Citation: Hypersphere. "Acute Tolerance Experiment: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp82591)". Erowid.org. Sep 22, 2010. erowid.org/exp/82591
Background: I am male, at the time of this experience I was 21 years old and weighed 125 pounds. At the time of this experience I was not taking any supplements, prescription or OTC medications, but was using marijuana several times a day and also yerba mate or black tea on a daily basis. This experience took place in May 2006 during the day time.
Substance: Salvia divinorum dry Oaxacan leaf (not extract) smoked through a large water bong.
Dosage and timing of ingestion: Nine back-to-back sessions, each using 0.2 grams of leaf material and with approximately 7 minute intervals between sessions.
Previous experience: This was at a time in my life when I was exploring Salvia divinorum frequently, usually once or twice a week. It was the truly novel and bizarre nature of the experience that kept me coming back and I felt that I resonated well with the plant. I already had more than fifty previous experiences using Salvia divinorum. My first breakthrough experience was with a 5X extract, but after this initial breakthrough I found I was able to just use regular, unfortified leaf. Usually three big bong hits of leaf would be enough to give me the breakthrough experience, though with practice even one massive bong hit would be enough.
I think that using regular leaf is safer than using concentrated extract. Using regular leaf, it is much easier to control the dose that I get and allows me to step myself up slowly to the desired state. Although it is recommended to use a sitter when smoking Salvia, I almost always smoke it when I am alone. By smoking regular leaf I am able to consistently reach level “V” or “I” on the SALVIA scale. I have never gone too far and experienced level “A” (amnesic) and have never gotten up or moved around during my Salvia experiences as some people do, so I am confident and comfortable using on my own and without a sitter. Being on my own also allows me to be more comfortable letting go completely to the experience.
Knowing that the Salvia experience was intrinsically safe (posing no toxicity risk to the body and knowing that the mental effects pass quickly), I was able to go into the intense but short lasting dissociation smoothly and easily. It was the short duration of effects that made the intensity tolerable for me, I wouldn’t want to spend two or three hours in such a headspace though. The Salvia state reminded me a lot of falling asleep and having a short but vivid dream sequence. Also I had been feeling that if dying was anything like going under from smoking Salvia, that there was nothing to fear and that I would make the transition smoothly and easily. Other than my habitual marijuana and caffeine use, I had past experiences with some other strong psychedelic substances, primarily mushrooms and hawaiian baby woodrose seeds. I had also dabbled a little with some other substances such as acid, ecstasy pills (four experiences varying from bunk, to amazing, to weird mixed pills of who-knows-what) as well as experimenting with many herbs known to have mild to moderate psychoactive effects (including blue and sacred lotus, passionflower, coleus, catnip etcetera). At this time in my life Salvia was the only psychedelic I was actively exploring with.
Setting: I had the house to myself, which allowed for a certain freedom of exploration not normally possible. I set myself up in the living room, with a woven Mexican rug in shades of grey to sit or lie down on and a pillow to support my head. It was a comfortable and quiet setting with indirect light and lots of house plants keeping me company.
Mindset: Going into this experience I was a little bit depressed, due to a recent breakup with a girl I was very much in love with. I was also a bit bored, having nothing much to do today and being all alone in the house. I figured that exploring the Salvia realms a little more would be a fun way of livening up my afternoon and getting my mind off of thinking about my ex.
I had a question in mind to answer today, one I had been mulling over for awhile: What would be the effects of rapid, repeated usage of Salvia divinorum? Would smoking more Salvia immediately after coming down eventually result in a short term tolerance to its effects? My friend had told me of an experience he had doing four back-to-back breakthroughs, which inspired me to test this out for myself and push the limits farther than he did.
Preparation: I elected to use regular, unfortified Salvia leaf for this experiment. Ten equal portions of Salvia, each weighing approximately 0.2 grams, were pre-weighed. Each pile was just enough to pack a full bowl in my water bong, and inhale the entire thing in one large breath. I planned that each inhalation of Salvia would be held for a few seconds and then released. Each session would be spaced approximately 7 minutes apart, the amount of time needed to recover sufficiently to repack the bong and safely operate a lighter.
Prior to starting the experiment, I spent several minutes engaging in deep breathing, trying to empty my mind of thoughts and to look forward to and anticipate the effects of the Salvia. I find that having a mind calm and empty of thoughts is best for entering Salvia-space. If I am thinking about something right when I go under, this thought often becomes a theme of the trip itself. If I go in with a clear mind, then the content of the experience is usually more interesting and unexpected.
The experience: The first session hit hard. The familiar sensation of reality being torn apart was present. I was watching these faces, which were attached to 'reality zippers' for lack of a better term. Each zipper would unzip, flying away from me at high speed and taking the face with it. Suddenly the zipper-faces melted away. I had a sensation like looking around the corner of a giant cube, and behold, there were a bunch of new zippers with different faces on the end, doing the same zipping away thing. The emotional tone of this trip was one of confusion, a feeling of having lost control and being swept away by the effects.
The second session came on with a flash of light in my vision and a strong rushing sensation in my body. I felt like I was disintegrating, individual particles of my being getting torn away. Towards the end of this peak I had some bizarre visuals that resembled pulsing, blood filled internal organs, the skin peeling away in layers at the edges. The tone of this trip was very dark and sinister, with fear being the dominant emotion.
The third session came on with a rush of euphoria. The feeling of disintegrating was again present, but this time seemed to leave me mentally in control. My mind felt strangely clear, as if it had adapted to a higher frequency. I was able to realize that what I was experiencing, as real as it seemed, was just a product of my mind. All reality was just a product of my mind. There was a sensation of floating in an ocean, waves gently lapping over me, rocking and moving with the flow. The dominant emotions in this trip were a sense of peace and inner control and balance.
The fourth session came on with another rush of euphoria. The sense of being in control was very strong this time, and yet I was having the most amazing visuals! These purple and green cell-shaped things were extending pseudopodia sucker arms which would attach to these strange shimmering white cubes. Feelings of amazement.
After this point memories become rather hazy. Despite coming down enough between sessions to repack the bowl, I was nowhere near baseline. With my eyes closed there was a sensation of drifting, floating away from the physical body, and coloured flashes were frequently seen. It was about as intense as +++ tripping on acid or mushrooms.
The fifth, sixth and seventh trips all dealt with incarnations of Salvia in human form. She always appeared as a dark skinned, Mayan looking woman, but over the course of these three trips she aged. She started out as a vibrant young woman, and there was a sense of communicating on a physical, sexual level with her. Next she appeared as a strong, dominant woman of middle age, and finally as an old village wise-women with a deeply lined and wrinkled face. She seemed to communicate telepathically with me, no words were needed.
The eighth and ninth trips did not seem to hit me as hard as previous sessions. I maintained significant lucidity, finding myself able to pay attention to the sound of cars driving by outside and still thinking about trivial matters while in the trance state. I decided that I was building some degree of acute tolerance to the effects after all, and decided to terminate the experiment.
I expected after smoking so much Salvia, that the effects would last much longer than normal. However, after 30 minutes had passed a near-baseline state of consciousness was again present. Despite the extensive repeated use, the recovery period from Salvia seemed more or less unchanged for me.
As to the question driving this experiment: There did seem to be some degree of short term tolerance built up with such rapid, repeated use. The initial sessions were experienced as more chaotic and random, and had a darker overall tone than later sessions. Later sessions seemed to have a more continuous theme and were less incapacitating and overwhelming.
In conclusion, there may be a degree of acute tolerance that builds up to Salvia divinorum when several back-to-back breakthrough attempts are made. The most interesting thing for me in this experience was that the effects of the Salvia became more controllable and less chaotic towards the end. In a sense, the Salvia state became more workable than it normally is. I was able to pursue a theme from session to session.
Thanks for reading!
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