Is peyote legal and what are its potential harms? Check out the complete guide

Peyote cactus is a spineless plant and causes hallucinations due to its hallucinogenic ingredient mescaline. Mescaline has a history of consumption in the Native American ceremonies where they use peyote as a ritual. Additionally, peyote is used widely in North American communities recreationally.

But is peyote legal? There is a variety of opinions on this across states. This is because its hallucinogenic properties are the reasons for acute hallucinations that initiate chronic psychoactive reactions that may cause severe consequences for its user.

The consistent use can lead to other disturbing behaviors like the use of other recreational drugs. Read further to know about the legality and uses of peyote.

What is peyote?

Lophophora Williamsii or Peyote is a cactus plant that has button-like protrusions that consist of an active principle – mescaline which triggers hallucinations.

Particularly, the spineless cactus is native to Texas and Mexico for the same spiritual reasons. The plant also has a history of being a part of recreational and religious activities for Northern Mexicans. The plant has been serving the purpose for Native Americans for more than 5500 years.

Due to its appearance, it is also called peyote buttons. To make it psychotic, the plant buttons are chewed and dried and also are cooked with water to prepare a hallucinogenic drink. These buttons are also grounded to make a powder, smoked with cannabis and tobacco, and are packed in the capsules to swallow.

Is peyote legal to grow? Where does it grow?

Is peyote legal to grow? The peyote plant grows mainly in the southern regions of the United States and Mexico. It is also found in the US in southwestern areas including the Great Sonoran Desert and the states to be mentioned like Sierra Madre Occidental, Chihuahuan Desert, Nayarit, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, and Tamaulipas.

Peyote drugs and their history

Native American culture has an important value of peyote with respect to a religious purpose. Its religious and ceremonial use has been engraved in the history of Native American culture for over 5000 years. However, the research and studies have been carried out back in 5700 years ago.

Investigations from Archeologists of Mexico, Texas, and Trans-Pecos have reported that the Native Americans valued and recognized the existence of peyote and its psychotropic properties for over 5700 years.

The history also shows that the sequence of mescaline usage events was traced approximately 5000 years ago. It is one of the quickest growing plants as San Pedro cactus and opposite to ground-hugging cactus which is the slowest growing cactus in the southwestern regions of the United States and Mexico.

Is peyote legal in the US? What is the current legal status of peyote in the US?

Is peyote legal in the US? Peyote is known as a controlled substance under the US Controlled Substance Act. Because of its extreme psychoactive reactions when it is consumed, it is listed in the Schedule I controlled substances.

Any substance or drug that is listed under Schedule I is illegal and subject to restrictions for possession, consumption, and production. This means that it is illegal to plant, grow, possess, and even distribute peyote.

As for Native Americans, it is legal for them to use them in some state churches for religious ceremonies. For instance, a harvester of the peyote cactus in Texas has to register himself to the Texas Department of Public Safety and the US Drug Enforcement Administration where they need to notify the amount of area utilized for harvesting, the amount of the cactus is harvested every year, and the amount to be distributed. A Texas harvester has to renew the license every year.

What are the common side effects of peyote?

Peyote initiates classic hallucinations as the effects are much similar to the drugs of the same Schedule I substances.

How Peyote affects the Brain

The regular use of peyote results in auditory or visual hallucinations. Peyote is able to produce a sensation called synesthesia. In this sensation, the user can also experience altered perceptions such as seeing sounds and hearing colors.

Other psychological effects that are often short-term include:

  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Disturbed perception of time and space
  • Altered thought process
  • Distorted sense of reality (i.e. to begin communicating with deities)
  • Intense sensory disturbance (i.e. hearing more acutely, seeing bright colors, etc.)

Peyote Physical effects

With these profound psychological effects peyote has many other physical side effects:

  • Fever
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Tingling skin
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lowered appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Severe Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Flushing

Including possible mental effects

  • Panic
  • Incapability on concentrating and focusing
  • Paranoia
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxing sensation
  • Altered sense of time
  • Altered perceptions and feelings

How to identify if someone uses peyote

If you want to find out if your loved one is consuming peyote or you doubt someone using peyote, there will be some obvious signs that indicate the use of peyote. These signs include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Detachment from reality
  • Disordered thinking
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic
  • Sleep problems
  • Paranoia
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Loss of appetite

For how long peyote remains in our system

As mentioned above, the consumption of peyote is illegal. Therefore, if you are planning to travel and don’t want to get caught in severe drug charges, then you should know how long it can be detected in the human blood.

The illegal substance peyote can be found in the human blood depending on the number of drugs that you have taken and in what circumstances.

According to the information on the web, it can be detected from a few days and up to 3 months. The length of staying the substance in your system depends on many other individual factors like body mass, metabolism, hydration level, age, health conditions, and physical activity.

Plus, there is no specific period of time that the substance can be detected in your body. However, certain tests are there that can identify the remains of peyote in your body.

  • Saliva – 1-10 days
  • Blood – 24 hours max
  • Hair follicle – 90 days max
  • Urine – 2-3 days

To determine the level of drug in your blood system does not require any special tests but to identify Mescaline, you may need special testing.

Is peyote addictive?

With so many reactive psychological and physical effects, there are no studies found that show that peyote is addictive. But the statement is not justifiable to use regularly.

Further studies and research should be needed to determine if peyote addiction is possible. Some common signs of addiction include:

  • Spend a lot of time recovering after a long travel
  • To take an even higher dose to get high
  • Increased tolerance against drug effect
  • Continuous use of peyote despite negative effects

Variable Peyote laws in different states

States, where the use of peyote is prohibited, include New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, and Nevada. This is because these states have the minimum number of dedicated and renowned religious places like the American Indian church in Minnesota and Native American Church.


  • Are there some long-term side effects of peyote?

The effects of consuming peyote are widely investigated and physical and psychological side effects are described extensively above. However, the residues do not remain in the blood for a longer period, therefore, the long-term effects are not studied. Moreover, peyote may affect drastically low metabolism and lesser age users. Especially hallucinations.

  • How does a person become tolerant or dependent while on peyote?

The hallmark of addiction lingers with the regular use of peyote, however, peyote effects are not associated with physical dependency. People experience hallucinations once peyote is taken, in this situation, if they want to drive or walk, they may become dependent.

On the other hand, regular use of peyote can increase tolerance. In this case, they may want to take greater doses to feel the excitement or relaxing feeling.

Needing to consume more and more drugs can hazardously react and can cause severe consequences.

  • How commonly is peyote used?

While there’s a shortage of data relating to the common use of the drug, while (SAMHSA) The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), concluded in a survey in 2018 named National survey on Drug Use and Health.

The survey revealed that almost 5.6 million Americans use hallucinogens in just last year. According to the data, the number has increased to nearly half a million as compared to the data received in 2017.

  • Can you join the Native American Church to use peyote?

Under US laws, the Native American church is allowed to use peyote for their religious ceremonies. Their suppliers are registered and the quantity is licensed.

Texas laws are strict in this case; a person just can’t get along with the community of the Native American Church. A person should have 25% of the genes of Native Americans.

Recent Posts