Cacti - T. bridgesii & 2C-I
Citation: Hypersphere. "Comfortably Tripping on Trees and Art: An Experience with Cacti - T. bridgesii & 2C-I (exp83447)". Erowid.org. Apr 27, 2010. erowid.org/exp/83447
Substances ingested and timeline:
Trichocereus bridgesii 10 grams chewed well and swallowed slowly over about 2 hours
2C-I 25-27 milligrams taken orally in two amounts; 20 milligrams at T + 0:00 and ~6 mg “top-up” at the one hour mark.
Erythroxylum coca 3 leaves chewed with sodium bicarbonate while peaking (approximately T + 4:00).
Cannabis smoked throughout.
Kratom resin extract smoked at T + 12 hours to allow sleep.
Background of Participants:
Myself: I am male, at the time of this experience 22 years old and weighing around 120 pounds. I take no prescription or over-the-counter medications, but use marijuana and yerba mate on a daily basis. I have been experimenting frequently with psychedelics including mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca-type brews, MDMA, 2C-I and Trichocereus cacti. I had an experience with Mimohuasca four days previous, and MDMA six days previous.
The day before this experience I had obtained 50 dried grams of Trichocereus bridgesii flesh and some other goodies at a shop selling various entheogenic plants. This species is used as a shamanic and recreational psychoactive in areas of Bolivia, where it often goes by the name Achuma (which may also refer to San Pedro or Peruvian Torch cacti). It is the least known of the three commonly used Trichocereus species, but has a reputation of having a diverse alkaloid profile.
I have used Peruvian torch (T. peruvianus) several times in the past at doses of 10 to 30 grams and San Pedro (T. pachanoi) once at a dose of 15 grams. I was excited to see if T. bridgesii felt different from these other two, and also get an idea of how potent this cactus is. I have experimented with 2C-I extensively at doses ranging from 5 to 30 milligrams, and find it a very gentle and comfortable substance, so I was confident taking it together with the cactus would be no problem.
I experienced mild nausea, and found the experience hit a mellow and controllable plus 3 with a good “museum level” for art viewing around the ninth hour. Taking most of the 2C-I at the beginning of the trip seemed to create a double-peak effect; one peak around the third hour from the 2C-I, and a second peak around the fifth hour from the cactus. This dosing schedule seemed to extend the duration of the psychedelic effects at a reduction in intensity from what would be expected if the drugs were timed to have overlapping peaks.
Polska is female, around 21 years old and weighing around 110 pounds. She follows a raw-vegan diet and does not take prescription or over-the-counter medications, but does use marijuana and yerba mate on a daily basis. She has some experience with mushrooms and MDMA and had taken 2C-I once before at a dose of 20 milligrams. She had not used psychedelics recently going into this experience and had never tried any species of cactus before. She is a bit of a hardhead and therefore had the same as me, 25-27 milligrams 2C-I plus 10 grams cactus plus the coca/pot/kratom. She experienced mild nausea but no vomiting.
Dean is male, around 28 years old and weighing around 130 pounds. He follows a raw-vegan diet and does not take prescription or over-the-counter medications, but does use marijuana and yerba mate on a daily basis. He is sensitive to psychedelics, and therefore took just 8 grams of cactus plus the coca/pot/kratom. He has past experience with mushrooms, LSD and DMT but has never taken cactus before, and had no recent psychedelic use going into this trip. In his youth he also experienced living on the street, experimenting with street drugs and becoming addicted to poppy tea and intravenous heroin, but has since completely turned his life around in a positive direction. He experienced mild to moderate nausea but no vomiting.
Setting: I was vacationing in Vancouver with a couple good friends. Our setting varied from the hotel room, to the bus, a beautiful and large urban park full of giant trees (Stanley park), the beach at sunset, an art museum, and just chilling in the urban environment. I am not familiar with the city, but Dean used to live here so he is an excellent guide.
Mindset: I was taking on more of a social/leader role for this experience, in terms of determining dosages for everyone and being the experienced drug-taker. This changed my focus from my usual inward reflection to an outward empathic intention. I wanted to connect with my friends, connect with this amazing city we were in, but also to stay grounded enough to look after my friends if they had a difficult trip. The purpose of Polska and I taking the 2C-I was an attempt to achieve a deeply psychedelic state without having to eat a serious amount of cactus.
The experience: We ate pieces of the cactus slowly over a couple hours, as I have found this lets the body adjust to the rising effects and eliminates much of the nausea that would otherwise be experienced. We also smoked a whole lot of weed, hash and oil (my traveling companions are serious potheads, can’t pack a bowl without adding hash or roll a joint without giving it a halo of oil! Not that I’m complaining…) before getting on a bus and heading out to this huge park/piece of wilderness right next to the downtown core and surrounded on all sides by the harbour waters. I felt a little bit of nausea on the bus but was pretty comfortable considering how hard I was already tripping. The 2C-I had me in a mellow mindspace with that frenzied cactus energy starting to be noticeable as well. Cactus for me tends to be pretty stimulating during the come-up period.
Once we got to the park our trip was dominated by trees. Venerable old cedars and maples, tall horse chestnuts and Catalpa all vied for our intoxicated wonder. There was a big Catalpa tree that had blown over in a windstorm, and was pruned into this jungle-gym structure totally designed for stoners. The tree was still alive, some of its roots in the ground and little branches regrowing at the top. We sat around tripping out and smoking oil on this tree for quite awhile. Venturing deeper into the park we came across a maple tree which had also been storm damaged. A huge double-boled trunk was cut off a considerable height above the ground. The base of the tree was craggy with age and perfect for climbing. We made our way up till the three of us were sitting on the sawn stumps of the venerable tree, a couple stories above ground level. Looking down the vertigo made us feel REALLY HIGH all of a sudden, and we agreed not to smoke a bowl for fear of falling from these lofty heights. When we climbed back down our attention was soon grabbed by the beautiful red bark of a cedar tree, as well as the giant red-backed and black-legged spiders we found hiding in a crevice of the tree.
All our senses were heightened, but the enhancement of colour was particularly noticeable. The red bark of the cedar tree was vividly saturated, as was the green of the grass and leaves of the trees. I was aware of many more subtle shades and nuances of colour than I would be normally. The golden sunlight glinting through the trees gave everything a really magical, mystical feeling to it. I love sunshine through the tree tops.
We all sat around the tree staring in awe and wonder, chewing Coca leaves with a pinch of baking soda to activate the alkaloids. We gave a ritual offering of a Coca leaf back to the earth, everyone blowing over the leaf’s surface three times with positive intention and then putting the leaf in one of the crevice’s in the bark of the cedar tree. To the Haida of the coast the cedar tree is the tree of life, and it felt good giving this small offering of energy back to the earth. We felt very much connected to nature during this trip. I think we were probably the most blissed-out people in the whole park, everyone else was just strolling through but the three of us were sitting on the grass around this tree, totally involved in the experience and marveling at the beauty of the trees and nature all around us.
I highly recommend chewing some Coca leaf towards the peak of a cactus experience, as the effects are a very nice complement to one another. Coca also comes from the highlands of the Andes, and it is quite possible that it would traditionally be used alongside a Trichocereus experience. The were several effects chewing Coca leaf on T. bridgesii had that I noticed: Physically, I felt a calming of the nervous energy tremor of the cactus, my hands and body felt much more stable and in control. Mentally, the Coca promoted a more crisp and positive mindstate. I shifted from this slightly dreamy, dazed tripping feeling to one of razor-sharp clarity of thought. Extreme high awareness of everything around me and a zen contentment. The Coca leaf also settled my stomach effectively, getting rid of any lingering nausea. Finally, the visual effects of the cactus seemed accentuated or brought out by chewing Coca.
