How to Prepare San Pedro for Consumption
Making San Pedro Tea
This technique (or tek) isn’t new or unique. The San Pedro cactus, native to countries from Ecuador to Bolivia, has many thousands of years of ceremonial use by Chavin shamans throughout the region.
Much of the traditional Andean use of Trichocereus cacti for San Pedro or Wachuma ceremonies follow a similar process. However, many psychonauts across the world have developed unique variations.
1. Source and estimate your dose
This isn’t strictly a preparation step, but it’s necessary. A recommended dose of San Pedro for a beginner is around 200-300mg of mescaline. On average, this corresponds to 200-300 grams of fresh cactus.
2. De-spine, peel, and chop
Remove the spines with pliers, or cut them out, taking minimal flesh in the process. Peel the translucent waxy outer layer off the cactus, leaving the dark green flesh. This verdant layer is thought to contain the most mescaline.
Some recipes only use the darker green material and discard the rest, while others use the whole cactus. Both work, though removing the paler flesh is thought by some to reduce nausea. Whatever you choose, finely chop the cactus flesh or use a food processor to break it down into small pieces.
Place cactus material in a saucepan or slow-cooker, with three times as much water as there is cactus, bring to a low boil/simmer, then cook on low heat for at least 6 hours.
You could add lemon juice, as some people think this aids mescaline extraction, but this isn’t a proven fact. Do not let the tea boil dry! This will ruin your brew, your saucepan, and possibly your kitchen!
4. Strain the cactus material out of the tea
Using a clean t-shirt or cheesecloth, strain the cactus out of the tea. This material can be re-boiled in water separately to get any remaining psychoactive alkaloids.
The remaining liquid is then added back to the main brew. But if you didn’t rush the previous step and used a food processor, there won’t be much active ingredient left to extract.
5. Gently simmer some more to reduce volume.
This step can take some hours, so be patient. Ideally, you should get the amount of liquid down to no more than 1 cup per full dose.
This step isn’t as necessary if you’re microdosing, as you’ll only be using a relatively small amount of the liquid. Most psychoactive cactus preparations can cause temporary nausea early in the trip (though less than ayahuasca). So, you don’t want to be trying to drink and then keep down a liter or two of San Pedro tea.
6. Store or use.
You can keep cactus tea safely in the fridge for up to a week.
If you want to keep your tea for longer, freeze individual doses or microdoses so that you don’t have to defrost more than necessary at any one time.