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Why I can't handle Salvia
This happened many years ago when I was not as experienced with psychedelic drugs. At this point in my life, I had probably only smoked weed, drank a few times, and took LSD 3 or 4 times. I now consider myself a hardened psychonaut and I have tried almost every common drug and many uncommon ones such as (LSD well over 200 times, morning glory, cocaine, salvia 50X, weed of course, alcohol a few times, a weekend of experimenting with duster, ecstasy including rolls laced with 2-ci, pure crystal molly, moon rocks, kratom, adderall, Ritalin, vicodin, oxy, morphine, kava kava, pure 2-ce, DOC, DOI, DOB, AMT, 2c-T-7, 2c-T-2, 2C-C, 2c-I-NBOMe, 2c-B-NBOMe, k2, Heroin, and more recently DMT after I learned how to extract it,) I feel that DMT is the most powerful drug that I have done in terms of raw visual power but Salvia has a special place in my heart because it is the only drug (so far) that I can readily admit that I can’t handle. I was so scared by my experiences on it and how horrifyingly powerful it is that still to this day; I have the upmost fear and respect for Salvia and I view it as in the same category as Datura due to my complete lack of control on it. People seem to think that since it was legal (at least a few years ago, now it is being more heavily restricted) it must be a mild drug that does not produce heavy effects. The amount of false information that I reviewed about the Salvia experience made me really underestimate it as my friends (who had never smoked it) told me that it was an alternative to weed. Anyone who smokes Salvia extract with this mindset is in for the most horrific surprise of their life. I wrote this trip report about 3 years ago but now that I am more mature and have tons of experience with all kinds of psychedelics, I feel that I can describe my Salvia experiences better. Let me take you back to when I was in High School, when I was a naïve idiot and first learned about this drug.
A friend of mine first told me about Salvia and so I did some research and read tons of fantastic stories about it about how people had seen beautiful things and went on amazing adventures while on the drug. This was before I knew about Erowid and so the stories that I was reading were off the website Experience Project, where people don’t seem to focus on what happens when things go wrong. I had no trip reports to warn me about how powerful the extract was and so I figured that I would order enough for a good number of experiments. Seeing as it was legal in Maryland, I ordered 2 grams of 20X off the Internet. This is the first mistake I made. I should have started with the leaf then worked my way up to 5x and then 10x and so on. The 20x arrived and upon seeing it, I almost laughed. It looked like little flakes of fish food, hardly anything I would expect to fuck me up as much as DMT.
Anyway, my first time using it was under the worst circumstances imaginable. I went over to my friend’s house at almost midnight to give it a try. None of us had ever smoked Salvia and I was the only one who had taken hallucinogenic drugs before. The night was a disaster. First, we realized we had nothing to smoke it out of so my friends quickly made a crude pipe out of a soda can. I feel your pain for those of you who are shaking their heads in disgust right now after reading that.
I threw a pile of the extract on top of the holes punched in the can and was the first to hit it. Since Salvia smoke is relatively harsh as is, I could only hold in the hit for about 10 seconds as hitting Salvia out of a can felt like inhaling burning embers. I quickly took another hit and passed the can to my friends. I felt some of the minor effects of the Salvia but nothing major. I laughed really hard for about 20 seconds at nothing really and started to see reality compress itself into building blocks of creation but within one minute, this ended and I was left feeling like I had just woken up from being anethesiazed but the dentist, really out of it. My friends who had a very low tolerance for drugs and had never done psychedelics were a different story. Both of them took one hit (they are identical twins if you care) and held it in. Suddenly, the twin closest to me started saying “We have to go inside. Right now. Come on, were going inside.” We were sitting on the front lawn and without warning; he stood up and just ran into the woods. It was the middle of the night and I was sure as hell not going to follow him. I informed his brother that we had lost S and he just replied, “Why does it feel like we are all singing?” At this point, I just drove off and left them there because I didn’t see any point in hanging around.
The next week, I decided to try again so I went out and bought a bong and did it by myself, calm, at night. The trip was very short but definitely stronger. This one started to raise flags for me about how powerful the drug I was dealing with was but it wasn’t enough to save me from my third trip, which led to me completely losing my shit. Anyway, back to my second time trying Salvia. I was sitting on the back porch of my house, with a single candle lit. I took one medium hit and managed to hold it in for a good 20 seconds. As soon as I exhaled, I knew something was different. I wasn’t seeing visuals but I knew that something was very off. The next thing I know, I start hearing voices in my head. This voice was in control and everything it said, I involuntarily did. It was very strange because it was almost as if the voice I was hearing was the signals that the brain sends to your nerves to get the muscles to perform an action. This is kind of hard to describe but the voice seemed to predetermine my movements. It would say a course of action which I would then have to follow less then a second later. The voice in my head lead me inside my house, telling me every move I should make a second before I did it. It sounded something like this: (i.e.: Put down the bong, turn to your right, open the door, take a breath, lock the door, take a step, rub your eyes, sit on the couch) and it felt like an unseen force was pushing and manipulating me. I walked into my living room and even though it was full of furniture, the couch was the only thing there that registered. The voice told me to lie down on the couch and I did. I closed my eyes and as soon as I did, the couch started rocking back in forth like a ship in waves. I felt for a minute that I had broken through to an Oasis in eternity and the whole world was part of the couch I was lying on in some odd sort of way. Nothing else mattered. The trip died down pretty fast after that. I was a bit shaken by the voices that I heard but overall, it was a very calm and smooth trip that didn’t raise any concerns but it also made me feel that I wasn’t using nearly enough Salvia because I wasn’t experiencing anything close to what I had read about.
