The Salvia Trip That Took Me from Alaska to Texas
May 29, 2018 12:51 PM   Subscribe

"I went first to amuse my pal with the spectacle of his Mormon friend using a bong for the first time. I loaded the big glass bowl with half the foil packet, flash-fried it with a micro-torch, and took the kind of lungful you take to prove to your friend who kills people for a living that you are gruesome enough to hang. It tasted like burning snow tires, but I held my smoke like a hero until the floor beneath me turned into a whirlpool that sucked me into it. Apparently salvia is nothing at all like synthetic marijuana."

From Medium's Trips Worth Telling series, with guest curator Michael Pollan.
posted by palindromic (93 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
And this repeated itself for every minute of every day for eight years.

Oh HELL no.

*finishes article*

OH HELL NO.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Horrifying as Groundhog Day But I Know No One And Also I'm In Texas would be to actively live through, I still can't help but feel the dude was lucky to have picked up salvia instead of synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is fucking terrifying stuff. Between overdoses and the apparent aftereffects/addiction issues... yikes.

Then again, going by some reports, it seems possible that what they got hold of actually was synthetic marijuana, rather than salvia. The seizure seems pretty extreme.
posted by halation at 1:08 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


This article is even more shaking if you're familiar with Tyler, TX.
posted by Dillionaire at 1:10 PM on May 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


This story doesn't seem to have much of a coherent narrative. I get that it's supposed to be weird and that the experience itself didn't make a lot of sense, but the author's flourishes make this really hard to follow.
posted by chinese_fashion at 1:12 PM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


subjectivity: not even once
posted by thelonius at 1:14 PM on May 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Then again, going by some reports, it seems possible that what they got hold of actually was synthetic marijuana, rather than salvia. The seizure seems pretty extreme.

Yeah I thought salvia was pretty hard to overdose dangerously on - but I suppose it's not that well studied. It certainly has the potential to take you somewhere else, though. Although in my experience there's more "feeling the back of your skull rotating" and "possible contact with friendly woodland sprites?" than "living a quotidian dream life in Texas."
posted by atoxyl at 1:21 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Did he learn how to play the Ressikan flute?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:23 PM on May 29, 2018 [34 favorites]


So. It's like that Star Trek episode.
posted by odinsdream at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


Most documented reports of smoked salvia state that the duration is quite brief, well under an hour, sometimes on a few minutes. I agree with halation that this is probably not a salvia experience. As far as I know, salvia has no markers which might show on a blood or urine test, which it doesn't sounds like was done, anyway.
posted by Riverine at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


When synthetic marijuana first came out, it was reasonably close to the real thing. Then that particular formulation was made illegal, and the recipe changed. Rinse and repeat throughout the years and what is out there now is as close to cannabis as “bath salts” are to bath salts. Who knows what you are getting?

I have heard only bad things about salvia. It is the sort of thing where you should have a sober friend to babysit you and keep you out of trouble.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oh, so Medium is limiting access to articles now, huh? No claps for that.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


I... don't really believe this story. The mind is capable of some pretty amazing things, but synthesizing 8 years of hyper-realistic experience in 45 seconds?
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:34 PM on May 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


sometimes on a few minutes.

His experience was less than a minute. Synthetic weed is supposed to last 15-45 minutes or more.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:35 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh... "salvia" not... "saliva", I was sure for a minute there that I was stoned and well, unfortunately, no, just dim.
posted by sammyo at 1:37 PM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I would guess it was less of a "seizure" than just dropping to the ground, honestly.

I'm at work, or I'd link to the classic "driving on salvia" video. (Video contains no actual driving)
posted by mikeh at 1:38 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


link to the classic "driving on salvia" video

Here you go: "driving on salvia".

See also "gardening on salvia" and "writing a letter to Congress on salvia".

He reminds me of Harris Wittels. :(
posted by elsietheeel at 1:49 PM on May 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


I have heard only bad things about salvia. It is the sort of thing where you should have a sober friend to babysit you and keep you out of trouble.

Oh, salvia is the bee's pajamas, but like any good hallucinogenic it's definitely recommended to have a babysitter the first time or two you do it. That being said, this particular experience sounds nothing like salvia.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I... don't really believe this story. The mind is capable of some pretty amazing things, but synthesizing 8 years of hyper-realistic experience in 45 seconds?

Once on a rainy day in the mid-00s I went to get a blood draw in Van Nuys, in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley. Even though I had my arm strapped to the desk for his benefit, the phlebotomist missed my vein, and I said, "Whoa, I feel kinda funny."

