Molecule of the Week

Mescaline

December 20, 2010

We close out 2010 with mescaline, a hallucinogenic alkaloid first isolated from the flowering heads of the peyote cactus Lophophora williamsii by A. Heffter in 1896. Mescaline also occurs in other cactus species and in some members of the bean family. Peyote has been used by Native Americans in religious ceremonies for 3000 years. Mescaline use was popular in the 1960s, but it was outlawed in the United States in 1970 and worldwide in 1971.

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