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Bitterness taste testing Options
 
pete666
#1 Posted : 5/29/2019 7:47:45 AM

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I would like to publish here the results of testing of bitterness of various cactuses grown from seeds on pereskiopsis for about half a year. More info can be found here.

Please be aware of the fact that bitterness doesn't necessarily mean high mescaline content. High mescaline content very likely means strong bitterness, but strong bitterness can be caused by another alkaloids, as is the case of PC. Nevertheless, strong bitterness strongly increases odds to find high mescaline content cactus, although it is not 100% reliable method and has to be confirmed by subsequent analysis or extraction and bioassay.

So, let's start with the description of the process and rating. About 1cm star of cactus of 3,5cm diameter is cut, despined and chewed for 5-10 seconds.

I am using ratings from 0 to 10 :

0 - not any sign of bitterness
0.5 - is it bitter? or not? Yeah, it is, but bitterness is felt very little and takes time to realize
1 - it is bitter, no doubts, but just slightly
2 - more bitter, but still not much
3 - quite bitter, but still not making me grimace. All tested commercially available cactus cuts were max 2 or 3 (about 25 tested from about 6 vendors).
4 - first rating that makes me to grimace. Not much, but it does
5 - this really makes me to grimace.
6 - 10 - yet to be set

Maximum from tested 267 plants :
- 1 x 5,5 (Trichocereus Peruvianus - Koehres)
- 2 x 5 (Trichocereus Peruvianus - Koehres)
- 1 x 4,5 (Trichocereus Peruvianus - Koehres)
- 3 x 4. (Trichocereus Peruvianus - Koehres, Pach Yowie x Huarazensis - Zelly)

The winner is obviously TP from Koehres. It has the highest max bitterness value and the variance was too very high, ranging from 0 - 5,5.
Alhough it may seem to be good to buy seeds from Koehres, be cautious. They likely don't have the seeds from their own plants and are buying from various suppliers. Moreover every pack can have different parent plants, so every pack can contain seeds of different genes. I have bought all potentially psychoactive varieties from them and I can't say I believe their seeds match their labeling.

EDIT : Peruvianus from Koehres turned out to be lacking any bitter alkaloids.

All results can be found in the attached picture. The most important values here are "Bitterness" and "Variance Bitterness".

Edit : Last column is average of g/day (growth gain(grams)/day/one plant)

pete666 attached the following image(s):
TasteTestResults.jpg (167kb) downloaded 95 time(s).
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Grey Fox
#2 Posted : 5/29/2019 3:35:51 PM

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Wow Pete I'm impressed by how thoroughly you are documenting your findings. Thank you for doing this testing and also for sharing the info with the community.

Bridgesii has consistently been the most bitter tasting cactus to me, and also consistently the strongest in effect. As long as you combine some bioassaying or extraction along with your bitterness testing then you should be able to keep your breeding / propagation program on track in the long run. And dont forget about traits like growth rate and vigor because those play an important role as well in terms of a cactus's overall productivity.

I wish you continued success with your project and thank you for sharing it with us.
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pete666
#3 Posted : 5/29/2019 6:12:19 PM

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No problem GF. I am planning to continue with testing, so when there is some addition to the list, I will update it. I know it is very difficult to find potent cactus when someone doesn't have good friend owning potent motherplant. Maybe this data help someone with the right selection. This sacred medicine deserves to get to the people that need it.

My goal is just the mescaline, not the other alkaloids, so bridgesii is not in the center of my interest. I have acquired some though.
As you can see, the last column is average of g/day (growth gain/day/one plant). This is an average for whole variety. Individual plants are ranging from 0,35 - 1,24 g/day. Hard to say what's causing the difference, whether it is the genes in cactus or some other influence (pereskiopsis stock, dirt, fertilizer buildup, ...), but still this number is valuable and is one of the factors for selection.
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Grey Fox
#4 Posted : 5/29/2019 6:44:13 PM

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Ok I see now where you are recording growth rate. Thats excellent. That Koehres Peruvianus looks to be very promising.
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pete666
#5 Posted : 5/29/2019 7:26:37 PM

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Yes, it has quite high average bitterness (2.3), but maybe even more important variance - 3.9. The variance is very important, as it is saying how much it varies and how much it can get when enough seeds are grown. I have got about 2k of these seeds, the only problme is the limited space of my growbox. Would love to grow them all Smile
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endlessness
#6 Posted : 5/29/2019 8:47:54 PM

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First of all, excellent work organizing your findings, and then sharing with us! Thanks for that. Smile

I'd love to see at least some three or four samples extracted (or sent to analysis) to really confirm if bitterness has a very strong relationship with mescaline content. The logic makes sense, of course, but would be nice to have some confirmation, like Grey Fox posted. Please do let us know if you make such tests or pm me if you want to get some sample tested in a lab.


pete666 wrote:


My goal is just the mescaline, not the other alkaloids, so bridgesii is not in the center of my interest. I have acquired some though.