And then I was flying high over Woodland Hills, another neighborhood of the SFV rather farther west than Van Nuys. The sun was rising, the air was clear, and the trees were green and golden. I landed on my driveway on Shoup Avenue, walked in my front door, kissed my wife good and kids morning, and proceeded to live the next days of my life rather uneventfully but still satisfyingly.

Then I woke up, and I was trying to hit the phlebotomist with my arm that was still strapped to the desk. Not only did I miss my life on Shoup for months, I had to change my diet to lower my cholesterol.

So yes, I suspect that if my mind can synthesize something like that when the brain loses blood pressure, something more hyperreal when the brain has full blood pressure plus an unexplored psychoactive is completely possible.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2018 [43 favorites]


I... don't really believe this story. The mind is capable of some pretty amazing things, but synthesizing 8 years of hyper-realistic experience in 45 seconds?

Your mind is very capable of making you feel like you had some 8-year hyper-realistic experience, even if it was way more abstract in the moment.
posted by dilaudid at 2:00 PM on May 29, 2018 [24 favorites]


The mind is capable of some pretty amazing things, but synthesizing 8 years of hyper-realistic experience in 45 seconds?

I did salvia once by accident. A friend and I were smoking weed and I started noticing that I was feeling really weird and slow. My friend was like “oh no, I forgot I’d packed this with salvia.” So I got really mad at him, and he kept telling me it would be fine. Eventually I just sat there, super high, for ages, just staring at the TV. You know how Adult Swim used to run twice? At like 11 PM and then the exact same lineup at 2 AM? Eventually I realized we were watching the same show we’d been watching when we started. We’d been baked out of our skulls for three hours and it was still going strong.

Then I looked at the clock and it was like 11:02 or something. We hadn’t even gotten to the first ad break.

So I’m not saying I tripped hard and had a mystical journey, but we definitely experienced three hours of conversation in the space of like a minute. You’re supposed to hold the smoke for 30 seconds or something, and I never did that, but I can absolutely believe somethting like this could be possible if you were smoking salvia.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2018 [18 favorites]


There have been two mentions in this thread about salvia inducing a "rotating" effect, which is interesting, because the one time I did it the entire room sorta spiraled around a point in the upper corner of the ceiling, and I couldn't say a word except "clockwise", because that's how my world was slowly rotating, like a Windows95 screen saver.

My friend had David Lee Roth jump out of a poster and give her a motivational speech, which sounded way better.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:03 PM on May 29, 2018 [33 favorites]


I tried salvia once, I had a friend babysitting me, got comfy on my couch, inhaled a lungful, jokingly said “see you on the other side” and then nothing happened.

There are occasions when I wonder if I’m not still sat on that couch.

I’ve did have a couple of condensed time/other lives lived out experience on large amounts of E but forgot the details almost immediately after while in the middle of attempting to describe them.

There’s a Star Trek episode with something similar.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 2:13 PM on May 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


I just want to know if he’s ever tried to look up the people he knew for eight-years-in-forty-five-seconds.
posted by egypturnash at 2:16 PM on May 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


The first time I did salvia it only lasted about 3 minutes of real time, but inside the trip itself I was an astronaut going through a black hole, and I was watching it happen from the view of a news team's desk who were interviewing me. I stood up from my real life chair a few times and everytime I did the trip would go decades into the future, and the news desk and the anchors changed. I must have gone through a few hundred years, and in the interviews with the news anchors had mentioned "my" family and friends. I basically went through an entirely different life in 3 minutes. It was brutal, but also really eye-opening and exciting. I've only had one really bad salvia trip, but I don't feel like doing it at this age anymore. I'll take LSD these days for that stuff.
posted by gucci mane at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


My friend had David Lee Roth jump out of a poster and give her a motivational speech, which sounded way better.

Might as well jump! Go ahead and JUMP!

Thanks DLR!! I owe this gold medal in track and field to you!
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:24 PM on May 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


Man, I thought I was the only one who had that Tyler, TX hallucination.

Never did get to sing "Born to be Wild" with that cover band either.
posted by panglos at 2:39 PM on May 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Most documented reports of smoked salvia state that the duration is quite brief, well under an hour, sometimes on a few minutes.

It was a matter of minutes - didn't feel like it, though.
posted by atoxyl at 2:47 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


egypturnash: "I just want to know if he’s ever tried to look up the people he knew for eight-years-in-forty-five-seconds."

According to his bio on Medium, he lives in Texas now, so maybe he found them!
posted by capricorn at 2:48 PM on May 29, 2018


Also, potentially related (and not to be read before bed): Junji Ito - The Long Dream
posted by capricorn at 3:01 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


When synthetic marijuana first came out, it was reasonably close to the real thing.

