EXPERIENCE Dosing & method of consumption Salvia divinorum can be chewed, smoked, or taken as a purified tincture. A threshold dose of Salvinorin A is 200mcg, while the upper limit for most people is around 1000mcg (1mg). The amount of plant material, extract, or tincture required for a single dose will depend on the strength of the product being used.
One quarter to half a gram of dried leaf is a fairly mid-level dose for smoking. It’s important to inhale the entire dose in two to three minutes, though, due to the quick metabolization of Salvinorin A in the body. A water pipe or high-temperature vaporizer can make this easier. Keep in mind, however, that two products of allegedly the same strength may contain very different levels of Salvinorin A.
Chewing Salvia divinorum involves rolling fresh or dried leaves (rehydrated in water) into a ball or cylinder called a “quid.” The quid is kept under the tongue and chewed once every ten seconds or so for at least half an hour before its spit out. With a quid, a mid-level dose of Salvinorin A requires about 30g of fresh leaves or 2-8g of dried leaves. The chew can be sweetened with sugar or Stevia extract to help with the bitter flavor.
What to expect
When smoking or vaporizing Salvia divinorum, the onset happens fast, peaking within the first 180 seconds and declining after 5-30 minutes. The quid chewing method takes a bit longer. You may feel nothing for the first 15-20 minutes and any effects you do feel may be diminished by light or noise. The peak effects last 30-60 minutes. Taking a purified tincture is much like quidding, but the onset is much faster.
At low doses, Salvia divinorum can cause a tingling sensation, increased awareness of the body, and enhanced clarity or presence of mind. Higher doses are associated with a loss of self-awareness, fast-changing visuals, physical impairment or dizziness, and revelatory mystical experiences. Some other, more specific effects of Salvia divinorum include tunnel vision, the sensation of merging with or becoming objects, seeing entities or beings, hearing voices, laughing uncontrollably, and experiencing overlapping realities or worlds
EFFECTS Pharmacology Salvinorin A, the psychoactive molecule in Salvia divinorum, is considered the most potent naturally occurring psychedelic compound. It is structurally and chemically unique from most other natural psychedelics. Typical psychedelic compounds contain nitrogen, but Salvinorin A is only made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. It was the first non-nitrogenous psychedelic to be identified, as well as the first psychoactive diterpene.
Receptor binding Unlike the classical psychedelics, Salvinorin A shows no binding affinity for any of the serotonin (5-HT) receptors. Its mechanism of action lies in strong and highly selective bonds to the kappa-opioid receptors (or KORs). KOR agonists are known to cause hallucinations or visions, dissociation, and a sense of altered reality.
Benefits The Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca have long used Salvia divinorum for ceremonial purposes. In fact, it is revered as an incarnation of the Virgin Mary, and is traditionally used for healing and divination. In the Western world, more people are beginning to use this substance to treat depression, enhance their meditation practice, and connect to their spirituality.
Meditation with Salvia Divinorum/Salvinorin A
Investigators: Ian Soutar, Rick Strassman, M.D. E-mail: email@example.com Sponsor: MAPS
This project evaluates Salvia divinorum as a tool for enhancing meditation work. Buddhist, Quaker, Sufi and other meditation techniques are used by participants in this double blind evaluation of group meditation combined with low doses of Salvia divinorum. One third of the subjects will receive a placebo, one third will receive a very low dose and one third will receive a low dose.
January 15, 2000
We are starting in the new year with a meeting to taste test the placebo vs. the real thing. We have someone in the group who is a nurse. She has experience with statistics and drug testing ... so she will be a great resource.
DOSE We decided that 1.5 grams chewed is the maximum because some people experience gagging with 2 grams. So we are setting the very low dose at 0.5 grams and the low dose as 1.5 grams. FORMAT We decided to do a group meditation only ... no individual studies of private meditation. The reason was organizational. In the group session we fill out the questions after the session.
PLACEBO The placebo was hard to establish after all because some subjects could detect the bitterness of the herb even with washed samples. So we moved back to using comfrey as a placebo... looks perfect but it lacks the bitterness. We are adding some quinine sulphate to create the bitterness. That is the same flavoring as in the italian soft drink Brio or in german bitters. Herbal double blind studies sure are hard to do because it is hard to duplicate a plant material.
