Mescaline vs LSD – Compare Differences Between Side Effects & Uses

Mescaline vs LSD – detailed comparison:


It is a naturally-occurring psychedelic alkaloid of the phenethylamine class which is obtained from a small, spineless cactus Peyote (botanical name – Lophophora williamsii) – a small spiny cactus that grows in the southwestern US and Mexico.

This hallucinogen has been used for centuries and is best known as a drug used by some Native Americans in Mexico as part of their religious ceremonies.

Since it has no known medical purpose, it falls under the Schedule I classification of controlled substances, all of which are narcotics.

Mechanism of Action

It binds to and activates the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor (a receptor that belongs to the serotonin receptor family) with a high affinity. How activating this receptor leads to psychedelia is still not exactly known, however, it is known that it is involved in the excitation of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (the cerebral cortex that covers the front part of the frontal lobe).

It is metabolized by liver enzymes, with about 87 percent of ingested dosage being excreted in urine within 24 hours and approximately 92 percent is excreted within 48 hours.


It produces cognitive, perceptual, and emotional experiences which vary widely among users based on dose size, expectations, setting, drug history, and personality.


A typical adult dose is around 200 mg with average doses ranging up to 500 mg. An individual who takes this psychedelic usually starts to feel the psychoactive effects of the drug within 1 to 2 hours after ingesting it, but its effects may last as long as 8 hours.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • headaches;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • diarrhea;
  • dizziness;
  • racing heartbeat (tachycardia);
  • anxiety.

The only documented long-term effect of using this psychedelic is a condition known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD). Individuals affected by this condition experience recurrent flashbacks of past drug “trips.”

Flashbacks can occur at any given time, that substantially hampers an individual’s capacity to function in daily life. Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder symptoms can persist for years after an individual stops using this hypnotic drug. The real problem is that at this point, the effects of the drug may have caused some brain damage.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Because this hallucinogen will reach the fetus, you should avoid it if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant. Additionally, since it passes into the breast-milk and negatively affects the infant, the hallucinogen should be avoided by nursing women.


LSD, also referred as d-lysergic acid diethylamide, belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens. It is derived from ergot, a fungus which grows on certain grains, and diethylamide – a non-organic chemical.

It was originally synthesized in 1938 by Albert Hofman, a Swiss chemist, for the treatment of respiratory depression. The most common names for d-lysergic acid diethylamide are boomers, acid, and yellow sunshine.

This hallucinogen is sold in thin squares of gelatin, in tablet form, on Sugar Cubes, and most commonly, as blotter paper. Sometimes, it is sold in liquid form. Nevertheless, no matter what form it comes in, this drug takes the user to the same place – a serious disconnection from reality.


If consumed in a sufficiently large dose, it produces visual hallucinations and delusions which distort the user’s sense of identity and time.


According to recent studies, it can be used in treating anxiety, depression, smoking cessation, and many other psychological conditions. Even with just a single dose, this drug produces long-term improvements in these conditions.


Due to the interruption of the normal interaction between the brain cells and serotonin, the effects of this drug are remarkably unpredictable.

The usual mental effects include:

  • panic attacks;
  • fear of death;
  • fear of losing control;
  • terrifying thoughts and feelings;
  • distorted perception of the shape and size of objects, color, and sounds;
  • an artificial sense of euphoria;
  • an impaired depth and time perception;
  • distortion of the sense of time;
  • visual hallucinations;
  • delusions.


Effect according to dosage:

  • Light – 50-100ug
  • Common – 100-150ug
  • Strong – 175-225ug
  • Heavy – 250ug+

Usually, the first effects of the drug are experienced 30 to 90 minutes after taking the drug. The temporary symptoms can be experienced between 6 and 10 hours.

Side Effects and Precautions

Short-term side effects may include:

  • sweating;
  • dry mouth;
  • tremors;
  • reduced appetite;
  • weakness;
  • sleeplessness;
  • numbness;
  • dizziness.

Long-term side effects

The distressing effects of a bad trip typically ease when the drug wears off, nevertheless, it can persist even for months in some users. These long-term side effects are known by the clinical terms hallucinogen persisting perception disorder and persistent psychosis.

Mescaline vs LSD – Which Is The Safer Hallucinogen?

While there are many points of similarity (both are hallucinogens), these are two very different drugs. However, the effects of these hallucinogens are commonly described as being nearly the same, according to anecdotal evidence. But the effects of these drugs are unpredictable, varying from user to user and even from one use to the next.

Like most psychedelic hallucinogens, both are not physically addictive, however, they quickly produce a tolerance, meaning that the individual who abuses the drug repeatedly would require increasing the dosage to experience the same illusions.

On the other hand, mescaline is not a primary choice for people who use hallucinogens due to its relative unavailability. Most people who regularly use hallucinogens choose drugs, such as – PCP or LSD. In addition, LSD is about 4000 times more potent than mescaline in producing an altered state of consciousness.

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