Cacti - T. pachanoi
Citation: The Lazy Shaman. "The Lazy Shaman's Cold Prep: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi (exp110830)". Erowid.org. Aug 6, 2017. erowid.org/exp/110830
THE LAZY SHAMAN'S COLD PREP
In many San Pedro preparations the cactus flesh is cooked and/or run through a blender to separate the psychoactive alkaloids from the plant matter. During a period of experimentation with these, I left a batch of cactus flesh in a freezer for a period of months and stumbled upon an easy, reproducible cactus prep which effectively reduces one foot of cactus to a couple gulps of liquid.
PROS: Requires very little work, and I only have to swallow a little bit.
CONS: Requires that I plan ahead, meanwhile storing the cactus in a potentially incriminating form, for a period of about three months.
Fresh scalpel or sharp knife, bowl (preferably metal), freezer. And, you know, cactus.
In my experience, one foot of cactus yields a moderate, 'level 2' trip, characterized by strong closed-eye visuals, body buzz, and sensitivity to one's environment (but not overwhelmingly so). For me, one foot is a casual trip where I remain in control and don't have my mind blown; two feet may result in more intense ego disillusion experiences.
That having been said, I'm only offering the above to provide the reader with a rough basis of comparison by which to judge this preparation against his or her own prior experiences. Your mileage will vary, both on account of your own physiology and the potency of whatever cactus you happen to be working with. When experimenting, you are always well advised to err on the side of caution.
As usual, preparation involves separating the cactus flesh from the waxy outer membrane, spines, and fibrous core. I am able to process a foot of cactus in 30-45 minutes as follows:
1.) Cut off the tip of the cactus, if your cactus has a tip, and discard. Using a fresh scalpel, or the sharpest blade you have available, remove the spines/areoles by slicing off the ribs at their very tips. Make one smooth motion from end to end, such that each rib terminates in a small plateau, with just enough material removed to de-spine the cactus. If you cut off each of the areoles in little wedges, you will save a tiny amount of material, but the next step will become much harder.
2.) Using the same sharp blade, make straight cuts down the valleys between the ribs. Using your fingernail or the back of your blade, you should now be able to reach under the waxy membrane and peel it off in neat strips without pulling up the underlying flesh.
3.) Cut off the fleshy spears and chop them into chunks of roughly 3/4 inch, placing these in a (preferably) metal bowl. Discard the fibrous core.
4.) Store the bowl of cactus chunks in your freezer and forget about it. The cold will cause the cell walls to break down, freezing the moisture inside the cactus. You will know that the cactus is finally ready when it looks thoroughly shrunken and shriveled. In my freezer, this requires around 3 months. Because of the waiting involved, I prepare my next batch around the same time as my trip so that I always have one in the queue.
5.) The night before your trip, leave the bowl on a counter to thaw. Depending upon how much you have prepared, you may find a substantial amount of liquid in the bowl come morning, or you may find very little. In any event, the final step is simply to squeeze as much liquid out of the cactus as you can. You don't need to be fancy here—just use your muscles and squeeze it by the handful until you can't make it drip any longer. One foot of cactus may only yield a couple inches of liquid in a glass, but that liquid will be very potent. Drink this and discard the remaining plant matter, even if it still feels moist (see below).
REALLY? ARE YOU SURE I SHOULDN'T COOK OR BLEND THIS?
Pretty sure. Prior to my first experience with the cold prep I had prepared two feet of cactus as described above, froze it for a few days, blended it, and then drank the entire slurry. Suffice it to say, this was not a pleasant process, but, having thus consumed the entirely of the cactus flesh, I had a pretty strong trip.
The cold prep was the result of procrastination. I had ordered another two feet of cactus from the same vendor, put in the freezer, and, recalling my prior experience, didn't get around to thawing it for close to a year. When I finally did so, I noticed how much liquid had collected in the bowl overnight, and wondered what would happen if I just drank that. What happened is that I tripped about as hard as I had the last time.
This suggests to me that there are dramatically diminishing returns to extracting anything from the remaining plant matter that I can't squeeze out after an extended freezing. Rather than worrying about the excess 10-20% of alkaloids that I might be discarding, I could simply buy more cactus.
DO I REALLY HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG? WHAT IF INSTEAD...?
It appears that the more thoroughly the moisture inside the cactus freezes, the easier it is to squeeze it out when it thaws. My experience has been that, after 3 months or so, the cactus has frozen to the point that it will readily yield the lion's share of its alkaloids, but I've never tested this in a thorough manner.
It is my hope that this preparation will provide a starting point for other psychonauts, who will refine it and share their results with the community. San Pedro is notoriously disgusting stuff, but at present it's easy to obtain, so anything that makes it easier to prepare and consume will make the psychedelic experience more accessible to the public.
Having experimented with San Pedro in various preparations over a period of decades, I've finally found one that I consider easy and reliable enough for regular use, and I feel as though I would be betraying something if I didn't share it with others.
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