How Long Mescaline Stays in Your System

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), Cactaceae.
DEA / C. DANI / Getty Images

Several factors are involved in determining how long mescaline is detectable in the body, including which kind drug test is being used. Mescaline—also known as buttons, cactus, mesc, peyote buttons—can be detected for a shorter time with some tests, but can be "visible" for up to three months in other tests.

The timetable for detecting mescaline in the system is also dependent upon each individual's metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, physical activity, health conditions and other factors, making it almost impossible to determine an exact time mescaline will show up on a drug test.

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which mescaline can be detected by various testing methods:

  • Urine: Mescaline can be detected in the urine for 2-3 days
  • Blood: There is some data available that indicates Mescaline can be detected in the blood for up to 24 hours.
  • Saliva: A saliva test can detect Mescaline for up to 1-10 days
  • Hair: Mescaline, like many other drugs, can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Preventing Side-Effects

Mescaline comes from the small peyote cactus plant, but can also be man-made through chemical synthesis. The dried peyote buttons are usually dried and then chewed or made into a liquid or tea for consumption.

Usually, only a very small amount of mescaline—0.3 to 0.5 grams—is needed to produce hallucinations. The effects last about 12 hours, but it remains in the system for a much longer time.

The physical effects of mescaline can be similar to those of hallucinogens, including:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Profound sweating
  • Flushing

Long-Term Effects

For some users, repeated or long-term use of mescaline can cause the development of persistent psychosis, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Symptoms of the psychosis can include:

  • Paranoia
  • Mood disturbances
  • Visual disturbances
  • Disorganized thinking

Flashbacks or HPPD

The NIDA also reports that some users of hallucinogens, including mescaline, can experience flashbacks, a phenomenon is known as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).

Even when they are not using mescaline at the time, some people report seeing "trails" following moving objects or "halos" around people or objects.

These symptoms can become so persistent that they are sometimes mistaken for symptoms of stroke or brain tumors.

Symptoms of persistent psychosis and HPPD have been reported by users even after only one exposure to mescaline. However, persistent psychosis symptoms are very rare in mescaline users and seem to occur mostly in those with a history of psychiatric problems, according to the NIDA.

Sources:

Always Test Clean. "What Are Drug Detection Times?" Drug Test Facts

American Association for Clinical Chemistry "Drugs of Abuse Testing." Lab Tests Online. Revised 2 January 2013.

LabCorp, Inc. "Drugs of Abuse Reference Guide." 

OHS Health & Safety Services. "How long do drugs stay in your system?." 

National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Hallucinogens - LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP." Drug Facts December 2014