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peyote (pâ-o´tê) also peyotl (-ot´l)  noun
A spineless, dome-shaped cactus (Lophophora williamsii) native to Mexico and the southwest United States, having buttonlike tubercles that are chewed fresh or dry as a narcotic drug by certain Native American peoples. Also called mescal.

[American Spanish, from Nahuatl peyotl.]


Peyote, common name for a small, spineless, turnip-shaped cactus, native to Mexico and the southwestern United States. The grayish, internal linkmushroom-shaped tops, called peyote or mescal buttons, yield nine alkaloids, of which mescaline is the principal active agent. The dried buttons are eaten, brewed into a internal linktea, or powdered and packaged in capsules. The mescaline in these preparations alters internal linkperception, producing vivid color hallucinations, inaccurate estimation of internal linktime, and a feeling of anxiety. It is not known to be habit-forming, but use of impure or large doses can have toxic effects, such as nausea and depressed breathing. Peyote has been used since pre-Columbian times by Native Americans in their religious rites; the practice has been incorporated into their modern Christian ceremonies. Peyotism. Mescaline has been used experimentally in investigations of internal linkschizophrenia and other psychoses.  Peyote and mescaline have become drugs of abuse in recent years. Scientific classification: Peyote belongs to the family Cactaceae. It is classified as Lophophora williamsii.

The peyote cactus by nature is normally found in desert or semi-arid environments. Peyote has been used for centuries in the Americas by Native Americans in religious ceremonies. Native Americans still use peyote for this purpose, the only use allowed under law in the United States.

mescal button

mescal button (mès-kàl´ bùt´n) noun
The fresh or dried buttonlike tubercles of peyote, chewed as a drug by certain Native American peoples. Also called peyote.


mescal (mès-kàl´) noun
A Mexican liquor distilled from the fermented juice of certain species of agave.  A food prepared by cooking the fleshy leaf base and trunk of certain agaves.

[American Spanish, from Nahuatl mexcalli, mescal liquor, from metl, maguey plant.]


mescaline (mès´ke-lên´, -lîn) noun
An alkaloid drug, (CH3O)3C6H2CH2CH2NH2, obtained from mescal buttons, which produces hallucinations. Also called peyote.

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The Ghost Dance of the 1880s spread among a number of tribes that were all undergoing similar upheavals, and indigenous peoples of the Great Plains shared in each other's Sun Dances. The preeminent pan-Native American religious development, however, has been Peyotism, a religious movement centering on the sacramental ingestion of peyote, a mildly internal linkhallucinogenic cactus. In 1918 Peyotism was formally incorporated as the Native American Church. The group's status as a religious organization enabled members to seek legal protection for the ritual use of peyote. In the mid-1990s membership in the Native American Church was estimated to be 250,000. Between the l880s and l930s, U.S. authorities attempted to ban Native American religious rituals, including the Ghost Dance, internal linkSun internal linkDance, and peyote cult. In Canada the same restrictive tendencies prevailed. In more recent years, however, governmental authorities have adopted a more supportive attitude toward the practice of native spirituality. In 1978 the Congress of the United States passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, an official expression of good will toward Native American spirituality.

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the peyote scene in the film _Beavis & Butthead Do America_ (vhs/ntsc)atomjacked inventory cache
 - what's with the internal linkpsychedelic/animation connection?  toon town at internal linkDisneyland on internal linkmushrooms is completely UNREAL.  the entire theme park was made for mushrooms.  all the kiddie rides make sense when you are an adult.  and what's up with scooby doo and scooby snacks?  and the always hungry tweaker shaggy and the psychedelic van where only THEY can see ghosts and goblins?  why does everything from Edgecore and internal linkPsy-Harmonics sounds like a soundtrack for a internal linkcartoon? - @Om* 12/3/99

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In _Drug Control in a Free Society_ (pages 31-32) J. Bakalar and L. Grinspoon write:

          "Members of the Native American Church, an Indian group, are allowed to take peyote in their religious rituals.  Here
          federal courts have found a fundamental right of the individual that overrides a state interest in suppressing
          nonmedical drug use; the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  In other words,
          the drug use has to be more than a pleasurable taste or pursuit before the law will allow it.  To refute the
          presumption that nonmedical drug use is negligent, ignorant, and generally worthless, there must be overwhelming
          evidence that the drug users know what they are doing, consider it important in their lives, and believe seriously in
          its intrinsic value.  But even that is not enough.  The courts have made it clear that they will not accept merely
          individual religious beliefs (much less consciousness expansion) as a justification for drug use, and they have said
          that they will scrutinize very skeptically the claims of any new organized churches.  The drug must be not only
          religiously important to its user but also an essential part of a traditional rite with a communal significance.  So
          far, the exception made for the Native American Church is unique.  It is as though mountain climbing were regarded as
          generally so dangerous and useless that climbers would be fined and jailed unless they could prove they were making a
          pilgrimage to a holy site on the peak certified by an established church."

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