I read on a site (probably GrassCity) that taking Salvia while high on weed was a great way to enhance the effects. I now know that smoking weed before Salvia will extend the Salvia trip duration to almost an hour, maybe more. I know this happens because a few years later, I smoked weed with a friend and then he hit Salvia. 3 hours later, he was still slipping in and out of the trip and said it was still almost as strong as it was in the first 5 minutes. As chance would have it, I also stumbled upon a story of a Salvia accident. A girl’s boyfriend gave her a pipe full of Salvia and told her it was weed because he wanted her to try it but she was too afraid. So he figured he would have her smoke it without her knowing and then she would realize that there was nothing to worry about. I wish I could have been there to see his face after the first 20 minutes. She completely lost it and spend days in the hospital, completely removed from the world and ended up almost biting completely through her tongue. She wasn’t normal for months after that. I put this one story out of my head but it would come back and bite me in the ass.
I went outside (about 3 in the afternoon, light, sunny) and sat next to my pool on a reclining chair, facing away from the pool and toward my tree house that I built. I smoked a bit of weed and got a nice pleasant high. I then decided to try the Salvia one more time. I loaded up a decent sized bowl. Still very high, I took the hit and this time, held it in for a full 30 seconds. I began to feel very off and I quickly followed up with another hit.
This next part is one of my most vivid drug memories of all time and it still sends chills down my spine thinking about it. As I was exhaling, suddenly, huge dopy and stupid looking smiley faces appeared on everything. They were smiley faces but they were about as far away from happy as you could get. They were terrible and menacing, with crossed eyes and huge bloated tongues hanging out of their impossibly wide grins. The worst one was a huge ugly smiley face on my tree house that I had built. It looked at me and its smile grew wider and more menacing as it picked up on the fear in my eyes. The face didn’t actually speak but I knew exactly what it was telling me: “You fucked up big time.”
About 5 seconds had passed since I exhaled the smoke and I already knew that I was completely fucked and way over my head. The fear grew even more when I felt the horrifying Déjà vu that I always feel on Salvia. This sense of having been in this exact place before seems to be relatively common on Salvia but to me it is a guaranteed bad trip because my though process during the Déjà vu period (about 15 seconds after exhaling) always goes something like this: “Oh yeah, I remember now what Salvia is like. I fucking hate this! Why did I do it again? What was I thinking? Did I think it would be different?” So needless to say, I was already in a chaotic downward spiral of fear and terror and only 20 seconds had passed. I desperately tossed (yes tossed) my bong away and stood up, trying to stay in control but within seconds, my entire reality exploded like a window shattering. Underneath this shell of reality laid a new alternate dimension. This new reality still contained objects at my house that I was familiar with such as my pool and tree house but this reality was horrifying because everything about it somehow felt fake and corrupt. There was a huge sense of loosing my innocence. The only way I can even begin to describe this feeling is you going to visit the house that you grew up in, lived in for years, and have many meaningful memories of, and upon your arrival, you see that it has been turned into a Brothel with your bedroom being used for customers. It’s a feeling of disgust, horror, and sadness.
This phase ended after the first minute and then I had something very alarming happen to me. I felt like I was just a shell or imitation of a human, with a machine inside of me to control movement. I had no free will, my mind was just along for the ride as my body moved. I stood up and began walking into my house. I literally could not stop myself. I tried to plant my feet, grab a wall, or fall over backwards to stop my legs from carrying me forward but it didn’t work at all. I was aware that I was moving but had no control of the situation. It was a very dissociative drug like feeling as I saw my legs moving but it didn’t register that I was actively moving them. It felt like I had a metal skeleton and there were gears turning that were making my legs move. The way I was walking looked absolutely absurd. I named that walk the dinosaur walk. It was basically me on my tip toes with my center mass stretched as high as I could go (think about how you used to stand in theme parks when you wanted to get on a ride but knew you were just a little short of the height requirement) and my shoulders and arms were raised and out to the side. The walk was kind of an awkward shuffle from side to side.
I helplessly watched as I was carried up my stairs and into my room. The fact that I had no control and was at the mercy of the force inside me scared me to death. Once again, the voices in my head that I descried earlier were back and were ordering me around. The voices were very cruel though this time and they seemed to be having the time of their lives watching me completely horrified and losing my mind. These beings didn’t get much entertainment so their sick idea of fun was watching the fear and terror of people who had ended up in their world completely unprepared like me. It felt like some huge sick game.
