6m of San Pedro columns about 8cm diameter.
100g citric acid
10ml HCl 35%
1. The Cactus Liquid
Green part of the cactus was sliced off, diced, and put into 2 litre containers. The skin and most of the short spines were left on. White cactus parts were discarded.
This produced 6.9kg of fresh diced cactus.
The diced cactus was frozen overnight.
Cactus was boiled vigorously with about 8 litres of water and 100g of citric acid for about 4 hours, until it no longer tended to foam. Evaporated water was replaced to keep concentration low. This could not be done all at once so it was done in 4 pot-loads, with 25g citric acid in each.
The mixture was returned to containers and frozen overnight.
Cactus mixture was boiled for about 2 hours. Some water was added to keep the total volume about the same.
Cactus skin pieces were removed by forcing the boiled cactus mush through a sieve. The skin was discarded.
Mush was frozen for two nights, to ensure all was frozen solid throughout.
Cactus mush was boiled down to about 5 litres to fit into one large pot.
The mush was cooled to 50° and pectinase enzyme was added. The mixture was allowed to sit for 3 hours at about 50°.
The pectinase breaks down pectin, helping to break down cactus cells, as well as making filtering faster and reducing emulsions later in the process. Not absolutely necessary, but it seems to help.
The cactus mush was filtered through a loose-weave cloth to remove the bulk of the plant matter. It took some effort to keep things flowing through the filter.
The final filtering of fine particles was done through a piece of shirt cloth. Liquid was allowed to drip through overnight, without any squeezing. A very fine, clay-like substance was left on the cloth and the filtered liquid was clear and dark reddish.
The cactus liquid was boiled down to 1 litre.
Indicator paper showed the mixture had approx. pH 5
The cactus liquid was poured into a 3 litre HDPE mixing bottle with about 200ml of xylene. The mixture was shaken vigorously for about 1 minute then poured into a glass jar to separate.
After a few hours the layers had separated. The xylene and fat layer was removed with a baster and discarded.
The de-fatted cactus liquid was poured back into the mixing bottle.
A bucket of ice water was prepared with some bits of ice floating in it.
About 50g - 100g of NaOH crystals were dissolved into the cactus liquid. This was done by adding the crystals to the mixture and quickly putting the mixing bottle into the ice water and swirling the mixture within the bottle. The bottle was taken out of the ice water to be swirled harder then quickly returned for cooling. This was repeated until all the NaOH was dissolved and the solution felt cool through the bottle and protective gloves.
Indicator paper showed approx. pH 11
More NaOH was added by the same method to achieve pH 13
About 100g NaCl was dissolved into the mixture at this point to prevent emulsion problems later.
4. The Pull
Xylene was added into the mixing bottle at about 1 parts xylene to 3 parts cactus liquid. The mixture was shaken very vigorously for about 3 minutes, then poured into the separating jar.
Mixture was left to separate for about 6 hours or overnight.
When the layers had separated, the xylene layer was removed into a jar for salting out.
5. Salting out
10 drops of 35% HCl and about 100ml water were added to the jar of xylene solution and mixed vigorously for about 30 seconds.
The layers separated quickly. Using a baster to take a little aqueous solution off the bottom, the pH was tested. If the solution was basic, a couple more drops of HCl were added and and the mixture shaken again. This was repeated until the indicator paper showed pH 7 or lower.
The aqueous solution was then removed to another jar for evaporating.
At this point the xylene was returned to the mixing bottle with the cactus liquid to start the next pull, so it could be separating while the following steps were done.
A glass roasting pan was used as an evaporating dish. It sat on a pot of boiling water for heat and was blown by a fan.
The aqueous solution was poured on the dish and left to evaporate. When the alkaloid salts were all crystallised out the dish was removed to a bench and the crystals scraped up and ground into a pile on the dish.
If the mescaline had not been acetone-washed before, it went on to be washed, Otherwise, it was collected as finished product :)
7. Acetone Wash
A glass baster without the rubber bulb was used for a filtering column. The column was stuffed with 3 cotton balls and stood up in a jar, with the narrow end at the bottom. A small funnel was placed into the top of the column.
The mescaline HCl powder was ground in a dish under about 30ml acetone and poured into the filter. More acetone was poured through the filter until no more colour came from the powder. Sometimes the mixture on top of the filter needed stirring to keep it flowing. Residual acetone was blown out of the filter by air pressure until the output was dry and not cold. The dirty acetone was discarded.
The filter column was held over the evap dish and hot water poured through to dissolve the mescaline HCl and move it to the evap dish. Hot water was poured through a few more times, until the water came out tasting clean.
The evap dish and contents went back for evaporating.
The cotton balls were removed from the filter and discarded.
Repeated steps 4 – 7 until yield from a pull was too small to be worth doing more.
Did 6 xylene pulls with following raw yields: 1700mg, 1960mg, 700mg, 700gm, 680mg, 200mg.
The final result after cleaning was 5.67g