New York Times on Salvia Divinorum

Salvia divinorum is a very potent psychoactive herb that has intense dissociative effects when smoked. According to researchers, it's likely the most potent natural hallucinogen gram for gram. Salvia divinorum is mostly legal in the United States, but maybe not for much longer. YouTube has thousands of videos of people tripping on it and lawmakers are now pointing to those clips as evidence that the herb should be criminalized. Meanwhile, it's also being studied by pharmacologists for possible use in treating pain, depression, and addiction. From the New York Times:
 Wikipedia Commons Thumb 8 82 Salvia Divinorum - Herba De Maria.Jpg 260Px-Salvia Divinorum - Herba De Maria When the federal government this year published its first estimates of salvia use, the data astonished many: some 1.8 million people had tried it in their lifetimes, including 750,000 in the previous year. Among males 18 to 25, where consumption is heaviest, nearly 3 percent reported using salvia in the previous year, making it twice as prevalent as LSD and nearly as popular as Ecstasy.

Recent studies at college campuses on both coasts have yielded estimates as high as 7 percent. The herb’s presence on military ships and bases has prompted enough concern about readiness that the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was asked to develop the first urinalysis for salvia and is now testing 50 samples a month....

“We have this incredible new compound, the first in its class; it absolutely has potential medical use, and here we’re talking about throttling it because some people get intoxicated on it,” said Dr. John Mendelson, a pharmacologist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute who, with federal financing, is studying salvia’s impact on humans. “It couldn’t be more foolish from a business point of view.”
"Popularity of a Hallucinogen May Thwart Its Medical Uses" (NY Times, thanks Steve Steinberg!)

Previously on BB:
Videos of people smoking salvia divinorum


  1. The best way to smoke it is out of a bong. Load an entire bowl yourself as opposed to passing. Consume quickly. It remains the only psychedelic I have ever gotten visuals off of.

    That they would criminalize Salvia Divinorum is just another assault on substances that pose no threat to society. Alcohol and tobacco are an infinite amount worse.

    This is nothing new.

  2. Salvia isn’t fun, and may be the least enjoyable drug I’ve ever tried. Well, that and the fifth of vodka I drank on my 17th birthday.

  3. Salvia Divinorum has been used as a sacrament for thousands of years by shamans and the like, and as an entheogen, it can offer some amazing insights into reality-non-reality. It is NOT supposed to be smoked, but all the iditos on you tube and the ignorance of popular culture has promted its smoking. Anyone interested in Salvia should do their homework–its supposed to be chewed, raw, and not as a recreational drug. This is serious stuff, this is a plant teacher which may expose the doors of perception which you may not want to walk through–treat it with respect and use it properly and you will obtain the intended results. thrws, cntn lvng s slfsh, rrgnt hdnst nd smk th sht, nd s wht hppns.

  4. It couldn’t be more foolish from a business point of view

    Not if you business is law enforcement or politics, Dr. Mendelson.

  5. Disclaimer : the effects of this drug vary massively from one person to another. The only effect it has on me is paranoia…not very pleasant. However, some people who tried it with the same doses as I had very vivid visual and/or aural hallucinations. The interesting thing about it is that the trip is very short (about 1/2 hour), unlike many others hallucinogens.
    “Anyone interested in Salvia should do their homework–its supposed to be chewed, raw, and not as a recreational drug.”
    To experience the effects, the only thing that worked for me is a bong. I tried chewing it with three friends, and in addition of being very unpleasant (the taste is awful), it had strictly NO EFFECT for either of us. Infusing or chewing apparently only works with fresh leaves. I must add that we did it with all required ceremonial and attitude (it was at a time when we still took this Castaneda bullshit seriously).
    Concentrated extracts can also be found (at least in the UK), never tried them.

  6. Salvia; Oh the things I’ve been.

    Agreed, salvia is not fun, but it is incredibly interesting, and the things you see and do stay with you, letting you marvel, puzzle and laugh later.

    It is certainly not a “party” drug. There is no social context when you believe you are a tall marble statue, on the corner of some grand avenue, the sun shining down on your polished, white stone exterior, the birds flying and frolicking around, as you keep silent watch over your domain..

  7. I wonder.. perhaps if those currently making money from the misery of marijuana prohibition are smart enough to see the beginning of the end of their comfortable little racket, maybe they are setting the stage for a whole new series of prohibitions to make sure the prisons stay full along with their wallets. What else can they ban?

