Q. How about oral use?
A. Oral use by means of chewed and swallowed leaves, or by means of a water-based
Salvia drink are the traditional methods of use by the Mazatec healers. These
methods have much to recommend them including safety and suitability for learning
from the 'teacher plant'. When Salvia leaves are chewed and held in ones mouth
a long time, salvinorin is absorbed directly by the tissues lining the mouth.
Swallowed Salvia is much less effective, although the traditional Mazatec water-based
drink, which is swallowed, is effective if enough leaves are used in its preparation.
Sublingual use of a tinctures/elixirs, soft extracts, and hard extracts are
also an effective oral method.
Q. Does sublingual absorption of Salvia work as
fast as smoking?
A. Definitely not. When ingested orally, the first effects begin in 10-20 minutes.
The effects build to a peak fairly quickly, reaching a plateau which can last
anywhere from 30 minutes to one and a half hours. The effects then gradually
subside over an additional 30 minutes to one and a half hours. From beginning
to end, the entire experience can last anywhere from one to three hours. Best
not to drive for at least several more hours - just in case your reflexes or
judgement are impaired longer than you think they might be.
Q. What method of ingestion produces the best
effects: Smoked or oral?
A: Different people have different preferences. You should experiment with both
methods and find your own preference. Smoking provides a relatively short, but
potentially very intense experience, whereas sublingual absorption provides
a substantially longer lasting and somewhat more gentle and experience. Because
of this, sublingual absorption offers the user the time to explore the deeper
levels of consciousness.
Q. What is the quid method?
A. A quid is a rolled up cylinder of fresh leaves. The quid method traditionally
uses fresh Salvia leaves, large ones if available. Rehydrated previously dried
leaves can be used if fresh ones are unavailable; there seems to be little loss
of strength due to drying and rehydration. The quid method brings about a fine
trip that lasts somewhat longer than a smoking trip does. Unlike smoking, the
quid method does not damage lungs. Unfortunately the quid method does not work
for everyone. And some find the quid method to be unpleasant due to the bitterness
of the leaves.
Q. Is there a safe way of increasing the effect
of oral absorption?
A. Yes, the effect of oral absorption can be maximized and increased just by
using mouthwash! Rinse your entire mouth out thoroughly (for at least 30 seconds)
with a mouthwash that contains both menthol and alcohol. Cool Mint Listerine®
works well. The menthol in the mouthwash is known to react with the oral mucus
membranes in a way that increases and maximizes the absorption rate of salvinorin
into the blood stream.
Another technique, which may be helpful, is to lightly
brush the interior surfaces of the mouth with a toothbrush. This removes a layer
of dead cells and consequently seems to improve absorption. If you plan to use
both techniques, it is probably best to do the brushing first.
Q. What's a sublingual extract?
A. These are extracts designed for sublingual absorption (liquid tinctures/elixirs,
soft extracts, and hard extracts). The are held beneath the tongue so that the
salvinorin A is absorbed into the sensitive membranes in the mouth and from
there into the bloodstream. The duration and quality of the experience produced
is equivalent to chewing fresh leaves using the quid method. One type of extract
that may be used in this manner is called a soft extract which is tar-like in
texture. Various liquid extracts are also effective for sublingual use.
Q. What is an elixir or tincture?
A. These are just extract based solutions that use a high proof alcohol extraction
process. It is held in the mouth for up to ½ hour to allow salvinorin to be
Q. Will cooked Salvia have any effect?
A. Yes. For some people, but usually the effect will be quite mild, only just
above threshold level.
Q. Can refined and purified salvinorin-A be used
A. The primary danger in using refined and purified salvinorin-A is overdose.
It can only be used safely if the dose has been measured precisely. It can be
active in extremely minute quantities - so small in fact that a dose could easily
fit on the head of a pin. Quantities this small can only be accurately measured
using an analytical balance. NEVER ESTIMATE A DOSE OF SALVINORIN-A VISUALLY.
IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE WEIGHED. Don't experiment with this material unless you
are 100% certain that the dose has been measured accurately.
Q. How long does the trip last?
A. When smoked, the first effects are noticed within 1 minute, rapidly developing
to a peak which lasts 5 - 10 minutes, then gradually diminishing over the next
20 - 30 minutes. From beginning to end, the entire experience lasts 30 minutes
to one hour. Best not to drive for at least several more hours - just in case
your reflexes or judgement are impaired longer than you think they might be.
