There are different ways of using salvia. Most people smoke salvia in a bong or pipe, but there are a number of other methods. Read the instructions carefully before using salvia for the first time.
The Mazatecs in Mexico are known to use two different methods of usage: infusion or chewing and swallowing.
The infusion method involves rubbing the leaves, squeezing out the juice and drinking it mixed with water. This method of consumption is quite inefficient, because the active components are not soluble in water and it is believed that the plant looses a lot of its effects once in the stomach. Most of the effects are the result from absorption by mouth tissue.
The other method consisted of rolling the leaves in a bundle which was chewed and swallowed afterwards. Although chewing is known to be a good way to use salvia, swallowing does not seem to be very effective, for the same reasons as the infusion method. Moreover, many people find it unpleasant to chew and swallow the leaves, because they are very bitter and can cause nausea. It remains quite unclear what dose the Mazatecs used for either method.
At the 2008 World Psychedelic Forum in Basel, Switzerland, ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison, described her experiences with the Mazatec Indians (see videos below), stressing that according to them the leaves must never be heated.
Nowadays smoking is the most common way of consuming salvia. The effects are a lot stronger when smoked, but be careful: they can be overwhelming. We strongly advise you to start with a low dose to test your sensitivity for salvia and not to take extracts stronger than 5x for a first experience.
- Salvia leaves: ¼ gram – 1 gram
- Salvia extract 5x: 0.1 – 0.3 gram
- Salvia extract 10x: 0.05 – 0.15 gram
Salvia is best smoked in a pipe, preferably water-cooled (bong), but a small sized tobacco pipe will also do. Smoking in a cigarette or joint is also possible, but less effective. Make sure you are sitting down when you start smoking. Fill up the bowl with leaves. Salvia vaporizes at high temperatures. Therefore it is important to hold a flame directly over the leaves during inhalation. To achieve better combustion, you can use a torch lighter.
It is important to try to inhale the entire dose in as little inhalations as possible. Inhale slowly and deeply and keep the smoke in your lungs for 20 seconds or more before breathing out. This way the smoke is absorbed more efficiently by the lungs. Try not to pause between inhalations, so that the full dose is smoked in a short period of time. If you wait too long between inhalations, the salvinorin will be metabolized faster than it is ingested. Effects will come on within one or two minutes, reach their peak after 5-10 minutes and then gradually subside. The total duration of the experience can be 20 minutes to one hour.
If you have difficulties obtaining effects from normal leaves, you should try extracts. The main advantage is that it is easier to consume the entire dose in a small number of inhalations.
Another method of ingestion is vaporization. A vaporizer heats up the leaves without burning them, so it is smoother on the lungs. However, most marijuana vaporizers are not suitable for salvia, because they do not reach the required temperature.
Although swallowing salvia is quite inefficient, chewing can give an interesting, although different experience, from that obtained from smoked salvia: more gentle and longer. The salvinorin A is slowly absorbed by the sublingual mucosa and into the bloodstream. The effects will come on more slowly (after 10-20 minutes), reaching a peak quite quickly, and then continue for around 30 minutes. In the next 30 to 90 minutes the effects will slowly fade.
A good way of using salvia orally is by making a “quid”. This is a small ball or cylinder of rolled up salvia leaves. This can be done with fresh or dried leaves. Use between 8 and 20 leaves (2-8 grams of dried leaves) and put these in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the water and roll the leaves up into a ball. It is possible to add sugar or honey to improve the quite bitter taste.
Put the quid in your mouth and chew slowly, once every 10 seconds. If possible, keep the juice that forms in your mouth, without spitting or swallowing. For maximum effect, keep the quid under your tongue in between chews. The first 10 – 15 minutes you will feel little effects. It is important to keep on chewing. After approximately 30 minutes, spit out the quid. You should feel the effects by know. They will remain at this level for around 30 minutes, than slowly fade.
It can be a good idea to use a mouth wash containing menthol and alcohol before taking the quid. Treat your mouth with the mouth wash, carefully brushing the tissue of the mouth and tongue (also under the tongue). Rinse well and start chewing.
There are other ways of taking salvia orally, but the effects will usually be less strong. You could make an extraction in an alcoholic drink such as vodka or whiskey. Put a large number of powdered leaves in a (relatively) small amount of vodka. Leave it to rest for a couple of days, shaking the bottle twice a day. The salvinorin will slowly be absorbed by the alcohol. Filter the drink and carefully squeeze out the plant material. Dilute the drink with an equal amount of water and add sugar of honey for flavor. Hold the maximum quantity you comfortably can in your mouth and swish it around during 30 minutes.