Salvia Divinorum Basics

Q. What is Salvia divinorum?
A. Salvia divinorum is a plant from the mint family and a species of sage that is used for its psychoactive effects. Salvia is endemic only to the Mazatec region of the Sierra Madre mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico, also known as the Sierra Mazateca. Given the right dose, individual, set and setting, it produces a unique state of "divine inebriation" which has been traditionally used by Mazatec healers and prophets. This inebriation is quite different from that of alcohol. Salvia is both similar to, yet different from, other drugs that affect the brain and behavior. In many ways, Salvia divinorum is a uniquely "magical" herb. Salvia, along with it's active princliple salvinorin-A, is very difficult to categorize pharmacologically as it does not fit well into any existing pharmacological class. Salvia is NOT a recreational drug in the way that other drugs like alcohol and marijuana are used. It is definitely NOT a party drug. But can be the best inner party. Salvia is best used by those wishing to explore deep meditative states, spiritual realms, mysticism, the nature of consciousness and reality, or even the possibilities of shamanistic healing.

Q. What's in Salvia that is so strong and how strong is it?
A. Salvia contains a substance called salvinorin-A. Salvinorin-A is the most potent naturally occurring vision inducer. Only LSD is potent at a smaller dose however LSD itself is not present in nature. When vaporized and inhaled, doses of about 250 micrograms (that is 250 millionths of a gram) can have threshold effects and doses of 1 milligram will have extreme effects. Sensitivity varies greatly from person to person. Salvinorin is most effective when inhaled as smoke or vapor and least effective on a milligram basis when swallowed.

Q. What are the effects of Salvia?
A. It's probably not like what you expect, even if you have considerable experience with various other drugs. Salvia's effects are radically different from that of any other vision inducing psychoactive substance. Salvia will produce an effect that is unique to itself and only actual experience can help one to understand its nature. Effects vary by dose and method of use. The effects range from very light at lower doses to overwhelmingly strong at higher doses. The experience can vary from a subtle, just off-baseline state to a full-blown psychedelic experience. At moderate to high doses, users report a sense of profound understanding and peace, a feeling of being connected with the entire universe, vivid imagery, dramatic time distortion, encounters with beings, travel to other places/times/planets/dimensions, living years as the paint on a wall or experiencing the full life of another individual. Needless to say, salvia has the potential to produce a very potent experience so it should be respected.

Q. Is there a way to rate Salvia experiences?
A. There is a scale that describes six different levels of intoxication, each one more intense than the previous. The overall intensity of Salvia experience is scored according to the highest scale level attained during the course of the experience.

S-A-L-V-I-A Experience Rating Scale

Q. What is the duration of the Salvia experience?
A. The duration of the experience depends on the method of use and the amount that is ingested. Depending on the method, it can last anywhere from 15 minutes to over 3 hours. Generally, smoked Salvia effects come on quickly, peak for 5-20 minutes and then begin to subside. The oral and sublingual methods take longer for the effects to onset and lasts considerably longer.

Q. Is there any way to extend the duration of the effects of Salvia divinorum?
A: Salvinorin-A does not produce a tolerance effect, so you can extend the experience by simply ingesting more as soon as the effects begin to fade. You can also ease into the experience by starting with a small dose and following it immediately with a "booster" dose.

Q. I have seen Salvia referred to as an "entheogen." What's that?
A. The word comes from the Greek, loosely translated as "making possible (contact with) the divine within (oneself)". Drugs (and drug plants) which can transport their user to mystical states of consciousness are often called entheogens. More properly entheogen refers to a type of drug usage, not a type of drug. Salvia CAN be used as an entheogen. It is used as such when taken as part of a serious spiritual quest, where the user is trying to learn and understand the deeper levels of consciousness, self, and existentialism.


Table of Contents:

I. Salvia Divinorum Basics
II. Salvia Methods of Use
III. Salvia Dosage, Measurements and Storage
IV. Salvia Health Concerns
V. Salvia Divinorum Legal Status & Legality Issues
VI. Salvia Troubleshooting
VII. Accreditations, Links and References