Salvia divinorum is generally sold either in dried leaves (fresh leaves are rarely sold) or in the form of extract. Dried leaves vary tremendously in strength. Many people also find it difficult to get satisfactory effects from plain dried leaves, because the quantity that has to be taken at once is quite large. When you want to use Salvia following the quid method, you will need leaves.
Many people prefer using extracts. Better results are obtained more easily, because less material needs to be smoked or ingested. In general, the effects are also stronger. Extracts can be very powerful and should be used with caution: there is a risk of using too large a dose. Extracts come in two varieties:
- Crude extract: often followed by an x (5x, 10x etc.). This type of extract is made by mixing a crude salvia extract with salvia leaves. 5x means: the extract obtained from four units of crude salvia extract, mixed with 1 unit of leaves. This product can vary a lot in potency, because the potency of the leaves varies as well. It is also rather unpleasant to smoke.
- Standardized extracts: a standardized extract is one in which the active compound – in this case salvinorin A – is extracted from the plant and purified and then redeposited back onto the dried leaves. A standardized extract contains pure crystalline salvinorin A, a very rare compound that few people have ever seen and even fewer people have ever produced. It takes a fair amount of chemistry knowledge and skill to produce pure salvinorin A, so a standardized extract may cost a little more, but it is well worth its money.
Salvia extracts generally come in 5x, 10x and 20x concentrations (although other concentrations have been reported). This indicates how many times more potent it is than ordinary dried leaves. Be very careful when using extracts: a single hit of extract may be enough at any of these concentrations. Read the warnings before using Salvia extracts.
It is not advised to try to produce your own extracts, as it involves working with solvents. If you do not have any experience with it, you may risk poisoning yourself or others. Moreover, most solvents are highly flammable. An experimental method for the extraction of pure salvinorin A can be found on Erowid