Citation: bladeofreality. "Careful Preparation, Unexpectedly Strong: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (5x extract) (exp80157)". Erowid.org. Jul 24, 2009. erowid.org/exp/80157
This trip report is for a first time use of Salvia divinorum, written two months later, using an audio recording of the event and notes written down immediately afterward.
I had been studying the effects of Salvia divinorum for a couple of years, and planned eventually to try it once I could arrange for a suitable environment and sitter. My prior experience with hallucinogens was limited to a few mild to moderate doses of LSD approximately 25 years ago and the occasional high dose cannabis trip since. Neither of these prepared me for the intense but short-lived experience that follows.
My friend, B, is an experienced psychedelic user and sitter, but lives one state away. During a several day visit by me to the area, however, we decided it was a good opportunity to introduce me to Salvia and set about to create an appropriate environment for a first timer. B's house has a second story carpeted loft, with an area of large, soft pillows and indirect lighting. It was about as ideal a setting as I could ask for. One wall was made of stone, which would later play a part in the visual portion of the trip.
B had a supply of 5x standardized extract, unopened but of several years age. My plan was to try a small dose, aiming for threshold effects, before later trying a larger dose depending on my sensitivity and response. A small glass bong was cleaned and loaded with 50 mg of the dark leaf, based on information found online and precisely measured with his analytical scale. Assuming everything would go okay, we also prepared a 150 mg quantity for the second dose, which we could adjust later if needed.
Mentally, I was both excited to be finally trying Salvia and a little anxious. I had read many dozens of trip reports online and understood that I was in for something completely unpredictable. I am also somewhat claustrophobic, and worried that I might suffer a panic attack during the experience (my sitter was made aware of this).
Final preparations were to set up my audio recorder and to put on a chest-strap heart rate exercise monitor. This last was really just out of curiosity, but would turn out to have an effect on the trip. B lit two candles on a shelf near the bottom of the stone wall opposite me. The plan was that once I finished smoking he would turn off the lamp, leaving the candle flames as the only source of light in the room. I would spend the trip with my eyes closed. We also agreed upon complete silence until I was ready to speak.
After a few deep breaths, I began to draw on the bong as B held a butane lighter to the bowl (actually, a small, portable butane torch from Radio Shack was all we could come up with at the time). The smoke was very mild, with almost no taste, and I had no trouble filling my lungs. After holding the hit for about 20 seconds, I took in more fresh air and held for another 10 seconds, then exhaled. When nothing happened, I signaled B for another hit.
The second hit went as smoothly as the first, and cleared the bowl. After about 20 seconds, I exhaled. On the audio recording, there was a groan as I did this, but I don't remember doing that at the time. Finally, I lay back onto the pillows, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. As I said, the plan was that this first dose would only achieve threshold effects, so I was anticipating maybe some light closed-eye visuals and body load.
There was a feeling of a disconnect. Suddenly, I was seeing some bright spots 'dancing' in the upper left part of my vision, and strange, curved, striped distortions in the lower right. I felt like I had just come to after being asleep for a while and wasn't sure why I was seeing these things. At first, I didn't realize I had smoked Salvia. All of this was very startling, and that's when the real fun began.
As I opened my eyes, I shot up to a sitting position. In the periphery of my vision, I saw my sitter react with surprise, but to his credit, when he realized that I wasn't panicking, he kept silent, and I promptly forgot he was there. However, at this point I did realize I had smoked Salvia and something was happening much more strongly then I planned for. (Later, B said it was only a few seconds after I lay down that I bolted back upright.) I couldn't figure out why it was so dark, and had forgotten that B had turned out the lights.
The curved distortions in my lower right vision became a candelabra-like extension of projections that were lifting up through the floor, causing reality to drip off them like hot wax. Imagine placing your wrists together, then extending your fingers outward as far as they will go. This was the shape that was pushing up through the floor and dragging space itself with it.
The dancing spots transformed into the individual rocks in the stone wall popping in and out. It was as if a choppy sea were running across the wall, where the standing waves became the rocks moving towards and away from me. The rocks, normally grayish, were tinted yellow (I'm sure from the color of the candle flame.) Interestingly, the rocks themselves did not change shape in any way, but rather they appeared closer or farther in the same way that a 3D-stereogram will pop out at you and hover above the page once you get your eyes focused right.
Looking down at the carpet, the same popping out effect as the rocks had was happening in random places, sort of like when carpet is brushed in the direction opposite its normal weave, but much more pronounced.
There was some foreshortening of perspective, in that the stone wall directly opposite me but about 12 feet away appeared to fill my vision from left to right, and only seemed five or so feet distant. The carpet, when I looked down at it, did the same, and only seemed a foot away.
The overall room appeared to be rotating slowly counterclockwise as the 'fingers' were dragging up reality on the right side. At the same time, nothing was moving at all. If you've seen the optical illusion where you stare at a waterfall for a few seconds, then look away, and things appear to be moving up, this was similar.
Through all this, everything had taken on a slight dream-like quality. I was mostly lucid but confused, and had no sense of where my body was. Rather, I knew I was sitting up, but didn't actually feel anything. Soon, though, I sensed that my body was paralyzed, like it was in a strong vice that was rotating with the room. Later, when I started to come down, I realized this feeling was from the chest strap I had put on, which was adjusted a little too tightly.
As time passed, the frequency of the popping out began to slow, until sometimes it would stop and leave a few of the rocks sticking out or in for a few seconds at a time. At one point, a whole group of rocks popped out in the shape of a giant upside-down arrowhead.
It did take some effort to stay calm and let things ride out, knowing it wouldn't last very much longer. As the peak passed, I began trying to describe things to my sitter. I found that it took a great deal of effort to speak, like being drunk, though on the audio recording my voice sounds normal. He mostly just said, 'um, yeah', and stayed quiet. I did ask him to take off the chest strap (which was under my shirt), and it was hard to coordinate with him to do so (we never did look at the pulse rate record.)
Finally, things had passed to where I was no longer hallucinating, but I still felt a little odd. I told B it was essentially over, and we marked the time. It seemed to me like only two or three minutes had elapsed, though to my surprise, it was 10 minutes overall (including taking the bong hits).
I was left thirsty, and asked B for a glass of water. As he got up to do so, I shut off the recorder, and was basically back to baseline in 15 minutes total. There was a mild afterglow that felt like a mental 'scrubbing' had occurred. When B asked me if and when I wanted to move on to the next dose, I answered, 'No, I don't think so, I really need some time to think about what just happened.'
This experience was also notable for the things that did NOT occur. I did not feel any Salvia 'gravity'. There was no feeling of deja vu, no sense of any presences, no auditory hallucinations, and after the first few seconds I knew I had smoked Salvia. I knew where I was the whole time, didn't see any other realities, and the visual hallucinations were more distortions of existing objects than of people, places, or things that weren't really there. I didn't feel any euphoria or dysphoria (though there was anxiety and a feeling like I didn't want go through that again right afterwards). I didn't get hot or sweaty and didn't feel any prickling or tingling on my skin. I did not erupt in uncontrollable laughter.
I estimate that I ingested somewhere between 250 and 500 ug of salvinorin A, based on 5X being 12.5 mg/g, and unknown efficiency in getting the drug into my bloodstream via smoking the extract. That would be a dose of 2-5 ug/Kg for me. While I expected this to be mild, in fact, the visual hallucinations were profound.
I'm still deciding when and how my next session will happen. I think I'm going to decrease the dose until I understand where the threshold is, then titrate back up in small increments. Alternatively, maybe I really do want to go for the all out breakthrough experience, though the prospect is a frightening one.
Either way, I don't seem to be in any rush. This has got to be the drug with the least addiction potential I've ever tried or heard of.
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