  8. When their business is maintaining the status quo through fear, pain, and ignorance, they’ll ban or tightly control anything that gives the general population some freedom over fear, pain, or ignorance.

  9. I can’t believe that my state has a ban on this species of sage. Honestly. People see videos of kids having fun with this long-used entheogen, and then all of a sudden, moral panic and the banhammer. WTF. Remember, uppity Evangelicals, do not call profane what God has made holy.

  10. An interesting thing about Salvia Divinorum is that it’s quite hard to cultivate, so most of the leaves come from specialized growers. Illegalizing it would likely cut off the supply almost entirely, unlike other illegal plants like cannabis or psilocybin mushrooms which can easily be grown by pretty much anyone.

    Currently, Salvia Divinorum is popular because it’s legal, and therefore available when other drugs are not. If it became as difficult to get as, say, LSD, I’m pretty sure almost nobody would choose it over other black market drugs.

  11. BardoBeing @5, while we welcome your advice about other ways of using salvia d, please refrain from insulting people who choose to use it differently.

  12. hmmm,can the enforcement of the ePatriot Act against people free-speaking on the web really provide enough convictions to feed the Prison Industry?

  13. They are concerned about military readiness because of salvia? If people in the armed forces are smoking it, it’s not like they are walking around baked for hours like with weed, rather they will be having an intense 15-minute experience which will certainly stop them from doing anything useful for that period, but it’s not like they are addicted or wasted all the time. In fact it’s more likely after trying it once or twice they will be scared away from using it again.

    Or worse (from the military’s point of view) they will have an intense religious experience that will make them reassess their view of killing as part of their duty.

    I think that, among drugs out there, this is pretty harmless stuff, but the knee jerk reaction of : “DRUGS, OH MY GOD, DRUGS, WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!” (etc) has made the very idea of anything psychoactive as a danger to society.

    “Danger to society”– what does that mean? Certainly I can see heroin/crack/meth addicts as being serious threats to society, because of the physical addiction that goes with those drugs and what if forces addicts to do. But pot smokers aren’t robbing liquor stores to get high, and the same applies to salvia (other psychedelics I will reserve judgment on– certainly they are not to be toyed with, especially if you have psychological problems already). I don’t see salvia as posing a threat to society, so there’s no logical reason to ban it.

  14. leaving only the financial reasons. How about this time we co-opt them? Crowd to the head of the pork barrel patronage line, buy the salvia persecution concession – and then run it into the ground by mismanagement. Drug enforcement is tax farming. You can be lord or peasant.

  15. I think that the saddest part of this story is the misuse of the drug. Smoking it in a dim, quiet room with a babysitter is where the profound hallucinatory experiences occur — when your brain is not dealing with external stimuli but can create its own.

    I guess that the analogy would be doing shots of a vintage whiskey. Sure you might get drunk, but there are other ways to appreciate this. If all you want to do is laugh and fall over, just go buy nitrous oxide cartridges. Last I checked, those were still legal too.


  16. I wonder of those people who did it within the last year found it something the wanted to do over and over again? Most everyone I know including myself who has done Salvia finds it to be kind of unsettling. Putting any sort of ban on it wouldn’t curb it but probably make it more sought out, and potentially put those who are interested in this sort of exploration in much more harm. Let people try it out, with a sitter, and with more than just ‘Hey lets get fucked up’ attitude. People usually try and avoid it for a while after the experience, its not BAD, but its not particularly Fun, or Wild, or even Numbing, it is however an experience one has to make sure they are ready before they do it.

  17. I admit freely to NOT sharing the automatic condemnation reflex. And for personal reasons Salvia is unlikely to be of interest to me.

    Yet denying that many mundane substances can affect our minds and bodies even more devastatingly is a multibillion dollar economy.

    I will not descend to preach which chemical/food/drug etc is “good” or “bad” as that too is futile. Speaking for myself alone on this matter’s bigger picture? It to me is NOT that use of any substance altering thinking is per se even of any issue. It devolves solely to the endangerment factor/s.

    IF someone wishes to alter their chemistry in any fashion my prime concern is no uninvolved persons or property ever are at risk. WE as consenting adults can take qualified risks. Placing others at avoidable risk is not smart. DUI and working stoned often introduce Darwin to the scene readily enough. Hence the legit concerns on workplace,driving and military affecting use of substances. If it’s in no way affecting performance by being restricted totally to OFF DUTY hours? Then I have no objection. Beyond the risk of that time from substance use to “On Duty” being not quite enough. Keep that demon caged and we get a bit safer than merely banning “Substance X”

    I will close by stating that of all known or even speculated active substances- the dissociatives scare me on several levels. With the most fear for how many in our world are not stable enough to safely handle such a ride unguarded. Having done my share of “Talk Downs” and similar I must urge extreme caution. But nope- I still will not advocate banning Salvia or anything else. Just for the love of everyone else in the world BE CAREFUL ok?

