Encyclopedia Article


Peyote is a small, spineless cactus found in Mexico and Texas. When ingested, the plant has psychedelic qualities and causes hallucination, trances, and visions for its users. Peyote has been used by indigenous groups in the Americas for ceremonial purposes for thousands of years.

Peyote became the main sacrament of the Native American Church, formed in 1918 as a Pan-Indian organization. After the relocation and abuses of the US government, the church, a synthesis of traditional and Christian observances, found a captive audience. The Native American Church celebrates the use of peyote, classified as a controlled substance by the U.S. government, and its effects as a religious experience protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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"Peyote button in flower, April 21, 2007" by Hans B. is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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