Citation: Jupiter. "5-Hour Nightmare: An Experience with Cannabis & Salvia divinorum (exp113264)". Erowid.org. Jul 6, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113264
5-Hour Salvia Nightmare
I thought this would be a story worth sharing because it’s really out of the ordinary and I’m unaware of this “type of thing” happening to anybody else. To summarize the experience I smoked a small amount of cannabis and salvia, which then took me on an extremely intense and frightening trip for the rest of the day until I fell asleep (many hours later). I tried to include all the details I remember from the trip in this report which is why it’s so long. I was very young and naïve at the time of this incident and I didn’t even realize how strange it was but when I look back at it now I am rather puzzled.
I was 15 at the time of this story and I had just finished my first year in high school. I had little to no knowledge or understanding of mind altering substances and was just beginning to become curious about such things. My experiences were limited to a couple months’ of experiments focused largely on alcohol and marijuana. It’s worth mentioning that before this story happened I had some fairly interesting reactions to marijuana. When I first started smoking it I would get extremely high to the point of having visual and auditory hallucinations (among other strange effects.) The visuals were mostly closed eye and consisted of mind blowing psychedelic kaleidoscope patterns, morphing collages of shapes, and dancing cartoon figures, while the auditory hallucinations usually involved noises warping into strange “music.” I think my sensitivity to marijuana did play a role in this out of the ordinary and unexpected experience.
I think my sensitivity to marijuana did play a role in this out of the ordinary and unexpected experience.
My story begins at the center of my suburban home town, where a fair takes place every year in early June as soon as the high school kids get off school for the summer. I happened to be one of those high school kids and I was in the mood to stir up some mischief at the local function. So two like minded spirits and I were at this fair in the middle of the day, let’s say the time is 3:00 PM. We go smoke cigarettes and joke around with people we know from school. We happen to run into someone who has some weed they are willing to sell us which is really exciting for us. We buy a nugget that apparently weighs a couple grams and I stuff it right in my pocket, then we head in the direction of the smoke spot. On the way we acquire two other acquaintances who I’ve never seen before and we are all having a swell time goofing around and being careless teenagers.
At this point my friend mentions he has some salvia leaves (not extract / non-fortified) which I have used with him once before. We smoked it before school started and its effects were mild and quite enjoyable (perhaps placebo). So we decide to roll a joint with some salvia just because we could. The usual procedure was to find the nearest piece of paper and use that to roll a joint.
So we cross the street, pop in a restaurant and get a napkin. Yes, rolling a joint with a napkin is pretty dumb, and our smoking spot was too, so we were just all around dumb teenagers. We made our way to the little strip mall in the same area as our school and the fair, went around back into a corner guarded from the public’s view by a single evergreen tree, and sat down. We then broke up roughly a gram of this weed and rolled it in fresh salvia leaves so that the center of the joint was marijuana and the outer layer was salvia. We then wrapped this in a piece of napkin so it would stay together.
By now it’s probably 4:00 or so and we light up the joint and pass it around a couple times, it actually smokes alright and I get a good buzz going from several hits. I’m feeling really euphoric because I love smoking weed and I’m really high from it, plus this is added upon by a slight and familiar floaty feeling of salvia. Here’s where things get interesting, the joint is passed to me a third time and I notice the weed is burning down the middle but the salvia around the outside is not. I light the end (composed of only salvia) which is not really burning and decide it’s a great idea to take a big fat hit. I do so, pass the joint, and exhale.
Now I feel the salvia start to kick in more but I do not recognize what’s happening. I am having slight hallucinations of dancing structures and my perception of 3D space changes like I am seeing it in a different way. Because I had almost zero understanding of what salvia does, and because marijuana produced particularly psychedelic effects in me before, I attributed this to the marijuana. “wow, this is some really weird weed…” I say out loud but nobody seems to agree. Momentarily after I finish this sentence I just pass out! Flat on the ground, unconscious, and completely asleep. Passed. The. Fuck. Out… I didn’t feel anything else until I woke up again, which was probably less than a minute later but I have no idea how long I was out.
When I wake up I’m lying on the ground on my back and my senses are all so fuzzy that I can’t see or hear anything. I felt like I was underwater, and then all this water was flowing around me really fast and powerfully and I had to surrender to it, even if it was going to drown me. I was less afraid and more confused to the point of being totally lost, I knew I wasn’t actually in a river but I didn’t really know what was going on.
I knew I wasn’t actually in a river but I didn’t really know what was going on.