  18. Slowly being ground between the gears that comprise the machinery of reality was instructive, but not something I’d want to do on a regular basis. And the acute sense of being observed while this was happening was disquieting, as was the fact that the experience lasted for subjective hours but only three objective minutes (whatever “objective” means in this context).

    I think Zikzak @ #20 is right…it doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of thing that most folks would seek out if there was even the slightest barrier to acquisition.

    Which means that the only people salvia’s near-inevitable prohibition will really affect are the scientists researching salvinorum-A and the dedicated psychonauts who are using it as an entheogen.

  19. The people who exalt this drug – or any drug – as if it were some separate entity, even a sort of bodhisattva – are missing the point of such highs. It isn’t enlightening at all. It just emphasizes aspects of your own perception that you may not have been previously aware of.

    Understanding still has to be achieved the old-fashioned way. No silly plant can magically embue you with wisdom.

    That said, it shouldn’t be illegal. If stupid kids and simple adults want to sit around smoking this crap, let them do it! It doesn’t affect me, and it makes them happy, so where’s the crime?

  20. I tried it, and while it’s intense, it’s not great. LSD or Mushrooms trump it any day.

    The only reason I even tried it was because it was legal and cheap. It’s a shame if they pinch researcher’s use of it because of someone like me.

  21. “it’s also being studied by pharmacologists for possible use in treating pain, depression, and addiction.”

    i wonder how that would work. Salvia is always good food for thought but i’ve found that it generally takes a somewhat sinister edge, and the effects are too short to really have a lasting effect. Reflecting on a salvia trip is like reflecting on a slightly bad dream.

    I just find it funny that a hallucinogen as potent as salvia is legal most places when studies are being done on mushrooms and their benefits right now, and they’re still schedule I.

  22. Remember the Placebo Effect!

    I tried Salvia Divinorum about 3 years ago. A substantial amount in a bong and all I felt was a peculiar sensation of “gliding” when I walked. I remember thinking that it was like wearing an old-style hoop skirt with caster wheels at the bottom. Walking felt smooth. And that was it.

    As for people heavily effected on YouTube, I think you have to take into account that these people were *trying* to get high. It’s only natural that some would “feel” something. (It’s also a web site where videos of guys getting hit in the nuts get high ratings…)

    I’m not discounting what anyone else here claims to have felt, but I think there is also a lot of wishful thinking going on.

    As for legality, where does it stop? Alcohol certainly alters your consciousness, but the U.S. Gov’t haven’t outlawed *that* lately.

  23. Cpt.Tim @#34

    Salvia’s active component, salvinorin-A, is a highly selective kappa opioid receptor agonist. As I understand it, scientists aren’t so much interested in the effects of salvia’s activation of the kappa opioid receptor as they are in how salvinorin-A achieves its potency and selectivity. If they can find out how it achieves that, they might be able to apply the knowledge when designing chemicals that activate the mu opioid receptor. Mu is the receptor activated by morphine.

  24. Where do you get it? Is there a reliable online source for it? Because I don’t want someone rolling up some random weeds from their yard and sending them to me for the low, low price of a shitload of money.

    Help a sister out.

  25. so salvia is also a threat to the pharmaceutical industry AND to the heroin business as well. It must be suppressed!

  26. to paraphrase belgium’s post, “QUICK! People are having fun! SEND THEM TO PRISM”.

    but seriously, research into harmful effects should precede prohibition. i have never tried it, but since i’m mildly interested, what is the down-side? i mean if it really isn’t fun or seems half-assed, two consistent comments i’ve heard, people won’t tend to use it often, so the issue is a non-starter.

  27. Sharpie Sister: First, eponysterical.

    Second, headshops. Google will turn up online stores as well.

    As for the topic in general: what happened to the pursuit of happiness as a universal right? We should be very cautious in taking away people’s rights just because we have out-modeled views of “gateway drugs” and “decorum.” As said above, oh no, people getting high and acting weird!

  28. @38 Sharpie Sniffer or similar websites stock it – I’ve bought some from them before.

    The weirdest thing I found about Salvia was that I felt no effects whatsoever sitting down, but if I stood and walked around I had a nice little trip (in my head, as well as around the room).

