New Cautions Over a Plant With a Buzz
July 12, 2001 2:11 AM   Subscribe

New Cautions Over a Plant With a Buzz - NYT article about Salvia Divinorum, an apparently legal, unscheduled hallucinogenic plant which is getting increased attention from both drug users and DEA agents. Has anyone actually used this stuff- is it all hype or does it really work? And how long before the DEA works to make it illegal?
posted by hincandenza (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is the first I've heard of it, and thought this link would be a convenient springboard for a broader discussion about hallucinogenic or entheogenic drug use. More particularly, I'm really interested in someone in the Seattle area who can point me in the right direction for a reliable supply of DMT. =)

It's something I've been wanting to experience for some time now, having read plenty of McKenna among other things, but even my friends with [what I think are] the most drug connections- from the Ecstacy dealer to the guy who imports absinthe from Czechoslovakia- say they've never even heard of DMT before. If this Salvia plant is both legal and a decent entheogen, it might be a decent tho' expensive alternative...
posted by hincandenza at 2:17 AM on July 12, 2001

Me, I've been very curious about both DMT and Salvia Divinorum for a while, and entheogens in general, but most of my social peers at the moment are more concerned with 'negative-gearing' their investment properties and making babies. I been hanging with the wrong folks. Anyway, here in Oz, availing oneself of the online sources is a Bad Idea. True Stories, anyone?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:24 AM on July 12, 2001

1. "Salvia Divinorum, an apparently legal, unscheduled hallucinogenic plant .... Has anyone actually used this stuff" ~ hincandenza, July 12, 2001.
2. "I've been dying to ask this question: How many Metafilter users smoke marijuana or use or have used other illicit substances regularly." ~ bytecode, July 8, 2001.

Anyone else see a trend here?
posted by tamim at 4:00 AM on July 12, 2001

Once again : (Please ignore the previous thread-killer post. Discuss it here if necessary.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:18 AM on July 12, 2001

nothing wrong with the trend. more interesting than american politics, that's for sure.
posted by titboy at 4:19 AM on July 12, 2001

dammit sorry ctrl-v : here
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:20 AM on July 12, 2001

here's one that always gives me a chuckle (and a few buzzes in the past). the dairy just round the corner from my front door sells opium poppies legally, when in season. so do a few of the other dairies on the street.

i think the garden centre right next door has sold that funny cactus from time to time too. although i've not heard much on people's experiences with that.

it may be an upmarket area, but it's one that loves its drugs.
posted by titboy at 4:24 AM on July 12, 2001

Wow titboy-synchronicity kinda...i wander by sensibleerection all the damn time, and yer just across the Tasman, and i'm pissed as Willy the Groundskeeper...What was i saying again?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:28 AM on July 12, 2001

The Salvia Divinorum sounds intriguing. But the article doesn't really explain why it's different from an acid trip, apart from lasting only 1 hour. The effects sound quite similar to me.
I love the hippy who says, about taking the drug recreationally, "It's contributing to the pilfering of the plant community. It's denigrating the plant." Of course, plants rights. Up with plants and all that. But aren't people who use plant-based mind altering drugs generally more concerned about conservation?
posted by hazyjane at 4:37 AM on July 12, 2001

Contextual link: For those who've never heard of DMT, my friend Ian wrote a personal story about spending a weekend with McKenna in 1996.

No links for Salvia, unfortunately, though I'm fairly certain I saw it being sold in some hippie shop here in sf recently....
posted by fraying at 4:48 AM on July 12, 2001

Salvia's effects tend to be more of a vision, or reality-switch, compared to acid's general 'trippyness'... The following quote from a salvia trip report is fairly typical:

"with the salvia, I was completly[sic] somewhere and someone else. I lived a complete life, had a complete memory of this life, and was was just putting something on a shelf when I snapped back here to who I am"

Old ladies dispensing wisdom are common, as are rather frightening good-trip-gone-horribly-wrong reports from people who claim they used the plant without the proper 'respect' for it. :)

You can read a fair number of trip reports within Erowid's Salvia Divinorum Vault.
posted by Jairus at 4:57 AM on July 12, 2001

Has anyone actually used this stuff- is it all hype or does it really work?

Depends what you mean by "work". From personal experience, salvia effects perception both of time, and of the way in which language, or experience, simplifies the world into abstractions. I dodn't have the full visionary experience, but it was enough to make me think.

And no, it's not like acid: as Jairus says, it's more "visionary" than "trippy".

And how long before the DEA works to make it illegal?

Run, don't walk. After all, with precisely zero reported casualties, and no hint of addictiveness, it's precisely the sort of drug that governments want to ban.
posted by holgate at 5:02 AM on July 12, 2001

I've tried it and it's not great, but maybe i 'didn't do it right'.

The first time I tried it was at Glastonbury festival. The trip lasted about 10mins, got quite severe while I was watching David Grey of all people (the whole world was at a right angle to me), and then settled down into a headache.

The second time was in my house using a water pipe - it was more pleasurable. The problem with this drug is that when it is a really strong trip you ar not in control - I don't mean in a bad way, like you would lose you mind - just physically caused by insane laughing fits :-)

If you are partial to experimenting I would reccommend you try it, I won't be taking it in a hurry again though.
posted by twistedonion at 5:07 AM on July 12, 2001

'D.M.Turner', behind whom there is a whole other story, wrote a couple of books - The Essential Psychedelic Guide and one called called Salvinorin. The former is very readable, the latter more relevant to this thread, and both online!

