Editor's Note - this account is from a 'Salvia sensitive' - I'm not suggesting that a first experience of this intensity is the norm with untreated leaf. 

Please also note comments which are the personal view of the author, - in particular those concerning toxicity.  Ideas and opinions should not be taken for granted as scientific fact.

  A Detailed First Experience Account with Further Thoughts on Salvia

This is my 3rd attempt to send a mail to you on this (the reasons are various, mostly health issues), but, well, maybe I've thought it through a little finer now. 

Salvia has been a unique and life-enhancing experience, right off the board compared to anything else. Probably everyone for whom it works would feel that what has happened is unique, and I would think that's probably true!

Your leaf, by the way, is way ahead of the other samples I've (by now) tried, these being, from the 'another' Company: leaf (3.5g packet) and 10x (1g phial). If that is 10x then I'd have to say that it's more than just Salvinorin A content that is responsible for what happens. Your leaf has a quality and a life to it that I didn't feel was so evident with the others. It's partly down to this that my plans regarding salvia are 'taking root' as they are: start growing salvia as a long-term project and in the meantime try to get some better leaf than the shop can sell me.

Anyway, you are right. Salvia's not an 'overblown legal high' like those 1st generation herbal high mixes which I guess were fine if you wanted to quit tobacco, but...

The experience, so far as I can give account of it

{Salvia experience #1 account}

First experience, two hits of bong. On second hit, I heard 2 sounds simultaneously: a deep note, descending into inaudible, and a rising , zipping (or unzipping) sound, not a single note but as a series, as a zip would sound. I looked up and to the right, turning my head as I did so, and something happened. There was the feeling you get when the roller coaster has paused just before doing something stomach-churning, coupled with a sense of 'uh-oh'. I said aloud 'WOW!' and as I spoke, the word seemed to propel me upwards onto my feet (the feet just seemed to follow if you know what I mean. Then, when I was fully erect with no more body left to go UP, I kept on going, right out of my body. At this point I was on my feet, exteriorised all over the room (i.e. not occupying any particular point in space) and also, I must add, perfectly able to see through my eyes and experience sensation through my body. The physical sensation was unbelievable; I won't even attempt to describe it! I waved my arms from side to side, watching the LSD-like trails, then the Salvia kicked in more strongly.

The trails were not fading as they would on LSD! My right arm was a solid sheet of tissue, parallel to the floor, recognisably human at this point, with fingers at one end of the sheet. I wiggled the fingers, amazed that they were still functioning in this state; I looked at my body. I was VERY conscious of having great freedom of movement, but with a sort of proviso, this being that I was somehow 'rooted' to the floor, rather like a plant. A plant!!! Cognition after cognition came to me. I certainly LOOKED like a plant, specifically something tree- or bush- like. I was in heaven as tendrils or branches snaked and coiled into a different kind of space.

I shouted to my friend, who was in the other room. The room was by now full of open-eye 3D visuals moving at speed in all directions, including some that aren't usually there if you know what I mean, snaking into and out of other dimensions of time and space. I tried vocalising, and the words came out as bubbles, exactly like a child's bubble-blowing kit, but more 'permanent' , persisting . The bubbles did not move, were not propelled, so to see them I had to move my head back, which I did, prodding the bubbles as I moved (they could be indented without bursting). All the time I was saying 'Look! Look!' and filling the room with more and more branches.

All this took place over a period of a few minutes in 'real' time. There is more, like the period of introspection which followed, which belongs more in a conversation than a sober account, ha ha. You have the gist of it though. If I hear from you or if you express any interest, I would like to relate the two subsequent experiences, one of which was open-eyed 3D visual (ha! i'm picking up the jargon of the Erowid people!) and dare I say it, quite scary, the other of which was experienced in absolute darkness and had some very interesting events happening. But like I said, maybe you get lots of mails like this and maybe wouldn't deem yet more accounts worthwhile. I was there in the 70's; I know what listening to streaming audio from acid-addled trippers can be like, ha ha! 

{end of salvia experience #1 account}

I'd be glad to write out #'s 2 & 3 for your files. I think the scary one perhaps SHOULD be typed out for your files as a public service, since I feel it's important potential newcomers to salvia should have an idea what they're getting into, and that experience would make, well, USEFUL reading if nothing else! I can think of few scarier things than the head of Keith Richards turning and lifting right off the cover of the latest UNCUT, in full monochrome 3D! 

