Peyotes Effects And The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

In the middle of the twentieth century, two physicians, Dr. Humphrey Osmond and John Smythies, recognized the similarities between the psychedelic effects of mescaline and the psychotic symptoms of the psychological disorder schizophrenia.4 They noted that both mescaline and schizophrenia produce distortions of sensory perception, dissociated and random patterns of thinking, depersonalization, paranoia, hallucinations, and, at times, agitation and violence. Osmond and Smythies proposed that mescaline could be a way to "model" the psychosis of schizophrenia in order to study its causes and potential treatments.4 This ability of peyote to mimic the symptoms of psychosis led to its being referred to as a "psychotomimetic" (i.e., psychotic- or psychosis-mimicking) drug.

Humphry Osmond
Figure 6.1 Dr. Humphrey Osmond, an early researcher of the similarities between the symptoms of schizophrenia and the effects of mescaline. © Bettmann/Corbis

In the years that followed the publication of Osmond and Smythies' paper, however, it became evident that there are distinct differences between the psychedelic effects of mescaline and the symptoms of schizophrenia. First, the hallucinations produced by mescaline are primarily visual, whereas those in schizophrenia are primarily auditory (hearing voices is very common). Also, mescaline produces a state of disorganized thinking and distorted sensory perceptions that persist continuously for hours on end, whereas in schizophrenia, these symptoms come and go on a minute-by-minute or hour-by-hour basis. Thus most psychiatrists today believe that the usefulness of mescaline as a model for schizophrenia may be limited only to being a model of acute schizophrenia.

Difference Between Mescaline And Peyote

Figure 6.2 A series of positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a schizophrenic patient's brain during hallucinations. They depict a range of activity from low (blue) to high (yellow) and illustrate a disruption of the brain's normal, roughly symmetrical patterns. © Tim Beddow/Photo Researchers, Inc.

Figure 6.2 A series of positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a schizophrenic patient's brain during hallucinations. They depict a range of activity from low (blue) to high (yellow) and illustrate a disruption of the brain's normal, roughly symmetrical patterns. © Tim Beddow/Photo Researchers, Inc.

trying to treat. During the 1960s and 1970s, ecstasy (MDMA) and LSD became more available and popular to use as psychedelic drugs than mescaline or peyote. This, along with the U.S. government classifying mescaline as a Schedule I controlled substance in 1970, has caused the use of peyote and mescaline as aids in psychotherapy to virtually disappear.

Continue reading here: Can Peyote Treat Alcoholism

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    What is the effect of a schizophrenic taking peyote?
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