- Mescaline and alkaloids in Peyote
Mescaline and alkaloids in Peyote
I am a collector of plants and wish to conserve a threatened species, and am not interested in eating any of my cactus. It should be of note as a byproduct of our research for this site, we estimate that the monetary value of mescaline within peyote as a drug is not suitable in extractions for illegal gain, especially within cultivation and in the climate of Canada. For examples's sake, we can look at the Peyoteway Church of God in Arizona who require a $300 donation to cover the cost of growing and partaking of Peyote in a ceremonial walk. Mescaline may be synthesized relatively inexpensively within a laboratory setting and the major majority of all Mescaline sold in the 1960’s (when it had a large following) was extracted from the largely abundant “San Pedro” cactus in the which is used for landscaping purposes in the US. The Majority of the collectors and specialized nurseries within countries where Peyote is legal (England, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Thailand, Japan, Germany etc. etc. etc.) enjoy the cactus because of it’s beauty, history and/or conservation of the species. It is very likely that in the near future, these collectors and nurseries (peyotecanada) will indeed be responsible for the conservation and rebuilding of the species within it’s natural habitat. Peyote is becoming very scarce in it’s natural habitat and is considered Vulnerable [threatedned but not yet endangered] on the IUCN Red List due to over-harvesting and changes of land use to supplement agriculture. The reason Peyote attracts many harvesters due it it’s medicinal value, use in religious ceremony, in illegal cactus trade (along with many other small globular cacti in the Chihuahuan Desert) and is often overlooked when it’s natural habitat is plowed up by farmers to grow other crops.
Alkaloid production [mescaline] in plants remain somewhat of a mystery among scientists and botanists. We are gaining gaining knowledge on the purpose of these chemical compounds that plants produce, but only have a small taste in our total knowledge base of exactly what the plants are achieving with their production. The majority of alkaloids in Lophophora species are yet to be understood. We may draw many inferences of these alkaloids’ purposes, but little research has been performed on the sixty-three or so different alkaloids in Lophophora Williamsii. What we do know is that many of the alkaloids produced in the majority of plants are used to interact with their environment. Plants are stationary and are immobile when they encounter adversity, and therefore must provide defenses beyond escape in order to survive. Our general understanding is that alkaloids are a response to environmental stimulus, wether to attract certain pollen carrying insects, repel other harmful insects or animals, interact with other plants and animals of the same as well as other species, or improve growing conditions within the plant or within it’s environment. We do know that alkaloid production is increased within Peyote when it is under stress due to [especially] drought, physical damage and intense sunlight. Aside from understanding that we do not understand each of the alkaloids in their individual purposes, we can learn much from the research on Alkaloids in plants. We can understand resiliency in plants is increased through creating alkaloids, how to grow tougher plants, and gain insight into just how evolved certain plants are in using organic chemistry to survive adversity.