EnciclopediaSan Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) cactus


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San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi) cactus

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We offer both cuttings and San Pedro cactus seeds in our store.

What is a San Pedro cactus?

San Pedro - Echinopsis pachanoi

The oldest cacti date back 20.000 years ago. Its special looks are because of its ability to survive extreme dryness and heat. The thorns are of course the most qualifying characteristic of cacti, these are actually leaves without any moisture, which turned them into thorns. They are also to protect a cactus against bright sunlight and being eaten by animals. But, some variants do not have thorns and protect themselves with poison/drugs. Examples are the Peyote, Sunami, Pata de Venado, Pezuna de Venado, Tsuwiri, Bishop's cap, Aztekium Retterii and Astropytum Astrias.

San Pedro aka Echinopsis pachanoi (basionym: Trichocereus pachanoi) is the most well known from the Trichocereus family. According to researchers like Backeberg the Trichocereus has 47 kinds, which all originate from South-America. Others say there are just 13 kinds. Besides the E. Pachanoi, some other kinds do also contain mescaline. The amount of mescaline depends on the species and age of the cactus.


The San Pedro is a cactus with pillars with 4 to 9 ribbons. It grows quite fast, has a strong root system and branches off from the base of the stem. The San Pedro just keeps growing until it succumbs under its own weight. The fallen cactus will in nature root again and produce many new branches. This is why San Pedro is used as a grafting stem for other, difficult to grow, cacti.

The older the cactus gets, and the more heat it has withstood, the more mescaline it contains. This is to be found right under the 'skin'.


In 1960 Turner and Heyman found that San Pedro contains mescaline and called this cactus Opunita Cylindtica. The name San Pedro originates from the idea that apostle Petrus is the keeper of the key to heaven. This shows how strongly the Catholic religion has influenced other religions, habits and ideas.

San Pedro cacti were (and still are) used by Indians from the area around the Andes: Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Use has hallucinogenic experiences as an effect, which is needed be able to do specific predictions and to trace spiritual causes for diseases.


Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxy-B-phenethylamine) percentage : 1 to 10 % of dried material (Erowid).

The San Pedro contains besides mescaline also tyramine, hordinenine, 3-methoxytyramine, anhalaninine, anhalonidine, 3,4-dimethoxyphen-ethylamine, 3,4-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine and 3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B- phenethylamine.


Approximately 1-2 hours after consumption the San Pedro will reveal itself to the user; effects can last 8-15 hours. Effects can be amongst others: extreme sensitiveness to light: being able to see and feel every ray of light and see people and things 'radiate'. Forgotten memories can return, being able to hear and see sounds and voices from far away, seeing the 'magic light'. Besides that, emotions come out as laughing, crying, screaming, feeling pleasure, fear, love, love for everything that is and everything that is not.

The effects of San Pedro are in many ways more pleasant than those of peyote. To begin with, its taste is only slightly bitter and the initial nausea is not as likely to occur. When the full psychotropic experience takes hold it is less overwhelming, more tranquil and not nearly as physical as that from peyote.

Medical use

San Pedro has no commonly accepted medical use. But it has been used in a medical sense by several Indian tribes: by consuming this cactus, the unknown causes of a persons disease can be traced.


The traditional use of San Pedro is cooking (for a long time) the pieces of a whole cactus with some herbs added, like micha (Brugmansia suavenolens) and cimorillo (Coleus blumei). The additions depend on the results intended by the shaman.

Nowadays cacti are eaten dry. Dry them in parts of 1 cm thickness and put them in the sun. The thorns and the wooden stem are not to be eaten. Best is to grind the edible parts into a fine material. This is to avoid stomach problems. Between 20 and 50 grams is consumed of which the skin is the biggest part, often with water and citric acid to support a good assimilation by the body. Best is not to eat six hours before you start eating this cactus.


As with other psychoactives, eating San Pedro also gives a hangover before the actual trip starts. Fever, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting could possibly occur but will disappear within one hour or so.


Make sure you always have an experienced but sober person with you, for support and safety!