As the sun began to dip low in the sky we settled down on a bit of sandy beach to smoke a few bowls of marijuana and just enjoy the peacefulness, while looking over the harbour waters. I admired the way the water rippled, and a little bit of colour reflected in the water from the dusky clouds. The whole trip was permeated with this calm reflective energy, just sitting still and breathing was the whole point. It felt like I was breathing more fully, deeper into my lungs than normal.
Taking a moment of true contemplative reflection like this is so difficult in today’s fast paced world. As soon as I start relaxing and enjoying the moment I start feeling guilty about relaxing and enjoying the moment, thinking I am wasting time! Today was reminding me of the beauty of simply being, here and now, nowhere else. I felt opened up and able to breath freely.
The rest of the evening lined up in our favour. After wandering around we found the bus-stop half by chance, waited only minutes for a bus, and then the bus driver told us we could all ride for free, that the regular buses had finished running and she was just here to pick up any stragglers from the park and offered to take us where ever we wanted! This was a lucky synchronicity, because we didn’t have any money for bus fare. Still hallucinating wildly, we made it back to downtown in time to meet a couple more friends and take in an exhibition of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings at the art gallery. It was the final days of the exhibit, so the gallery had extended hours and entrance was by donation (sweet!).
I was at the perfect “museum level” right now, a full nine hours into the experience and still high enough that the walls were crawling and each painting could be studied with great fascination, but not so high that I felt weird or uncomfortable being around people. Overall this trip had been very socially comfortable, I never felt odd or anxious being around other people. This for me is a difference between tryptamines like mushrooms and LSD, and phenethylamines. The cactus and 2C-I were promoting a really empathetic, open hearted vibration and it was a very comfortable mindstate to be in. There were lots of younger folks checking out the art exhibit tonight, and I felt connected to every one of them. They all seemed such beautiful people, and when I smiled and met their eyes they would smile back at me.
The exhibit was a real mixed bag, just a few pieces by a whole bunch of artists, but it was very enjoyable. A few Monet’s, a few Cezanne, Pisarro and Renoir paintings. One Renoir caught my eye particularly, not because it was that exciting of an image (a bunch of women and girls standing around), but the way he had painted it was just incredible. The whole artwork had a “soft” look to it, very colourful but all fading gently together with a nostalgic feel. I was blown away by how Renoir managed to give a painting exactly that sheen of soft magical sunshine which I experience when tripping in the woods on a good dose of mushrooms or 2C-I. He had captured the quality of light I had been experiencing in the park earlier in the day.
Going on to the next room I found several beautiful Rodin sculptures. This man is the master of sculpting facial expressions, a larger-than-life bronze head gazed down at me with such an expression of sorrow and longing, that I felt tears prick my eyes. I marveled at the way he allows a couple of erotic winged angels to writhe so naturally out of a piece of soapstone, carved like sea-wrack.
There were also a few pieces each by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh. All amazing of course! There was one big Picasso from his blue period, the figures in the painting standing around dejected and with eyes downcast. But when we walked by the painting, from certain angles all this bird imagery starts coming out at us. The man sitting huddled on the ground was a bird flying, wings spread over his back and arms. The clothes the women wears have winged v-shapes in the folds just like that of a bird taking flight. These small details are easy to miss, since they can be seen only from a certain angle, but it cast a whole new interpretation of the painting in my mind. The sense of escaping, to fly free like a bird. A smaller Picasso showed a cubist interpretation of a fan and a small desk in dark, earthy tones, which looked for all the world EXACTLY like the kind of visual effects I was getting from the cactus, very geometric in shades of reds, browns and greens.
