San Pedro : Legendary Cactus of Vision

What is San Pedro cactus?

San Pedro - Trichocereus pachanoi

The oldest cacti date back 20.000 years ago. Its special looks are because of its ability to survive extreme dryness and heat. The thorns are of course the most qualifying characteristic of cacti, these are actually leaves without any moisture, which turned them into thorns. They are also to protect a cactus against bright sunlight and being eaten by animals. But, some kinds do not have thorns and protect themselves with poison/drugs. Examples are the Peyote, Sunami, Pata de Venado, Pezuna de Venado, Tsuwiri, Bishop's cap, Aztekium Retterii and Astropytum Astrias.


Mitch Schultz, director of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, invites you to join this 45 minute excursion deep into the heart of the Peruvian rainforest to experience the magic of the 3000 year old plant medicine: Huachuma. Distilled in the lost tradition from the San Pedro cactus by the last master Huachumero, Huachuma was the sacrament that formed the foundation for pre-Incan civilization, the Chavin. Follow Aubrey Marcus (founder of Onnit) and a group of friends in this moving meditation that reveals the true transformative power of this sacred technology.

Preparation of San Pedro Cactus

A San Pedro Ceremony with Leslie

San Pedro aka Trichocereus Pachanoi is the most well known from the Trichocereus family. According to researchers like Backeberg the Trichocereus has 47 kinds, which al originate from South-America. Others say there are just 13 kinds. Besides the T. Pachanoi some other kinds do also contain mescaline. The amount of mescaline depends on the specie and age of the cactus.


The San Pedro is a cactus with pillars with 4 to 9 ribbons. It grows quite fast, has a strong root system and branches of from the base of the stem. The San Pedro just keeps growing until it succumbs under its own weight. The fallen cactus will in nature root again and produce many new branches. This is why San Pedro is used as a grafting stem for other, difficult to grow, cacti.

The older the cactus gets, and the more heat it has withstood, the more mescaline it contains. This is to be found right under the 'skin'.


In 1960 Turner and Heyman found that San Pedro contains mescaline and called this cactus Opunita Cylindtica. The name San Pedro originates from the idea that apostle Petrus is the keeper of the key to heaven. This shows how strongly the catholic religion has influenced other religions, habits and ideas.

San Pedro cacti were (and still are) used by Indians from the area around the Andes: Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Use has hallucinogenic experiences as effect, which is needed be able to do specific predictions and to trace spiritual causes for diseases.


Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxy-B-phenethylamine) percentage : 1 to 10 % of dried material (Erowid).

The San Pedro contains besides mescaline also tyramine, hordinenine, 3-methoxytyramine, anhalaninine, anhalonidine, 3,4-dimethoxyphen-ethylamine, 3,4-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine and 3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B- phenethylamine.


Approximately 1-2 hours after consumption the San Pedro will reveal itself to the user; effects can last 8-15 hours. Effects can be amongst others: extreme sensitiveness to light: being able to see and feel every ray of light and see people and things 'radiate'. Forgotten memories can return, being able to hear and see sounds and voices from far away, seeing the 'magic light'. Besides that, emotions come out as laughing, crying, screaming, feeling pleasure, fear, love, love for everything that is and everything that is not.

The effects of San Pedro are in many ways more pleasant than those of peyote. To begin with, its taste is only slightly bitter and the initial nausea is not as likely to occur. When the full psychotropic experience takes hold it is less overwhelming, more tranquil and not nearly as physical as that from peyote.

Medical use

San Pedro has no commonly accepted medical use. But it has been used in a medical sense by several Indian tribes: by consuming this cactus, the unknown causes of a persons disease can be traced.


The traditional use of San Pedro is cooking (for a long time) the pieces of a whole cactus with some herbs added, like micha (Brugmansia suavenolens) and cimorillo (Coleus blumei). The additions depend on the results intended by the shaman.

Nowadays cacti are eaten dry. Dry them in parts of 1 cm thickness and put them in the sun. The thorns and the wooden stem are not to be eaten. Best is to grind the edible parts into fine material. This is to avoid stomach problems. Between 20 and 50 grams is consumed of which the skin is the biggest part, often with water and citric acid to support a good assimilation by the body. Best is not to eat six hours before you start eating this cactus.


As with other psychoactives, eating San Pedro also gives a hangover before the actual trip starts. Fever, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting could possibly occur, but will disappear within one hour or so.


Make sure you always have an experienced but sober person with you, for support and safety!

The active compounds lead the user into a hallucinogenic trance which is comparable to a psychosis. So whatever you do, don't drive a car or participate in traffic otherwise. Only take San Pedro when you're in a safe and familiar environment. Never trip by yourself. When things go wrong Seresta or Valium can help to bring fears down to an 'easy to handle' level.


San Pedro loves warmth and light. On the hills where it usually grows the soil contains many nutrients, so add now and then some plant nutrients, but not too much because it still is a cactus. Giving it some extra water on warm days is really helpful. When you grow the cactus indoors, behind a window on the south-side is best. The first requirement is that sunlight comes through it.

San Pedro is easy to grow and easy to multiply. To start growing means choosing between starting with seeds, a cutting or a plant. The plant only needs water and some nutrients. A cutting has to dry first (it has a cutting wound) and root in the ground before it starts growing, this can take up to a year.

Growing from seeds asks for a lot of time (years) and effort.

Source : Erowid

Related Posts :

No comments:

Follow Us @psychedelicadventure