Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Cactaceae (family), cactus methanolic extract, Lophophora, Lophophora williamsii, mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine).
Lophophora williamsii, also known as peyote, is found primarily in dry regions from central Mexico to Texas, particularly in regions along the Rio Grande. Peyote is commonly used in rituals and as a hallucinogen (due to its mescaline content). In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may prohibit the use of peyote for religious purposes. Although peyote is illegal, the Dona Ana cactus, Coryphantha macromeris (Engelm.) Br. and R. and its runyonii (Br. and R.) L. Benson variety have been promoted as natural and legal psychedelic agents with about one-fifth of the potency of peyote.
To date, there are no available clinical trials investigating the use of peyote for any indication. However, preliminary study investigating peyote has not found long-term cognitive deficits, although more study is needed to make any firm conclusions about peyote's safety.
Some experts believe that proper use of one psychoactive substance, such as peyote, within a spiritual or clinical context helps to free an individual from the adverse effects of their addiction to another substance and thus restores them as functioning members of their community or group.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Alcoholism, hallucinogenic, immunomodulator, tumor.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for peyote in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for peyote in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to peyote, mescaline, or members of the family Cactaceae.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is limited available evidence describing the adverse effects of peyote. Due to the hallucinogenic activity of peyote, psychosis has been reported in case reports. Ritualistic use of peyote does not appear to cause long-term cognitive deficits, although more study is needed to clarify these findings.
Use cautiously in patients with mental disorders, as peyote may induce psychotic episodes.
Use cautiously in patients with high or low blood pressure, due to mescaline's potential to alter blood pressure.
Avoid in patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to the potential of fetal abnormalities.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Peyote is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of sufficient data in humans. Mescaline, a constituent of peyote, may cross the placenta, and has been linked to congenital malformations.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
The biochemical alkaloids common in the peyote cactus are thought to be pharmacologically similar to the neuroamine-derived alkaloids found in the brain during alcohol intoxification. Caution is advised when taking peyote with alcohol.
Peyote extracts may regulate blood pressure, although the clinical significance of this is unknown. Caution is advised in patients taking agents that may also alter blood pressure.
Peyote may stimulate lymphocytes and leukocytes. Caution is advised when taking peyote with immunomodulators due to possible additive effects.
Chlorpromazine may affect the disposition of 8- 14 C-mescaline in fetal and maternal brain and liver. Caution is advised when taking peyote with phenothiazines.
Due to peyote's hallucinogenic effects, combined used with other psychoactives may cause additive effects. Caution is advised in patients with mental disorders.
Peyote may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
In theory, due to peyote's hallucinogenic effects, combined used with other psychoactive herbs or supplements may cause additive effects. Caution is advised in patients with mental disorders.
Peyote extracts may regulate blood pressure, although the clinical significance of this is unknown. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that may also alter blood pressure.
Peyote may stimulate lymphocytes and leukocytes. Caution is advised when taking peyote with immunomodulator herbs or supplements due to possible additive effects.
Peyote may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Bullis RK. Swallowing the scroll: legal implications of the recent Supreme Court peyote cases. J Psychoactive Drugs 1990;22(3):325-332. View Abstract
Calabrese JD. Spiritual healing and human development in the Native American church: toward a cultural psychiatry of peyote. Psychoanal Rev 1997;84(2):237-255. View Abstract
Carod Artal FJ. [Neurological syndromes associated with the ingestion of plants and fungi with a toxic component (II). Hallucinogenic fungi and plants, mycotoxins and medicinal herbs]. Rev Neurol 5-16-2003;36(10):951-960. View Abstract
de Rios MD, Grob CS, Baker JR. Hallucinogens and redemption. J Psychoactive Drugs 2002;34(3):239-248. View Abstract
Fickenscher A, Novins DK, Manson SM. Illicit peyote use among American Indian adolescents in substance abuse treatment: a preliminary investigation. Subst Use Misuse. 2006;41(8):1139-1154. View Abstract
Franco-Molina M, Gomez-Flores R, Tamez-Guerra P, et al. In vitro immunopotentiating properties and tumour cell toxicity induced by Lophophora williamsii (peyote) cactus methanolic extract. Phytother Res 2003;17(9):1076-1081. View Abstract
Gilmore HT. Peyote use during pregnancy. S D J Med 2001;54(1):27-29. View Abstract
Halpern JH, Sherwood AR, Hudson JI, et al. Psychological and cognitive effects of long-term peyote use among Native Americans. Biol Psychiatry 10-15-2005;58(8):624-631. View Abstract
Hashimoto H, Clyde VJ, Parko KL. Botulism from peyote. N Engl J Med 7-16-1998;339(3):203-204. View Abstract
Henry JL, Epley J, Rohrig TP. The analysis and distribution of mescaline in postmortem tissues. J Anal Toxicol 2003;27(6):381-382. View Abstract
Huttlinger KW, Tanner D. The Peyote way: implications for Culture Care theory. J Transcult Nurs 1994;5(2):5-11. View Abstract
Lu BY, Woofter C, Escalona R. A case of prolonged peyote-induced psychosis resolved by sleep. J.Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(10):1433-1434. View Abstract
Nolte KB, Zumwalt RE. Fatal peyote ingestion associated with Mallory-Weiss lacerations. West J Med 1999;170(6):328. View Abstract
Padula PA, Friedmann LW. Acquired amputation and prostheses before the sixteenth century. Angiology 1987;38(2 Pt 1):133-141. View Abstract
Schwartz RH. Mescaline: a survey. Am Fam Physician 1988;37(4):122-124. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017