Huachuma – Echinopsis Pachanoi – San Pedro

A San Pedro about to be despined and brewed, with the top removed to be rooted and grown

Huachuma is a divine medicine which has immense healing potential for many variety of people, ailments, and spirituality. It has been used in the Andes region for over 3,000 years. This cactus is not a recreational drug, but a potent healer that must be respected. If used with clear intention it can assist in releasing traumas, changing toxic or old patterns and mindsets, allowing one to see and transcend the limitations and overly self serving mask of the ego, deepening faith and connection to god and spirit as well as feeling oneness with the universe. This is one of the most healing medicines I have ever consumed, and wish to make this available to more people. I must disclaim that while san pedro is legal in most places, it may be “illegal” to cook it, eat it, or extract anything from it, so I must say that I do not recommend anyone do anything besides grow and admire this beautiful cactus.

The psychoactivity of this plant mostly comes from the alkaloid mescaline, as well as a few other chemically related analogs of mescaline in trace amounts. In order to experience the healing of the cactus, we must find a way to extract the active ingredients out of the cactus and there are several ways to do this.

Getting the Most Healing from the Experience, before, during, and after the voyage

Natural entheogens can be super helpers for spiritual healing and releasing and reprocessing trauma. Instead of tripping on a whim or taking it for fun just to see what happens, it can be best to prepare the mind for the experience to come. Regular meditation, especially in the days and weeks before during and after can really help resolve and fiction and rough emotions that come up during the ceremony, and can also help in the weeks following to integrate any lessons. The medicine can help you a lot, but only if you do the corresponding work. Continuing to take the medicine without the appropriate mental and lifestyle changes will typically not be successful. Sometime before the entheogen is consumed, it can be great to write down some of the problems you are looking to reevaluate and release during the trip in case you forget. This can be anything from releasing trauma, healing relationships, forgiving oneself or others, tackling the cause of anxiety, or looking at and changing our automatic response to our mental health triggers. During the trip you can look at your notes in case you are unable to remember and to either think about what you wrote or do some free writing to help rewire our brains with a new perspective. If you are with another person, you can take turns talking to each other about your mental and emotional wounds. If you are with a family member, partner, or friend and are working on healing negative or unhealthy aspects of and refocusing on love. This cactus has empathogenic effects and can help people feel the emotions of people around them, or even people they think about. For this reason it can work wonders in letting go and realizing the beauty and care of a loving relationship. It can be helpful to keep a pad of paper or sketchbook around to write down any new perspectives or revelations. When the experience is over, these can be looked at to help with the integration process. Even though we may now realize or be aware of our issue and why it is not necessary, it can be hard to let go of it immediately and it may take a few weeks or even years to reprogram our minds and their automatic responses, especially if the damage is from prolonged or intense trauma.

Dosage

Dosing this cactus accurately is relatively difficult due to the varying potency of cactus.

A beginners guide would look something like the chart below, but would be fine tuned based on the individual, and the potency of the cactus.

StrengthAmount of Cactus
Microdose (subperceptual medicinal)0.5 – 2 inches
Low3 – 5 inches
Average6 – 10 inches
Strong1 – 1.5 feet

Methods of Preperation

With all of these techniques it is important to start by carefully removing the spines of the cactus either by scraping along the spine or making careful incisions.

From this point the cactus can be turned into a tea, either by cutting the cactus into this star shaped disks or blending the cactus with some water to make a foam, and then cooking either of these in a large pot with a lot of water for several hours. Once 2-5 hours have passed, the cactus skin and pulp can be strained from the tea. The tea can either be consumed as is, but for many people it is better cook this tea down to a much smaller amount of liquid so that only a shot or small cup must be consumed instead of a liter of tea which can be very nauseating.

San Pedro tea on the stove, this one was made by slicing and blending the cactus with water in a blender before adding to a large pot. It was then reduced for several hours.

Another way to drink this is simply to make a smoothie with the cactus after you have removed the spines. This was does work, although the taste is very bitter and a large amount must be consumed, also the alkaloids have not been broken form the cell walls.

If you don’t like any of those methods and want to opt for the most direct way, it can just be bitten into and eaten as is. I have to warn you that this method can be extremely nauseating and hard to get down.

You can also prepare the cactus from dried San Pedro powder. You would take the powder and mix it with water and brew it as a tea. You could also encapsulate it and use it as a microdose.

You can either buy the powder from a reputable source, or if you want to make it yourself you can cut away the green skin and inner layer of the cactus removing the core of the cactus and then dehydrating it until dry. It could then be pulverized and turned into a tea, capsules, or stored for later.

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