The active compounds lead the user into a hallucinogenic trance which is comparable to a psychosis. So whatever you do, don't drive a car or participate in traffic. Only take San Pedro when you're in a safe and familiar environment. Never trip by yourself. When things go wrong Seresta or Valium can help to bring fears down to an 'easy to handle' level.


San Pedro loves warmth and light. On the hills where it usually grows the soil contains many nutrients, so add some plant nutrients, but not too much because it still is a cactus. Giving it some extra water on warm days is really helpful. When you grow the cactus indoors, behind a window on the south-side is best. The first requirement is that sunlight comes through it.

San Pedro is easy to grow and easy to multiply. To start growing means choosing between starting with seeds, a cutting or a plant. The plant only needs water and some nutrients. A cutting has to dry first (it has a cutting wound) and root in the ground before it starts growing, this can take up to a year.

Growing from seeds asks for a lot of time (years) and effort.

Links / References

This article is based on the following pages:

Erowids San Pedro Vault


  • subterranean 02-07-2007 01:36:42

    drying,grinding,and putting into gel caps is the best way to go. i am very experienced with many psycs and have done pedro several times. i like it the most.one foot x 3" will do it.just respect it and dont be stupid.these things are not toys for your amusement,this stuff is serious.

  • dpg 14-07-2008 16:36:39

    Is it possible to grow San Pedro indoors in northern countries (indoors)? We have only very small amount of sunlight in winter time... is it a problem?

  • WHEAT 08-10-2008 17:52:36


  • satan 21-12-2008 21:05:17

    u can also cultivate the catus to grow arms bye cutting the base and adding a bit of cloning gell to the cut then wrap in wet news paper

  • whyers 08-04-2009 08:13:50

    Cloning gel? Can anyone tell me more about cloning gel? Have never heard of it before, but sounds very interesting!!

  • aargh a moth! 05-09-2009 14:50:03

    cloning gel is rooting compound but in a gel! google it. its fairly easy to use as long as you follow the instruction of use (found on net not on packet) strictly! good luck.

  • speckil 01-11-2009 07:12:12

    u all r stupid all u have to do is take a 12" piece, throw it in the blender with honey for sweetness, an then drink it, an u call your self pro, don't you see the simplicity in nature, humans just have to make things so complicated.

  • thecrystalshiip 13-12-2009 01:56:30

    evening to you all,
    i'm planning on trying san pedro next week but i don't really have a clue what the power of one cacti is..
    sorry for my crappy english..
    i mean light trip is 20cm ? medium 30 ? strong 50+ ? i have no idea!

    _walkin' the rainbows_

  • gootch420 27-03-2010 07:46:28

    Hey des anybody know what mescaline content is with dried san pedro vs. fresh?

  • Aegir 05-07-2010 18:24:39

    12" cactus, frozen, chopped up, blended until liquified. That's the really easy part. Then you boil it down on medium heat for about 3-4 hours after a half our of warm-up on low heat, just watch the water level (and be patient lol). In the end you want about a solid 12oz of extract 'tea' to drink after it's strained.

    Just coming down off a trip from that method, very visually appealing colors and pyschosis. High suggest smoking some jwh018 for a more intense trip or smoking some weed for a more mellow one. Intensity of jwh018 makes the overall trip to be somewhat comparable to mushrooms, by the way. I had a blast. Average white guy, average weight, average doseage....hella fun.

  • Nap 30-09-2010 01:45:41

    I recently came into some dried san pedro cactus and dont know how i would go about consuming that? Everybody here seems to use fresh cacti so how would i make this edible/drinkable?

  • lowendgangstercrip 08-07-2011 18:37:31

    after you boil it n strain how much is the right amount to drink

  • chemist 09-08-2011 22:44:32

    try adding some lemon juice to the boiling mash. The active ingredient is a base and not very soluble in water. The acid from the lemon will salt out what you want and make it more water soluble

  • avilonis 17-10-2011 17:50:35

    can you eat the skin from a cutting bought off amazon to get the mescaline trip desired?

