Cacti - T. pachanoi & Bupropion
Citation: D. "I Beat the Game: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi & Bupropion (exp105830)". Erowid.org. Jul 26, 2018. erowid.org/exp/105830
I am a 26-year-old cis man in good physical health. I have struggled with depression in the past, but it is currently extremely well-managed thanks to bupropion (300 mg/day) and has been for several years now. I have no other known mental health issues.
Previous drug experiences:
-mescaline (from cacti), 2x (not including the report below)
-'acid', 3x (I do not believe that I actually ingested LSD on any of these occasions)
-morning glory seeds, 2x
-alcohol, 1-2 beers or glasses of wine on most nights (it's been 1-2 years since I exceeded this amount at any one time)
Method of preparation:
I obtained two San Pedro cuttings, each one about 35 cm in length and about as big around as a standard-sized soda can. I removed the cores from both cacti and cut the remainder (including the inner, white tissue) into small enough pieces to allow for easy blending. I did not remove the skins or thorns, as I did not plan to consume the cactus powder directly. After blending the cactus into a relatively homogenous mush, I placed it into a nonstick pot on low heat on the stove for several hours. At this point, the cactus material had formed a thick paste, so I removed it from the stove and set it in front of a space heater overnight to dry it.
Once the plant matter had dried, I ground it into a fine powder in a coffee grinder. This powder, which weighed 130 g, was divided approximately evenly between 3 glass jars. To each jar, I added enough ethanol (in the form of 190-proof grain alcohol) to cover the plant powder by 2-3 cm. These jars were allowed to sit for 24 hours, and I would occasionally shake them vigorously during this period. After 24 hours, I filtered the liquid in each jar through a coffee filter. I collected all of the resulting liquid (dark green, almost black in appearance) into a single glass baking pan, and returned the powder to the glass jars. I repeated this ethanol extraction 2-3 more times; the liquid became lighter green each time, and I stopped once the liquid coming through the coffee filter was a light greenish-yellow. Once all of the extractions (which took about 1.5 L of ethanol in total) were complete, I left the glass pan that I had collected them in open for a few days to allow the ethanol to evaporate. Once the material in the pan no longer smelled like alcohol, it left behind a viscous, green-black gooey residue that stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan. The residue would solidify completely when left in the freezer for a few minutes, at which point it could be easily scraped away from the sides of the pan using a razor blade.
The expectation of a psychedelic experience itself is usually enough to put me in a good mental state
The expectation of a psychedelic experience itself is usually enough to put me in a good mental state
, as I haven't ever had a 'bad trip,' and this time was no exception. I went into the experience very positively, both excited with anticipation of what awaited me and a sense of inner calm. I am not someone that is very attached to rituals of any kind, so I do not normally meditate or anything like that before psychedelic experiences.
I was in my romantic partner's apartment for the duration of this experience, and began consuming the cactus material an hour or so before midnight. My partner, who did not consume any mescaline, was awake for a few hours at the beginning, but later went to bed. My only other companions were their two cats. I mentioned above that I take bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression; I took this medication normally on the days of my trip, and have never found it to interfere with psychedelic experiences generally, likely due to its relative inaction on serotonin receptors or reuptake (from my limited understanding).
T+0:00-1:30: Having consumed cactus powder twice before, I was already familiar with its terrible, bitter taste, but I was still unprepared for the sheer bitterness that is concentrated cactus extract. It took approximately 90 minutes to consume about two-thirds of it, at which point I gave up on trying to consume any of the remainder. The last portion that I attempted to swallow made me gag quite badly, which quickly caused me to vomit up about 15 mL of my stomach contents. This vomiting episode corresponded with the first noticeable effects of the mescaline, as the colors of various objects around the room became subtly but noticeably brighter.
T+1:30-2:15: Obviously, at this point I felt quite nauseous and my whole GI tract in general felt quite uncomfortable, so I ended up spending the next 45 minutes or so in the bathroom, bent over a bucket in anticipation of more vomit, although luckily no more ended up coming out. During the time I spent in the bathroom, I was quite concerned that this physical discomfort would end up leading to a bad trip--what if this gastrointestinal distress was my reality for the next 8+ hours? It took considerable mental effort to talk myself down from these fears, especially considering that I was in the 'coming up' phase while this was all happening.