The next thing I knew, I was in my room. After the door shut behind me, the trip took on a whole new level. I got into my bed and the next thing I knew, I wasn’t in my room any more. I was in some sort of evil Carnival setting. There were entities everywhere that were Carnival rides. Everything about them was evil and it was clear that their intention was to trap me in their world and never let me escape. I was then confronted with the most horrifying entity I have still ever seen in my life. When I describe this, you will probably laugh but let me fucking assure you that there was nothing funny about it and I was fighting for my life. This entity was a Ferris Wheel. You heard that right, a completely evil Ferris Wheel that wanted nothing more then to torture me and have fun at my expense. The Ferris Wheel entity had a huge and terrifying look of excitement in its face as it chased after me, snickering in a very high-pitched alien voice. The scariest part about this entity was its long nose that made its evil grin seem 100 times more menacing. It felt like this creature was chasing after me for hours. I finally managed to look at my clock and realized to my horror that I had been tripping for 30 minutes and was not even starting to come down. The weed smoking before smoking the Salvia was a huge mistake because it simply extended my bad trip for hours. I pulled the covers over my head and once again left normal reality. This time, I was in a dark world where I saw horrible gnome like creatures building a castle with grinning blocks. These blocks each were made of the reality of this alternate dimension and they seemed to each be self-aware and have their own intelligence. Unfortunately, this intelligence was used to further convince me that I had gone completely insane. For some reason, I felt terribly guilty, as if everything that happened was my fault. It felt like a jail where people who break the laws of drug use are punished for all eternity. This was about 45 minutes into the trip.
Then things got worse. I out of nowhere remembered the story I had read about the woman who had been admitted to the hospital and almost died after smoking Salvia. This normally wouldn’t be a problem but in my already chaotic and terrified state of mind, the only thing that I could think of was that I was in the same situation as that woman. As soon as I had that thought, I got sucked into one of the most intense moments of panic that I have ever experienced. I completely freaked out. I took my hands and started pounding on my chest and blowing out my breath as if to force the smoke out of my lungs. I tried to get up off my bed but as soon as I did, the force that made me walk upstairs came back with a vengeance and made me raise my hands and walk around the room like some kind of horrible fucked up parade. I became aware of a whole audience of what looked like paper cutouts in the shape of people that were watching me from the walls of my room. My suffering was their entertainment. It became clear that all of these paper cutout people were people who had smoked Salvia and had never come back and were now stuck forever in the world that I had entered. Since they were here for all eternity, their only means of entertainment was watching the utter horror of someone who had just made the same mistake they had and was never going to come back from this alternate reality. I was bombarded with their jeering and laughing. They kept repeating that I fucked up like them and to get used to this new world because I was now a part of it forever. I cannot put enough emphasis on the feeling of waking up into a new reality and realizing that your whole life has been fake and only now are you seeing how things really are. It all feels like your life is one big joke, your only purpose ever was to eventually smoke too much Salvia and be transported to this world for the entertainment of others at your expense.
At this point, I started to remember that I smoked a drug. I was still in this terrifying thought loop but this was 1000 times better because I remembered that I got here by smoking a drug, rather then existing there for all eternity. It was still one of scariest drug experiences at my life at this point because I still felt everything I described above; I just knew that it would eventually end. I remember thinking that I fried my brain for sure and would never be happy again but I was alive. All that mattered was that I was no longer trapped forever in an alternate dimension of torment and suffering. I still felt like the Salvia trip would never end though (it was now well over an hour into the trip and I was still on another planet) I tried the last thing I could think off, sleeping it off. It took me 2 hours to fall asleep because my mind was still racing and I only did this by nearly tripling the recommended dose of Tylenol PM (I probably took 15)
I woke up at 7 in the afternoon. 2 hours had passed. I was still feeling the after effects but I was pretty much back in the normal state of mind. I was sweating like crazy, my entire bed was soaked and my computer was on the ground, as well as my dresser. I went downstairs and found my bong at the bottom of my pool and the kitchen destroyed and the food thrown everywhere. I spent the day cleaning it up and then walked to my friend’s house and gave him the rest of my salvia, free. I knew that what I had was way to powerful for me and I just wanted it gone.
An afterthought: I have some theories on what caused such a terrible trip. First, I was a rookie. I had just gotten high to weed about a week before that for the first time in my life and was not prepared for such a powerful drug. Second, I had taken my first hits with 20X Salvia, not the 5X that is recommended for beginners. Third, I was alone and had no sitter to reassure me. Fourth, I had that terrible story in my mind about the woman who almost died doing what I did. Fifth, I was high while I had taken it, which had amplified and extended the trip. It has been a few years since that and I am just now getting the courage up to give Salvia another try. A word of advice, If you have never done salvia before, don’t start off with 20X and if you don't go into it with a calm state of mind and with a responsible and calm person to look after you, you will loose your mind.
RESPECT THE POWER OF SALVIA