  • artie 18-11-2011 00:46:37

    I'm looking for antiinflamitory(s) for arthritis-etc. I read somewhere san pedro is good for this and also an anti cancer plant-(goes along with being antiinflamitory). Any thoughts or suggestions on this and other plants? Tks

  • Dark christmas 01-02-2012 08:50:05

    I'v done san pedro about 8 times fresh but never tried the dried, simply cut a 30 cm length (average 7 - 8 cm dia point to point) into slices (1 - 2 cm is good) dice, then put into a blender with the same quantity of clean water. blend this to a green slimy pulp & put into a cooking pot. repeat this until the whole 30 cm is used. bring to boil fast on a high heat then drop back to a fast simmer. simmer the mix for 4 hours but add water if the mix starts to get thicker than shower gel - this is to stop it burning to the bottom - after the 4 hours strain the mix thru a clean cotton cloth and ring every last drop out of the pulp. disguard the pulp, drink the slimy gooey green liquid. it tastes fucking terrible but is a great trip. the mix can be simmered/reduced down over a few more hrs to a gel & put into gel caps but i worry about the effect on the stomach wall.. add honey or lemon to alter that awful taste & make urself think its milk & drink it quick to get it down. enjoy!

  • lab 21-11-2012 04:27:49

    Grapefruit juice in the blender with San Pedro helps me alot with the taste and ingestion!!!

  • Shel 25-04-2013 10:31:11

    I've been doing San Peddies for 2 years now almost once a month but when I boil it I boil about 4 cuttings & make quite a lot of liquid, could anyone help with preservation techniques? What natural preserver can I add to make it not go off?

  • Mescalito 25-07-2015 09:35:21

    San Pedro combines with Datura root nicely. They look nice in the garden growing together. I find cactus emphasize a theme of purity, and it's usually a bad idea to smoke tobacco. Trichocereus cactus have a soapy quality and are rich in gelatinous poly-saccharides. There is a healthy feeling with cactus, and taken internally, it has a reputation to clear the skin of blemishes. It strengthens the libido and sharpens the vision. It is one of the best entheogens in existence. Blending it with water and drinking raw is a fast easy and effective way to consume cactus, and you only need an inch. Ja bless.

  • Leon 22-08-2015 07:10:09

    I ordered 2 San Pedro cacti from Spain last year, both about 3 inches in length. They had been growing under grow lights until the beginning of summer this year when I moved them outside and started giving them nutrients and they took off. Two days ago I went to replenish the tops of the pots with some more river rocks when I noticed that there was another San Pedro poking itself out from beneath the rocks right next to the original. It is not looking like a baby either. It is wide and looks like a separate cactus started growing. I can not see whether it is attached to the original cactus as it poked itself from beneath the rocks and I don't want to dig into it to see if it has branched off from the original, but if it did it had to branch itself off from close to the roots. Is this normal or even possible?

  • teh0r4cl3 03-06-2016 12:31:35

    Yes it is normal and possible for cactus to reproduce like that. San Pedro is an easy grower and if it's happy it will spawn other plants. They don't have a juvenile stage, they look like little adult plants.

  • Mel 01-02-2018 06:27:56

    I have two san pedro cacti from Arizona that are pretty small in girth. i consumed 12 inches last night by making some syrup but each time i blended it and boiled it, it burned up quickly...i drank wine with it but it didnt do much..i giggled a lot but it coulda been the wine..THE 2nd time i blended 14in of it and made a smoothle, till i was full, then 30 min later ate 6 more inches. Anyway, nothing is happening. Thoughts?

  • Desiertoflor 07-04-2018 22:49:58

    I bought San Pedro in dried powder in a market in Cusco. Has anybody tried those ones from Peruvinan markets? The seller told me to take two tbs of powder and mix with two dl of water. Also she told me that the effects would diminish if one drank a lot of lemon! Any comments to a novice?

  • Steve 20-05-2018 17:05:42

    I saw cacti on Bonaire like this. Are they San Pedro?

  • Robbie 30-07-2018 14:30:30

    I live in Costa Rica and have a 40 foot San Pedro cactus in my backyard. It grew do tall that pieces fell off and started rooting in surrounding yards of my neighbors. I just want to figure out how old it is and can find no information on estimating it’s age. Any ideas?

  • The dragon 02-09-2018 06:08:04

    If your prescribed amphetamine san pedro might not work

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