At the end of the 45 minutes spent in the bathroom, I experienced an abrupt and familiar change in my physical and mental state: nausea and physical discomfort quickly gave way to the characteristic 'weightlessness' that I feel on mescaline; simultaneously, I noticed the effects of the trip start to really take off. In all of my mescaline experiences, I have noticed that the famously abrupt transition from 'not tripping' to 'tripping' occurs almost perfectly simultaneously with an instantaneous disappearance in nausea and other unpleasant physical symptoms. And while the incipient nausea of the mescaline experience is well-known, it bears mentioning that the body feel of a mescaline trip is, in my experience, one of the characteristics that differentiates it most from LSD or LSA. In the case of the latter two drugs, I usually feel very grounded and weighed down by my physical body, with smooth muscle cramping being especially bad in the case of LSA. Tripping on mescaline, however, produces what I find to be a much more pleasant full-body sensation--or lack thereof. It's almost as though I move through life without being tied down by the weight of my body. I know that some users report being able to run much longer distances than normal while under the influence of mescaline, and while I haven't tried that myself, as a runner it isn't difficult to imagine how that might be possible.
I have to give credit to my partner at this point, who brought me some Gatorade to help with my stomach. Since I was at their apartment, I had hoped to minimize the extent to which I would rely on them to help me deal with the nausea and vomiting that I knew I would experience. Things never got too out of hand, but I still regret the fact that I had to rely on someone who isn't generally comfortable with vomit to help me through this stage of the experience. I think it definitely could have gone worse, but I am still very grateful for the assistance.
T+2:15-3:15: I spent the next hour or so (time was fuzzy by this point) in the dark, listening to music and hanging out with one of the cats. It was very enjoyable, although the experience was definitely more visual than auditory--i.e., music was more interesting than usual, but nothing compared to the open- and closed-eye visuals. There was an open set of blinds across the room from me, and whenever I stared at them I saw all of the slits populated by the character table from Microsoft Office's font package. Whenever I looked around the unlit room, I saw hundreds of eyes fade in and out of existence all around me, which sounds much scarier than it felt at the time. At one point, the cat got tired of me petting her and bit me softly--not out of aggression, just in the way that cats often do when they don't want to be touched anymore. After that, I watched the cat's face slowly morph from its normal appearance into something that could only be described as completely demonic. Again, this sounds terrifying now, but in my deeply altered state it was just fascinating. Many of the visual hallucinations, especially with eyes closed, were composed of what I can only think to describe as multicolored fractals, although they didn't bear much resemblance to what I normally think of as fractals in a non-altered state.
T+3:15-5:30: My partner came into the room where I had been alone in the dark, and we turned the lights on and chatted for the next 2 hours or so. I spent some time describing what I was experiencing, but for the most part we had normal conversations not related to anything to do with my psychadelic experience. The combination of the lights being on and the attention I was pouring into this interpersonal interaction made me significantly less aware of the effects of the mescaline at this point, but I was still pretty far gone. All of the objects in the kitchen were intensely brightly-colored. We decided to make a fire in the fireplace, which was a good decision.
Before my partner went to bed for the night, I spent about 30 minutes lying on the floor looking up at the popcorn ceiling in the apartment. Anyone that has ever done psychedelics in such an environment is no doubt aware of the magic that is staring at a popcorn ceiling in these altered states. In my two previous mescaline experiences, there hadn't been much happening visually and I specifically remember being disappointed by the lack of the activity on the ceiling. I had speculated that maybe mescaline just wasn't that good for these kinds of visuals, but it turns out I just hadn't done enough those past times. This time, I laid back and watched the spackles move across the ceiling in ocean waves of every possible color, back and forth in the calming, slow rhythm that waves breaking on the beach make during times of calm weather. I was enamored.
T+5:30-9:30: My partner went to bed and we turned all the lights off in the apartment, although the fire in the living room fireplace was still going strong. This is when the trip became most intense. I walked back into the living room after bidding my partner goodnight, and I encountered the cat (the same one from earlier) playing with one of her toys on the floor. I came closer and saw that her pupils were extremely dilated (due to the darkness and her playful state), and I couldn't tell if she was, in fact, a cat or some sort of furry alien creature that had come to lay her eggs inside of me, but the distinction didn't seem too important at the time.