  29. Mikelist @41

    Well…during the few minutes that it’s active, it can be extremely powerful and turn off the external world like a light switch.

    There’s a reason experienced folks recommend you have a minder with you…if you try to get up and walk around you can easily fall over and crack your head open because you’ve simply forgotten about things like gravity, the solidity of objects, and the nature of your legs. It’s the kind of effect that could, say, put a college freshman onto the concrete after toppling from a 6th-floor balcony during Spring break. That’s only got to happen once or twice before the legal clamps come down.

    IMO, those who claim “half-assed” a) weren’t doing it right; b) got a weak batch or an insufficient dose; or c) weren’t dealing with real salvia.

    As far as a “down-side”…it’s potent but the experience is short. However, I believe that anything which crosses the blood-brain barrier with that much punch, however briefly, is going to give your neurochemical soup a good stirring. The kappa opioid receptor (which is what salvia tweaks, pretty much exclusively) works naturally with the opioid dynorphin, and dynorphin has been implicated in the neurological changes that create cocaine addiction. Blocking dynorphin can have anti-depressant effects. It’s an important player in regulating appetite, fat storage, circadian rhythms and body temperature. I’m not saying that messing with your brain’s dynorphin handling is going to turn you into a fat happy crack-head who can’t sleep, but it’s clearly a significant part of your neurochemistry and you should exercise appropriate caution, as with any hallucinogen.

    To wrap up this deluge of pedantry: like almost anything else, frequency of usage is probably key. I can’t imagine that frequently punching your kappa opioid receptors with salvia is a good thing over the long haul, but unless you’ve already got some fairly significant neurochemical issues, your brain’s natural plasticity should recover quickly. I found that the subtle lingering effects were pretty much over within a half an hour, tops.

    Except for the bats. Still have those.

  30. the religicos also want to keep the monopoly on altered states of being, perception and awareness. Never forget the role of Big Religion in suppressing psycho-actives.

  31. Sometime I drink this organic chemical compound called alcohol. If I have too much I start wobbling and time goes very fast. I feel out of my body and sometimes the whole world spins and people stare at me like I’m crazy, or like they are concerned for me. I stumble and fall on the ground laughing and mumbling things when that happens. Sometimes I hallucinate things like the time I saw the woman leaving the bar as I come in and I think she is exotic and wildly attractive and totally wants me, then as if it was all a dream I suddenly get magically transported to my bed. Later the next day, I learn in actuality that the woman was an ugly friend of my ex-wife’s.

    It’s simply mystical. It opens the doors to perception.

  32. Had it once, maybe I was in the wrong state of mind at the time, but I don’t want to do it again.
    Maybe I’m just not a fan of hallucinogens.
    I was waiting to feel the effects, then suddenly found myself falling backward and when I looked up everything except my husband’s face had been replaced with orange and yellow stripes. I gripped on to him in fear and stared at his face for the rest of the trip because everything else was brightly colored and either moving toward or falling around me.
    I guess I just didn’t expect it to be so real .
    Only lasted a few minutes, but I spent at least 10 more after it passed worried that it hadn’t passed and that I was trapped and something crazy was about to happen.
    Yeah. Just not a fan of trips, I guess.

  33. For those interested in learning more about psychedelics, there’s a conference in New York City next weekend (Sep 19-21) called Horizons. It features numerous speakers on the intersections of psychedelics and medicine, culture, spirituality and creativity. (It takes place in a church, appropriately enough.)

    Speakers include pharmacological rebels Sasha and Ann Shulgin, artists Alex and Allyson Grey, Encyclopedia Pictura (creators of Bjork’s 3d music video Wanderlust), medical researchers from Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Purdue and more.

    Learn all about it at

  34. #33 Enochrewt
    I tried it, and while it’s intense, it’s not great. LSD or Mushrooms trump it any day.
    #36 ConsumerBot..

    Sorry guys, I gotta agree with IWood, you didn’t get the full salvia experience. No question, this kicks the shit out of LSD or mushrooms and there is simply no chance of a placebo effect accounting for this. When you are fully salvia tripped, you just aren’t ‘here’ anymore. You are not you-on-drugs, you are gone. gone. gone.

    With acid and most hallucinogens (apart from DMT or masses of ketamine) you get colour/fractal eye tricks and the occasional 3d object illusion that dissipates when you try to walk around the thing you are seeing, and there is always some semblance of self, some form of connection to what came just moments before, but with salvia you are somewhere else, being someone else. Fully immersive 3D, traversable worlds. Wa-ay beyond acid.

