Citation: DownSouth. "Its Cliche, but 'Whoa': An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp61551)". Erowid.org. Oct 27, 2009. erowid.org/exp/61551
I thought I would describe my experiences over the last couple of weeks of experimenting with Salvia Divinorum, leading up to a breakthrough experience I had last night.
As a bit of background, I should mention that I'm a 39 year old male with very limited drug experience. I'm a daily drinker and a heavy caffeine user, but have stayed away from illegal drug use due to fear of legal/employment entanglements. The sum total of my past drug use is smoking pot twice back in college. But I've always been fascinated by some of the seemingly 'lighter' drugs like pot or MDMA, and when I heard about a legal psychedelic in the form of salvia divinorum, I had to give it a try. So, I began my experiments by purchasing a tincture from a reputable online shop.
I was drawn to the sublingual ingestion method by reports I had read online of a smooth, gentle come up/down. I was worried, though, by the bad trip reports I had read, and decided to start off with very conservative doses, since I didn't want to get trapped in a bad neighborhood in salvia space for an extended period of time. So I started off by mixing 2 droppers of tincture with one dropper of water, and holding that under my tongue for 15 minutes. That is half of the manufacturer's recommended initial dose, what they say should be the high end of a 'light' dose. I was pleased that I got mild, pleasant effects from that dose. Very mild closed-eye visuals, a near complete cessation of mental chatter, and exceptionally clear eyesight. After having seen salvia described as a meditative aid, the lack of chatter was welcome. I had hoped going into this that salvia might be a help in the meditation practice I do keep up.
The clear eyesight thing was amazing. I had lasik a couple of years ago after having worn glasses for 20 something years. Walking into the lasik center being blind as a bat without my glasses, and walking out a couple of hours later seeing 20/20 was amazing. The improvement in clarity when on salvia versus my normal walking around acuity is equally amazing. And it carried over to my night vision. I had taken this initial dose at about 10:30 pm, and went to bed about an hour later. The alarm clock on my bedside table has green L.E.D.s that make up the numbers, and my room looked like I was seeing it through a night-vision scope. Normally, while lying in bed and after giving my eyes time to adjust, I can make out the trim around the door to my master bedroom. That night, I could see out that door, across the hall into the guest bedroom, and I could just make out glints of moonlight reflecting off the guest bathroom mirror. That's clear from one side of my house to the other, roughly twice as far as usual.
Anyway, over the next week, I tried the tincture two more times. The second time I did the 2 droppers tincture with 1 dropper water again, and the third time I upped it to 3 droppers tincture to 1.5 water. That was on the low end of what the manufacturer said should be a moderate dose. The effects were very much like the previous times. Possibly because I took this dose in a dark room versus a dimly lit one, what I noticed most was my hearing. It is hard to describe but my hearing had taken on a sort of prolonged, echoey effect. Some traffic noise off in the distance sounded very much like some dark ambient or isolationist ambient music I've heard. Mentally, I still felt together. I didn't feel drunk or impared or anything, and I knew that what I was hearing was traffic noise, but it still sounded like music. At one point I wondered if it was like one of those optical illusions where when you look at it one way you see a beautiful young woman, but if you look at it another way you see an old hag. I wondered if I could make the sound flip back and forth between noise and music. Nope. It was music and it stayed that way until I finally gave up and went to bed.
Well, these intial experiences were positive and enjoyable, but somewhat disappointing in a way. I had experienced some cool stuff, but nothing 'trippy'. I've gotten similar mind-quieting effects from a good yoga session, and I've had vaguely similar sonic experiences from having several beers when in a quiet introspective mood. I've gotten the sense that traffic sounds, and regular sounds around the neighborhood, were somehow part of a composition before, but the sounds themselves always sounded like cars going by or kids playing or someone cutting their grass. They didn't sound like synthesizers like during the salvia experience. But I was still afraid a prolonged bad experience, so I decided to try smoking salvia, since that is supposed to have a much shorter duration.