My memories of what happens to me after this are less clear and complete but I do remember some things. One of my friends left with one of the other people we were smoking with, while my other friend and the other stranger try to help me up and move me somewhere else. Now I regain my senses but I’m still indescribably high and I am completely panicking. All I remember is trying to put my arms over my buddies shoulders and trying to walk. I would go a couple steps and completely pass out again. This happened at-least three times and I found myself rolling in the parking lot by our smoke spot and my two buddies freaking out because I was having a drug induced psychotic episode of some kind in public.
I was extremely disoriented and I’m not sure what happened after this. The other guy who smoked with us also disappeared and I was left with my one friend. I put my arm over his shoulder and he tried his best to carry me to areas where I could be safe while I hopefully sobered up. However, I didn’t sober up and my motor skills remained heavily impaired throughout my entire experience.
I remember laying on my back somewhere secluded under a tree at some point, but I have no idea where it was. I felt like I was on an island just big enough to hold me and this tree, and that island was floating in the sky. Nothing else existed except me, this tree next to me, and the infinite blue sky. For the first time in this experience I finally calmed down and found some peace. Looking up I saw a “focus point of energy” jump out of a branch of the tree and start meandering across the sky like a crack separating glass. It did not look like anything on its own but divided the sky into two parts, then one side turned lighter blue and the other turned darker blue or a navy color. The difference in color very clearly defined a boarder that was slowly but surely zig zagging across the sky. This was really amazing to me because I had never seen anything like this before.
I also remember my friend taking me to a spot right outside the fair much later on. I could hear the mechanical crashing and roaring sounds of the amusement rides and they were scaring the hell out of me. I don’t remember exactly what they sounded like but they did not sounds normal. I thought they were giant monsters or something. I kept trying to run away but because my motor skills were still heavily impaired my friend had no trouble keeping me from getting anywhere. I don’t know how long I walked around with my friend but I think it was a long time because we went a lot of places and my walking was really slow due to the impairment of my motor skills.
A police officer eventually noticed me clearly having some issues and came over to see what was going on, he asked me what my name was. When I told him the syllables rolled out of my mouth slowly and sloppily as if spoken by a three year old because my speech was also heavily impaired. My friend tells the police dude that I really just have to get my ADD medicine to which he replies “People don’t act like THAT when they don’t take their attention deficit disorder medicine!" and then proceeds to call me an ambulance.
I’m still really scared and really disoriented by the time I’m in the ambulance. One might say I was still freaking the hell out. On the ambulance they hook me up with some kind of heart monitor and an IV if I recall correctly. The paramedics try to calm me down and get me to tell them what I took. I never tell anybody that I smoked salvia, I just tell them I smoked some weed. They say things along the lines of “c’mon, surely you smoked some meth or something.” They thought I was on meth because my heart was going over 160 beats per minute, even pushing 170. They go through my pockets and phone but find nothing.
Anyway, they say they are going to feed something into my IV and I start yelling “STOP! What are you giving me? Don’t give me that! what is that? What are you trying to do to me?” I was really mistrusting of the paramedics even though they were as nice and friendly as possible. I eventually got them to explained to me “we’re giving you some benzodiazepines” to which I said “NO, don’t put me to sleep! Don’t give me that!” They tell me “It’s just going to help you calm down.” I let them give it to me and my mood becomes a bit happier, calmer, and more dreamlike, but I am still tripping fucking balls and extremely frightened! I feel like I was in the ambulance for about two hours and definitely no less than half an hour arguing with paramedics about what I was high on and what kind of chemicals they were putting in me (among other things).
I arrive at the hospital and I hear the people examining me saying things like “What kind of weed did this guy smoke? Weed doesn’t do this to people?” I remember screaming at the top of my lungs at the nurses and doctors there because I was seeing all sorts of disturbing things in their faces. I was scared to death of these people and I couldn’t control it. I also feel like I am being experimented on by aliens while at the hospital. They take my piss with a catheter to test so they can see what I took to make me go mental but nothing shows up positive. The doctors draw the conclusion that I smoked k2 (synthetic cannabinoid analogues.) After experimenting with K2 and having some whole separate horror stories I concluded that this was not the case because k2 does not come in the form of a nugget or create similar feeling effects. I once got insanely high on the stuff by accident and lost touch with reality / got thrown into a nightmare. It was objectively different in that it didn’t last much longer than an hour. I was in a trance for most of it, while the rest of the time was spent walking about calmly and returning to normal.
Because I am so disoriented I totally lose track of time, and while I note that this happens at least two hours after smoking the joint, I would guess that it’s more like three to four hours later. The nurses leave me alone to chill out and sober up. I am still tripping balls, seeing and hearing absolute madness. All the hallucinations felt like they were overwhelming and too much to handle.
They have a heart monitor or something (I don’t even know what it was) that was making a repetitive noise. In my head it was playing this insane music that sounded like carnival music or something. It was really unnerving and I couldn’t sleep at all with it “playing.” I kept asking the nurse to “please turn off the music” and she responded that “there is no music.”