    There is no recollection that you are you, who just inhaled a lungful of drugs, you are a statue, or a train, or a soul on a mission, or just you wandering inside a huge cathedral full of monkey demons, or whatever..

    You don’t ever think, “‘wow, this salvia is kickin! I feel so weird” because you are too busy getting on with scaling the face of god, trying to find the restaurant/souvenir shop at the top.

    And then, you start to fade, and slowly realize you are you again, and over the next few minutes you come back to reality, back to your room, back to not being whatever – but with new memories and recollections of doing the mad shit.

    And then you try to expain it all to your friend.. Hah! good luck.

  35. I cannot agree with Arkizzle more than I do.

    I heard about salvia on a local radio station. The deejay was talking about how people should run out and try salvia before it became illegal. So, I called a local head shop to inquire about it and its effects. I was told it was relatively mild and just made you laugh.

    I decided I’d like to try, and so long story short, I went the the head shop, bought some, and brought it back to my house.

    I packed a bowl and smoked it all in one massive hit. I exhaled and waited to feel something. I can remember feeling my hands tingle, and that was it. No more than 5 seconds after exhaling I was no longer “me.” In fact, what made the experience horrifying for me is that I somehow “forgot” that I had smoked something. It was as if my all of my memories evaporated. It was like I had cleared my own cache.

    I had been sitting a brown desk with a white wall behind it. The carpet was tan. There was a red lamp on the desk.

    Oddly, these things no longer appeared as items I could understand or identify or name. They were simply blocks of color. White, brown, tan, a little red. I was no longer really thinking thoughts… was more as if I was feeling emotions/impulses. It was really scary for me.

    At some point I found it within myself to lift my heavy arm off of the desk. As I lifted my arm off the desk, I saw a The Matrix-like effect in which my arm replicated itself over and over again. There were maybe a dozen arms starting with where my arm was on the desk and repeating out to where my arm was in front of me. There was a reverberating {{{WOMP}}} {{{WOMP}}} {{{WOMP}}} sound….a vibration. A very loud and scary vibration.

    You have to remember that I had no way of explaining this to myself, no way of rationalizing it all to calm myself down because I could not remember that I had smoked the salvia.

    Slowly, slowly, it seemed that my memory was beginning to come back on line…..but very slowly. At one point, I could recall “life” as I knew it, yet I could not remember how I found myself stuck in a massive, vibrating, vortex of hell. I questioned to myself, “Was life real? Did I live? Have I always been stuck here? What the hell is going on?”

    I was mortified. Scared pale and breathless. I tried to stand up, but I fell out of the chair onto the floor, the tan carpet was not carpet yet. It was still some meaningless blob of color and I could not make out its dimensions or its solidness. I felt myself falling into a deep tan quagmire, quicksand.

    My wife heard me fall and she came into the room. She saw me laying on the floor. “What are you doing?”

    I couldn’t have said anything back. I don’t recall if I uttered/moaned anything.

    Again, “WHAT are you DOING?!” Now she looked irritated, and this REALLY scared me.

    I knew her face, but I couldn’t put it all together….

  36. Ok, what you need to understand about salvia is that it is nearly impossible to feel any real effect from the plant itself as you find it. This is why it is sold in concentrations of (some number)+X. Ie: 10X. 20X. It takes these multiple concentrations of the salvia to have a marked effect on most humans.

    The number is how many times a set amount (usually an ounce) has been reduced over itself with a distilling agent that pulls out the psychoactive DMT compounds and evaporates away, leaving concentrated DMT from one batch on the next. This is repeated as many times as the number. 10X has been concentrated 10 times. This is much like the effect of a resinator on weed pipe, except instead of flame dispersing the compound through smoking, an evaporative compound is used. This is usually an alcohol based substance, and safe.

    THE DEAL- I have tried a blend of 20X and 40X, 2 and 4 times more powerful than what is typically sold- it STILL isn’t all that powerful.

    The effects are much like weed, except in place of the lethargia of weed, you have a stimulated sense like coffee. I didn’t see anything except little speckles, like when you press down on your eyes.

    ALSO IMPORTANT- Salvia, even REALLY strong stuff like 40x, DOES NOT LAST LONG. 30 minutes, tops. It is totally different in duration from really strong weed, which can last up to at least 4-5 hours.

    Salvia is harmless. Stop banning things on kneejerk reactions simply because they enjoy themselves after ingesting it! Alcohol is NO different, neither is tobacco.

  37. @36, I’m one more person who can vouch that salvia is an indescribably intense hallucinogen. It’s a little arrogant to think that just because you didn’t get the same effects that are people are imagining it.

    However, if you’re judging only based on YouTube videos, I suppose I can see why you might get the wrong impression. Those people who smoke it and then act goofy obviously aren’t getting the full on trip, because if they were, they wouldn’t be acting like anything, they’d be gone, like others have said.

    As for your own experience, either you’re just a person who isn’t affected strongly by this particular substance (as others have mentioned, the effects vary from person to person) or perhaps you didn’t use it correctly or had a weak product. When I tried it I used 10X extract (that is, salvia leaves that have been marinated in salvia extract to make them ten times stronger) and smoked one solid hit of the stuff, and I had the most intense and disturbing drug experience of my life (note that I’ve never done LSD, but saliva makes mushrooms look like tobacco.)

  38. I’ve been dabbling with salvia divinorum extract in absinthe. I usually enjoy absinthe without sugar but find that the sugar ritual has a more useful role with the extract involved in that it cuts the bitterness of the sage. When held in the mouth for a while you can enjoy the flavors… Then the sage kicks in mildly and you find that you’re feeling an actualization of the mythic absinthe experience. It would be interesting for a distillery to use salvia divinorum in creating absinthe. The extract is a nice shade of green. The right cocktail gives a milder but longer lasting (20 or so minutes) experience.
    The most complete and responsible info I’ve found is the site.

  39. This stuff was banned in Australia a number of years ago before I managed to get my hands on, and try some.

    However judging from the stories that many of my friends have told me (these guys will and do ingest anything that gets them into altered states) this stuff is certainly a very strong substance, however short term the effects. The only thing that any of them have ever told me is stronger is DMT and most of them only ever tried that stuff once before deciding to never ever approach it again. Again I stress some of these people will ingest 8 tabs of very strong acid in a night, something I would never ever do as 1 tab of the same stuff left me feeling terrified.

  40. Similar to Ibogaine, Salvia has great potential to treat addiction and other behavioral issues that CBT isn’t successful in addressing.

    The 15-minute “trip” that the user undergoes can be a powerful tool for learning about the self – particularly if it is ingested with specific intent in mind.

    People just chugging it down as a recreational drug have every right to do so (@BARDOBEING), be it smoking, drying to snort or chewing. It is not overtly dangerous, especially if you want to compare it to alcohol and the potential behaviors of intoxicated individuals.

    Unlike a bunch of “fun” drugs, however, this isn’t really something to do in your lounge on Friday over some beers and the football. I’d imagine that continued use would give you an ongoing sensation of being disassociated with the real world.

    @55. Having tried DMT but not “Divine Sage”, i’d have to agree. When I used it was with several close friends and we had sat down and discussed what we were looking to get out of it. As someone who may down 8 tabs of acid in one night, I can safely say that the two acts (consuming acid / meth / smack vs. consuming DMT) have very little in common.

  41. I’ve taken it too. Prior to salvia I’ve done LSD and mushrooms, maxing out at 10 hits and ‘lots’ respectively (and DXM too, but that wasn’t worth the effort). The intensity of salvia is a bit like doing a Whippit at the peak of a 4-6 hit acid trip. You completely lose touch with reality for a few minutes.

    I bought a 20x extract and smoked it in a homemade pipe. Each dose was a quantity of material about half the size of a split pea. I usually had time to hit the pipe twice and put it down before exiting reality.

    I found that I generally would keep my eyes open, but mostly because I wasn’t really aware that I had eyes or that there were concepts such as ‘open’ or ‘closed’. As the effect started to fade the hallucinations would become more coherent and things would be more like a typical open-eyed LSD zone-out. As it continued to fade I had time to ponder the event. After about 4 minutes from putting down the pipe I’d be perhaps 85% back to normal (good enough to walk around and interact with people at a socially normal level, not good enough to drive). After 25 minutes I’d feel nearly normal (good enough to drive, though I would not choose to do so simply as a matter of being careful).

    One night I took several such trips over the course of 45 minutes, then went up and watched part of Star Wars. Yoda was fascinating, I kept getting the oddest feeling that he was somehow present during the trips. Minds and self-awareness are weird.

    I suppose I should order a few oz before they pass a ban, that ought to be enough to last for the foreseeable future.