For the record , I'm just about to hit 49 (couple of weeks to go now!). I've lived mostly in Glasgow and Edinburgh , now living in Glasgow. I'm 'suffering' from what I'm told is an eventually terminal illness (though it will - I hope - take at least another couple of years to do it), and mention this in light of the fact that although I don't have a liver worth talking about anymore, and most drugs of any sort (legal or otherwise) make my body feel scuzzy and unclean, salvia appears to be a very 'clean' thing.* This is interesting vis-a-vis Salvinorin A toxicity; I'd reckon I'm a pretty sensitive organism when it comes to ingestion of chemicals of any sort... a couple of beers is major drug abuse as far as my liver's concerned.

*Salvia is an experience for which static - somatic, emotional, whatever - is noticeable by its absence.

 

Notes

Somatic

Perspiration can be profuse after smoking Salvia.

Noticeable decrease in body surface temperature - this is as distinct from cooling through sweat evaporation.

Skin sensitivity is greatly increased. This is interesting: one of the symptoms of liver dysfunction is overheating followed by sweating; the sweat burns as it dries upon the skin, as though there was some corrosive element in the sweat not normally present.  This has been mooted as bile salts not metabolised properly turning up in the blood and thence the sweat. Exertion will result in an unpleasant episode, not unlike lit cigarettes being held close to the skin, or the way washed clothes not rinsed fully burn the skin due to the high pH of the bleaches/detergents in the washing solution. So I had to think about this one. On Salvia, the experience obviously qualitatively modulated my perception of this. At one point (because I was cold) I got under the quilt on the bed and could feel individual threads of what is a pretty smoothly woven cotton duvet cover. The slightest blip in the weave felt like a large protrusion. Coupled with the weight of the duvet (a light quilt of synthetic material, not a downie) this was not pleasant, although it did not disturb me unduly. [I was acutely aware of the skin all over my unclothed body, and at one point perceived that I was 'budding' protrusions in much the same way as a plant would. On the same spot on both arms (between elbows and biceps, pointing outwards) I clearly perceived thorns growing; at the base of these 'thorns' was the same apparent mechanism and structure for these as would be observed in a plant, say, a rose bush.]

Sensory

All senses, as with just about any psychedelic, are greatly heightened. Noticeable 'bleeding' of one percept into other percept(s), e.g. sounds perceived as visible transparent bubbles expelled or extruded from the mouth; things having their own intrinsic 'sound' not relating to any sound produced by that thing in consensual reality - ripping/tearing, 'unzipping', crackling were all very much to the fore. Interestingly, there was an accompanying sensation that the fabric of 'reality' or 'existence' was being torn, ruptured.

Vision, I'd like to point out, was, in open-eye, in colours predominantly brown and green, plant colours, even in a room coloured heavenly blue to lilac and violet. Closed-eye of course gave a more electric quality, with colours that normally look good in juxtaposition to the fore, e.g. red and green. One beautiful little reality I visited consisted of a residual 'me' present at the centre, located in a house which had many doorless rooms/chambers and was devoid of any objects. I began to move through this structure (actually it was more like being still while the structure scrolled through and past me, a discarnate entity 'posititioned' in mid-air. The floor was of the richest red imaginable; the celings and walls were green, and patterned with irridescent Salvia leaves arranged in tight 2D geometric permutations. They looked quite real - I could see the edges on some leaves curl slightly, lifting out from the arrangement. The structure, the leaves, whatever was perceiving it (a 'me' that was in a sense me but not in the way I normally perceive myself in relation to what I'm perceiving) - all were infinitely alive and aware. Subject/object were not as clear-cut as normally; in fact, the very idea of 'me' and 'not me' was not a relevant or workable concept. Other aesthetically pleasing colour combos included yellow/electric blue/black.

Psychological

It seems that Salvia, doing what it does (well, to me at any rate) could easily, given the wrong set'n'setting, result in some degree of 'insanity' (which could be defined here as an inability to function within the constraints of consensual reality, or, internally, a dislocation unnecessary to describe if you know psychedelics). I've, in the course of my life, ingested a pretty wide variety of 'entheogens'. For some of them I had no name, just the given description and recommendation. With knowledge I have ingested LSD, DOM,

