Citation: Jake Danger. "Sweet Dreams: An Experience with Calea zacatechichi (exp70605)". Erowid.org. Mar 16, 2016. erowid.org/exp/70605
Two unassociated friends of mine, on two separate yet recent occasions had recommended I try the herb calea zacatechichi. The first told me of a local head shop where dried leaves could be purchased. He didn't mention the effects of calea on dreaming, but told me he had enjoyed it as a potentiator of smoked cannabis.
It wasn't until the second friend had mentioned his past experiences of calea as a dream enhancer that I decided to track some down. I was told that if I consumed some calea before bed I would experience vivid dreams which I would easily be able to recall the following day, and that upon waking I would feel well rested and refreshed.
I made my way to the head shop and purchased a 15g bag of dried calea zacatechichi leaves, as well as herbal manual which included an entry on calea. The entry mentioned its use a magical dream herb, described the various methods of ingestion including tea and smoking, and recommended that swallowing a heaped wet teaspoon before bed was the best way to go. I chose to take the book's (and friend's) advice and decided to eat the herb instead of making a tea which is reportedly unpleasantly bitter.
The herbal entry recommended that I would need a dose of at least 5g in a tea to make it work well, and as there was no mention of the oral dose of straight leaf, I decided to sample a smallish pinch (~1-2g) for starters. I took the advice of my colleague and mixed the chopped herb into a bowl of yoghurt and honey to avoid the bitterness of the tea. That night, I recall having had vivid dreams, though was unable to remember many details clearly aside from one dream I had of myself bodyboarding (a fairly common feature in my dreams). I was impressed with the realistic feeling of sailing down the face of the waves, and the wonderful clarity of the oceanic visuals. This was an encouraging sign, since my year-long cannabis habit has resulted in a marked decline in dream recall.
my year-long cannabis habit has resulted in a marked decline in dream recall.
Two days later (last night) I conducted my second experiment. I upped the dosage considerably. At a guess, I would say I used around 4g of dried leaf material. I repeated the yoghurt-and-honey dream dessert mix and noted a distinct bitterness which was more present than the first time 'round. Immediately after finishing the mix, I noted a slight spacey feeling, though this could just as easily be a placebo effect since I doubt the effects could come on so rapidly orally. I immediately retreated to my room and over the next half hour proceeded to smoke 3 or 4 bowls of the leaf mix to potentiate the effect. Smoking the herb gave me a definite 'heavy' feeling comparable to being stoned, but not quite as intense. I became drowsy, and was shortly asleep.
This time the dreams were more vivid again, and on waking this morning, I could remember most quite clearly. I woke up several times throughout the night in between dreams and after happily remarking to myself that the herb was working, had little difficulty in returning to sleep. My dreams featured a somewhat nightmarish (though not in the least scary) scene of climbing out of the reach of crocodiles snapping at my feet. After waking from this particular dream, I slipped into another which featured myself preparing for dinner with my parents in the house my dad built (parents have since divorced and the house is long gone). I clearly remember myself selecting a neck tie in the study and doing something in the bathroom, though on reflection, the walls were a different colour and were covered in wallpaper instead of tiles. Anyway, dream sequences like this switched from one to another and despite the clarity of the experience, I remained emotionally indifferent.
Waking up this morning seemed to take a little more effort than usual despite my early bed time, though once up, I was clear-headed and in a good mood for most of the day. I can still remember most of the dreams with remarkable clarity, which again, is especially rare for me since I started smoking pot regularly around 18 months ago.
All in all, the calea experience is rather pleasant and is certainly interesting. I haven't yet had any experiences of truly lucid dreaming as such, nor have I managed to see into the future or answer questions relevant to my normal waking consciousness. I have, however, heard anecdotal reports of people finding lost real-life objects in their calea-fuelled dreams, and am personally looking forward to future experiments with this remarkable trinket of nature. Both my friend and the friendly staff at the head shop advised that I would know I had reached the most effective dose once I could 'hear' my heartbeat. I haven't yet reached this stage, but hope to get there in the not-so-distant future.
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