My first attempt followed a trip to the local head shop, where a purchased a pipe and 1 gram of 1x dried salvia. I went home and smoked 1/4 gram of the salvia to no effect. So I loaded up another 1/4 gram and smoked that. That resulted in a mild tingling sensation throughout my body and some very minor closed-eye visuals. So minor, in fact, that it was more like they weren't really there, but I knew what the patterns would have been if they had appeared, if that makes any sense.
Pretty underwhelming. Even if it had produced more pronounced effects, that was more smoke than I really wanted to be inhaling. So I decided to up the ante a little bit, and I ended up purchasing 1 gram of 5x a few days later. The stuff I bought said that it was standardized to 20mg salvinorin A per gram of leaf. The dosing suggestions say that a light dose of 5x is between 1/20 and 1/10 of a gram, so decided to be conservative again and start off with 1/20 g. It was a good thing.
I was sitting on the floor of my living room between my couch and my coffee table as I loaded up the bowl of my pipe and took the hit. I started counting as I held the smoke in, and when I got to 15 I heard the roaring sound of a wave approaching from behind me. I knew that was the sound of the salvia taking effect and that this was going to be a strong trip. I set the pipe and lighter down on the coffee table. At 18, the wave hit me. Instantly, the world ceased to exist, except for my fireplace, which I happened to be looking at at that moment. At that moment, there was no 'me' looking at the fireplace, there was no 'fireplace' being looked at. No 'words' went through my 'mind' as I sat in that 'room', because none of those concepts existed. There was only this visual pattern, similar to what you get when you point a video camera at a tv that is displaying the signal from that camera. An infinite regress. That's what my fireplace was doing. Infinitely regressing while slowly spinning clockwise.
In real life, there is a little ivy wreath carved in the center of my mantle. In salvia space, that wreath transformed into a woman's face. I took that to be Lady Salvia. Before taking the hit, and after having read many reports here of people encountering a female spirit associated with the salvia divinorum plant, I had explained to that spirit my intentions to explore the near reaches of salvia space, and asking her to treat me gently. I took the appearance of the face to be her way of showing me that she was there, and the whole experience did indeed have a joyous, playful feel to it, even if it was not what I would normally think of as 'gentle'. Maybe to her it was, to me it was closer to 'overwhelming'.
Anyway, I gradually came back down, regaining my concept of self first, then understanding that what I was experiencing was due to having smoked salvia. I understood that I was hallucinating, but that didn't lessen the power or seeming reality of what I was seeing. After a while, a hole opened up towards the bottom left corner of my field of vision, through which I could see back into the real world. I don't think I had been gone very long, because through that hole I could see smoke escaping my lips. Then another hole opened up toward the bottom right of my field of vision, and I could see my cat curled up in my lap, where she had been since before the start of this little adventure. Gradually more holes appeared until finally my vision was back to normal. It took slightly longer for the last of the kinesthetic effects to go away. Then the only thing left to do was say 'HolyShit!' to my cat several times until she got up and walked away.
I had never expected to have such a strong reaction to such a small dose. I really think I hit the 'I' on the salvia experience intensity scale, what with the completely immersive open-eyed visuals and the loss of a separate identity.
I enjoyed the experience and will definitely try salvia again. I haven't decided whether I will try straight 5x again, or maybe cut it with some of the 1x I have left over. If I stick with straight 5x and just reduce the dose, I'm almost down to the point where a dose is just a few flakes of crushed leaf, just a ridiculously small amount. I don't know that I want the presence or absence of a couple of leaf flakes to make a noticeable difference in my experience. I think that if I mix equal amounts of 1x and 5x, that should average out to the equivalent of 3x extract. Maybe that would give me the milder effects I would prefer with the added leeway in dosage size. Either way, I've already had some great experiences, and am thoroughly happy I stumbled across this wonderful plant.
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