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Salvia Divinorum: Side Effects and Experiences

Updated on April 16, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Recreational drug use was fun for a time, now I find it to be silly and better avoided for healthy pursuits.

Space cadets take a lot of risks with themselves.
Space cadets take a lot of risks with themselves. | Source

There was a time when I believed that it would be fun to, "trip balls," by taking psychedelics but I never really got around to it other than high doses of THC which turned into 11-Hydroxy and smoking some salvia divinorum. After smoking salvia I decided that I had no interest in anything more intense, nor anything less intense either. I lost interest because, apparently, when compared to almost all other psychedelics salvia is like getting hit by a truck. I'm going to explain what it is like to smoke salvia, and why my verdict is, "Avoid at all costs."

When I had heard that you could get a potent psychedelic from most local head shops, no questions asked, I was excited and started visiting my local venues to see who was carrying. The second place I went to was selling 5x, 10x, 15x, 25x, and 100x salvia divinorum packets by the gram(see here for dosage information). Being inexperienced with psychedelics, I decided that I would start with 10x, though the head shop advised me not to even buy the stuff. It says on the package it isn't for human consumption, but after all the videos I had watched I wasn't about to be deterred, because I'm dumb.

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The Smoking Experience

There are multiple ways to ingest salvia divinorum: Smoke it, chew the leaves, or brew a tea with the leaves and drink it. I opted into the smoking of the extract, and I used a Swedish bubbler water pipe variant in order to do so. If you ever want to use your pipe for smoking anything else, ever again, I advise you do not smoke salvia extract out of it. The salvia extract, once smoked, coated the pipe with a disgusting orange goo that stained the glass permanently and left a foul taste. You have been warned.

So now to my official experience of smoking salvia; we set the mood as we were told to in a dark, cool, and relaxing room where we had a bed to lay on and no way to hurt ourselves like jumping out the window or having access to dangerous objects. We loaded up the bubbler to the brim with extract, and I took my place on the bed where I felt most comfortable. My girlfriend turned on the Army of Mushrooms album by Infected Mushroom because I enjoy being a walking cliché, and I pressed the bubbler to my lips and began to burn and inhale the salvia until it popped through the pipe. I quickly set down the pipe and laid back.

It took no more than three seconds for the salvia to take effect and it was strong as heck. I immediately lost control of my body, the most recognizable traits of the salvia taking effect now being the deepening of my voice, drastic slowing of my speech, and inability to form coherent thoughts. From my perspective it had felt as if time had slowed, and I was losing all control of my body and mind. I can't be sure of what it was that I was seeing at the immediate peak of the trip, but I do know what I remember feeling. The computer screen playing a video to the music of Infected Mushroom had locked me into it.

When I say the screen locked me into it I felt as if I was trapped in a tunnel made of the video that was presented on the computer screen, and in fact that I was the woman who was twirling some poi though she was only a still-motion image. I sat up off the bed at great effort and began to move my hands in the shape she was moving the poi, and that was when my girlfriend asked me if I was alright. She is more experienced with psychedelics, but I was always told never to ask anyone if they are alright only to direct their attention to positive things, but she made me question whether or not I was alright while tripping.

Having brought my attention to whether or not I was alright, I dropped back into the bed and started to moan with discomfort. The light that had been left on next to the computer was now at the forefront of my attentions, and I was being blinded as I yelled, "Turn off that f*(%ing light!" because all I could feel was the brightness in the back of my eyes. The salvia was beginning to wear off but that didn't stop the anger that was caused by the light feeling as if it was piercing my skull, and what I would describe as flashing newsprint began to scroll past my eyes. The newsprint quickly turned to a purple chain-link fence made of ants, and then the trip was over and my emotions went back to normal.

I'll give you the gist of my next and final trip on salvia for the sake of shortening an already verbose and boring story: I was convinced that I was being hunted by a man in a white suit, whose name was John, he was going to kill my girlfriend and I, and he had turned the pipe into a bomb and the lighter into a detonator. I nearly broke my girlfriend's hand trying to get the "bomb" out of her hand and throw it across the room.

These trips lasted no more than five minutes, but they felt like they were lasting an eternity. Time didn't seem to flow properly while on salvia, and there was no making it go faster or escaping the intensity without sticking it out to the end.

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Headaches, man, horrible headaches.
Headaches, man, horrible headaches. | Source

Yucky Side Effects

The side effects of ingesting salvia were probably the most unpleasant part of the overall unfavorable experience. For us the symptoms were quite flu-like, massive headaches and nausea with muscle fatigue. These problems lasted for about three days, and no amount of drinking water and sleeping would get rid of them. The headaches seemed to persist for a week or so afterward despite serious after-care for myself. Along with the headaches was an increased anxiety, which I would think should be attributed to the traumatizing experience of the intense trip.

If I had to go back all over again, with the knowledge I have now, I think I'd stop myself and let myself know that there are better and safer things to be doing with my time and money. The severe intensity of the trip, and the recovery time made the entire scenario so off-putting I can't recommend it to anyone. Avoid it at all costs is my final verdict.

For a more in-depth look at the side-effects of salvia consumption please click here.

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