What's the Straight Dope about the effects of mescaline on a nursing baby?

Got into another of those arguments last night: “It’s natural, so it must be good!” First of all, no, peyote is natural, mescaline is processed from peyote, but I don’t know how much, so I’m not sure it’s still natural, and, once again, syphyllis is natural, but I’m not lining up for that one, thankyouverymuch.

OTOH, now that I’m looking for actual studies or case histories, I’m coming up pretty blank. Which surprises me, since it’s (or at least peyote is) still pretty widely used among many Mexican Indians, is it not? And it seems that it’s used by breastfeeding women, at least according to the book referenced here. But that’s the only place I’ve found anything other than the blanket one-size-fits-all “illegal drugs that are passed in breastmilk are BAD; mescaline is found in breastmilk! Scary! Run away! Run away!” hysteria.

So what’s the Straight Dope on…uh…this dope? Safe for the babies of nursing moms to take it? I’m not interested in debating the legalities, the persecution of Indians or any of the social issues, or I’d open a GD on the topic I’m just wondering the amount, duration and short and long term effects of mescaline passed to a nursing baby through the breast milk.

Mescaline is a natural product, “extracted” from peyote is perhaps a better word than processed from. You don’t chemically change mescaline in this extraction, except maybe by making a salt of it.

Can’t help with the breast-feeding question. The collossal idiocy of exposing a baby to a highly potent neurological agent like mescaline is so self evident that I would suspect formal studies have not, and could not, be done. There are probably studies on infant animals in the literature, though (don’t know if that’s relevant to the thrust of your OP).

What argument were you having BTW? Justification of mescaline use whilst pregnant? :rolleyes:

No, while breastfeeding. A friend told me that Mexican and North American Indian women take peyote while breatfeeding, and that their babies suffer no ill effects. I questioned this, much as you do, in a knee-jerk “but why would anyone subject their newborn to psychotropic drugs?” sort of way, and now I’m wondering if that was a dumb thing to do, as I can’t actually find anything concrete and specific against it.

This then led to the “natural” defense, which produced immediate eye strain in me: :rolleyes:

Thanks. Now I know more than I did.

See, I *would *expect studies to have been done at least on those women who are already doing it (and doing so legally, I might add.) Perhaps not randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trials, but case histories or epidemiological studies.

But I can’t find anything but the warnings themselves.

Peyote Use during Pregnancy:

Hallucinogens and Pregnancy:

Thanks for the info on pregnancy. Find anything on breastfeeding?

No. But if you’re really interested, you should contact John Halpern, who has done extensive research on peyote [url=http://peyote.com/peyote/children.html]among[/url the native Americans.

Proper link.

About that “It’s natural so it must be OK” statement. Asbestos is natural. So is arsenic and cyanide. I would not feed any of those to an infant that I cared for.
If anyone needed proof that drugs can cause brain damage I would point them at that statement.
There aren’t enough :rolleyes: for that statement. So I will leave off with a :wally

And yet there’s evidence that arsenic doesn’t pass through breastmilk.

A mom taking something while breastfeeding isn’t the same as feeding something to a baby. Which is why I think it’s a fair question.

Whynot, if you are a health care provider, you can ask this question yourself on Dr. Thomas Hale’s website. A cursory search didn’t turn up any recent questions on peyote/mescaline, although I didn’t look too hard.


And yet you people still insist on peeling mangoes before eating us. Why?