Q. Is there any special trick to smoking Salvia
A. It is best to smoke the leaf material in a pipe (not a joint). Salvinorin
A has a relatively high vaporization temperature, and with a pipe you can draw
a flame directly onto the leaf material so that it burns quite hot. It is very
important to hold the smoke deeply in the lungs for a good 20 - 30 seconds before
exhaling. This allows time for salvinorin A to be absorbed from the smoke. If
one exhales to quickly, much of the material will be wasted. The level of effects
you achieve depends on the amount of smoke inhaled and absorbed within about
a 2 minute period. Within 2 minutes, you should be able to take 3 big hits (holding
each one in for 20 - 30 seconds). The body metabolizes salvinorin A quite rapidly,
so if you want to increase the effect by smoking several hits, you need to ingest
the smoke faster than it is metabolized. If you pause too long between hits,
the duration will be extended, but the intensity of effects won't increase.
Read "How to achieve effects from smoked Salvia divinorum" for more details.
Q. How do I smoke extract fortified leaf? (5X,
6X, 10X, etc...)
A. The extract fortified leaf is very easy to use. Place the amount that you
intend to use in the bowl of a small pipe. Since the leaf may be very finely
crumbled, the pipe should be fitted with a fine-mesh screen in the bottom of
the bowl to prevent small particals from getting into the pipe-stem and being
inhaled. When you are ready, first take a deep breath of fresh air, then exhale
to empty your lungs, then immediately apply a flame to the leaf material and
inhale the whole dose of smoke in one lungfull. It is important to hold the
lighter flame immediatly above the material and to draw it down into the leaves
as you inhale. The leaf must be heated to a relatively high temperature in order
to vaporize the active principal. As long as the flame is drawn down into the
leaf, it will burn the leaves at a high enough temperature. It is very important
to hold the smoke deeply in your lungs for a good 20-30 seconds before exhaling.
It takes time for salvinorin-A to condense out of the smoke and be absorbed
by the lungs. If you exhale too soon much of it will be wasted.
Q. I've heard talk of Salvia extracts and I'm
confused. The term seems to be used in various ways.
A. It is confusing because the term is often used to refer to various preparations
derived from Salvia. Technically, in pharmacy and medicine the dictionary definition
of an extract is: a solid preparation obtained by evaporating a solution of
a drug. There is also such a thing as a fluid extract (or tincture), which is
a concentrated liquid preparation containing a definite proportion of the active
principles of a medicinal substance. The solvent usually used is ethyl alcohol
or a mixture of ethyl alcohol and water. However various Salvia preparations
are often referred to (loosely) as extracts.
Q. What are the advantages of using extracts?
A. Extracts allow one to explore deeper levels than are available using plain
leaf. This is particularly important for people who find that they are not very
sensitive to Salvia divinorum. Another advantage to these products is that they
are far easier to consume, since less material needs to be ingested or smoked.
Q. How safe are extracts?
A. They are safe if prepared properly and used wisely. It is highly recomended
that you have a sitter present when experimenting with any enhanced or concentrated
form of Salvia divinorum. Extract can be quite powerful and must be used carefully.
Be sure that you know what you are doing before experimenting with extracts
and extract fortified leaves.
Q. What are extracts and what are they used for?
- Extract Fortified Salvia Leaves (5X, 6X, 10X, etc...):
When you hear of "5X extract", extract fortified leaf material is what is
being referred to. An extract of Salvia is made using a solvent such as ethanol
or acetone. The solvent, which now contains dissolved extracted material,
is evaporated onto Salvia leaves, where the dissolved material is deposited.
This final material, whose salvinorin content has been increased by this procedure,
is often termed "extract," although technically it should be called "extract
fortified leaves." Fortified leaves are usually smoked, although they may
be active sublingually as well. The most common product currently on the market
is called "5X". It is prepared by adding the extract obtained from 4 units
of leaf back onto 1 unit of leaf. The resulting product is now 5 times as
potent as the original leaves used to produce it.
- Salvia fluid extracts (tinctures and elixirs):
These are extract based solutions that use a high proof ethanol extraction
process. Usually these liquids are diluted with warm water because pure alcohol
can really burn the sensitive tissues in your mouth. Sometimes these liquids
are also sweetened for a better taste.