Even the early ones - JWH-018, JWH-073 etc. - were considered a little sketchy from a safety perspective due to the presence of a chemical moiety associated with carcinogenic metabolites. Not sure whether it was even conclusively determined whether it does or does not produce any. They certainly weren't scraping the bottom of the barrel of drug candidates they way they are now, though.

One of the core problems is that THC is a partial agonist. Even if you fully saturate the receptors the effects reach a plateau that is below the level of danger, hence the near-impossibility of lethal overdose. That's not true of most of these analogs.
posted by atoxyl at 3:01 PM on May 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


See also this guy‘s account of getting married and having kids during brief unconsciousness from a head injury.
posted by inire at 3:03 PM on May 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Salvia is not “the bee’s pajamas”. It’s just profound confusion with zero high.
posted by moorooka at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


That said it doesn’t feel evil like synthetic weed does; don’t touch that shit even once
posted by moorooka at 3:16 PM on May 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


So this bit:

I fell, for a short time, down a swirling tube, and when I came back out into light, I was on the superrealistic deck of a small ski boat and vomiting up water. Superrealistic water was coming out of my lungs, along with the kind of coughing that makes your fingertips ache.

sounds a lot like Kevin's death experiences from the Leftovers. And this bit:

My Alaska life in a borrowed pair of sweatpants (due to a superrealistic accident in my slacks during the seizure) was still better than anything Tyler, Texas, had to offer.

is straight out of Rick & Morty S01E02.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:23 PM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hamilton's Pharmacopeia has an excellent episode on Salvia Divinorum. (requires a cable/Hulu subscription, I think)

I highly recommend viewing the rest of season 2 as well.
posted by nikoniko at 3:41 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I did salvia once by accident. A friend and I were smoking weed and I started noticing that I was feeling really weird and slow. My friend was like “oh no, I forgot I’d packed this with salvia.” So I got really mad at him, and he kept telling me it would be fine. Eventually I just sat there, super high, for ages, just staring at the TV. You know how Adult Swim used to run twice? At like 11 PM and then the exact same lineup at 2 AM? Eventually I realized we were watching the same show we’d been watching when we started. We’d been baked out of our skulls for three hours and it was still going strong.

Then I looked at the clock and it was like 11:02 or something. We hadn’t even gotten to the first ad break.


Did salvia once (intentionally) and yes, this was my experience, too. My roommate said it wasn't working, abruptly started laughing hysterically, and according to my perception kept hysterically laughing for hours. I stood up and walked to the kitchen, where, by the door, I witnessed the walls and ceiling of our house stretch and then shrink. I watched that happen, then got myself a drink, and it was over. The whole thing lasted about 10 minutes.

However, I've also had similar experiences when plain old stoned on regular weed. Once went to the movies and I was sure that a trailer for Shark Tale was the movie because it kept going and going.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:52 PM on May 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


I've done a fair amount of salvia, and a fair amount of synthetic weed, although neither for about 5 years. I had some intense experiences, and some extreme time compression/dilation on both, but never anything close to "8 years in 45 seconds," and some pretty weird hallucinatory effects, but nothing anywhere near this realistic. I think the author is doing a fair bit of exaggeration for the purpose of making an interesting story.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:07 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Damnit. I really though I understood this as an utterly implausible shaggy dog story whose punchline hinges upon choosing a specific drug that somehow makes the news despite doing absolutely nothing. Comments here suggest that I was wrong. It seems unlikely you're all just having me on.
posted by eotvos at 4:13 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe around 10 years ago someone I knew told me he had had an experience like this with salvia, where the five minute trip played out as a few years in an alternate life with a entire family in a different place. He never struck me as a fabulist, but I still wrote it off as implausible. Now I’m kind revisiting that assumption.
posted by invitapriore at 4:27 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm just going to go ahead and sheepishly admit that after n rereadings I'm still not sure whether the story is that A) he's an Alaskan who had a 45-second-long seizure that felt like eight years in Texas, or 2) he's a Texan who spend eight years believing he was a brain-damaged Alaskan, or iii) it's just a standup comic's not-to-be-taken-literally riff on the nature of subjective experience, i.e. thatsthejoke.jpg
posted by ook at 4:40 PM on May 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


Am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly, or am I a butterfly who is on salvia right now?
posted by Four Ds at 4:53 PM on May 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


I read more than half of this theard in a state of fascinated confusion resulting from my persistent, although usually well-controlled, dyslexia.

