What Is Huachuma? And Why Should You Care?

Huachuma – also known as San Pedro – can be a life-changing plant medicine

By Chere Di Boscio

Have you been curious to try Huachuma but have no idea what to expect? We’re here to help!

According to the Psychedelic Times, Huachuma, or San Pedro (also variously known as andachumaaguacolla, or wachuma) is a lesser-known plant medicine, but one that some consider the greatest of all plant teachers on the South American continent.

Similar to psilocybin or even LSD, It’s comprised mainly of mescaline, and is derived from the San Pedro cactus, which originates from Peru’s desert regions. Its use has been dated back as far as 1200 BC, when the Chavin people of the west coast in South America used it in sacred ceremonies. In fact, it may well be the oldest psychedelic medicine ever used. Still today, in parts of Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador, many curanderos practice in the original Chavín traditional ceremonies.

What Is Huachuma?

So, what is huachuma, exactly? What can this plant can do? Well, in the famous book on psychoactive plants “Plants of the Gods,” a shaman offers this quote to describe a San Pedro experience:

“The drug produces drowsiness or a dreamy state and a feeling of lethargy. A slight dizziness. Then a great vision, a clearing of the faculties. It produces a light numbness in the body and afterward a tranquility. And then comes detachment, a type of visual force, inclusive of all the senses. It opens up a sixth sense, the telepathic sense of transmitting oneself across time and matter, like a kind of removal of one’s thought to a distant dimension.”

For most people (but not all) who have experienced a well-made Huachuma brew, they’ll tell you their experience was that their heart just opened wide. They’ll say that for around the 7-8 hours that the journey lasts, the plant shows you pure, unconditional, divine love that’s able to heal your soul on a deep level. It takes you out of this modern world, and takes you to a place of love. But…is that true for everyone?

My Personal Failure

While I know many people whose lives have been transformed by San Pedro, the sad truth is that it doesn’t work for all – including me.

I’ve tried it twice, and both times, I was more than mentally prepared for a wonderful experience. But both times…well, not much happened.

I tried different doses with different people in different places, and all I got was seriously exhausted and then a long, pounding headache.

As advised, I took the medicine in the morning, and I stayed hydrated throughout the time the medicine was in my body. But the effect of the medicine for me was only physical, and seemed to go on forever. The headache just didn’t quit (even with aspirin!) Sadly, I had none of the wonderful experiences I was hoping for. At least I didn’t vomit. (Some people do).

That being said, all people who took the same dose of the same brew I did reported an incredible journey. Here’s what they told me.

Incredible Experiences

Some could feel the ‘aliveness’ of all things. Rocks, air, mountains, grass….they were aware of how alive every single thing is, and how they all exist in harmony with each other. Others felt an overwhelming sense of unity with the universe. They felt like they finally ‘belonged’. One person felt the strong presence of family members who had passed on, and was told how happy they were in the afterlife.

It all sounds incredible, but this is easily achievable when you use certain powerful plant teachers like San Pedro. It can elevate your consciousness almost immediately, giving you a glimpse of what it’s like to be truly awake and connected to all living things on this planet – if you’re lucky!

Huachuma isn’t as strong as ayahuasca, the other plant medicine from Peru. And of course, there are many plant teachers and many paths to awakening, and not all of them are for all people. When you find the plant that’s right for you, you’ll know it. It’s a feeling. It’s a knowing. It’s a healing.

If you’d like to try San Pedro in the Sacred Valley, we highly recommend this retreat.

Have you had experience with huachuma? Please share it with us in the comments below!