I layed down on the couch in the living room and started staring at the closed window blinds behind it. It was illuminated by the fire and the street lights outside, blazing in all sorts of colors and erratically projecting itself into the room. I can only imagine what my face must have looked like while I stretched both of my arms in front of me, putting my hands into my field of vision. I moved them back and forth, fascinated by the intense tracers that they left in their wake. My right hand appeared much larger than my left, and in order to try to correct this perception, I overlayed my hands--first with the right in front of the left, and then with the left in front of the right. They completely matched up in both cases, and yet my right hand appeared larger than my left the whole time. I still cannot comprehend how two objects that take up the same amount of space appeared to have different sizes, but they did nonetheless.
While moving my hands back and forth and staring at the glitchy projections of the window blinds, I contemplated the state I was in. I realized that I had 'beaten the game': I had finally attained an inner state of what I was always trying to achieve by taking psychedelics, and yet I never knew that I had been trying to achieve it until it happened. And yet I was so keenly aware of how selfish it was to be at this point: the luxury of being able to recline on a couch and indulge in mescaline is definitely a privilege, and one that so many humans will never have.
I was so keenly aware of how selfish it was to be at this point: the luxury of being able to recline on a couch and indulge in mescaline is definitely a privilege, and one that so many humans will never have.
In many ways, I had reached this paramount psychedelic state only by benefitting from so many oppressive systems of power. In short, I had attained everything I had ever meant to attain, and yet I had become everything I know is evil in this world. I was everything I wanted to be and simultaneously everything I had always wanted to avoid. I asked myself: had I reached the mythical ++++ state? I had reached an inner state that I never could fathom before, and I definitely felt that I had reached the penultimate point of the human experiment. I don't know if I will ever do psychedelics again, but if I do it will be in the same way that anyone who's ever beaten a video game might pick it up and play it through again. I already know how it's going to end. It will never be the same.
After about 30 minutes on the couch (really just a guess), I got bored with the ultimate knowledge of all things good and evil and decided to do something else. I sat up and placed myself on the floor, closer to the fireplace. I found the cat sleeping beside the fire in the bed that belongs to one of my partner's dogs, a 40-50 lb. pit bull terrier. Staring into the fire, I watched out of the corner of my eye as the cat began emanating the noises that this dog, more than 5 times her size and nowhere in sight, usually makes. It made me do a double-take, but I quickly remembered that I was long, long gone. Only moments before, I had been at a ++++ on the couch, so it only made sense that I should still be at a +++. I spent some time looking into the fire, and eventually moved my gaze over to the carpet I was sitting on, where all sorts of patterns flowed across and through it.
After some time, I decided that I would like to take a walk outside, but I had enough of my wits about me to realize that I was in no state to venture out into the dark in these early morning hours, so I settled for stepping out onto the screened-in porch attached to the apartment. This only lasted a moment, as it was colder outside than I expected. I came back inside.
I spent the rest of the night and into the next morning quietly enjoying the rest of the trip as it slowly but surely began to fade over the course of several hours. Often, I find the coming-down portion of psychedelic trips to be the least enjoyable part: I am usually quite tired but unable to sleep, and feel disappointed in myself that I spent so much effort to get to an altered state, only to wish that it would end. This time, however, I was able to savor the glow of the soft morning light once the sun started to rise. It was a very uneventful landing, in a good way, although I was definitely quite tired by the time it became light again.
T+9:30-11:45: My partner woke up some time after sunrise after sleeping for only a few hours, and so was still quite tired also. A little less than 12 hours after I began, I was finally experiencing a minimal amount of closed-eye visuals and my partner and I were able to lay down and fall asleep. I woke up after sleeping for about 3 hours, and by that time I was no longer experiencing any effects from the mescaline.
In short, this trip got off to a rough start due to nausea, but the peak was definitely the most intense and best psychedelic experience I have ever had. Mescaline, even when derived from cactus, seems to be the most visual psychedelic that I have tried. In spite of the nausea, the peak intensity, visual effects, and 'body high' all confirmed what I had already suspected before this trip: that mescaline is my drug of choice, and I have yet to experience any negative effects from it whatsoever, aside from the nausea which always eventually subsides.
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