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There are many different methods of use for Salvia Divinorum. Several methods of taking Salvia Divinorum will be discussed here.
When smoked (in the ways described below), the effects of Salvia Divinorum are overpowering and overwhelming. Always test your sensitivity and start with a LOW dose.
Normal Salvia Divinorum Leaves: 1/2 - 1 gram
High grade Salvia Divinorum Leaves: 1/4 - 1/2 gram
Salvia Divinorum Extract 5x: 0.1 - 0.3 gram
The most common method is to smoke Salvia Divinorum in a pipe, without tobacco. The smoke is inhaled fast and deeply. Hold the smoke deeply in the lungs for 20-30 seconds before exhaling, then salvinorin A and B can be absorbed from the smoke. If one exhales too quickly, much of the material will be wasted. The level of the effects you achieve depends on the amount of smoke inhaled and absorbed within about a 2 minute period. If you pause too long between hits, the duration will be extended, but the intensity of effects won't increase. When Salvia Divinorum leaves are chewed and held in ones mouth a long time, salvinorin is absorbed directly by the tissues lining the mouth. The way you feel and think before the experience is essential for the character of the experience. So, if you don't feel comfortable and well, postpone the use of Salvia Divinorum. We strongly advise you to take the trip in a peaceful and relaxed environment. Lie down for the duration of the trip. Privacy and safety are very important. Take Salvia Divinorum in the presence of a 'sitter', because the effect can be very overwhelming. Salvia Divinorum is not suited for parties. This is something to take time for. Make sure there are no troubles on your mind.
When smoked, the first effects are noticed within 1 minute, rapidly developing to a peak which lasts 5-15 minutes. Depending on dosage, the effects can vary from a subtle to a full-blown psychedelic experience. At higher dose users report dramatic time distortion, vivid imagery, encounters with beings, travel to other places, planets or times, experiencing to be an object or experiencing the full life of another individual. Then the effects will gradually diminishing over the next 20 - 40 minutes, one will notice a marihuana-like high. From beginning to end, the entire experience lasts 30-60 minutes.
When Salvia leaves are used orally, the first effects begin in 10 -20 minutes. The effects, milder than when smoked, build to a peak fairly quickly, reaching a plateau which can last from 30-90 minutes. The entire experience can last anywhere from 1-3 hours.
The two traditional Mazatec methods are quite inefficient in that they require many more leaves than do the other methods. But they are very safe. Traditionally the leaves are taken in a semi-darkened room as part of a healing or religious ceremony. At least one sober person is present to watch over the people who have taken Salvia Divinorum.
A water-based drink made from ground up fresh leaves is one of the traditional Mazatec ways of using this herb. It requires a lot of leaves and tastes unpleasant, so this method is seldom used by non-Mazatecs. Salvinorin is very poorly absorbed from the stomach so it requires enormous amounts of leaves to make the drink effective. But it does work, and trips from the drink last longer than from any other method.
Chewing and swallowing a large number of fresh leaves is the other Mazatec method. When this is done, the leaves are nibbled slowly for about 1/2 hour. Although the chewed up leaves are swallowed, most of the effect is due to salvinorin that is absorbed through the tissues of the mouth during the chewing. This is a less efficient way of chewing Salvia Divinorum than the pruim method (see below). Most people find chewing fresh leaves to be unpleasantly bitter, and for some, it is nauseating.
Dried leaves can be smoked in a pipe. They need to be smoked hot and the smoke must be inhaled deeply and quickly to have an effect. Because salvinorin requires high temperatures to vaporize, it is best to hold a flame immediately above the leaves, drawing it down into the leaves the whole time you inhale. The leaves can be smoked in a short stemmed tobacco pipe, in a bong, or in a "steamroller" pipe. Fill up a medium size bowl with leaves. Use a hand held butane lighter that will go out when you are no longer pressing it, not a match. Have a large ashtray or tip proof bowl to set the pipe in when you feel you've had enough. Remember that, when tripping, you may forget you are holding a lit pipe. You could drop it, causing a burn or a fire; therefore, it is best to have a sitter present when smoking. First effects will be noticed within a minute of inhaling. After 5-6 minutes the effects will gradually begin to subside. The total duration of the trip may be less than 30 minutes or as long as an hour. Extract-enhanced leaves can also be smoked. Extract-enhanced leaves can be very strong and should only be smoked when a sitter is present. It is possible to vaporize leaves or extract in a special vaporizer that heats up material without burning it. Vaporization can be deceiving. Because very little smoke is produced, it is possible to inhale a very large dose without realizing it. Anyone trying vaporization absolutely MUST have a sitter present. Many commercial vaporizers made for Cannabis will not work for Salvia. Special Salvia vaporizers can be built easily, but vaporization is not for those new to Salvia. Vaporization of pure Salvinorin is also possible. This is extremely dangerous, as it's very easy to vaporize too large a dose. To be done safely, vaporization of salvinorin requires weighing the dose on a very precise chemical balance capable of weighing salvinorin in micrograms (millionths of a gram). These analytical balances cost well over $1000. Vaporizing salvinorin is definitely not for beginners!
