Health & Benefits

A Mushroom & Cactus that Makes You Trip (What’s the Big Difference?)

While many people know about the different kinds of mushrooms that get you high, not many people might be familiar with cactuses that can do the same. Psychedelic cactuses have also been around as long as magic mushrooms. 

Mexicans, for example, have used both in their spiritual practices for centuries. But, while magic mushrooms have psilocybin as their active ingredient, the San Pedro cactuses have a different component.

Despite the difference in ingredients, though, both the mushroom and cactus are just as strong in terms of inducing a psychedelic cactus trip.

Facts About The Psychedelic San Pedro Cactus

The San Pedro cactus can be found in Peru, Argentina, and Chile, usually growing at high altitudes. It is known to thrive in areas with a temperate climate, lots of sunlight and do not need so much water. These cactuses are relatively easy to take care of and can reach three meters if grown in ideal conditions.

This cactus is one of many kinds of cactus that makes you trip. Another well-known psychedelic cactus is the peyote cactus. Native to Mexico and the southern regions of North America, such as in Southern Texas, this cactus can be found growing in elevated areas. 

As for the environment where it can be found, peyote can be found in shaded areas or right under the sun. Unlike the San Pedro cactus, peyote takes much longer to grow.

Aside from these two, other psychedelic cactuses include the mescal cactus and the Peruvian torch cactus. While there are different varieties of cactuses, they all share the same psychoactive component: mescaline.

While mescaline and psilocybin are two different substances, they have some similarities in chemical structure. This similarity in structure makes both of them bear some resemblance to neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, allowing them to bind to the corresponding receptors in the brain. 

Their ability to bind to these receptors helps give them the hallucinogenic effects characteristic of these substances.

What’s the difference between Shrooms and Psychedelic Cactuses?

mushrooms and a cactus that makes you trip

As these are both psychedelic plants, they do share some similarities. But, at the same time, there are also some differences between them. Aside from the fact that one comes from a mushroom and the other a cactus, other characteristics may also show their differences. The following are just some of those similarities and differences.


While both can be used recreationally or for spiritual purposes, the way these two are used differs. No matter which mushrooms get you high, they’re all prepared using similar methods. First, they can be made into crushed or dried preparations. Then, they can be taken in orally, brewed into a tea, or mixed in with food. They can also just be eaten fresh or after they’ve been dried.

Mescaline may also be prepared similarly. But, compared to magic mushrooms where the entire mushroom is consumed, the part of the cactus containing the psychedelics differs per cactus. In some, the flowers contain mescaline. 

In others, such as the San Pedro cactus, it’s their flesh that contains the mescaline. Whatever part of the cactus it is, it can also be dried and crushed. It can also be eaten right away or stored for later consumption. It can also be made into tea or can be smoked by itself or with tobacco.


Since they’re hallucinogens, both mescaline and psilocybin more or less have the same effect on people. Psilocybin can induce an altered state of consciousness, also known as the characteristic psychedelic experience of magic mushrooms. 

This experience is usually defined by visual hallucinations, which can vary from person to person. Psilocybin can also cause you to become detached from yourself and reality, have intense sensory experiences, and reach a spiritual state.

Mescaline has a similar effect when ingested as well. A widespread impact of this substance is the cactus drug hallucination. Ingestion of this also induces an altered state of consciousness, ranging from psychedelic to spiritual. 

This spiritual experience was what ancient Mexicans used this substance for, and it’s still the same reason people use it today. There are also out-of-body experiences every day with this drug, as well as intense sensory experiences.


women covering her face

Both drugs have adverse effects, especially when taken in excessive dosages. Mescaline can cause anxiety, fear, panic, and feelings of paranoia. These effects can happen during a bad trip as well as in excessive intake. Sometimes people can even feel nausea and vomit because of how intense this substance is.

The same goes for magic mushrooms. You can also experience a bad trip when taking too much of it, which can also cause feelings of anxiety and paranoia. You may also experience fear that could lead to panic as well. So no matter what mushrooms get you high, there is a chance that the experience of a bad trip can also traumatize you.

Aside from this, one other severe hazard that comes with ingesting mushrooms would be the risk of actually eating a poisonous mushroom. Unfortunately, this is prone to happen, as many magic mushrooms look similar to very deadly mushrooms that can cause severe poisoning and even death. That is why extra caution must be taken when consuming magic mushrooms.


In terms of legality, the substances of mescaline and psilocybin are illegal. These are both schedule 1 drugs, which are drugs with a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 also means that they currently have no use in treatment and are now unsafe to use even under medical supervision. 

So, this means having possession of these two substances will get you in trouble unless it’s being used with the proper context, such as in a study.

A gavel with hand cuff in a wooden table

This means that cultivating the flower or any other mescaline-containing components of psychedelic cactuses is illegal. The same goes for possession of any mescaline-related compounds. 

The only exception to this is if the substance is being used by the Native American Church, which uses mescaline for religious purposes. While this is so, cactuses such as the San Pedro cactus are legal to own if only used as an ornamental plant.

Psilocybin, on the other hand, is illegal to possess in most states. Whether it be the mushrooms themselves or any preparation, having these on you will get you in trouble. Picking these mushrooms is also illegal. 

But since this substance does have the potential to help treat certain mental illnesses, it has been decriminalized in a few states and legalized in others. As this is a substance that is becoming studied more and more for possible treatments, these are allowed within research.


mushrooms growing in a wet environment

Magic mushrooms can be found in a lot of different places. Usually, they prefer woody areas with a lot of moisture. Alternatively, areas with lots of fallen leaves, wood chips, or sawdust are also perfect for these mushrooms. 

Aside from that, lower temperatures are also a requirement for these mushrooms to grow.

Psychedelic cactuses, on the other hand, can grow in different conditions. For example, the peyote cactus can grow out in the open, with lots of sun exposure and little water. 

On the other hand, the San Pedro cactus grows in more temperate climates, usually in elevated areas with a little more access to water. So depending on what cactus species you’re looking for, the places where it can be found would differ.


Whether it’s a cactus that makes you hallucinate or mushrooms that get you high, both have been used for centuries to help achieve a higher state of mind. While mescaline and psilocybin are two different substances, they do have similar psychedelic effects. These effects may explain why people seek them out.

Of course, both have their risks and effects when taking them, which is why these should be taken with caution. This can explain why these are also illegal substances that can only be used within the proper context and setting. But, while these drugs are yet to be understood, they can find some use in the medical field. All that can be done for now is to wait.

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