Salvinorin: The Psychedelic Essence of Salvia Divinorum
- Salvinorin A can be efficiently consumed by inhaling the vaporized
crystalline powder, or by smoking, providing the crystalline powder has
been placed on a substrate such as dried Salvia divinorum leaf. Used in
this manner, the effects of salvinorin A can be distinctly felt from as
little as 200 to 500 mcg. Most who have tried salvinorin A have reported
'full" effects at a range between 800 and 1200 mcg. The distinction of
"full" effects is arbitrary, as the intensity and diversity of the experience
increases with the dosage. It should also be noted that as with any substance,
there are a few people who will be unusually sensitive to salvinorin A,
and will require a smaller amount to produce the same level of effects.
Ott has indicated that salvinorin A can also be taken sublingually, and is active in even smaller doses, with as little as 100 to 250 mcg. producing noticeable effects. Ott used a solution of salvinorin A in acetone in his sublingual tests, and also reported that DMSO can be used as a solvent for this purpose. By comparison, the most potent previously known natural psychedelics, 5-MeO-DMT and psilocin. are typically used in doses of 5 to 10 mg. Salvinorin A is approximately 10 times the potency of these compounds, and nearly as potent as the semi-synthetic psychedelic, LSD.
The effects of salvinorin A intensify sharply as the dose is increased, as has been noted by several people who have used over 1 mg. A few have tried doses around 2 mg., and had experiences of ferocious intensity which they had no desire to repeat. The largest single dose reported is Siebert's initial smoking of approximately 2 mg. of salvinorin A.
Most of the early experiments with salvinorin A were performed by inhaling the vaporized crystal using the following technique. The salvinorin A was placed on the center of a piece of thick aluminum foil, which was heated from below with a butane micro-torch or "jet flame" lighten As the salvinorin A turned to a white vapor, the vapors were inhaled through a 15mm diameter glass tube. This technique requires careful performance. If one inhales before the crystal has been melted, the solid material wilt be taken into the mouth and will not produce the desired effects. However, if one waits more than a moment after the vapor begins to appear, it will disperse and be lost to the atmosphere. There were several reported misfires from people who were not successful in this procedure. Some of these people suspected the substance was not very potent, increased the dose, and were quite shocked by the intensity of what they were subsequently propelled into.
I came across a simpler procedure for this process, which is to use a conventional hash oil pipe. A hash oil pipe is made by creating a bubble or bowl at one end of a glass tube, with an opening at the top. Although hash oil is no longer commonly available4 these pipes can occasionally be found in stores. A hash oil pipe allows better visibility of the melting and vaporization, and better confinement of the vaporized material against escaping without being inhaled. Even with a hash oil pipe the technique requires precision. The use of a micro-torch or "jet flame" lighter is essential, not only due to salvinorin A's high boiling point, but also because a conventional lighter will coat the outside of the pipe in carbon, obscuring visibility of the melting/vaporization process. I found that the flame must be continually moved over the bottom of the bowl until the material has melted. These torches are hot enough to cause the bowl to quickly expand and buckle if the flame is kept at one point on the bowl. This causes the solid salvinorin A crystals to disperse over a large area inside the bowl, which does not allow for efficient vaporization. It is important that only self-extinguishing torches or lighters are used in this process, as salvinorin A takes effect very rapidly. One does not want to be traveling through hyperspace while a lit torch is burning at their side.
Recently salvinorin A has been distributed in another form which is much easier to use. The material I've used contains 1 mg. of salvinorin A, dissolved onto 25 mg. of dried and powdered Salvia divinorum leaf. This concentrate formulation is much easier to handle than the pure crystalline form. The concentrate formulation may be smoked in a regular pipe using a regular lighter. However, a dedicated pipe should be used for smoking salvinorin A, as subsequent smoking of other herbs in the same pipe may induce an unwanted journey. Individual doses can now be reasonably measured on a scale with 10 mg. (1/100 of a gram) resolution, such as the Ohaus Centogram quad- beam balance. I've prepared 1 mg. doses of salvinorin A by first weighing 50 mg. of the salvinorin A on Salvia divinorum leaf concentrate, and then visually dividing this amount into two equal piles. Anyone working with this material should be acutely aware that even small variations in the dose size can produce dramatic increases in the intensity of the experience. Pure crystalline salvinorin A requires a sophisticated analytical balance for the measurement of individual doses. I have used the salvinorin A on Salvia divinorum leaf formulation several times now, and have noticed no difference between this and vaporizing the same amount of material in pure crystalline form.
Siebert also performed tests using other methods of administering pure salvinorin A. This included placing salvinorin A in the mouth, and dissolving salvinorin A in a solvent and spraying into the nose. The effectiveness of these methods varied widely with repeated applications of the same method. In some cases a large percentage of the material taken seemed to make its way into the bloodstream, at other times only minimal effects were produced. This presented a significant risk. If the dose was increased to the point where one would normally achieve "full" effects, (equivalent to smoking 1 mg.) there was a risk of absorbing a larger percentage of the material which could produce an experience of shocking intensity. This possibility led Siebert to suspend his research in this area.
There are currently a number of people in the psychedelic community experimenting with different methods of ingesting Salvia divinorum, including the oral administration of a crude extract. It is likely that a reliable method will soon be developed which allows one to experience fuller effects than can be easily obtained through chewing the whole leaves, but without the intensity and sudden onset of smoked salvinorin A.