What is your reasoning behind this? From my research, there is no evidence bridgesii has more "other alkaloids" than peruvianus or pachanoi, seems to be more a myth than anything else.

 
0_o
#7 Posted : 5/30/2019 1:25:14 AM

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I am aware of tests of a few bridgesii showing high mescaline content and little if anything else and tests of a few peruvianus that show mescaline to not be the major alkaloid.

I've yet to encounter any peruvianus that can compare to bridgesii or classic pachanoi, both of which can reach around 6% mescaline by dry weight. Peruvianus tends to be 1-2% at best.

I won't even grow peruvianus, with 1 exception, because in 20 years I have yet to encounter anything worth the effort.
 
pete666
#8 Posted : 5/30/2019 6:50:09 AM

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endlessness wrote:
First of all, excellent work organizing your findings, and then sharing with us! Thanks for that. Smile


My pleasure Smile

endlessness wrote:

I'd love to see at least some three or four samples extracted (or sent to analysis) to really confirm if bitterness has a very strong relationship with mescaline content. The logic makes sense, of course, but would be nice to have some confirmation, like Grey Fox posted. Please do let us know if you make such tests or pm me if you want to get some sample tested in a lab.


All selected cactuses are propagated and will be harvested in the autumn. Two or three months in the dark and then they will be extracted. There should be enough material for decent extraction of each.
I can send you raw and cleansed samples for each of them for analysis.

But if they prove to contain high amounts of mescaline, we still don't have the comparison with specimens with lower bitterness. They might be even stronger, although very unlikely.
I have everything for 20 small-scale extractions done at the same time, which should be enough for some rough test, the only problem is my time. But maybe sometimes in the future we might realize that.

endlessness wrote:

What is your reasoning behind this? From my research, there is no evidence bridgesii has more "other alkaloids" than peruvianus or pachanoi, seems to be more a myth than anything else.


This is based just on my research of available information on the internet. Mainly it is just subjective opinion of the people in the forums. So in theory it may be myth more or less. My impression was that its chemical profile is to some degree similar to the profile of peyote and extractions yielded less mescaline than expected given the results of bioassaying the same stuff. The logical result of that was there have to be some other chemicals adding to the effects. But again, no science, just rumors
I am aware of your endeavours in that area, endlessness, so if you don't know about any real evidence of that, I should reassess this again
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pete666
#9 Posted : 5/30/2019 6:58:06 AM

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0_o wrote:
I am aware of tests of a few bridgesii showing high mescaline content and little if anything else and tests of a few peruvianus that show mescaline to not be the major alkaloid.

I've yet to encounter any peruvianus that can compare to bridgesii or classic pachanoi, both of which can reach around 6% mescaline by dry weight. Peruvianus tends to be 1-2% at best.

I won't even grow peruvianus, with 1 exception, because in 20 years I have yet to encounter anything worth the effort.


You mean 6% of dry green tissue or whole plant? Have you got such plants in your posession or these numbers are just from historical evidence? I haven't read about bridgesii going so high

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Grey Fox
#10 Posted : 5/30/2019 7:02:36 PM

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The 6% figure I recall hearing about is from the Ogun pachanoi. But that was the dried outer green flesh only, and it was a cutting from a large, old plant. And the cutting sat in a box for months before being tested.

Peruvianus has a history of use. The most recent taxonomy lumps it together as one species with Pachanoi and Macrogonus.

Scopulicola is also a very promising species and one that has much of my attention at the moment.
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endlessness
#11 Posted : 5/31/2019 11:08:52 AM

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Here are all the published cact analysis I could find. The highest yielding cactus published was a pachanoi from Ogunbodede that was for a year in the dark, and it yielded 4.7%. Mew from the Nexus has claimed he had a bridgesii yield 5%, but no further info on the cact or growing/storage conditions.


As is summed up here, you can see the alkaloid profile of bridgesii, pachanoi and peruvianus is the same, they are all mostly mescaline with traces of other compounds in some cases. So I think this further points out to claims of bridgesii being different as simply unfounded rumours.

Pete666, sounds like you have a good plan! One question though, why, among the cactus you are going to test, dont you include a low-bitterness sample or two? That way you'd have a good comparison. Also, remember you don't have to make a full extraction to have enough amounts for consumption, if all you want is simply to have an idea, you can make micro-extractions with small amounts and then send to test. Another way to go about at least having an idea of amounts is using TLC. As long as you use the same amount of each sample, it is very easy to see if the spots are larger or smaller, and then you can compare with your taste test and see if there is a straight relationship between bitter testing and larger TLC spot.

That being said, whatever experiment you do, it all takes a lot of time indeed, and I'm also pretty busy these days so I can relate to what you said. Dont feel pressured to do things quickly, do at whatever pace you can, just let us know if you take any steps so we can follow along with you and learn from the process Smile

Be well!
 
Korrupt
#12 Posted : 5/31/2019 5:47:13 PM

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Its an interesting experiment, and i appreciate your work, but im sceptical, i have different findings.

I have tried this method, a little bit differently. I made tea from some of my cacti, and compared their bitterness. Unfortunately, all of them was bitter, but none of them had any effect on me, with the same dose and method as with my other cacti.

3 sample was made from plants, which i grew from koehres seeds. I bought those around 7 years ago, and they are some kind of hybrids, many of them with cuzcoensis traits. Maybe they seeds are better now, but i dont trust them with trichocereus seeds.

1 sample was from a different plant, it was the most bitter, with no effect, almost as bitter as calea zacatechichi, which is the top of my bitterness scale.

My scopulicola is good, and one other cactus is stronger than my scop, so i will propagate them. They taste is similar to my inactive plants, except that one with extreme bitterness.
I made an extraction with your method on my strongest plant, i think its around 0.8% green, dry tissue. I have a koehres bridgesii too, i extracted it too, its around 0.3%, so its not worth to grow for me.

I try to find stonger plants too. I bought seeds from misplant, i hope the already tested hybrids will be strong too. I bought crosses between SS02, Lumberjack, Juuls, Icaros, Baker, etc. I plan to do a test on them in the fall, when they will be around 10-15 cm big.

Something about the growth rate. I am not good in grafting, thats why i grow them normally, in soil, etc. Some plants from the same seed batch grow much faster, than the others, in the same conditions, i think its a genetic thing, and worth to select this 15%-20% of the plants, with above average growth rate.
I have wild peruvian seeds from chavin herbalist, but they grow much slower than the misplant seeds, like half speed, so i will stick to the already selected and propagated seed sources.
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pete666
#13 Posted : 5/31/2019 7:37:34 PM

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endlessness wrote:

One question though, why, among the cactus you are going to test, dont you include a low-bitterness sample or two? That way you'd have a good comparison. Also, remember you don't have to make a full extraction to have enough amounts for consumption, if all you want is simply to have an idea, you can make micro-extractions with small amounts and then send to test. Another way to go about at least having an idea of amounts is using TLC. As long as you use the same amount of each sample, it is very easy to see if the spots are larger or smaller, and then you can compare with your taste test and see if there is a straight relationship between bitter testing and larger TLC spot.


My strategy is a bit different. I was initially planning to do micro extractions, possibly ended by titration to quantify alkaloids. But then I changed this to just taste testing, first selection, propagation, extraction and bioassaying. Then the final selection. This seemed to me like the easier way.

I have read about the TLC, An1cca was suggesting it to me too, but I haven't felt this is my way to go. If there was anyone willing to cooperate and do the analysis from small extracted amounts, I would change this strategy. Now I am risking having to grow many (bitter) specimens and then finding out they contain alkaloids, but inactive. These specimens are blocking my growbox, which I could rather use for much more other varieties than many specimens necessary for the bigger extaction.
I can grow and extract them, but not analyse them.

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pete666
#14 Posted : 5/31/2019 7:54:20 PM

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Korrupt, the idea is that mescaline is bitter. Very bitter. So anything containing it is bitter as well. The problem is that mescaline is not the only alkaloid and the bitterness is correlated to many alkaloids. So the bitterness test selection is just the first step, eliminating specimens with low alkaloid levels.

Then there has to be another step, which is the bioassay or analysis. The first step is only narrowing of initial high counts. It would be unwise and unreal to bioassay or analyse hundreds or thousands of specimens.

I know that I can potentially have a problem, as most of my selected specimens are from the same seeds (koehres). If one turns inactive, they will most likely be inactive all.

Anyway, this is not just one year project for me. I am planning to search for the right plant as long as necessary. If I don't succeed this year, I will try next year. It's worth it. I am not doing that just for the mescaline, which I have enough. There are commercially available sources with good material, but I feel the process is not complete when starting with such material. The medicine is missing something.

I would love if there were other people cooperating, but I am not sure such people are here, as the cacti forums are quite still.
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Grey Fox
#15 Posted : 6/1/2019 4:24:49 PM

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Endlessness:

The main difference that I notice between the species is that bridgesii generally lacks the euphoria that I get from pachanoi or scopulicola. Bridgesii trips feel more stark and austere in comparison. I think there's more to it than just mescaline level. But I have no scientific proof to back that up, just personal experience.


Pete:

I wish you all the best on your project. I hope you eventually find what you're looking for with your selection and breeding process. Ultimately its your project and your journey. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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endlessness
#16 Posted : 6/1/2019 5:46:41 PM

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I don't want to discount anyone's experience, that's for sure. I just think it is always important to question the alternative explanations that can account for why our experiences are in such way.

"Other alkaloids" is imo a way too common explanation that is used generically whenever it may fit, and somehow the discussion doesn't go further after that (not saying you guys are guilty of that, but since it's related to what we are talking, I decided to expand the argument in this post here). Had a weird experience? Maybe it's "other alkaloids". Had a weak experience? Maybe it's "other alkaloids". Had a too strong experience? Maybe it's "other alkaloids".

Considering the amount of times people say these things, you'd imagine there was at least one, out of 100+ analysis, showing a lot of some other active alkaloid in these cact... I can't find a single analysis showing so. I tested many cactus myself, and it's always been pretty much all mescaline with at times trace amounts of other alkaloids only. (By the way Im talking about bridgesii/peruvianus/pachanoi specifically, other species may be different i don't know I'd have to investigate)

Is it possible these trace amounts will affect the experience? I'd say very unlikely, but if someone can argue otherwise convincingly, id love to hear the arguments.. Is it possible that all the hundred of analysis were done, by chance, with only the rare cuttings that dont have "other alkaloids" in significant amount but people in the community end up unluckily getting exactly those cuttings that have higher amounts of those "other alkaloids"? IMO also extremely unlikely.

So what is more likely explanation for different experiences with different species? I'd say there are 2, both of which may play a part in different ratios in different circumstances. First of all, self-suggestion. It has been repeated ad-nauseum that bridgesii has "other alkaloids". People read that, then drink it unconsciously expecting different effects... So it's understandable they do feel different.

Another explanation is the lack of a standardized dose. Say for example a user has some bridgesii cuttings that are weaker than his pachanoi cuttings. Then the user brews a certain amount of cact from each species, and drinks the same amount, and says one was "lackluster", the other was "magical". But maybe that is because in one, the person consumed 100mg mescaline, and in the other, 350mg mescaline.. So of course it's normal to have different experiences there. So to have an accurate comparison, people need to actually first be extracting the alkaloids of both species and then taking the extracts in same amount, or at least they need to extract once and measure yields in each cutting, and then next time they drink a brew with same cuttings they can adjust the amounts based on the yields they found.

Just as a case in point, though of a different plant.. there were a lot of rumours about Diplopterys cabrerana leaves having 5-MeO-DMT. It all stemmed from a badly referenced section in Christian Raetch's encyclopedia of psychoactive plants, and the subsequent posting by a proeminent member of the psychedelic underground community constantly talking about the effect of 5-MeO-DMT in chaliponga. But then I investigated and saw that all other analysis shown no 5-MeO-DMT, the source of the info was wrong, the only one test that showed 5-MeO-DMT was so insignificant amounts that they couldnt even quantify, just said "trace amounts", and in the only sample they had enough to quantify 5-MeO-DMT in chaliponga, it was only in the stem, and even then in super small amounts (0.0035% of dry stem). And some people felt attacked when I mentioned this, saying that they for sure felt different effects with chaliponga, that it was possibly because the analysis was wrong, or saying they had a different genetics than the tests showed, or whatever. So I talked to a person who sweared they had a chaliponga that gave him dark trips, that it cannot be just DMT because he took many times chacruna and it was completely different, etc. I ask him to send me a sample so I can test, and guess what? Sample only had DMT (plenty of it) and fatty acids.

In the specific case of these cact cuttings, I could be mistaken but I really think evidence points out to the explanations I mentioned, self-suggestion and mescaline amounts. Maybe for other cases, other types of plants, they will have genetically variability, and people will consume them, and the mix of alkaloids will explain different trips people have. But I think before having that as a standard "one size fits all" answer, we definitely need consider the different alternative explanations, not assume too much, and investigate however much we can.

Sorry for the long post but it's a subject that comes up often and I thought it deserved an expanded thought on it.

