For this edition of Flashback Friday, we’ve got Robert Lemmo’s concise primer on the varieties of mind-altering succulents from the June, 1977 issue of High Times.
Which cacti will get you high? That depends on your definition of “high,” your metabolism, your culture and mind set and a thousand other factors. An Oto Indian peyotist told Weston La Barre, author of The Peyote Cult, in all sincerity, that peyote doesn’t work outside of prayer meetings—he had tried it.
Most knowledge of psychoactive cacti comes from Mexican and American Indians, especially the native shamans and curanderos (“healers”) who use the plants in religious and visionary contexts. Science has just not gotten on the stick in research into psychoactive cacti. Although use by Indians strongly suggests that many of the alkaloids found in cacti are hallucinogenic, only mescaline, macromerine and gigantine are officially recognized as such. Many alkaloids remain…
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