In the season finale of Healing Powers, our intrepid host Mareesa Stertz takes one last trip abroad to visit Sanson, a British expat in Spain, who credits echinopsis peruviana, a variety of the San Pedro cactus, with helping him beat his alcoholism and depression. He now introduces others to the practice, but don’t call him a shaman — he says it’s the plant and the person taking it who do all the work (“You’re your best therapist; taking the plant is like opening the box to yourself”).
San Pedro contains the psychedelic alkaloid mescaline, which has been used for over 6,000 years in the Americas to aid spiritual and psychological healing. While it has since been classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States (just like cannabis), people continue to use it today worldwide to overcome psychic challenges, enhance their creative voice, and find greater peace within themselves.
After harvesting some San Pedro cacti from a feral plot, Mareesa and Sanson boil it into a mescaline tea for a group of fellow spiritual travelers on a sacred nature walk. Mareesa then tries it for herself with funny results, while learning how it’s helping others conquer their complexes and addictions. If feeling better about one’s self and connecting with nature is the worst that can happen, why is mescaline still illegal again?
For more “Healing Powers,” peep our previous episodes, covering everything from marijuana for military vets, the cleansing capacity of frog medicine, superpowered magic mushrooms, the quest for the perfect pill, pot-facilitated therapy, and a cannabis social club for senior citizens!