More here: Salvia divinorum
posted by southisup at 5:19 AM on July 12, 2001

From Jairus' account it sounds an awful lot like Can-D or Chew-Z. Shades of Philip K. Dick.
posted by shinji_ikari at 5:21 AM on July 12, 2001

The thing about Salvia is that it's not really a social drug. The more unfamiliar your surroundings and the less well you know the people with you at the time the more unlikely to experience anything you are. Unlike other 'trippy' drugs you're unlikely to have a bad trip due to feeling less than comfortable, just not trip at all. In conjunction with this, you do tend to enter your own little world after a brief giggly laughter stage so there isn't much point in getting a group of mates together for the occasion.

I didn't really get anything off it myself but some friends who took it at the same time had a really good trip and swear by it now. Allegedly it's a reverse-tolerance drug, in that the more often you take it the more likely you are to get a hit but I haven't got round to buying any more lately.
posted by MUD at 6:00 AM on July 12, 2001

It's worth pointing out that if the DEA does choose to make salvia divinorum a controlled substance, it'll be breaking with their own policy, by banning a plant rather than its active agent. That's because they can't really ban salvinorum A, since no-one really knows how it works.
posted by holgate at 6:04 AM on July 12, 2001

Yes, I'm sure well-reasoned logic will stop the DEA.
posted by dong_resin at 6:09 AM on July 12, 2001

Keep hope my friends. As long as it has no medicinal properties the pharmacutical lobby will be slow to react.
posted by keithl at 10:39 AM on July 12, 2001

DMT and Salvia? I've done them both once.. :)
Horay for lax Canadian drug policy and raver kids..

DMT (as I did it) was pink powder that smelt like sewer gas.. Totally put me into disconnected elf land for about 15 minutes when I smoked it.. I'm told that it's really the shit when you inject, but that scene ain't for myself..

Salvia was more scary.. Less bad smell (but still not that nice), similar total shutdown disconnect, but without the elves.. I just don't remember much of half an hour where I appearently just sat there.. Kind of like anaesthetic really.. Not really my cup..
posted by Leonard at 12:11 PM on July 12, 2001

Oh yeah, I looked into growing Salvia.. Appearnly it's not that easy.. Really wierd soil conditions, and it only grows from clones or something.. Not to mention, nobody really wants that much of the stuff..
posted by Leonard at 12:12 PM on July 12, 2001

{ the oriental poppie *is* the opium poppy. it's a myth perpetrated by the DEA that the two are different. plants are illegal (but only if you know that they are); seeds are not. everything I know about this I know from an article in Harper's that is unfortunately not online. here's an article about the article and its aftermath - Harpers banned in florida.
Associated Press reporter David Foster wrote that Hogshire had made life difficult for the flower trade by spreading information that the government would rather keep quiet -- namely that it's easy to extract opium from poppies grown in gardens across America..
more stuff here }
posted by rebeccablood at 12:40 PM on July 12, 2001

Being a student I'm supposed to be knowledgable about mind altering substances so I can all enlighten you!

Ok, I can't really but Roar, the King's student paper had a fascinating series on every mind altering drug you've ever heard of from a knowledgable fellow who went by the delightful nom de plume Cain D'Anable.

He recomended Salvium as one of his top three drugs. And you'll find it hard to say fairer than that!

p.s. yes I'm really sorry about the popup, not my fault guv.

p.p.s. double sorry that the roar website doesn't carry any of this stuff. It was updated recently and they don't like content. Annoying.
posted by nedrichards at 3:39 PM on July 12, 2001

I wrote an article on Salvia divinorum a couple years ago for "the resonance project" magazine. See it here.
posted by mantid at 4:24 PM on July 12, 2001

Hm- fascinating stuff, mantid. Sounds like in many ways it's similar to DMT- quick onset, full vision experience, then quick to fade away- although from a wholly different chemical group (not an alkaloid like most of these entheogens). But unlike DMT, it's not native to the body, can apparently cause movement while in the altered state (causing potential bodily harm), and toxicological/ overdose issues could remain. Still, its current legality makes it an attractive if wary option for those of us who find television to be not a potent enough mind-altering drug... :)
posted by hincandenza at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2001

Anyone know of any other legal, mind altering substances you can order from the net? Other than banana peels and herbal X........ hehe.

Someone told me about something the other day, but I cant remember what it was.... a few letters, maybe a number? It wasnt 2CB, but something that sounded similar... he said he ordered it online and it was a very powerful hallucinogen, and legal....
posted by Espoo2 at 12:16 AM on July 13, 2001

When smoked (especially in 5x and 10x extract form) Salvia Divinorum causes a very high level, full-on shamanic plant consciousness reality collapse. It has a unique effect that near impossible to describe, nothing like LSD or mushrooms or cannabis. At high levels, it can induce an out of body experience a bit like Ketamine. Otherwise, it's off the scale.

It's best taken in a quiet dark room. The peak only last about 5 minutes, with a sharp tail off. Some people laugh hysterically. Some think they have died. Others get up and walk around, mumbling incoherently (this happened to me last night). Some enjoy it. Few repeat the experience.

Treat it with respect.
posted by maqua at 2:46 AM on July 13, 2001

« Older Most of the interesting and memorable people I've...   |   If they are sorcerors, why don't they turn their... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments