Cacti - T. peruvianus
Citation: V. "Ego Death in a Capsule: An Experience with Cacti - T. peruvianus (exp104344)". Erowid.org. Dec 31, 2020. erowid.org/exp/104344
I had already attempted to ingest cactus twice before. My first time, I used isopropyl alcohol to extract a black tar from 85 grams (3 oz) of Peruvian Torch powder. This resulted in 52 capsules full of black tar, and one day I ate 23 of them. The results were a strong body high, a great outgoing and optimistic mood, enhanced visual sharpness, and an enhanced perception of colors, especially red/maroon and blue/violet. It was easy to socialize and had I no paranoia about 'looking high.' But my mind and ego were largely intact. I did not 'trip' at all, so I was set on trying again. In fact, this was my first ever experience with a psychedelic drug, but still it was not a 'trip.'
My second attempt was a catastrophic failure. I still had 29 of the capsules left, so I could easily get back to the previous level I had experienced, but of course I wanted to go further. I obtained an additional 85 grams of the cactus and, since the previous extraction took nearly a week and was very smelly (alcohol vapors), I thought I would swallow the 29 capsules, then mix some of the powder with water, cinnamon, and sugar and just swallow globs of it as fast as possible. This was a huge mistake.
Foolishly, I mixed all 85 grams of powder with water and cinnamon, thinking I could easily eat all of it. After taking the capsules, I managed to gag down just 2 little balls of rehydrated powder and had to give up. I was extremely nauseated, both by the bitter cactus and the inherent nauseating alkaloids, and I ended up projectile vomiting everything into the sink just 45 minutes later. I threw out the spongy powder because I couldn't stand to see or smell it again. I had noticeably altered thought processes and a mild dissociation from my senses for about 8 hours following this, and I regretted it horribly. I didn't give the cactus the respect and patience it deserved.
Over the next few months, I did not pursue mescaline again because I miraculously found some very good LSD and took it a few times. LSD was my first real 'trip.'
Then I decided to give the cactus one more shot, but this time to do it right. I got ahold of 114 grams (1/4 pound) of Peruvian Torch powder. To test the batch and get an idea of its potency, I mixed 11 g of the powder and in hot water then chugged it and chased it with lemonade. I felt slight nausea, and the only noticeable psychoactive effect was mild sedation similar to that of chamomile tea. This led me to believe that the cactus was not very potent, since as little as 75 mg of mescaline would have clear though non-psychedelic effects according to my research. The cactus must have contained less than 1% of mescaline.
Using an infamous 'tek' involving d-limonene (orange oil), I managed to extract 0.9 g of an orange-brown sticky goo from the 103 g of powder. I stuffed this into two gelatin capsules. Since the cactus seemed to be weak (clearly less than 1% mescaline), and I didn't want to risk wasting any of it, I decided I would dose all of it simultaneously to guarantee that something would happen.
One sunny morning, I took the capsules in my home and got way more than I bargained for. The following are notes that I took that day, with comments added after the fact in brackets.
T = 0. The time is 8:40 am. Bike is fixed, weather is beautiful. Ingest 0.9 g of sticky brownish-orange goo. Drink coffee and ginger tea over the course of the next 30 minutes. [Caffeine supposedly boosts the effects of mescaline, and ginger soothes nausea.] Snack on some walnuts and pecans since I haven't eaten in over 12 hours.
T + 0:35: Feeling something. I'm not sure what. A little lighter, a little nauseated, and nervous.
T + 0:45: Definite presence of a drug, but it is still creeping, advancing slowly. It is yet to reveal the true nature of its effects. My job is to wait patiently and see. Right now I feel noticeably sedated.
T + 1:00: [Still battling nausea, but no urges to puke.] I sense that this will be an INTENSE experience. This makes me a little nervous. I am trying to relax, listening to some music. I know that something will happen, but I don't know what and I don't know when.
T + 1:05: My peripheral vision is... interesting. It begins. Oh my god, it begins now. [I noticed bright colors appearing out of nowhere in my peripheral vision, subtly bleeding and flowing.]
T + 1:23: Yes. It has begun, definitely. Colors, especially RED, are as I have never seen them before! Red pops out and captures my eye everywhere I look, closely followed by its friend BLUE. They pop out! Pink, green.
T + ???: Reality is very fluid and dreamlike. The transition has been seamless and slow.