"salvia" is NOT saliva.
posted by mwhybark at 5:38 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


That's having it pretty good, Four Ds.
posted by clew at 6:18 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Salvia is legal AFAIK so y'all could hit up the smoke shop and grab some and try it yourselves.
posted by gucci mane at 7:00 PM on May 29, 2018


Salvia divinorum totally changed my life for the better and while I have a stockpile of quality extract I don’t know if I’ll bother with it again after two sessions. It’s enough just to get to the point where the impermanence of mind is mercilessly and rapidly laid bare—all the rest is kind of a twist into distraction, like watching the surf break for too long.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


I think I'd try a lot of other far-more-illegal drugs before I'd try salvia. It sounds like really powerful stuff.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:35 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


You're a bowling ball dreaming it's a plate of pastrami.
posted by biogeo at 7:41 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I did salvia once and had the perception that all my bones had melted and that the only thing preventing me from becoming a puddle of flesh was focusing really hard on keeping my head up straight and then it was over and lasted maybe 5 minutes? Felt like much more and much less, and it wore off very quickly and had no noticeable lingering effects. Wouldn't try again.

It is true that enough weed can do similar things, one of my first times using a gravity bong I figured it out a little bit too well and spent what felt like 2 hours on a 10 minute walk back to the dorms utterly convinced that I could tell what my friends were going to say before they said it and begged off sitting to watch a movie so I could go lay on my dorm bed and watch the ceiling above me undulate and change shades of red. That's the most significant it's been for me.
posted by neonrev at 7:46 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


The mind is capable of some pretty amazing things, but synthesizing 8 years of hyper-realistic experience in 45 seconds?

Think back on the last eight years of your life. Your mind is synthesizing those eight years of hyper-realistic experience right now.

Put another way, he didn't have eight years of hyper-realistic experiences, he developed the memory of eight years of experiences, and the strong sense that it was all hyper-realistic. Of course the mind is capable of that, because it does it every day. The only difference is whether you came by those memories through actual lived experience, but that's not something your mind can actually discriminate, aside from by reasoning.
posted by biogeo at 7:48 PM on May 29, 2018 [26 favorites]


Here you go: "driving on salvia ".

What is up with the captions on this video?? Direct quote: "Dear foreigner, America is coming to kill you. Your babies are weak. Your women are weak. We will sow the seeds of doubt within your nation and then take over for all of your oil. We want your oil."
posted by AFABulous at 7:54 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly

*gestures*
Is this the Zhuangzi Paradox?
posted by zamboni at 7:56 PM on May 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I got stuck in a salvia time loop once. But the loop in question was only a fraction of a second long, repeating over and over again—so quickly that the loops were like the frames of a filmstrip whizzing through a projector. Think freefall through a non-Euclidean dimension. It was utterly horrifying. But the real mind-fuck was that it was accompanied by the intense feeling that I was waking up from a dream. The way my mind interpreted this was that all of reality—my entire life up to that point—had just been a dream, and the time-loop dimension was all that was real.

The trip lasted about a minute. The crippling existential doubt lasted more than a month. Intellectually, of course, I knew the experience had just been a hallucination. But how do you grapple with an experience that feels more real than reality does?

Don’t underestimate salvia, kids, or it will fuck you right in the I.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:04 PM on May 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I fancied myself an experienced triponaut prior to first time using salvia but the sudden dissociation was like an unexpected bullet to the back of the head. Having a (knowledgeable) sitter who will just keep things safe and not interact with you otherwise is probably a good idea.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 PM on May 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Probably not a seizure. He might have fainted. I fainted taking knife hits back in the 90s.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:23 PM on May 29, 2018


But were they jello knife hits, pasta knife hits, or rice knife hits?
posted by mwhybark at 8:25 PM on May 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


all of reality—my entire life up to that point—had just been a dream, and the time-loop dimension was all that was real.

Red Dwarf's Despair Squid episode rather than Picard's Magic Flute.
posted by mwhybark at 8:26 PM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand why people do this to themselves.
posted by AFABulous at 8:56 PM on May 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


When I was a young lad in the boy scouts, a fun activity to engage in on camping trips when adults were not around was known as "wall hits." You'd put your back against a tree and then grab your knees and hyperventilate as hard as you could for a minute or so, then lean against the tree with your arms up over your head and hold your breath while an accomplice pushed his hands against your chest. Done properly, this would evoke unconsciousness and vivid dreams / hallucinations. I've always assumed that the mechanism by which this worked was oxygen deprivation, and in retrospect it's probably a lucky thing that none of us ever inflicted lasting damage to our sprightly young brains, though I'd come to test
the durability of my own more seriously in my high school days.

