What To Know About A Peyote Trip & The Risks Of Having One

What to know about a peyote trip
Do you know anything about a peyote trip, including the risks of having an overdose?

When most people think about taking drugs, they think about getting high, feeling disconnected from the world, and behaving and thinking in ways that aren’t normal.

But not all drugs are described as causing a high. Some, like peyote, are described as ‘tripping’ instead.

What are the differences? Is there a significant reason for the name change, or is this another case of drug language growing out of a need to keep use secret?

Here’s what you need to know about peyote, what a peyote trip is, and the side effects and risks of using this drug.

What to know about a peyote trip

What Is A Peyote Trip?

From an outside perspective, a peyote trip can resemble other drug use. Or, depending on the person and when during a peyote trip you see someone, it might look like a combination of being high on other drugs and withdrawing from those same drugs at the same time.

That’s partially because many of the side effects and symptoms of peyote use are similar to those of other illegal drugs and because peyote tends to have more serious side effects and unpleasant consequences than other drugs.

There are two main reasons for this. Peyote is a hallucinogenic drug, meaning it can cause feelings of euphoria and well-being generally associated with drugs. However, it’s also a natural drug, not necessarily designed for recreational use like many others, so the side effects can be relatively severe even when you dose the drug properly.

The active ingredient in peyote, mescaline, likely occurred in nature as a deterrent to protect the small cactus that peyote comes from herbivores.

The fact that the drug also creates hallucinations and can cause other complex and simple feelings in users is a side effect of its chemistry, not necessarily the reason the plant creates mescaline in the first place.

The main reason a peyote high is called a trip is the hallucinations and sensory alterations that can come with the drug.

Sensory alterations can include feeling and seeing things differently, experiencing synesthesia, crossing the senses, or noticing things you normally wouldn’t or that your brain would normally filter out to keep the amount of sensory information you’re getting to a manageable level.

That’s why people tripping on peyote or other hallucinogenic drugs may be very interested in seemingly normal or inconsequential things. This is because their brains aren’t filtering all the little details and sensations associated with those things. Instead, they may be getting sensory spillover, like being able to smell a color, taste a texture, or other kinds of synesthesia.

Comparing these altered feelings and sensations is also common since everyone using the drug will have a slightly or vastly different experience of their surroundings.

You might think keeping yourself safe in that condition would be difficult, and you’d be correct.

One of the biggest risks of taking peyote, or any hallucinogenic drug, is that you won’t be able to judge situations properly and might be okay with things that you wouldn’t normally accept.

How Long Do Peyote Trips Last?

Another big difference between a high from another drug and a peyote trip or other hallucinogenic trip is the duration of a single drug dose.

Peyote peaks after 1-3 hours and can last 8-12+ hours after peaking.

Compare that with other drugs, which typically last no more than 4-8 hours, and often don’t last even that long.

Some people may extend a trip even longer by taking more than one dose of the drug spread over several hours or days.

The length of a peyote trip contributes a lot to the risk of taking the drug. The side effects (which we’ll cover in more detail later) can make it difficult to stay hydrated, safe, and get enough food while taking the drug. There are many risks that you won’t notice danger, or the trip will turn bad at some point, and you’ll have to get through it.

Can You Stop A Peyote Trip Once You Start?

No. Like most drugs, there isn’t any way to get peyote out of your system faster artificially. Once you’ve taken the drug and it’s been absorbed, it will take its course, however long that takes.

Short of a blood transfusion or artificial means of removing unwanted chemicals from your system, like dialysis, there aren’t any known ways to remove peyote. And because those options aren’t available outside of a medical emergency, even if those techniques were 100% effective, and they aren’t, they wouldn’t be available to most drug users.

If you take peyote, it will last for 8-12+ hours. That’s the truth.

Common Side Effects Of Peyote

Understanding the side effects of a drug is an important way to keep yourself safe. Not only can understanding a drug’s side effects make it easier to understand what’s happening if you’re ever unintentionally exposed, but it can also make it easier to say you don’t want to take that drug if it’s ever offered to you.

Peyote has many potential side effects, so understanding them is even more important than average.

Common side effects of peyote include:

  • Detachment from reality
  • Disorientation
  • Synesthesia
  • Sleep problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Shivering
  • Inability to focus
  • Sense of relaxation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate


Because peyote can affect your body, it’s also important to recognize that people with chronic health issues may be more likely than others to have an adverse reaction or medical problems due to taking this drug.

Unlike many drugs, these side effects and symptoms may begin before the drug itself kicks in, can persist for at least part of the peyote trip, and then fade and get better as the drug stops being active in your system.

However, an additional side effect of peyote use is a peyote crash.

Like many drugs that can increase serotonin and dopamine levels far higher than average, like peyote, users often report a generally low mood or depression after taking peyote, which often lasts several days before their moods return to normal.

In some cases, or with repeated use, the crash may be longer than normal, or users may notice a long-lasting or potentially permanent change in their moods and mental health. This can happen because exposure to too much serotonin and dopamine can force your brain to produce less important neurotransmitters.

A deficit of serotonin and dopamine is common in many mental health disorders and may be responsible for the negative feelings associated with those disorders, which puts peyote users and many drug users at higher risk of developing or increasing the severity of those disorders over time.

Peyote Risks

Many people think that the main risk of using a drug is addiction. And while addiction can be a serious risk with many illicit substances, it’s far from the only risk associated with them.

For example, taking an illegal drug comes with the risk of legal consequences, including jail or prison time and a criminal record.

Other risks include not being in full control of your actions, being taken advantage of while under the influence of the drug, or not being able to recognize a potentially dangerous situation while it’s happening.

Having hallucinations can make judging danger even more difficult.

For instance, if you’re walking while on a peyote trip and cross the street, you might have a harder time telling that there are cars in the road, especially if they approach while you’re in the middle of the street and especially if the hallucination makes them look like something else.

Another serious risk with peyote use is that it can be hard to stay properly hydrated and get the nutrition your body needs while taking the drug. Nausea and vomiting are almost universal reactions to peyote, and both can be very severe. The drug can also increase your body temperature and heart rate, which makes proper hydration more important, and dehydration more dangerous.

How to tell someone is addicted to peyote

How To Tell Someone You Care About Is Using Peyote

Peyote can be ingested in many different ways, so there isn’t any specific equipment or paraphernalia you should look for if you’re worried about someone using peyote.

Instead, consider their mood and behavior. Are they acting normally, or are they sometimes disconnected, behaving in odd ways, or seeming more distant and mysterious than normal? Have they lost weight recently? Have they taken to going on more hikes than normal if you live in the Southwestern United States, where peyote cacti grow naturally?

These signs can point to drug use, mental health problems, or other situations that might mean the person you care about needs help. So don’t be afraid to talk to them about what’s happening and how you can help.

Ready To Stop Using Illicit Substances?

Peyote and other natural drugs often seem safer until you try them. Unfortunately, they can also lead to other kinds of drug use and drug-seeking behaviors that don’t care about safety and can make peyote and other drugs even more dangerous than normal.

If you’re ready to get out of the cycle of drug use and reclaim your life, call Epiphany Wellness. We can help.


  1. Schaefer A, Weiss H. Healthline. (2022, April 18). Peyote 101. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/peyote-101 on 2023, February 27
  2. Hartney E. Verywell Mind. (2022, October 14). What to know about mescaline use. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-mescaline-4155320 on 2023, February 27
  3. T B. Verywell Mind. (2022, October 12). What to Know About Peyote Use. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-peyote-stay-in-your-system-80310 on 2023, February 27

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