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San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi)

San pedro cactusSan Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi) is Unscheduled in the United States. However, it is a gray area of the law because the cactus contains, Mescaline, which is a Schedule I drug.

Addictive Potential: None

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown

Mechanism of Action: The primary active constituent, Mescaline, binds to and activates the serotonin 5-HT(2A) receptor


The San Pedro cactus, also called Trichocereus pachanoi and Echinopsis pachanoi, is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the Andes of Peru and Ecuador. They are a very hardy and easy to grow columnar cactus, often growing a foot per year and reaching heights of 20 feet. It is ribbed, with usually 6 to 8 ribs. It is a branching cactus and often has many side arms.

It was first used sacramentally around 3000 B.C. The Peruvian archaeologist Rosa Fung, at the Chavín site of Las Aldas, found the remains of this cactus rolled up into a cigar-like form that were dated back to 2200 B.C. Also, a Chavín stone carving from a temple at Chavín de Huantar in northern Peru, dated to around 1300 B.C., shows their principal deity holding a San Pedro cactus. It was supposedly named after Saint Peter because it was, like Peter, thought to hold the keys to heaven.

It is currently legal in the United States to cultivate as long as it is not intended for the purposes of human consumption. As for international law, in most countries it is legal to cultivate. Although, in countries where possession of mescaline and related compounds is illegal and highly penalized, cultivation for the purposes of consumption is most likely illegal and also highly penalized. This is the case in Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, and Norway, where it is currently legal to cultivate San Pedro for gardening and ornamental purposes, but not for consumption.


San Pedro Cactus

San Pedro contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids:

  • Mescaline, or 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine/0.3 – 2.3%
  • 3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine
  • 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenethylamine
  • 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine
  • 4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine
  • anhalonidine
  • anhalinine
  • hordenine
  • tyramine
  • 3-methoxytyramine

Trip Reports:

Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

Some of the negative effects associated with San Pedro use include:

  • nausea, queasiness, or upset stomach
  • anxiety
  • feelings of fear



The NeuroSoup Trip Guide – This e-book discusses: Set, Setting, and Preparation for a Trip, Tips for Tripsitters, Aspects of the Entheogenic Experience, Working with Difficult Experiences, and Integration. Adverse psychological reactions, like flashbacks and HPPD, may potentially be avoided with proper preparation before and integration after entheogenic journeys. Thus, this e-book serves the purpose of harm reduction education. For clarity, NeuroSoup does not advocate the use of illegal, quasi-legal, or legal drugs. All substances that affect the central nervous system (legal or illegal) can have side effects, adverse reactions, and negative interactions with other drugs. Abstinence is always the best way to protect one’s health.


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