Anyways, during one of these early proto-psychedelic explorations I had an experience quite similar to what the author describes, although I thought of it more as a long and incredibly vivid dream. Time and subsequent drug use have dulled my memory of the specifics of what exactly happened in the dream, but subjectively I experienced at least a few full days of events, at the end of which a white light slowly sprang up, through which I could see the concerned faces of my fellow scouts staring down at me - I'd fallen on the ground and had a bit of a seizure, apparently.

The actual period of unconsciousness must have lasted all of a minute or so, so the only possible explanation is that my brain made up the whole thing as I was re-emerging into consciousness, as biogeo and others have suggested (I've often wondered whether my actual dreams are constructed in a period of three seconds or so as I'm awakening, but they seem longer because there is a sense of memory attached).
posted by whir at 9:05 PM on May 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


it's just a standup comic's not-to-be-taken-literally riff on the nature of subjective experience
In the years since, I still have more questions than answers. Lingering doubts about reality and time. And some confusing emotions about friends in Tyler, whose imaginary nature I am still reluctant to hold against them.
One of the little perks of doing standup, apparently, is that it makes your trips come with punchlines.
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 PM on May 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


How come no one has mentioned "Roy: A Life Well Lived" yet?

Maybe because it was based on that Star Trek episode.
posted by pjenks at 10:36 PM on May 29, 2018


You can't really OD on salvia but you can see a big crack in time and space in the gap at the bottom of the door and throw your mind right into it.
posted by holgate at 11:43 PM on May 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


*takes a bong rip of salvia*

hey how come nobody's mentioned that Star Trek episode yet
posted by duffell at 3:22 AM on May 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


There are very few bars around here that are purely local anymore and at 03:00 I am going to pick the ping from those places rather than one of the tourist traps because I'd rather spend the end of my night cooperatively griping about a national men's rag putting a great big target on our city for bachelor parties.

So I pick Lyft/Amy over Uber/Andrew based purely on my instinct that any Amy at local joint is better than any Andrew at strip club. Amy might want to make a stop for cigs. Andrew will have big friends who want to go through the drivethru and fill my right ear with shouted spittle as they change their order. So no, it is not reverse sexism to choose Amy over Andrew.

But Amy isn't there. Place is dark. Call. Phone answers and people are telling Amy to come with them and it cuts off so I go around back and call again because there is a big knot of folks back there and this time Amy answers and I can see her speaking. Wave.

So we're going West? Yeah. Have to go around the block and when I do Amy puts fingers over the digital clock and says I'm 22 this can't be this time or place again. Go with the flow. I'm 52 and I've probably been here before at this hour a hundred times. A hundred times? It could be thousands, she says. In, like 30 years it could be thousands.

Got no idea what is going on. Amy is going to see Eliot. What's Eliot into? He's a cat! A big cat! Amy, what are you on? Oh, never done that. No, you're fine. I just stopped exploring that way a while ago.

We arrive. Amy says to turn off the car so I close the apps too. Amy has lost a phone in the car and we can't find it and while we can't find it I find out that my persistent arrival "saved" Amy from going off with people just met who had ketamine and cocaine and had I ever done those?

Just coke a long time ago.

Well ketamine is disassociative and can you imagine what that and cocaine would have done to me? I am 22!

The phone is dead when I call it but I know she had it in her hand. Do I want to come in and just smoke some pot? I can't. Got to get back.

Don't know if she knew her phone was in her coat. Kept the brights on while she got the door open.

No salvia for me.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:05 AM on May 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


See also this guy‘s account of getting married and having kids during brief unconsciousness from a head injury.

Wow, this actually made me cry, it just really hit me in the wrong spot. Maybe because it reminds me of The Family Man, a totally mediocre movie that wrecked me when I saw it.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 5:10 AM on May 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ok, so maybe I have to eat my skeptical words, because I just remembered an incident from my childhood that sort of fits with the idea of the mind's malleable concept of time.

I was in 3rd or 4th grade and it was recess. I was being chased around the playground - potentially by the girl I had a crush on - and ran smack into a low-hanging tree branch which connected with my forehead. Everything went dark and it felt like I was weightless for some indeterminate period of time, and then suddenly I hit the ground and woke up crying from the pain. As a teacher's aide led me to the nurse's office I had these out-of-nowhere weird memories of walking down a staircase at my friend's house and pulling back the wall (which was a curtain) to reveal a flying saucer sitting in the yard. I could not for the life of me identify where the memory came from until it dawned on me that in the second or two between hitting the tree and hitting the ground I must have had a fairly extensive dream, the perceived duration of which was well beyond two seconds.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:08 AM on May 30, 2018


Either that or your jolted brain was generating what felt like a memory, but was actually driven by much the same pathways as dreaming, while you were heading to the office.

