San Pedro is a psychedelic cactus that is a common and, in some areas, legal plant. San Pedro contains mescaline, a psychoactive substance traditionally used for healing.
San Pedro doesn't contain high concentrations of mescaline, so having a strong experience requires consuming a fair amount of gooey, bitter tea.
In order to transform San Pedro into mescaline, users have developed techniques or "teks."
This article provides detailed instructions on how to make mescaline from San Pedro with readily available ingredients using a technique called Acid To Base extraction.
Please note that this guide uses 100 grams of dried San Pedro or about 30cm of cactus. Yields will vary because every San Pedro cactus produces different amounts of mescaline.
The information presented in this post is solely for education and harm reduction purposes. Do not attempt to do this at home!
What is San Pedro Cactus?
San Pedro or Echinopsis pachanoi originates in the Andes of South America. San Pedro can be found growing naturally at high elevations in the mountains of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
San Pedro has been used as a traditional plant medicine for healing in the Andean regions for thousands of years. In modern times, San Pedro is cultivated around the world, as it is attractive and not difficult to grow with enough sunlight, warmth, and rich soil.
What is Mescaline?
Mescaline is a psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in cacti, such as San Pedro, Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), and the Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus peruvianus), being other well-known examples.
After many years of prohibition, mescaline is regaining an appreciation for its healing properties, as evidenced by peyote users, well documented in Netflix's "How to Change Your Mind."
Is San Pedro Cactus Legal?
San Pedro cactus is legal to cultivate in the United States. It is legal to buy, sell, and transport the San Pedro cactus for ornamental purposes. Laws vary regarding growing San Pedro cactus, but what is consistent around the world is that extracting mescaline from San Pedro or any other cactus is illegal.
In the United States, mescaline has been illegal since the 1970s, although the Native American Church was granted a religious exemption.
How to Make Mescaline San Pedro Tea
If you have San Pedro and doing full-blown mescaline extraction looks overwhelming, you can always make tea. The process is simple, safe, requires no chemistry equipment or chemicals, and can be done at home in the afternoon.
Supplies For Mescaline Tea
- Large Pot
- Wooden Spoon
- Clean Cloth or T-Shirt
Instructions for Mescaline Tea
- Use about 1ft or 30cm of fresh San Pedro cactus. While every cactus has different mescaline concentrations, 1ft is an accepted standard.
- Cut off any spines, and discard them. Chop up the cacti into 1-inch chunks to put in your blender.
- Make a San Pedro smoothie.
- Place blended San Pedro into the pot, add three times as much water as cactus, and simmer. Stir regularly and reduce the contents of the pot until about half a liter or less remains. The time varies but plan on 4-6 hours. Be careful not to let the pot run out of liquid during this time.
- Remove from heat and let the tea cool.
- Place cloth or t-shirt over the Tupperware and strain the cooled tea through it. The plant material left in the cloth can be discarded.
- The remaining liquid is mescaline-containing San Pedro tea. An optional last step is to reduce the tea, so it fits in a cup that can be consumed quickly, as the texture and taste of San Pedro tea are unpleasant.
How to Extract Mescaline from San Pedro - Step by Step
There are a number of ways to extract mescaline from San Pedro. Here we have chosen Acid to Base or A/B extraction; however, some other methods exist:
- D limonene or dry tek
- Straight to base
- Alcohol extraction
There are many variations of each tek, and in order to master mescaline extraction, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with a wide range of methods. Consider this guide only as a starting point or as basic harm reduction information, and remember that Acid to Base extraction uses dangerous chemicals, so read all instructions and supplies carefully.
Supplies to Extract Mescaline
San Pedro Cactus - commonly found online and in some garden stores. Be sure to identify your variety correctly. This guide uses 100 grams of dried San Pedro or about 30cm of cactus.
Distilled Water - is the best choice, although tap water can be used.
Solvent - xylene or toluene, found at hardware stores. Solvents are highly flammable and give off dangerous fumes. Never have an open flame anywhere near solvents. This includes electronics producing sparks and gas stoves. Always have excellent ventilation when working with solvents.
Sodium Hydroxide - is commonly known as lye. Lye is a watched substance in many parts of the United States, as purchasing large quantities of it is associated with methamphetamine production. Lye is a caustic soda and can cause blindness and severe burns. Always wear a mask, gloves, eye protection, and cover exposed skin.
Citric Acid - 100% pure food-grade citric acid.
Glass Liquid Measuring Container - for measuring water, vinegar, solvent
Glass Mixing Jar with Lid - plastic containers should be avoided as they will not stand up to some chemical reactions taking place. The ideal is borosilicate glass flasks engineered to handle changes in heat.