  42. 32 RJ: I don’t know anyone who thinks taking something will give you instant wisdom, and I don’t think that’s what is implied when people take it to experience the alteration of their perception.

    Often seeing everything you know from a difference angle will show things you hadn’t noticed before in stark relief. I have had several profound, lasting realisations whilst under the influence (from alcohol to methamphetamine to DMT). They didn’t change my life instantly, but they did give me direction, hope, a change of attitude, new insight into the way I function and react.

    Even just by accepting the possibility of change, before you ingest anything perception altering, can allow someone to grow and mature. By dismissing any such possibility you’re closing your mind and almost guaranteeing that you’ll be thinking the same way for the rest of your life.

  43. Are there any decent alternatives to a water bong? Last time I used one of those (the only time, in fact) I nearly coughed up a lung. It was about as bad the one time I used a pipe. I’ve got mild asthma, and I figure that might contribute to my reaction.

  44. Salvia is AMAZING. I’ve had the craziest experiences on the stuff. Admittedly I was rolling around on my bed in the dark and laughing or starring into space, but I didn’t realize this until later.

    And sorry to #60, but a water bong is the best way to smoke the stuff. I’d recommend using ice and cold water to make the smoke easier to take.

  45. Yep agreeing with you there JBANG. The influence of drugs may not suddenly give you wisdom as RJ pointed out but they can certainly play a part in you looking at something from a different angle and help work out stuff that previously seemed very complicated inside your head.

    A number of years ago I went through about a 6 month spiral of depression. Couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, was completely broke, couldn’t face the idea of looking for a job, barely left the house, smoked far to much ganja, etc, etc, etc. The usual sob story.

    A friend dragged me out to a party one night where I ate a bunch of mushrooms. I started feeling quite uncomfortable not knowing most of the people (nothing serious, just not enjoying myself at all) and went back to my mates house.
    Ended up sitting up with my friends housemate for hours on end (whom I’d previously met for 5 minutes at a time on a few occasions) and poured my mind out onto him. He provided the odd bit of insight and I left his house in the early hours of the morning to walk home with a very different view on my life, whilst still mildly under the effects of the mushrooms. I kind of feared that in the morning I’d wake up and think it was all nonsense and I’d still be depressed and the such but that didn’t happen.

    Since then life has pretty much only improved and it all started with a change of outlook provided by some good old fashioned hallucinogens.

  46. As a chemist, the activity of hallucinogens in biological systems is fascinating to me. However, LSD and mushrooms are ridiculously hard to find and carry the whole imprisonment thing so salvia seemed like a nice legal alternative to achieve the light fantastic. Or so I thought.
    I’ve gone through an entire 2g vial of the “10x” variety without so much as a faerie crossing my vision and I’ve gotten so much conflicting advice on how to use the damn stuff.
    So lay it out for me BoingBoing, how the hell am I supposed to get this effect that I see on youtube. I’ve got a gram of 20x extract, 2 shisha pipes to hand and between me and my flatmate, enough impromptu engineering panache to build a suspension bridge, let alone any type of smoking device.

  47. Mattz:

    Salvia seems to affect people differently – perhaps you’re just ‘immune’ to it?

    Only advice I would give is to perhaps (a) try a ‘torch’ lighter, as standard lighters rarely cut it for temperature and speed of burning, and (b) make sure you get it in super-fast, don’t take it slow.

    My first experience was four hits of 20x in quick succession – I ‘fell’ backwards into some sort of flatland of two dimensions, and lay there with almost complete amnesia, only knowing I was stuck somewhere and perhaps it would be forever because I had no control. Not exactly a fun time, although I probably did learn a lesson about my ‘controlling’ tendencies.

    A later trip had me approaching the terminal illness of my father. After smoking, I was suddenly in my grandmother’s house from the 1970s (my father’s mother), and a busload of elves pulled up outside, chanting over and over “time to…go, time to…go”, where the dots indicate a missing beat/word. Then, the bus pulled off, and the elves continued singing, but with the beat filled in – “time to let go, time to let go”. Interesting!

    @ #60: you could try getting a tincture, which you hold under your tongue. Will be a more prolonged experience though, which sometimes can be rather intense.

  48. I think this is my favorite comment ever:

    “It is certainly not a “party” drug. There is no social context when you believe you are a tall marble statue, on the corner of some grand avenue, the sun shining down on your polished, white stone exterior, the birds flying and frolicking around, as you keep silent watch over your domain..”

    also: wow, I had no idea you people were such incorrigible druggies. You’re never going to make the varsity squad if you keep this up.

