn’t be combined with other drugs.

Frequently asked questions

Get the answers to commonly asked questions about peyote.

What is peyote used for in medicine?status

In Indigenous populations, peyote is used to treat various conditions, from fevers to pain relief. Members of the Native American Church (NAC) use peyote for healing, prayer, and communion.

What do Native Americans do with peyote?status

NAC members (also called peyotists) use peyote medicinally in religious ceremonies. Peyote rituals are all-night ceremonies that involve fasting, prayer, and ingesting peyote. The ceremony facilitates communication with a higher entity, communion with one’s fellow worshipers, and personal introspection. The typical hallucinogenic dose of mescaline is 5 mg/kg of body weight. In a peyote ceremony, a person consumes a minimum of four peyote buttons and an average of about 12. Each peyote button contains about 45 mg of mescaline.

Where does peyote grow?status

About 80 percent of peyote’s habitat exists in Mexico. In the United States, peyote is native to southwestern Texas along the Rio Grande River, also known as the “Peyote Gardens.”

What type of drug is peyote?status

Peyote contains mescaline, which is classified as a hallucinogen. The chemical name for mescaline is 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine. The buttons can be chewed, steeped in hot water to prepare a tea, or dried into a powder that can be added to capsules or liquids.

Are peyote and ayahuasca the same thing?status

Peyote and ayahuasca are not the same. Peyote is a cactus that contains mescaline, a hallucinogenic compound. Ayahuasca is a psychoactive tea that originates from Indigenous Amazonian cultures. Peyote and ayahuasca are natural hallucinogens, so they’re sometimes included in measures to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi. However, NAC members have requested that non-Indigenous people not use peyote. The peyote population is dwindling due to factors like habitat loss and overharvesting, due in no small part to psychedelic tourism.

How much is peyote worth?status

In 2014, the average market price in Texas was just under $400 per 1,000 peyote buttons. However, in the United States, it’s illegal to grow and sell peyote. In Texas, only licensed peyoteros can sell peyote to NAC members.

Is peyote cactus legal in the US?status

Peyote is illegal in the United States because it contains mescaline, a Schedule I controlled drug. However, there is a religious exemption for the Native American Church. Under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, NAC members can legally use peyote in religious ceremonies.

Where to do peyote legally?status

Peyote is illegal throughout the United States, except for members of the Native American Church. In Mexico, possessing up to 1 kilogram of peyote is allowed for personal use only.

Is it safe to use peyote during pregnancy?status

The mescaline in peyote is linked to fetal abnormalities. As such, pregnant women should not use peyote.

Can you combine peyote and alcohol?status

Peyote should not be combined with other substances, including alcohol. This combination can increase a person’s risk of faintness, increased heart rate, loss of consciousness, nausea, seizures, and vomiting.

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In case of emergency

For immediate medical or attention, call 9-1-1 in the US. If you live outside the US, call your emergency line.

If you or someone you know are struggling with substance use or addiction, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information about support and treatment facilities in your area.

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