Salvia Divinorum: Ingestion methods

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 3:29 pm

Salvinorin A is destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract, and therefore is almost completely inactive if swallowed. For that reason, Salvia divinorum is usually consumed in some manner other than by eating it, in order to allow absorption of the intact compound.
Among the Mazatec Indians, it is the practice to chew four or five fresh leaves thoroughly, while retaining them in the mouth, in the manner of chewing a cud of tobacco or coca leaves. After many minutes of mastication, the leaves are swallowed. Chewing the leaves as a cud permits absorption of salvinorin A through the mucous membranes of the mouth. This method is reported to induce long-lasting visions. However, Daniel Siebert, who has studied Salvia divinorum and has become one of the plant’s popularizers in the United States, has remarked that chewing the leaves can be an arduous task, since it takes time to achieve the effect and the taste is extremely bitter.
Alternatively, the fresh leaves can be squeezed and the juices drunk. The amount of salvinorin A ingested by this method depends on the length of time the user holds the juices in his mouth. Most often when the juices are drunk, the effect is mild, since the substance remains in contact with oral tissues for only a short time. If the juice is kept in the mouth as long as possible, the effect will be stronger.
A third method utilizes fresh leaves, which are crushed and soaked in water to make an extract. A tea prepared from four or five fresh leaves is reported to act as a tonic. A tea made from 20-60 leaves will induce hallucinations.
The leaves may also be dried and smoked like a marijuana joint. Five or six deep puffs are reported to produce an effect similar to marijuana and last one or two hours.
The most efficacious means of ingesting salvinorin A is to vaporize the crystalline form and inhale. A dose of 200-500 meg produces intense hallucinations.
In an experimental investigation in 20 human volunteers, Siebert studied the effects of salvinorin A administered through different routes of ingestion. The subjects reported no perceptible effects when 10 mg was encapsulated and swallowed. In contrast, when 2 mg was prepared as an alcohol extract, which was sprayed on the subjects’ oral tissues, the subjects noted some effects, but the activity of the extract was inconsistent. However, when 200-500 meg of crystallized salvinorin A were vaporized by heat and inhaled through a tube, hallucinatory effects were consistently experienced, with an intensity similar to those induced by fresh leaves.

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