[I go outside for a while. First, I sit in my back yard and close my eyes. I notice some interesting images and patterns forming on the back of my eyelids. They are subtle yet definitely there. I have to sit still, close my eyes and breathe heavily to calm myself amidst a building flood of emotions. I sit down and run my hands through the grass. The texture feels orgasmic. Concrete feels almost fluid and mushy. I bike around my neighborhood but don't get far because I feel increasingly nervous around strangers, since I am still coming up hard and don't know when it will stop. I notice intense distortions of perspective and speed. The street seems much more three-dimensional and expansive than before, and rolling down a hill feels like swimming through a dense lake. My understanding of time is obliterated. Biking around one block of houses feels like an hour-long adventure. When I return home, I am out of breath and sweating, even though while biking I felt little resistance from my muscles.]
T + 4:21: Breathing, no, just existing is extremely intense and meaningful. Visual phenomena are there, but they are the least of my concerns. [Visuals had intensified by this point. I noticed a pink/green 'aura' or outline surrounding different objects, and smoothly pulsating and spiraling fractals on my white carpet.] What I see melts into what I feel, what I think, what I taste... Senses are free to wander into new realms and mingle with each other. This is PROFOUND! Not recreational by any means. The visual and physical sensations are pleasant, but the mind is deeply challenged, incapacitated. [I remember going into the bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror. My face shifts and ripples slightly. I see my face and think of myself as if I were meeting this person as a stranger. I perceive him as a lost, immature, and more confused about the direction of his life than ever before. I decide to take a shower to calm myself down and cool off from the bike ride.]
T + 4:41: [I take a shower, starting with hot water and slowly turning it to cold water.] I just took the best shower of my life. It sounds comical, but it's true. I had such profound clarity and realizations, all with a smile and laugh. Genuine happiness and laughter, childlike wonder. I am so happy to be alive! [The water felt FANTASTIC! After my shower, I saw myself again in the mirror and felt completely different. I saw myself as a proud, attractive, and confident man.]
T + 5:39: I am on drugs. Drugs are bad. Interesting, but still bad. Psychomimetic. [In the moments before writing this, I had a difficult experience with thought loops. I struggled to find a comfortable, satisfying activity to occupy myself. Sitting inside listening to music on the computer felt like a waste, but going outside into the beautiful weather felt incredibly risky given my vulnerable state, like diving into the great unknown. I felt that in even the shortest interaction with a stranger, I would be unable to handle myself and immediately blow my cover. I listened to a song, then paced back and forth down the hall, then sat down and listened to another song, then got up and paced around, etc. I longed for human interaction, but couldn't interact with anyone. I wanted to share my emotions and 'revelations' but could only write them down, and struggled to find the right words. I felt quite conflicted and for a moment the thought crossed my mind that I was acting schizophrenic.]
[I spend some time listening to my favorite music and it makes me feel the deepest, most genuine emotions I ever remember feeling.]
T + 6:11: I have never understood myself so well before. I am not an individual, I am just another tiny branch of the human tree.
T + ???: [At one moment, I had become convinced that I was experiencing some degree of ego death/dissolution.] Ego death. I don't believe in ego murder, only ego suicide. If you want to follow me, go at your own risk. Only you can be responsible for your death. [Before writing this, I ran into my sister. She has a history of drug abuse and addiction, but now is in recovery. She immediately started asking me questions like 'What are you on? Can you help me get some? How much does it cost?' which made me extremely uncomfortable. I felt a strong aversion to giving my sister any information, because she has bipolar disorder, and because I was experiencing some very overwhelming emotions that I subconsciously wanted to protect her from. That, and the fact that giving drugs to a family member and addict could be disastrous.]
T + 6:55: I feel like I can finally can stand atop the mountain's peak and say 'I made it.' I can look around and marvel at the view. There it is: the fruit of my journey. [For uncertain reasons, I began to feel overwhelmingly optimistic and almost forgot my recent mental turmoil. I think this is because I was starting to come down slightly, and this filled me with a sense of security.]
T + 8:13: Fuck yeah! Swimming would be awesome right now. Cold water, a popsicle... [It was a hot day, and tripping only made me feel hotter and sweatier. My neck was also very stiff/sore.]
T + 9:00: I'm coming down, obviously. Slowly but steadily. Baseline is back in sight. [Visual effects have completely subsided. Body and mood are still moderately euphoric, mind is still thinking in psychedelic patterns but much more subdued.]
T + 15:00: I'm at 99%. Going to bed. [I fell asleep quite easily, being physically and mentally exhausted.]
In conclusion, my trip was overall very rewarding, but surprised me with its intensity. When I woke up that morning and swallowed the capsules, I had no idea that I was about to experience roughly the equivalent of two strong hits of LSD minus the in-your-face visuals (since LSD was my only psychedelic before this, I can't help but make this comparison). Having heard that mescaline is a serene, peaceful psychedelic, I expected a relatively light trip without any mental confusion, but I got plenty of that. I think the unexpected intensity of the drug contributed to my confusion. I was confronted with some of my deep-seated insecurities and emotional conflicts.
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