    After years of doing drugs and hanging out with druggies, it’s clear that there certain drugs that affect people differently. Some people are not going to enjoy salvia. I suspect I’d be one. Some aren’t going to experience much at all. A disassociative high which makes an introspective person flip out may make someone else just feel funny.

  49. salvia is the craziest thing i have ever tried and i have tried a lot. if you are having trouble feeling the effect a few pointers. one get a strong product 10x or more. second when you light the bowl keep the lighter on the salvia if you just light it and then keep the “cherry” burning it will not work well, salvia’s vaporization temperature is higher then thc or nicoteen. i can’t stress that enough keep the light burning the salvia untill you stop inhaling. and to anyone who thinks this doesn’t work or isn’t that intense, you haven’t done it and you have no idea.

  50. First: always do a lot of research before trying anything (duh). is a great place to start, and make sure you read about the bad trips as well as the good ones. With salvia, I highly recommend using a sitter that you trust until you develop familiarity with the effects.

    #32 (RJ): opening your perception to new perspectives is the very definition of enlightenment, without perception there is no knowledge. It is not the only way, but it is one of the infinite possibilities available to us. Without the use of substances such as salvia, I would still be trapped in a sterile mechanist world-view, so it was undoubtedly the way that worked for me, and I am thankful (and the wiser) for it. These substances are great removers of obstacles and rightfully deserve the title “teacher”.

    As to what salvia has taught me personally, I have realized through direct experience that we are part of a multiverse, that the perceptual basis which collapses the realm of infinite possibility down to our 3+1 dimensional experience is flexible and can be redirected to show us who and what we really are. The effect of entering this salvia perception is akin to waking from a dream of being human, back into a waking awareness of your larger self. I have gotten similar insights from meditation and breathwork, but each new perspective serves to further illuminate my picture of reality. Is there wisdom in knowing that we are all part of something larger, that seperateness is an illusion? I think so…

  51. @64, When you say “shisha pipes”, are you talking about hookahs? Because if you are, that could definitely be the problem. You need to inhale this stuff directly, through a pipe or a bong, so you’re not losing a lot of the smoke like you would with a hookah.

    I’ve heard the thing about needing an extra hot lighter, but my understanding is that that is only the case if you’re not using extract, but merely the basic leaf. With extract leaf, a regular lighter should work fine (it did for me.)

    If you try it through a regular pipe, and you’re using extract and you didn’t get scammed into buying a phony product or something, then if you still don’t get any effect you must be one of the people who simply isn’t affected by the stuff (though it’s hard to imagine that such people exist for such a powerful substance.)

  52. I’ve always wondered what kinds of things people learn about themselves that drives them to consciousness altering substances. I regularly upend everything that looks nailed down in my mind, and have unflinchingly looked into every dark recess I can find. I don’t necessarily always like what I find, but I suppose that’s part of the process. I guess I could understand the viewpoint of figuring out that we occupy a different metaphysical space than ‘normal 3+1’ perception allows us, but as far as the actual ‘who you are’ things, I know who I am. Why do I need a plant to help me figure that out? Or maybe my ~perception~ of being a highly self analytical type is actually incorrect… Eh well, stuff to consider on the commute home I guess.

  53. Excellent, reliable source for product and information:

    Including this lovely and essential chapter from Dale Pendell’s Pharmakopoeia:


    The Ally: Bridge of Smoke:
    Frequently people experience little effect from the leaves in their first meetings. The power of the leaves seems to slowly build toward a climax with successive ingestions. Diaz was the first to comment in print on this phenomenon. He drank the juice of the fresh leaves six times and noticed an “increased awareness of the plant’s effects” each time.

    Contrarily, sometimes the ally rolls over and crushes a person without warning, first visit. And a few people seem obdurately immune.

    And a caution many BBers may be able to relate to:

    The Ally:
    She has many epiphanies. Not all of them are shy, and not all of them are “she.” One person encountered the Ally as a giant — an immeasurably ancient giant wearing a belt of human skulls. The giant looked directly at this person. The giant wanted to know why he had been summoned. The giant did not want a trivial answer.

  54. The first time I smoked salvia, my hands turned into hundreds of little people standing on top of each other to hold up the bowl. It was pretty awesome.

    Advice to anyone who wants to use salvia:

    Do it in a room with people you know will be calm. Preferably low lighting, comfortable seating, little-no noise. Any sudden sensory interruption (bright lights, loud noises) will most likely make you uncomfortable.

    College was fun.

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