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How to Smoke Salvia

Updated on March 12, 2011

Salvia is a substance that should always be consumed with caution, and with proper supervision. While the effects of salvia are short-term, the hallucinogenic properties are intense, and can severely interfere with functioning for a period of 10 to 25 minutes, and in some cases, even longer, depending on the amount consumed and the potency of the salvia extracts.

Smoking is the most common method of consumption among those who use the plant as a hallucinogenic drug. The extracts of salvia contain psychoactive compounds known as Salvinorin A, the most potent hallucinogenic, naturally-occurring compound known to man. Salvinorin A has very little effect when ingested, since stomach acids often destroy these active compounds. For this reason, those seeking to take advantage of the psychedelic effects of salvia will often either smoke the leaves of the plant, chew the leaves as a quid, or create a tincture from plant extracts.

The leaves of salvia can be smoked through a pipe or a water bong, much in the same manner as marijuana, or even tobacco. Smoking salvia from a water bong or pipe will help cool the smoke, since it is necessary to heat the leaves to a high temperature in order to release Salvinorin A from the plant. The high temperature requirement leads many people to prefer the use of a torch lighter when smoking salvia. The leaves are harvested and then dried for a period of several days before smoking.

Smoking salvia results in immediate effects of the plant’s psychoactive compounds. These effects are the most intense for about five minutes, then begin tapering off for the next five to twenty minutes. There are several potencies of salvia leaves and extracts sold for this purpose. In some cases, these potencies will be expressed with a number followed by an x to indicate a multiplicative factor. These numbers refer to the amount of Salvinorin A present in the salvia leaves.

Some online salvia retailers and manufacturers will also refer to different potencies in terms of color. Blue, green, yellow, and red varieties of salvia offer different strengths of plant extracts, and can produce varying levels of intensity when smoked. It is often recommended that those smoking salvia for the first time begin with a less potent compound, and then progress only when they are certain that they can handle the effects.

Standing while smoking salvia is not recommended. When smoking, sitting or lying down results in a more relaxed experience and decreases the potential for dangerous hallucinations or accidents. The room should be completely clear of debris or anything that could interfere with the overall experience. A “sitter:” that is sober should be on hand to monitor the experience and report any dangerous side effects.


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