Deja vu is a bit like that, in that the feeling of remembering gets attached to what is actually present-moment experience even though no actual remembering is taking place.

Brains have weird failure modes, subjectively doubly so.
posted by flabdablet at 7:17 AM on May 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


The best part of salvia is the intense feeling of contentment once you come back.

Not sure why I'm telling this story, but the first time I had salvia, I was with a few friends, one of whom had been given some 10X extract for some reason or another. Nobody else would try it, so I gamely packed a bowl and took the biggest rip I could manage, held it for a while, and exhaled. Not feeling anything just yet, I took another rip and by the time I was done I suddenly couldn't make any sense of what I was seeing and felt like my ass had fallen through the floor into hyperspace or something. Like it was just hanging out there through a portal that had opened. I could feel the edges pressing against me, even.

Since I had been asked to narrate the experience, I was describing what I was seeing and feeling to the room the whole time, which probably helped keep me rooted in reality to some degree. Anyway, once I correlated the whole hyperspace thing with the fact I was sitting in a camping chair, I realized I was still narrating. Moments later, I figured out that the bizarre visuals were just a distorted version of the colorful commercial that was paused on the TV. Somebody wondered if I could stand up, so I did. Surprisingly, having figured out the source of the formerly incomprehensible visual input I was even able to walk around without running into anything or falling on my face. Shortly thereafter, things started actually making sense again rather than reality seeming more like an abstract memory and I started to feel really freaking great.

Moving on, given that I had gotten through it fine, most of the others in attendance decided they could probably handle it. Turns out not so much. One guy freaked the fuck out and started crying and screaming hysterically because he felt like he was being sliced into pieces as if he was in a deli meat slicer (good thing his wife was there to reassure him!), one guy said it didn't really do anything notable, and the other started drooling on himself and went silent for a few minutes. When he reappeared, as it were, all he would say is that he was never going to do that again and adamantly refused to say anything about what happened.

Undeterred, I took another couple of huge rips, but got absolutely nothing from them.

So yeah, I get why many people won't do it or won't do it again.

K, on the other hand, does for me exactly the same thing propofol (for twilight anaesthesia) does. Basically the room spins thanks to it fucking up the processing of signals from my inner ear and makes me want to puke.

LSD > Salvia > K > Mushrooms IMO. I'd put DMT on the list, but the one time I had it was like the first time I had K..enough to feel something, but not enough to have any kind of experience. (And really, K is great in microdoses. It's very relaxing right up to the point you feel dizzy and want to puke)
posted by wierdo at 7:31 AM on May 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


There was a branch of Molbak's in the Pike Place Market in the late 20th Century with an incredibly hip staff well familiar with Plants of the Gods by Albert Hofmann and Richard Evans Schultes and who then stocked a number of shamanistically associated bedding plants ...including Salvia Divinorum.

It is an oddly handsome plant that grows in a rosette of shiny lime green leaves overlayed with a copper glaze. And which almost never flowers or goes to seed. Meaning it is a cultivar, not unlike Kava, a plant spread by cuttings. Or so I was lead to believe.

It was sold as a deer proof plant, by the way. It is a very bitter tasting herb.

Well, a friend of mine, bought it, grew it and managed to save a few dried leaves that fell off.

Which he came across a few years later, crushed and poked into a pipe. And lit it.

Johnny Carson was on the Tonight Show at the time and his apartment was a mess with a phone cord stretched across the carpet.

And then, all of a sudden, the carpet was awash with metallic silver feathers fanning out from a ridge straight out of the Navigator's control chair in Alien.

And on the TV, Johnny Carson looked askance at Ed and said, "Well, it looks like another brain just came on our screens and the harpy police are in flight as we speak..."

My friend just flipped and ran terrified to his door where, if he had gotten out, he probably would have pounded on the door of the nearest apartment, the home of a Chinese family of three who were very recent immigrants. But he dodged that bullet by coming to his senses in trying to unlock and unchain his door.

The experience unnerved him. "To me, it was like the one time I tried PCP, which was like a bad side effects of all drugs combined in one, like my skin was stretched over broken glass. Only this time my hair also turned into crinkling cellophane set on fire..."

He never cared to repeat it but once remarked about it to someone working at a herb and tea store on Pine Street on the Hill. Who gnomically remarked "It is indeed a harsh teacher..."