Psilocybin, Mescaline (my all-time fave!!!), d-9THC, MDA, MDMA (etc etc). I've a working knowledge of that class of substance known as the Deliriants (Belladonna, Jimson Weed, Fly Agaric, Hyoscine, Hyoscamine, Atropine), which class also gives possibilty for internal exploration. All other classes of substances have been investigated to a greater or lesser degree. I'd have to say that I've never taken anything like Salvia in my life, unless I cop out and tell myself that it's just another psychedelic (it's anything but!!!). I certainly did lose the place as a teenager, when Purple Haze and Sunshine and Owsley (along with Window Pane at 800 mcg and produced from an organic ergot precursor the best LSD by far) really were those things, with their own unique and recognisable 'flavour'. For two or three years - the longest 2 or 3 years of my life - I occupied my own personal hell, with no one to consult as to how I might somehow come out of this. During this time I even made strenuous efforts to meet Ronnie (R.D.) Laing, in the belief that he was one of the few people who had been this far out and mapped it all out to any degree comprehensible to others. I did come across as being fairly sane and composed, holding down jobs and building relationships, but it was becoming an increasingly difficult and complex balancing act which I felt might very well fall to pieces at some indeterminate point in the future. What brought me through it is suggested in my e-mail tag: I just let go (Handy Tip: if you're ever in that extremis, just paying attention to your breathing can be very helpful. It can shut the internal dialogue up for a space). 

So, it being a minor miracle that I can sit here and string words together, what danger is Salvia to this apparently shaky edifice?

Apparently - none. I have known raw fear after ingesting Salvia. No doubt about that, but to my mind Raw Fear is not in itself damaging, in fact it can give tone to one's life, lending urgency and focus and direction. To my mind, it's the kind of fear that niggles and gnaws that damages one, that and stress if the two are distinguishable, and in Salvia this is entirely absent. Whenever I felt that I was about to be tipped over into the maw of that infinite ineffable, there was something there to say to me 'THIS TOO WILL PASS'*. I don't feel any threat as such with Salvia, but whenever I feel inclined to smoke some, there's fear nearly every time, even when I feel quite composed and have a motivation to explore. 'I think I'll smoke some Salvia'... I ponder the idea for a moment... 'Mmm, maybe not right now' ...And nearly every time, I don't pick up that pipe. Funnily enough, the stand-out experiences happen when something breaks through the fear and the pipe somehow gets picked up (by whom or what? who's smoking who? I know it can be explained in neurological terms but there really is a 'felt presence' with Salvia and for me somehow it seems that this presence can precede the smoking. well Salvia does make paper chain dolls out of time's fabric, sooo...).

*Or, LOL, 'Jump!'

One more thing (I keep remembering whole areas I've been in) I'm moved to mention. Immediately after my first smoke of Salvia, as the room got more deeply shaded and colours turned to predominantly greens and browns and my body morphed out in all directions, I was aware of a very strong plant consciousness. I was perceiving the world, piercing space with all those probing shoots. It was a bit like time-lapse photography of plants growing (from the plant's viewpoint); the speed at one point terrifiied me. Some other psychoactive plants make you aware of this. Wierdly enough, the one I'm thinking of is opium (a sensation you don't get with the alkaloid extracts and derivatives, just the untreated exudate from the plant)

 

TOXICITY

I suffer from a degenerative liver disease, complicated by staph. aureus (MRSA) infection and spinal fractures. I also have coronary problems, a fact I've just discovered this past week at hospital.

Salvia lowers my body temperature.

It causes profuse sweating.

One might feel a little delicate after an experience, though other factors could cause or contribute to this.

And that's it. With what I've got, and believe me it would be perfectly logical to any doctor if I were to drop dead anytime, anything toxic about Salvia would, I think, be painfully evident.

 

That's about it. I'm sure I'll realise two minutes after sending this that there was a more concise and comprehensible way that I could have done this, but I hope that there is something of some small value here.

At any rate, my gratitude is boundless. You have given my life a new and welcome facet. I feel privileged, in a very humble way, to have been able to access this 'reality' within my life. I feel that it has helped my life in deep ways which I don't yet fully appreciate, and has certainly helped me to come to terms with my mortality (a subject which has been to the fore lately!). For this alone it would have been a journey worth taking.

I'll mail you soon with the aim of beginning a little nursery. Do feel free to mail me anytime. I would like to do whatever I can to propagate this little miracle. We must be responsible and careful with Salvia - it only takes a few foolish words and actions on someone's part, and Salvia could be on that Schedule 1 classification along with the powders. It helps that no one would take Salvia on a casual, fun basis (I've seen people try to do it, taking it on top of a pile of other things. One felt nothing, the other said he 'couldn't talk right now' and sat there looking terrified for ten minutes, after which he dismissed the whole thing as not worth doing again. It being my Salvia, I watched this with some annoyance - I felt they were not being respectful to the Salvia, which I felt should be taken quietly and in a composed way.).