Stainless Steel Pot - aluminum pots will break down in acid baths, so choose stainless steel cooking vessels.
Nut Milk Bag - for straining plant material from the tea.
Turkey Baster - large, 50ml baster.
Funnel - glass or metal
Pyrex Dish - a square flat dish with an airtight lid is best.
Razor Blade - to scrape crystals from pyrex.
Scale - to weigh powdered San Pedro and citric acid.
Coffee Grinder - for grinding dried cactus.
Eye Protection - lye can cause blindness.
Disposable Gloves - to protect hands from dangerous chemicals.
Face Mask - to prevent inhaling harmful materials.
Prepare Plant Material
This guide uses 100 grams of dried San Pedro or about 30cm of cactus. Fresh San Pedro can be used, but power gives the best results.
How To Dry San Pedro?
- Hold the cactus vertically and carefully slice off the spines.
- Slice the cactus into disks 1-2 cm thick disks.
- Remove the core and the waxy skin. (Some users keep most parts while others don't. The mescaline is mostly in the dark green part under the skin).
- Place in the oven on low until it is "cracker dry." You can also use a dehydrator.
- Dried pieces can be powdered with a coffee grinder into a fine powder. Use a face mask to protect yourself from inhaling the irritating dust.
Make a Tea/Acid Bath
- In a stainless steel pot, add 2L water or just enough to make a soup. Add citric acid at a ratio of 3 grams per liter of water.
- At low heat, not boiling, simmer for 1 - 2 hours.
Remove Excess Plant Material
- Use a nut milk bag and funnel to separate the powder from the tea. Save the tea in a separate container.
- Place the wet powder back in the pot, cover it with water, add citric acid, and repeat the process at least three times or until the resulting tea is colorless.
- Simmer the tea until the liquid is reduced to an amount that suits the containers available.
- Set aside to cool
Wash Away Fat with Solvent
Solvents are highly flammable! Never, ever have an open flame near solvents and always have good ventilation.
- In a glass container with a lid, add 50% of the total tea volume in solvent.
- Attach the lid and gently shake or roll the jar. Be very careful because too much force will create "emulsion," which can cause problems.
- Once well mixed, set the jar aside, and allow the mixture to settle.
- Two separate layers will form, like a bottle of salad dressing. The bottom layer contains the active alkaloids, and the top is unwanted fatty plant material.
- Use the turkey baster to suck up the bottom layer and save it in a separate glass container. This part takes some skill and patience. For those who like chemistry equipment, this step is easier with a separatory funnel.
- This step is repeated until a fatty layer no longer forms.
Add Lye and Mix with Solvent
Lye is highly caustic! Always wear safety glasses and other protection when working with lye.
- In a separate container, mix 30 grams of lye with 100 ml of water.
- Add the lye slowly while swirling the mixture. This step creates an "exothermic" reaction, which generates a great deal of heat.
- Add the lye solution to the solvent mixture, gently mix to avoid emulsion, and allow to rest and separate into two layers.
- Use the baster to siphon the solvent.
Mescaline Salt Formation
- Mix 300ml of water and 1 gram of citric acid in a separate container, and then add 100ml of the solution to the solvent.
- Mix the water and solvent gently, avoiding emulsions, and allow the layers to separate.
- Remove the water with the baster and save.
- Repeat the process two more times.
- Pour the mescaline-containing water into a pyrex dish. Set the dish aside in a safe location to evaporate. Don't attempt to speed up the process with heat that can damage the mescaline.
- After the water has evaporated, what remains is mescaline. Scrape it off the pyrex with a razor blade.
Typical mescaline dosage is between 300 and 700 mg, with 700 being for experienced trippers.
The tek described above is designed to be accessible and safe; however, with the variety of different alkaloids besides mescaline in San Pedro and variances in individual skill at extraction techniques, the resulting mescaline should be experimented with carefully and slowly.
The best way to store mescaline is in an airtight container in the freezer. In this condition, it should last for many years.
If storing in the freezer is not practical, place mescaline in an airtight container with a desiccant, which will pull moisture from the air.
Check out our guide to storing LSD, as the best practices in that article will also apply to mescaline.
Taking and Making Mescaline
Before performing a chemical extraction, consider that solvents and lye can severely burn you and even cause blindness. It is important to note that the safest way to do mescaline is with trained professionals and sustainably sourced plant material.
We suggest avoiding attempting to extract mescaline by yourself. While mescaline has been used for thousands of years to treat many different illnesses, it is still a powerful psychedelic that should be treated with caution. So choose your cactus wisely and treat it with the respect it deserves!