That being said, I am willing to test the samples you guys have, specially if it's interesting things to compare, for example "cact that gives you one kind of experience vs another", or "cutting grown in one condition vs another", or "bitter vs non-bitter tasting cact", or whatever.

This is relevant to what you said, pete666, indeed what you are doing is a lot of work, it would be nice to have more people join in, so I reiterate the offer to test samples you have, thats about what I can do at the moment.

Apart from that, so you dont depend on me on the future, the TLC is actually very easy to set up and use, if you ever feel like doing it, I can help you out

Last but not least, thanks you all for posting and contributing to the discussion, sharing your experiences and so on Smile
 
pete666
#17 Posted : 6/1/2019 6:48:03 PM

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endlessness wrote:


That being said, I am willing to test the samples you guys have, specially if it's interesting things to compare, for example "cact that gives you one kind of experience vs another", or "cutting grown in one condition vs another", or "bitter vs non-bitter tasting cact", or whatever.

This is relevant to what you said, pete666, indeed what you are doing is a lot of work, it would be nice to have more people join in, so I reiterate the offer to test samples you have, thats about what I can do at the moment.



That's nice to read, endlessness. I am very thankful for that offer. I just don't have an idea, how difficult (in terms of effort, time or money) is the analysis for you, in other words how many samples is too much. But I guess I will ask you for the analysis always when I have some worthy sample(s) and it's up to you to tell me when it's too much Smile

endlessness wrote:


Apart from that, so you dont depend on me on the future, the TLC is actually very easy to set up and use, if you ever feel like doing it, I can help you out



Again, many thanks for that offer as well. If I changed my mind, I would ask you for help.

Nevertheless, back to the methodology for testing the correlation between bitterness and mescaline content. I was thinking about that and it is not easy at all. We can't test that bitterness implicates high mescaline content. Nobody believes in that. PC is the first plant that would prove the opposite. What we could do is to show that bitterless taste implicates low or zero alkaloid (including mescaline) levels. And here we don't need the analysis, we show that just with micro extraction with precise titration. What do you think?



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Korrupt
#18 Posted : 6/1/2019 7:12:01 PM

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pete666 wrote:
There are commercially available sources with good material, but I feel the process is not complete when starting with such material. The medicine is missing something.


What do you mean by that? What is missing?
I think that growing from seed is a complete process. I germinate them, grow them, take care of them, and harvest them, and let them live. And share it with others. Of course, it will be good to grow it from my own seeds, in their nautral habitat, but its not possible for me, so i do what i can.

endlessness:
I dont want to derail this conversation, but im curious, the "other alkaloids" in peyote can make it a different experience? Or peyote, pedro, and extracted mescaline is basically the same, and the effects of mescaline make the effects of other alkaloids unnoticeable? Peyote is superior in itself, or just because its traditional use?
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dragonrider
#19 Posted : 6/1/2019 7:30:19 PM

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I would not call peyote superior. There is another alkaloid present in peyote, wich is called lophophine. It is a sedative, and i would say that it affects the mescaline experience in a negative, rather than a positive way. I suspect that it is also present in other cacti, as i believe that i have experienced sedative effects from a torch cactus a couple of times.

Endlessness is right, this is pure speculation on my behalf. I can only say that it is a fact that peyote contains a sedative (lophophine) and that often a peyote experience is less clear-headed than a pure mescaline experience is, that this lesser experiences for me personally where always paired with a feeling of sedation and drowsyness, the typical effects of a sedative, and that i have experienced such sedative effects with torch cacti as well.

So i consider it possible that lophophine or a simmilar compound, is sometimes present in torches, or occurs in some specific strains or families of torches.

Peyote also has a "little brother" btw, that looks exactly like it, but contains almost no mescaline and mostly lophophine.
 
pete666
#20 Posted : 6/1/2019 7:35:39 PM

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Korrupt wrote:
pete666 wrote:
There are commercially available sources with good material, but I feel the process is not complete when starting with such material. The medicine is missing something.


What do you mean by that? What is missing?
I think that growing from seed is a complete process. I germinate them, grow them, take care of them, and harvest them, and let them live. And share it with others. Of course, it will be good to grow it from my own seeds, in their nautral habitat, but its not possible for me, so i do what i can.


Sorry, I was not clear enough. I was just trying to say I have mescaline from my previous extractions of commercially available material. This was almost always powdered chips. I felt the process was not complete this way, I felt I had to grow my own cactuses.

And yes, it would be even better to grow from my own seeds, but I have probably the same problem as you, it is almost impossible to grow for seeds where I live.
Acceptance of the fact that our reality is not real doesn't in fact mean it is not real. It just leads to better understanding what real means.
 
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