- Soft extracts:
This is a type of true extract. This is a semi-solid material obtained by
extracting salvinorin-A from Salvia leaves, with a solvent and then evaporating
the solvent completely. The resulting preparation is a waxy or tar-like product
that, with a little effort, can be ground into a powder. This soft extract,
which may actually be fairly hard like hard wax, is quite suitable for sublingual
use as a substitute for the quid method. The effects are similar to a quid
but will probably be stronger, may come on a little slower and may last somewhat
longer. The advantage of sublingual soft extract absorption over quid chewing
is user comfort, as a far smaller amount of material must be put into ones
mouth. Since the material is very concentrated (1/4 tsp. will produce a strong
trip in most people) a large enough dose can be taken to guarantee a strong
trip without the gagging that may accompany use of large quids. For example:
if 1/4 tsp. of soft extract is ineffective, one could take 1/2 tsp. without
the gagging that may accompany stuffing one's mouth with leaves. Soft extracts
can also be mixed with high proof ethanol to create a tincture. Soft extracts
can be redeposited onto dried Salvia leaves to create an "X" extract. Actually,
this is the method of processing that many vendors use to create 5X and 10X
extracts. Basic soft extracts can be easily prepared in a kitchen.
- Hard extracts:
These can be prepared by a more complicated use of two solvents in a separatory
funnel, one to remove the oils and waxes but leave the salvinorin and the
other to dissolve the salvinorin. A hard extract could be ground and used
as a powder. No Salvia divinorum hard extracts are being sold. Such a hard
extract might be suitable for vaporization or use as a nasal snuff.
Q. I don't want to chew quid or to smoke. How
can a soft extract be used in this case?
A. Strong soft extract preparations have been made using high proof alcohol
extraction process and then used sublingually. Users have not reported any side-effects
from sublingual absorption of soft extracts. Various solvents can be used to
make a soft extract. Extracts made using both ethanol and 91% isopropyl alcohol
have proven to be very effective.
To use, place the dose under your tongue. Lie down in
a quiet place with dim lighting. Chew the waxy material occasionally, parking
it under your tongue between chews. Keep the Saliva formed in your mouth so
salvinorin can be absorbed from it. Swallowing the material won't harm you but
swallowed salvinorin is not effective. Once you want to come down, spit out
the material remaining in your mouth and brush your teeth to rid you mouth of
the remaining extract. Expect a strong trip that develops slowly.
Q. What is vaporization and how does it differ
A. VAPORIZATION IS NOT FOR BEGINNERS!
Vaporization consists of heating pure salvinorin A, extract, or powdered leaf
to a high temperature without igniting it. The temperature must be high enough
for at least some of the salvinorin to temporarily become a gas (vapor). These
vapors, mixed with the aerosol the vapors condense to and air, are inhaled.
Like the smoke from burning Salvia leaves, the products of vaporization contain
salvinorin and other volatile products, either as gases, or as an aerosol of
small condensed droplets. Unlike smoking, vaporization does not produce ash
particulates, or oxidation products such as carbon monoxide. Inhaling vapors
is probably somewhat less damaging to one's lungs than is inhaling smoke; but
it cannot be considered free of all health risks. Your lungs evolved to inhale
clean air, not hot vapors.
Q. How is vaporization done?
A. There are not yet commercial vaporizers optimized for smoking Salvia. Salvia
leaf, extract, or salvinorin can be vaporized on heated aluminum foil and inhaled
with a straw. Alternatively, homemade vaporizer units can be constructed, or
units designed for consumption of cannabis or tobacco can be used. Many commercial
units are either not hot enough (won't vaporize) or too hot (will carbonize)
for optimum vaporization of salvinorin.
Q. Is vaporization strong?
A. Of course it depends on the dose, but it can be unbelievably strong! Dangerously
so!. Since very little smoke is produced with this technique, it is possible
to inhale a very large dose with very little effort. At large doses, one may
temporarily loose all awareness of who one is, where one is or what one is doing.
Falls, fires, injuries etc. can easily occur. If you will be vaporizing it is
ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that a sitter be present to protect you from injury. Vaporization
can easily take you all the way to level 6 and you can pass out. It can take
you to the point of general anesthesia. Instead of being able to linger at the
interesting moderate trip levels of 3 and 4, you are blasted into a maximum
intensity trip for which you will have little subsequent memory, and then it's
all over. If you want to get completely smashed instantly vaporization will
achieve that, but if you want a dialog with a 'teacher plant', just smoke leaves,
or better yet take Salvia orally.
Q. How quickly does vaporization take effect?
A. Within seconds of inhaling a lung full of vapor. The first few inhalations
often contain no salvinorin as the unit is not yet hot enough. Once salvinorin
is inhaled you have only seconds to lie down in a safe place before you become
incapacitated! Vaporizor trips usually last less than 1/2 hour.