"Well, there were people who loved PCP, too," said my friend, twenty-seven odd years later when 'salvia divinorum' became a household phrase, "but not me. Certainly not a social drug. Count me out on this one as well."
posted by y2karl at 7:56 AM on May 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


I had to read the article twice to figure out if it was Alaska or Texas that was real. After reading a bit more I think I'm no longer curious about salvia.
posted by ShakeyJake at 9:03 AM on May 30, 2018


Cantwell's Twitter feed.
posted by mwhybark at 9:06 AM on May 30, 2018


Cantwell's CrabFeast podcast episodes: 297, 298

Prior appearance: 290

I deduce from the page-based descriptions and Twitter @s that 297 is an expanded version of the story linked in this thread's first post which includes more detail about his life in Tyler, Texas.
posted by mwhybark at 9:17 AM on May 30, 2018


A group of people I met in college used Salvia as an initiation test.

Sit the initiate on a big flat wobbly rock. Pass them the pipe. If they could hold their shit together for the 3 minutes that the trip takes, then they are welcome to the stash of stuff that will fuck you up for for hours or days.

That is how we discovered that if one just inhaled some narcan salvia will do very little, but LSD will still have full effect.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:04 AM on May 30, 2018


I'm a big fan of pot in all it's glorious forms. I have tripped my way though decades. I'm not an antidrug warrior in any way, shape, or form. But frankly y'all, I'm not sure that all this salvia taking, and opening up portals to other timelines, which then get left open, for reality to start seeping around all over the place, and then nothing is real and we end up in a timeline where Donald Fucking Trump ends up as president, is a good idea.

I'm not necessarily saying that quantum reality is affected by salvia, or that salvia was planted here by inter-dimensional beings who want to harvest our dreams, but I'm not not saying it either.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:17 AM on May 30, 2018 [17 favorites]


Think back on the last eight years of your life. Your mind is synthesizing those eight years of hyper-realistic experience right now.

I don't know about you, but I'm not able to re-synthesize the totality of my subjective experience of 8 years of memories just like that.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:00 PM on May 30, 2018


I have no idea what the hell is going on in Mr. Yuck's story.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:04 PM on May 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


whir: I've always assumed that the mechanism by which this worked was oxygen deprivation, and in retrospect it's probably a lucky thing that none of us ever inflicted lasting damage to our sprightly young brains,

What you're talking about is basically what's known as holotropic breathing, and it's actually the opposite: your brain is being oversaturated with oxygen, not deprived. Here's a story from Vice about it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:08 PM on May 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I once dreamed i was in Moscow in winter and met a girl named Natasha. I didn’t speak Russian and she didn’t speak English but we both just...knew. We dated, got married, and lived a full and undistinguished life in a cozy little Moscow apartment. I remember her, as old as i was, holding my hand while i died in our bedroom. And then i popped awake in this wprld and this life. Weird thing is i think about her every now ans then and miss her.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:45 PM on May 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


Man, I wish I had a hallucination family. But I'm scared of the harpy police.
posted by thelonius at 1:47 PM on May 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


I have no idea what the hell is going on in Mr. Yuck's story.

Me neither but I really thought it was going to be a comment by loquacious until I got to the end.
posted by AFABulous at 6:56 PM on May 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Me either. Full moon and flooding continued last night with bonus sold-out Flatbush Zombies show and a backseat full of id.

One pair asked me to go into a hotel and use the courtesy phone to call room 220 and hang up and somebody would bring us cookies. I'm game but I took the car keys with me and in minutes we were eating WARM chocolate walnut cookies. I let them have some of my coffee. They complained that the cookies were slightly burned.

At this point in my life just being around people on drugs is close enough. Gonna try the room 220 thing again tonight and if it works I'm coming back with our kids to blow their little minds.

Yup. Just go in like you own the place and pick up the red phone. 220. Cookied.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:53 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


Stick to 420
posted by Burhanistan at 3:25 AM on May 31, 2018


uh, you're saying that "room 220" is a secret room where the cookies are kept in hotels, and they will just deliver them anywhere in the hotel, like to the courtesy phone? Yeah, that sounds legit.
posted by AFABulous at 1:09 PM on May 31, 2018


I'm not having a problem puzzling out what Mr. Yuck is saying at all. His first comment is about picking up a young rideshare passenger he figured would be meek and mild but turned out to have been under the influence of salvia at least. The second story is a bit of a derail, to be sure, so in the spirit of Metafilter's guidelines, I'll conclude my derail by asserting that 1) the original "productive on salvia" thread linked below is unfocused and opaque in a way that Mr. Yuck's slices of life are not and 2) salvia's probably not for nearly-40-year-old me either.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:53 PM on May 31, 2018


I honestly can't tell whether I find the possibility of this type of experience to be horrifying or not. On the one hand, the synthesized experience has a decent chance of being superior to my own, assuming that my subconscious doesn't sabotage me too heavily in that regard; on the other hand, if it's worse, then I return to my own life with the trauma of having experienced that other reality; and then on the third hand (what, you don't have one of those?), if it's better, then I return to my own life with the trauma of having been extracted from some better life path. I guess that all sounds pretty lose-lose.
posted by invitapriore at 6:56 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the synthesized experience has a decent chance of being superior to my own
posted by flabdablet at 1:36 AM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


That is how we discovered that if one just inhaled some narcan salvia will do very little

Cool experimental result! It's what you figure given that salvia hits the kappa opioid receptor and naloxone blocks the whole set of them, but pharmacology is full of much stronger logic that gets busted by reality.
posted by away for regrooving at 2:30 AM on June 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Do you smoke the narcan? Or snort up a line of narcan?

