Salvia Divinorum is not a party drug

This is important to understand. Salvia is not “fun” in the way that alcohol or Cannabis can be. If you try to party with Salvia you probably will not have a good experience. Salvia is a consciousness-changing herb that can be used in a vision quest, or in a healing ritual.

In the right setting, Salvia makes it possible to see visions. Salvia Divinorum is a herb with a long tradition of sacred use. Salvia Divinorum is useful for deep meditation.

Salvia Divinorum is best taken, in a quiet, nearly dark room, either alone (if a sitter will not be needed to see below), or with one or two good friends present. Salvia Divinorum is taken either in silence or (sometimes) with soft pleasant music playing.

Salvia Divinorum trips – what to expect

Salvia Divinorum trips range in intensity from subtle, to extremely powerful. This holds true both for chewed leaves and smoked leaves.

The strength of the trip will depend on how much you take, the way you take it, and your individual body chemistry. Salvia Divinorum trips differ from those produced by other visionary drugs or herbs, and Salvia Divinorum has many advantages:

  1. You cannot take a fatal overdose of Salvia leaves.
  2. Salvia is not habit forming.
  3. Salvia is legal.
  4. You quickly return to normal.
  5. Salvia seldom produces adverse side-effects or hangover.

Noise and distraction will interfere with the trip. When on Salvia, watching TV is nothing but annoying; sitting around a campfire in the woods at night, is wonderful.

Because Salvia Divinorum can alter perception and behavior, it must never be used in a public environment doing so would draw unwelcome attention.

Especially if you are not used to it, or are taking a potent preparation like an extract, you should have a sober babysitter there to make sure that you don’t do something dangerous, like knocking over lit candles or walking out a window. When Salvia is smoked the effects come on very quickly: in less than a minute.

When Salvia Divinorum has chewed the first effects come on at about 15 minutes and full effects at about 30 minutes.

Usually, a Salvia trip lasts from 15 minutes to an hour. Occasionally trips may last up to 2 hours. To be on the safe side, it is important not to drive or use machinery for several hours after the trip appears to be ended.

Most people have no hangover from Salvia; however, some people sometimes report a mild headache. If Salvia is smoked the smoke may irritate your lungs. Salvia Divinorum trips seem to occur in levels. The so-called S-A-L-V-I-A scale has been constructed to rate trips. Each letter of the word Salvia stands for another level of tripping.

The scale describes six different levels of intoxication, each one more intense than the previous. The overall intensity of Salvia Divinorum trips is scored according to the highest scale level attained during the course of the trip.

S-A-L-V-I-A = Salvia Divinorum Trip Rating Scale

Level 1

“S stands for Subtle effects.” A feeling that ‘something’ is happening, although it is difficult to say just what. Relaxation and increased sensual appreciation may be noted. This mild level is useful for meditation and may facilitate sexual pleasure.

Level 2

“A stands for Altered perception.” Colors and textures are paid attention to. Appreciation of music may be enhanced. Space may appear of greater or lesser depth than is usual. But visions do not occur at this level. Thinking becomes less logical and more playful; short-term memory difficulties are may be noted.

Level 3

“L” stands for a Light visionary state.” Closed eye visuals (clear imagery with eyes closed: fractal patterns, vine-like and geometric patterns, visions of objects and designs). The imagery is often two dimensional.

If open eyed visual effects occur these are usually vague and fleeting. At this level phenomena similar to the hypnagogic phenomena that some people experience at sleep onset occur. At this level, visions are experienced as ‘eye candy’ but are not confused with reality.

Level 4

“V stands for a Vivid visionary state.” Complex three-dimensional realistic appearing scenes occur. Sometimes voices may be heard. With eyes, open contact with consensual reality will not be entirely lost, but when you close your eyes you may forget about consensus reality and enter completely into a dreamlike scene.

Shamanistic journeying to other lands, foreign or imaginary; encounters with beings, entities, spirits; or travels to other ages may occur. You may even live the life of another person. At this level, you have entered the shaman’s world. Or if you prefer you are in  ”dream time’. With eyes closed, you experience fantasies (dreamlike happenings, with a storyline to them).

So long as your eyes are closed you may believe they are really occurring. This differs from the ‘eye candy’ closed eye imagery, of level 3.

Level 5

“I” stands for Immaterial existence.” At this level consciousness remains and some thought processes are still lucid, but one becomes completely involved in the inner experience and looses all contact with consensual reality.

