Immediate and short-term effects
  • Effects from psilocybin use are felt after about a half hour and last for several hours; effects from mescaline use also appear slowly and last 10-18 hours.

Psychological effects
  • As hallucinogens, they change the way a person sees, smells, hears, tastes, and experiences touch (e.g., visual effects, distortion of sound and changes in the sense of time and place).
  • They may produce hallucinations, that is, a person may see or hear something that is not really there.
  • Effects are unpredictable and emotional reactions can differ greatly.
  • Difficulty concentrating makes it very dangerous to drive or operate machinery.
  • Injuries and death can occur with these substances because of accidents caused by confusion and risky behaviour.

Physical effects
  • Dilated (enlarged) pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and shaking
  • Nausea, vomiting, shivering, chills, and sweating often accompany use of these drugs.
  • No evidence of fatal overdose

Effects and harms from long-term use
  • Daily use is uncommon because tolerance can build very quickly so that a few days’ break is needed for the drug to keep having an effect.
  • There are no significant physical problems resulting from long-term use.
  • Depression, anxiety, and psychosis are a possibility, particularly among people who are more likely than other people to develop mental health problems.

Use during pregnancy
  • Little is known about the effects of these hallucinogens on pregnancy.

  • These substances do not appear to cause physical dependence, even after long-term use.
  • Regular users can become psychologically dependent (i.e., they feel like they need the drug and without it, they get anxious or even panicky).

Mescaline, psilocybin and the law
  • Mescaline and psilocybin are governed by Schedule III of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Conviction for possession of these drugs can result in a fine of up to $1,000 or going to prison for up to six months, or both.
  • Further (repeat) offences or possession of larger amounts can result in larger penalties (e.g., trafficking and related activities can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years).

Use of mescaline and psilocybin in Nova Scotia
  • In 2004, a very small percentage of Nova Scotians (1.5 percent) reported having used any hallucinogen (could include LSD, PCP, mescaline, or psilocybin) in the past year.
  • In 2007, about 7.7 percent of students in grades 7–12 in Nova Scotia reported having used mescaline or psilocybin in the past year.