Drug class is hard!
posted by thelonius at 8:15 AM on June 1, 2018


Thanks away for regrooving, I just learned something.

thelonious:

It was not me, it was an acquaintance. I did not look very closely, but they had a little plastic device where they put the liquid, and used a 10cc syringe to 'pressurize' the device and nebulize the liquid. It was used for different liquids.

This guy had been doing opioids, his theory was that naloxone would purify his mind for the salvia experience.

I am very happy I got to hang out with this group of people for a few months. I am happier that I got to leave the group mostly intact.
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:57 PM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


This thread made me a bit nostalgic for my previous salvia experiences, so I decided to get some. I live in Texas, where it's illegal to buy/sell, so I went online and ordered a couple grams of what purports to be 140x Salvia Divinorum extract. Got it in the mail yesterday; I was planning to wait until the evening and get everything set up for an elongated trip evening, but by mid-afternoon I couldn't resist. Got out the water pipe, put a little ganja in it, then put in enough salvia for about 2 good inhales.

As soon as I took my first inhale, I had a feeling of, "Oh, yeah, I stopped doing this stuff for a reason." Something about just the taste/smell of the smoke has become off-putting for me. So, I inhale, hold, breath out. Spark again, inhale, hold, breath out. Most of the salvia I'd put in the bowl had been used up, and as I'm setting the pipe down I can already feel it beginning to kick in.

The effects were pretty similar to what I remembered. The first sensation was that of everything zooming out away from me, or perhaps that I was zooming back away from everything, even though my surroundings didn't change in appearance. I had the feeling (which I've had before on salvia) that I was being pulled out of a dream or illusion. I kept expecting to suddenly be jolted into a new reality; this all seemed quite normal and even expected; I knew that I was in an illusion, so I was just waiting to be "woken up" and to remember my "real" life. I kept thinking that someone would take a VR mask off my head to show me that the life I was in was just an elaborate simulation. The other feeling I had was that the world I was seeing in front of me was actually just a 2dimensional image, like a plastic window treatment or something, and someone was about to just peel it away. I also started feeling like everything was leaning to the right, like the world was tipping over. My body was leaning to the right too, and I was feeling a little anxious, waiting for someone to pull the plastic illusion away so that I could right myself. I remember even reach out with my hands, trying to grab the "corner" of the plastic illusion so I could pull it off. Oh, and this was all heightened by the fact that I was watching Rifftrax when I started, so my whole sense of reality got even more confused because of the multiple levels of dialogue going on -- the dialogue in the film, plus the Rifftrax guys talking over that. I couldn't tell if they were talking ABOUT me or TO me: I thought perhaps that the movie they were making fun of was the reality I was living in (that I was IN the movie), or perhaps that they were talking directly to me ABOUT the movie, or maybe I was both in the movie and they were talking to me about it and trying to get me to wake up and escape it.

Anyway, I pretty quickly was ready for this all to be over. I wasn't anxious or anything, just thinking to myself, "OK, this kind of sucks, I know I'm tripping, but I'm over it." I felt a little nauseous, but not physically nauseous, more like mentally nauseous as if my brain were getting sea sick. The disorienting zoom effect gradually diminished and faded away; I'd say the whole thing lasted maybe... 15-20 minutes? But, I felt a little wonky for most of the rest of the day.

And now I have 2 grams of 140x Salvia that I really, really don't want to smoke.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:45 PM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]




140x Salvia

140x is ridiculous overkill, fyi. 30x is way more than enough to get the rug pulled out.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:13 PM on June 10, 2018


Didn't the old hippies say "When you get the message, hang up the phone"?
posted by thelonius at 4:27 PM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


140x is ridiculous overkill, fyi. Oh yeah, I know. I think when I used to smoke it semi-regularly, the strongest I ever took was 60 or 80x? I'm not sure what possessed me to buy 140x...
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:20 PM on June 10, 2018


« Older Roseanne no more   |   "Tall Paul" Brown has died Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments