How Long Can Peyote Have Side Effects in Your System?

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), Cactaceae.
DEA Getty Images

Estimating how long peyote is detectable in the body depends on many variables. Peyote — also known as mesc, peyote buttons, broken, and dead — can be detected in the human body for as little as two days or up to three months. 

How long peyote stays in the system is dependent upon each individual. Your metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, physical activity, health conditions, and other factors will be a factor.

How Long Does Peyote Stay in Your System?

Due to all of those factors, there is not a definite period that peyote can remain in your body. The best anyone can do is give you an estimated range of times.

  • Peyote can remain in urine for 2 to 3 days.
  • There is some data available that indicates peyote can stay in the blood for up to 24 hours.
  • Your saliva may have traces of peyote anywhere from 1 to 10 days.
  • Peyote, like many other drugs, can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days.

Preventing the Side Effects

Peyote is a small cactus for which the principal active ingredient is mescaline. Mescaline can also be man-made through chemical synthesis. The peyote buttons are usually dried and then chewed or made into a liquid or tea for consumption.

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

The physical effects of peyote can be similar to those of LSD, including:

The Long-Term Effects 

According to the National Institute on Drug Use (NIDA), repeated or long-term use of peyote can cause some users to develop persistent psychosis. The symptoms that can include visual disturbances and disorganized thinking. Some individuals may also experience periods of paranoia or mood disturbances. 

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

For some users, repeated use of peyote and other hallucinogens such as LSD may also contribute to the development of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), otherwise known as "flashbacks." With HPPD, peyote users report seeing "halos" around people and objects or "trails" following moving objects.

Some of the symptoms of HPPD are sometimes mistaken for neurological disorders such as stroke or brain tumor. The flashbacks can occur after the drug use has stopped although the length of time varies by the individual.

Both persistent psychosis and HPPD are rare among peyote users. However, they can occur without warning and have been reported even after a single exposure to peyote. Generally, these symptoms occur in individuals with a history of psychiatric problems.


American Association for Clinical Chemistry Drugs of Abuse Testing. Lab Tests Online. 2013.

LabCorp, Inc. Drugs of Abuse Reference Guide. 2016.

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

View Article Sources