Many people find it difficult to achieve a satisfactory level of effects from the leaf in its natural state. People vary in their sensitivity to salvinorin A. Some people are highly sensitive and have no difficulty achieving a profound level of effects; others are extremely insensitive and require a dose 2 - 3 times higher than average.
A ball or cylinder of rolled up leaves is made. This is called a pruim. It is to be chewed. The leaves are chewed slowly, about one chew every 10 seconds. They are kept under your tongue between chews. For half an hour keep the pruim that is being chewed, and the juice that forms, in your mouth. If you can, hold it in your mouth without spitting or swallowing. Then, after the half hour chewing time is over, spit it all out. Have a bowl to spit into, and a towel handy. Salvia juice stains carpets and other fabrics, so be sure the bowl won't tip over. While pruims can be made from either fresh leaves or dried leaves, those made from dry leaves are less bitter. To make a pruim from dried leaves, weigh out 2-8 grams of dried leaves. Gram scales accurate enough for this can be purchased for under $50. If you have no scale, count out 8 to 26 large whole dried leaves. Place the leaves in a small bowl of cool water for 10 minutes. Once the leaves are wet and have been soaking for about 10 minutes, remove the leaves from the water, squeeze the excess water out of them, and ball them up into a pruim. Some people skip this soaking step when they are in a hurry, but chewing on brittle dry leaves may be unpleasant. If you wish, you can sweeten the pruim with sugar, honey, Stevia extract or an artificial sweetener like Equal®. This will make it less bitter and more pleasant to chew. If fresh leaves are used instead of dry ones, you will need from 8 to 28 large fresh leaves. The effect of Salvia pruims can be increased by first treating your mouth in a special way to increase its ability to absorb salvinorin. To do this you will need a toothbrush and an alcohol/menthol containing mouthwash such as Cool Mint Listerine®, (or any other brand that contains alcohol and menthol). Gently brush the lining of your mouth, including the tissue under your tongue, and the top surface of your tongue. This removes layers of dead cells normally present. Do not brush hard enough to cause bleeding. Then rinse with the mouthwash for at least 30 seconds. Be sure to get mouthwash everywhere in your mouth, including under your tongue. Then spit out the mouthwash and rinse once with water. You will experience very little in the first 12 to 15 minutes of chewing. Don't be misled by this. Full effects are usually felt by 30 minutes (the time you spit out the pruim). They remain on this level for about 20 minutes more, and then start to decrease. The whole trip seldom lasts much longer than an hour and a quarter, but this varies.
There are pros and cons to each method. Some people report that a pruim gives a stronger, deeper, more visionary trip than smoking. Others report that chewing doesn't work for them at all, but smoking does. For those who get little effect from either method, the two methods can be combined. First chew a pruim, and then, after spitting it out, light up. If you already smoke tobacco or Cannabis you will probably be comfortable with smoking Salvia. If you are a non-smoker you will probably prefer the pruim method. Bear in mind that smoking anything, even Salvia, can't be good for your lungs. Unlike smoke, a pruim does not irritate your lungs. It requires quite a bit more dried leaf for a pruim trip than for a smoke trip. If you have very little leaf material available, smoking is the way to get a trip out of the little you have. Pruim trips come on slowly but last longer. They are better for exploring Salvia's world. They are better for deep meditation. Until you know how sensitive to Salvia you are, do not experiment with extracts, vaporizers, or salvinorin. Chewing pruim, or smoking leaves, will take many people all the way to level 5. There is no need for these people to experiment with stronger and more dangerous ways of taking Salvia. There are some people-albeit a minority-who, even after many experiments, find they remain "Salvia-hardheads." They never experience more than a slight Salvia effect from smoking, or from a pruim. Some of these hardheads will get satisfactory results if they chew a pruim, and then immediately smoke after spitting out the pruim. Others will find even this ineffective. For them, extract-enhanced leaves are necessary to produce effects. See how sensitive you are before experimenting with stronger forms of Salvia. With a little practice, pruim chewing, or smoking, or combining the two ("boosting"), work quite well for most people. Many people find it takes several meetings with Salvia before a "breakthrough" experience occurs. So don't label yourself a "Salvia-hardhead" too soon.
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Updated 4 November, 2006
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