Individuality may be lost; one experiences merging with God/dess, mind, universal consciousness, or bizarre fusions with other objects real or imagined, e.g. merging with a wall may be experienced.

At this level, it is impossible to function in consensual reality, but unfortunately, some people do not remain still but move around in this befuddled state.

For this reason, a sitter is essential to ensure the safety of someone voyaging to the inner levels. To the person experiencing this, the phenomenon may be terrifying or exceedingly pleasant; but to an outside observer, the individual may appear confused or disoriented.

Level 6

“A stands for Amnesic effects.” At this stage either consciousness is lost, or at least one is unable to later recall what one is experiencing. The individual may fall, or remain immobile or thrash around; somnambulistic behavior may occur; injuries can be sustained without pain being felt; on awakening, the individual will have no recollection of what he/she did, experienced or said in level 6.

People cannot ever recall what they experience in this very deep trance state. This is not a sought after level as later nothing can be recalled of the experience.

Warning on using pure Salvinorin A

From the book by D.M. Turner

As mentioned earlier, most who have tried salvinorin A find its effects extremely unsettling and have no desire to repeat the experience. This response comes from people who are highly experienced in the use of entheogens, including many who are writers or leaders in the psychedelic community. From the 1960’s to present.

It is unlikely that salvinorin A will ever become a popular substance, and many will find using the non-extracted plant material more to their liking. In contrast to using pure salvinorin A, use of the whole plant material, particularly by ingestion, produces a gentler, longer-lasting experience that many have found easier to absorb and have derived greater benefit from.

Used in this manner, Salvia Divinorum is also much less overwhelming and is not likely to present many of the dangers described below.

Currently, salvinorin A has been used by a relatively small group of people. Information regarding its possible effects on humans is still quite limited, and there is little known regarding the possible toxicity of this substance, particularly at higher doses.

Salvia divinorum

Information on the experience of about 50 users has been informally gathered and summarized here. Also presented are some insights I’ve obtained during approximately 30 sessions using salvinorin A. The use of salvinorin A presents some extreme dangers which are not encountered on other psychedelics.

After smoking salvinorin A, some users will stand up and begin walking or moving around, running into objects that are in their path.

People in this state an agitated manner and seem to be struggling with the experience. Apparently, they have no recognition of their surroundings when this is taking place. This response has been noted in only a few people, about 5% of the first 50 subjects.

A more common occurrence is for one who has just smoked salvinorin A to not recognize that they are heavily inebriated and begin to walk around.

In these instances, the user is able to perceive his or her surroundings and moves around without bumping into objects. Several people in this situation have wanted to leave the premises where they were conducting their journey, desiring to either drive or walk to another location, and needed to be dissuaded from doing so.

Often people who walk around during the journey do not recall doing so once the effects wear off. The presence of a sober person to act as sitter during the sessions has proven very important in dealing with situations such as those described above.

Siebert has witnessed reactions of this type and stated:

“When the dose goes above 500 to 1000 mcg the effects can be very alarming. I have seen people get up and lunge around the room, falling over furniture, babbling incomprehensible nonsense and knocking their heads into walls. Several people have tried to wander out of the house. When the experience is over, they have no memory of any of this. In fact, they usually remember very different events. To an outside observer, people in this condition have a blank look in their eyes as if no one is present. It is also common for people to have a facial expression which is probably best described as being like that of a frightened animal.”

There is also a potential psychological danger with salvinorin A. I can confirm from my own experience that it can instantly obliterate any reference to sanity, logic, or even the idea of existing and make one feel that either one’s self or the entire universe has gone entirely and permanently crazy.

Occasionally people who have been given salvinorin A, even highly experienced psychedelic users, feel that a bad joke has been played on them by whoever gave them the substance.

One person who tried salvinorin A, who is quite experienced with DMT and most other psychedelics, remarked:

“Salvia Divinorum made DMT looks like a water pistol, at a dose 50-100 times less.”

The intensity of a salvinorin A journey is often experienced as being an order of magnitude more potent than smoked DMT, in much the same way that DMT seems an order of magnitude more potent than a typical LSD journey

A large percentage of salvinorin A users also report that the fear factor is much greater than with DMT, which is saying a lot. I feel that no person, no matter how experienced with other psychedelics or altered states of mind, can be prepared for the intensity of a full-strength salvinorin A journey.

It is common for users to be shocked, amazed and frightened, at finding themselves in a state they could not possibly conceive of being induced by any psychedelic substance.

Certainly, the most cautious way for one to approach this substance is to work with the whole Salvia Divinorum.


*This article was originally published at