One of the Van Gogh pieces struck me particularly, it was a painting of a poplar tree in brilliant yellow fall foliage against a vividly blue sky done in little patchy brush strokes making me think of stained glass windows. It seemed more real than life and reminded me of a long-ago mushroom trip I had. It seems like Van Gogh was in a pretty psychedelic state of consciousness, to paint the way he did. As if, his sense of the novelty and vividness of things did not fade after child hood like most people’s. Shulgin mentions in PIHKAL that mescaline takes him back to the perceptual innocence of childhood, and that was the real magic of it for him. Seeing the world not through jaded eyes, but in all its freshness, glowing with light. This was how I felt too today. Perhaps there is something special about mescaline, catalyzing this type of experience, because it reminds me also of Huxley’s flowers in The Doors of Perception that glow with an inner light, breathing from beauty into ever deeper beauty as he watches them.
The Dali pieces were impressive in that they looked totally unreal. There’s a glassy smoothness to his painting that pictures in art books fail to do justice too. No brush strokes are visible at all in his magnificent liquid creations! Such skill, such patience would have been required to create these masterpieces. I recall that Dali said that he didn’t need to do LSD, because he was the drug. Were all these artists walking around with permanent psychedelic perceptions?
So we wandered out of the museum high on art, and still high on cactus/2C-I. Outside the art museum there are a bunch of steps where everyone just hangs out and gets stoned, so that’s what we did too. Smoking bubble hash from a quartz crystal chillum (I have to say this is the nicest smoking piece I’ve every used), watching the night life. A dance troupe is practicing in the square below us, blending what looks like martial arts or capoeira with “popping” style dance moves.
Some crazy homeless guy who’s probably all whacked out on speed comes running by, wearing nothing but boxer shorts and pushing a giant shopping cart overflowing with stuff. A huge piece of wood or something sticks out the front with flags hung on it, like sails on this demented metal-cage ship. He yells at us “Hey, do you know where the rally is????”
“Uh, what rally?” we reply.
“You know, the 9-11 rally? No, you guys don’t know, nevermind! Onwards!” And off he ran at top speed pushing this huge fucking cart ahead of him. This made our night, the three of us laughed so hard and were talking about how hilarious that guy had been. The couple friends we had met who live in the city, took it very much in stride, commenting that this was nothing unusual for them to see. They were a little bemused at our merriment.
We made it back to the hotel around 12 hours after starting to eat the cactus. Everyone was pretty tired but the residual stimulation was preventing sleep. Several bowls of pot mixed liberally with a resin extract of kratom soon solved that problem. The next day my friends both felt lethargic but in an improved mood. I was in a lethargic and kind of shitty mood. It seemed I’d brought a bunch of issues to the surface the day before, but hadn’t really addressed any of them because I was focused so much on the external world. So I wasn’t too put out, the cactus was simply continuing the healing process post-tripping. That’s one thing I notice about cactus, the couple days after the experience I am still processing the experience and still seem mildly affected. Any other psychoactive plants/herbs I take in the couple days after cactus (eg marijuana and yerba mate) seem to have a more potent effect; or maybe I just become more aware of what exactly each plant is doing within my body. The cactus sensitizes me to the essences/chemicals/spirits of other plants.
Compared to peruvian torch and san pedro, I found the bridgesii cactus to be more stimulating and longer lasting. For me, san pedro is the mellowest of the three cacti, having a dreamy, lethargic feeling similar to 2C-I and lasting around 10-12 hours. Peruvian torch is intermediate between the two, and lasts around 12 hours. The bridgesii I found more energizing and the stimulation lasted longer than with the other two cacti. Even in the morning I felt a little off baseline. Also the bridgesii cactus seems more potent in terms of the amount of material needed. Ten grams of this cactus was pretty powerful!
I enjoyed the combination of 2C-I and Trichocereus bridgesii. The effect was very long lived and pretty controllable throughout, despite taking a high dose of 2C-I. I have had one more experiment with this combination since that time, and by taking the 2C-I after eating most of the cactus slowly, the peaks of the effect line up better. The cactus takes around four or five hours to fully come up, whereas 2C-I takes around two and a half or three hours. Taking most of the 2C-I at the beginning of the experience provides an extended peak time at reduced intensity from what is experienced by timing the peaks to overlap.
Overall this was a wonderful day of adventure, and is very fondly remembered. Thanks for reading.
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