I kept asking the nurse to “please turn off the music” and she responded that “there is no music.”
I said “yes there is, it’s making noise right behind my head.” She told me “that thing that’s making noise is not music and it’s necessary that it be on.” I was really mad because I couldn’t stand the music and even though I understood it was a hallucination I kept wishing I could turn it off.
I’m in a really sleepy and dreamy state of mind at this point from being in the hospital bed. My mom shows up and is freaking out which is understandable. She is just sitting in the corner of the room silently watching me hallucinate and being horrified. At one point my mom asks me what I see and I remember seeing birds flying in perfect rings that were incrementally smaller as they got higher up and spinning in alternating directions. The first ring of birds was the biggest and spinning around me clockwise, the next ring of birds was smaller, slightly higher up, and spinning counter clockwise. The next was even smaller and higher up and spinning clockwise again and this pattern repeated until the last ring of three or so birds that was directly above me. I told my mom in a drunken sounding voice “I see blue birds.” I saw all sorts of insane things while I was in that hospital but this is pretty much all that I can remember.
After “hanging out” with mom for at least an hour a doctor comes to take me to a different room so I can get a CAT scan. I don’t remember it happening but I remember the doctor coming back in my room and telling my mom the results of the CAT scan were nothing unusual. He also said he had a conversation with me and I was acting perfectly coherent (which I suppose could have been possible at this point). I then sat up a little and told him that I have zero recollection of talking to him (which was true, I had no memory of this conversation). At this point I am sobering up slowly but I am still seeing a nauseating amount hallucinations as I am falling asleep. I let the them consume me for another hour or two as I drift off in my hospital bed. My brother tells me he came to see me while I was in the hospital but when he woke me up and tried to talk to me I appeared panicked, frantically gasping for air with my eyes bulging in fear.
I was woken up later in a calmer state by my mom and grandmother to be taken home, but I do not remember being taken home. Furthermore, I remember next to nothing from the following day at all. I went to another high school to play in band for the graduating senior students (apparently). However, I do remember waiting in a room there feeling extremely shaken up and out of touch with reality. I was telling a friend what happened to me and he was looking at me like I was acting really weird. My friend who left after we smoked the joint the other day said he came to see me and I wouldn’t stop yelling at him. I was kind of mad at him because I felt like he shouldn’t have left me but I normally would not have acted like that and I do not remember seeing him.
That’s pretty much the whole story. After a couple days I completely returned to normal. If I had to guess what happened that day I would say that I had something like a psychotic break, because I don’t think I took enough to get that loaded. (but I’m no psychiatrist.)
Following and Related Experiences:
The following week me and my same friends smoked the rest of the weed and had a more normal time, concluding that it was not laced as we had previously suspected.
About a month after my story ends we go to a music festival. We find a group of guys smoking a joint and ask “can we smoke some?” One of them agrees but tells us “only one of you can take a hit.” My friends say I can be the chosen one to hit the joint. So my friends head up a nearby hill while I take a single hit. As soon as I exhale I felt so high I could no longer speak. I wonder how these guys are smoking so much of this powerful stuff. I can still walk decently so I catch up with my friends. My perception of the world drastically changes in a manner that’s really hard to explain but I don’t say a word to my friends (because I can’t.) it feels like so much energy is built up running through me and the world is feeling really confusing and pretty scary. I just follow my friends to a good spot up front center stage for our concert. As soon as the music starts I pass out, I try to grab onto my friends but one of them is a lot smaller then me so I drop down onto the ground.
When I wake up my friends are carrying me out of the crowd and I am afraid but mostly in control. They set me down on a grassy spot and bring me water. I try to explain to my friends what happened and they are just as confused as I am. They leave me there (which I am fine with) and go back into the crowd. I lose touch with reality and everything ceases to exists except what’s in front of my face. Even my immediate surroundings do not feel like a real place and I keep telling myself “ you’re in a real place” in some vain attempt to calm myself down. This feels really similar to my previous experience but was not as intense and I was not really hallucinating. I eventually become aware that I injured my arm when I passed out. Everybody around me tells me not to drink so much because they think I’m drunk.
I have also had some experiences with smoking salvia (leaves) more recently that only lasted the expected couple minutes. They were frightening, but also really fun and I couldn’t stop laughing after. I also have smoked a lot of weed since then and my reactions to it are more normal now. I can still coax interesting psychedelic effects out of the stuff, but nothing like these past experiences.
I’m not completely sure what to take away from this experience but I did want to say that I am not trying to scare anyone away from these substances. I really enjoy marijuana and salvia, and I believe they do have medicinal values as well as lessons to teach us.
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