Citation: Randolph Carter. "Turning Down the Volume Knob: An Experience with Wormwood (extract) (exp65066)". Erowid.org. Aug 13, 2007. erowid.org/exp/65066
I'm a 32-year-old male, reasonably experienced with a range of psychoactive substances, especially psychedelics. I've been curious about the effects of smoked wormwood ever since reading both Jonathan Ott and Dale Pendell describe it as 'definitely psychoactive'. I ordered a small quantity of 'wormwood extract' from an online ethnobotanical vendor. I asked the vendor what it was precisely, but their reply was a little vague. I was told it is not an essential oil, but rather it is 'a resinous extract and is aproximately 7X the strenght or [sic] regular wormwood.' My guess is that it is probably made by a simple ethanol extraction that is evaporated down, but I cannot be sure.
I was concerned about the possible toxicity of thujone. Having read two reports of extremely adverse reactions to wormwood extracts (both ending in the hospital), I wanted to be cautious. After doing some research and a little math I became pretty confident that if I started small and gradually worked the dose up I was very likely to find psychoactive effects well before I reached a dose range that would be dangerous.
At 10:34 PM, stone-cold sober and feeling alert, I began smoking a nugget of wormwood extract about a half a centimeter in diameter. I smoked the lump in a small metal cannabis pipe. It did not burn readily and I had to apply flame constantly, producing a hot, flamey hit. The taste is inoffensive and smokey, reminding me a little of the taste of burnt marshmallows. I probably tasted the cannabis resin on my pipe more than I tasted the wormwood lump. I may have gotten a minor THC buzz in addition to whatever thujone effects I experienced.
There was nothing in either the taste or the experience that made me want to smoke the thingy rapidly, so I took a hit every five minutes or so over the course of about forty minutes. I was flaming the thing and exhaling puffs of smoke so I was clearly getting a good draw. I took 7 or 8 good hits.
After the second or third hit I definitely felt off-baseline. Not really 'high' like cannabis, but spacey and slightly disoriented. I'd get up and wander around the room, and then forget what I had gotten up for. Then I'd sit down and remember, and get up again. I felt rather calm and mellow, but I was feeling pretty mellow before starting. The primary effect seemed to be an unobtrusive muting of my internal mental chatter. It left me with a zoney, spacey feeling, and I didn't feel like doing anything in particular.
I'm glad that I had the experience and I am ready to conclude that I did feel the distinctive effects of thujone. I am eager to have absinthe again soon so I can compare the experiences and see if I can discern any similarities.
There was nothing in the experience that leaves me feeling like it's much worth repeating, except for novelty value. I think it would be interesting to experiment with combining the wormwood extract with other psychoactives - perhaps Salvia divinorum, or even a psychedelic. I am not sure if the possible risks involved with experimenting aggressively with a relatively unknown psychoactive are worth taking, given that the experience was pretty neutral.
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