November 3, 1999
An additional detail that has required rewriting the schedule of the double blind study is that we found a way to remove the bitterness. This eliminates our need to add quinine to duplicate the bitterness. The double blind study has not started yet.
In the dose establishment phase of this study we have tested subjects on 1/2 gram, 1 gram, 1.5 grams and 2.0 grams of dried and crumbled Salvia divinorum leaves. We had a hard time coming up with a placebo. Dried Comfrey leaves are a very close duplicate, but they lack the bitterness of Salvia divinorum We had a breakthrough in July when we found that if you wash dried and crumbled Salvia divinorum leaves in two changes of water‹2 full glasses of water per gram‹the bitterness of the Salvia is gone. The active ingredient Salvinorin-A is insoluble in water. When treated in this way you cannot tell Salvia divinorum from comfrey leaves prepared in the same way.
Almost everyone liked the 1.0 gram level for meditation. The half-gram dose was rarely detected by anyone. The 2.0 gram dose was too strong for meditation. Effects from the dried Salvia leaves soaked and washed in water and then placed under the tongue were as follows. The actual technique is to chew the leaves every five minutes or so and return them to under the tongue.
0.5 grams... half of the subjects noticed a slight effect... a clearer than normal mind that is free from distractions. The other half noticed nothing at all.
1.0 grams...everyone noticed it when they were in a quiet room with no distractions. Mind is clear and meditation is unusually easy with few distracting thoughts. This dose was only detected by anyone when they were trying to meditate. The effect made it easier tc oncentrate without thoughts... a definite plus for meditation. If they, however, listened to music or did some activity they could not notice any effect at all.
1.5 grams... half of subjects notice a trance like state beginning to happen. Effect is slight but it inhibits meditation for some.
2.0 grams produced a slightly trance like effect for some people with time distortion. Generally people found that level too strong for meditation. The effect was enjoyable however... a bit dream like and time seemed to slow down.
So those are the casual results from the dose establishment phase of the study. The next step will be the double blind study.
May 1, 1999
These dosage levels are being established through a set of non-blind dose establishment sessions. The herb is administered sublingually in dried leaf form. Dosages range from 1/4 gram to 1 gram of dried leaf. This quantity is about 1/5 to 1/10th of the amount normally used to induce psychedelic states. Preliminary sessions have shown that the effects at this dosage level cannot be detected except when the subject sits quietly with eyes closed. These effects include alertness, unusual clarity of mind and an enhanced ability to concentrate. Some subjects are reporting space and time distortion effects. One unusual result that has been observed is headache relief. Data on this effect will be collected in an informal manner during the experiment. One subject who suffers from migraine found his headache completely eliminated over 30 minutes. Another observed the same effect with a minor headache. If informal results look promising we may do a follow up study to see if Salvia divinorum might have some merit for headache treatment. We have been contacted by another researcher who wants to start his own project to evaluate S.D. for headache relief.
The double blind phase of the experiment will begin in early June 1999. During each session they will meditate as a group while holding a small quantity of the herb (or placebo) under the tongue. After the session each person will answer a questionnaire to evaluate the effects of the herb and to determine whether or not the herb enhanced their ability to meditate. The questionnaire is a modified version of the HRS (Hallucinogen Rating Scale) developed by Rick Strassman.
This amateur research project has progressed quite smoothly without the usual beaurocratic and approval delays that are the rule with professional studies. With proper guidance a project such as this can be carried out in a scientific and methodical way and deliver valuable data to other researchers.
MAPS has purchased the materials and paid for the chemical analysis. Continuing assistance is being offered at no charge, in the spirit of amateur research, by MAPS (professional) members. Thanks to all who are currently contributing their knowledge to this project.
September 18, 2000
The Salvia Study is very slow but we have made significant progress. 8 of us have met several times for meditation without the placebo. Many of us have meditated for 10 to 20 years and more.
The remarkable thing is that every time we sit...right from the first time...the mediation group was very harmonious and it was a great meditation.
We have worked together on several Saturdays tasting different herbs and have found the placebo that works. Washed dried nettles is slightly lighter in weight than Salvia Divinorum, but when it is wet you almost cannot tell the difference.
To compensate for the very slight difference we add an unpredictably strong pinch (1/16 gram) of mint. The taste of the mint is so strong it masks any difference.
Finally we have something that fools everyone.
On we go into the testing phase....
- Ian Soutar