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Salvia and the claustrum - and Francis Crick's last ambition Options
#1 Posted : 3/14/2013 5:02:35 AM

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This one's for the neuro-geeks:

I've just come across some very cool neurological research that has quite a bit to do with Salvia and after searches for "claustrum" turned up zero results here I wanted to share what I've discovered.

In 2005 Francis Crick, who famously with Watson discovered (with the aid of LSD) the functional structure of DNA, worked on a manuscript with Christof Koch studying a small piece of the brain called the Claustrum. It's a thin sheet of grey matter that spans the majority of the length of the neocortex and sits beneath it. It's unique in the brain. It seemingly takes inputs and outputs from all over the neocortex. Crick suggested that here was possibly the seat of consciousness - the "conductor" of the orchestra of information running through the brain, resulting potentially in "waves" of data through the claustrum which end up resulting in what we experience as SINGLE perception, SINGLE consciousness, compiled from the myriad inputs of the brain network. His manuscript ends with "The neuroanatomy of the claustrum is compatible with a global role in integrating information at the fast time-scale. This should be further experimentally investigated, in particular if this structure plays a key role in consciousness. What could be more important? So why wait?"

He was in fact working on this manuscript in the hospital the day he died.

An interesting aspect of the Claustrum is the unusual density of mRNA for the kappa-opioid receptors in its neurons. Which brings us into Salvia country. Salvinorin A is a very "clean" drug, in that it specifically is a kappa agonist, separating it from the alkaloid psychedelics. The K-receptors are the locks and Salvia is the key, and I think the experience of a high dose of Salvinorin A can be traced to what's happening in the Claustrum.

Picture it, if Crick is right - What you see, hear, and feel is coming into your brain as disparate moving data. The claustrum takes all of this disparate input and allows it to flow in waves - these waves, moment by moment, define your single experience in time.

Anyone who's done a high dose of Salvia knows what happens - That familiar, comfortable "single consciousness" gives way to multiple-consciousness, a feeling of being a multitude of separate selves, able to hive and split into a countless mass of millions or billions or trillions, until... until ???????

It could be that Salvia is disrupting the regular action of the Claustrum, and it's this action that provides much of the strange experience, including the confusion of wildest synesthesia. But the action of breakthrough is of particular curiosity. I recall returning from breakthrough, arriving suddenly into a sudden raging storm of multiple consciousness which is beyond my control until it is synchronized into a single perception that is appropriately taking input from good-old-fashioned-human-consensus reality. The Salvinorin has metabolized and we experience the claustrum's reboot of consciousness from the inside.

It accounts not-at-all for breakthrough - it makes me wonder if the nature of breakthrough does have some aspect beyond the neuro, or perhaps there's a threshold in which the consciousness is brought down to the level of a single neuronal exchange in order to account for the fact that the "synchronized waves" are no longer available. And here you experience your self moving through the universe-sized network of your own brain. Etc.

Some links:

What is the Function of the Claustrum? by Crick and Koch

Hypotheses related to the function of the claustrum - There's a section about Salvia

A youtuber pondering the connect between Salvia and the claustrum

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#2 Posted : 3/14/2013 5:14:53 AM

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"Anyone who's done a high dose of Salvia knows what happens - That familiar, comfortable "single consciousness" gives way to multiple-consciousness, a feeling of being a multitude of separate selves, able to hive and split into a countless mass of millions or billions or trillions, until... until ???????"

I have also experienced that exact thing on a high dose of mescaline combined with cannabis..and yes with salvinorin but I have also had high dose salvinorin experiences that are nothing like that.

This is interesting though, thanks! I read about the claustrum and salvia somewhere else a few months ago, or heard it maybe in a podcast..cant remember..
Long live the unwoke.
corpus callosum
#3 Posted : 3/14/2013 7:38:39 AM

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Nice article; one appreciative neuro-geek here! Thumbs up

I really do rate the work of Ramachandran; heres another paper which contains the same info re salvia plus some additional material not found in the paper by the same authors cited by the OP.

I am paranoid of my brain. It thinks all the time, even when I'm asleep. My thoughts assail me. Murderous lechers they are. Thought is the assassin of thought. Like a man stabbing himself with one hand while the other hand tries to stop the blade. Like an explosion that destroys the detonator. I am paranoid of my brain. It makes me unsettled and ill at ease. Makes me chase my tail, freezes my eyes and shuts me down. Watches me. Eats my head. It destroys me.

#4 Posted : 3/16/2013 12:27:39 PM

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jamie wrote:

I have also experienced that exact thing on a high dose of mescaline combined with cannabis..and yes with salvinorin but I have also had high dose salvinorin experiences that are nothing like that.

True, I think it's safe to say though that with enough experience in high salvia doses most people come to understand the feeling of "multiple selves" but it's no certainty when you take the stuff.

@corpus: I came across that article too, totally forgot to link it! I didn't read through the whole thing - tis a beast - but I did pick out the salvia bits, this one had much more a focus on the claustrum as a "sensory base". I think with the two approaches to the claustrum - Crick's "single consciousness conductor" and the "sensory home", we come to a pretty good means of interpreting the salvia experience.

I took a sublingual dose tonight, the first time I've done it since my claustrum research, and I must say, it was seriously eye-opening. What a different perspective to apply! I took a "strong" dose at 6 droppers of tincture diluted in 3 water.

Same sensations, same essential feel to the waves of salviaic experience, but this time I had this trick of a new understanding of what's happening neurologically. It always tends to bug me, I always want to yell at the Salvia eyes, "what are you trying to do to me, what am I supposed to do with this??"

This time everything seemed to make a new kind of sense. Here's how I translated the feelings.

1. "Oh. Here they come. They're coming to do their work." Salvinorin A molecules showing up, doing their first bindings to the kappa receptors in the orchestra pit. The steady trickle of the molecules into my bloodstream and into the brain is like the "fingers" of Salvia tickling the brain, each touch unsettling the "sync" of usual claustrum work.
2. The "steamrolling" somatic effect - Being physically aware of some new presence which seems to change and flatten out my body in waves. Perhaps these have to do with Crick's "waves" of sensory data. I am now, somehow viscerally inhabiting a center in the brain itself, perhaps in the dead center, perhaps a point that itself is fuzzy and shifts across the claustrum, and the "waves" of steamrolling energy are some aspect of sensory, especially physical computation, information being compiled and physically moved THROUGH the claustrum, OUT of sync with the presence of your seat, and so I become aware from a tiny but fuzzy centerpoint in my brain, of the direct surroundings - the rest of my brain itself being the "environment" for the waves and currents of Salvia's hustle and bustle.
3. My somatic center is hit. My sensory center. My "place" and "direction" centers. My "time" center. All of these are disrupted out of their normal experience. The whole of the experience can be interpreted with this possibility - In terms of my body, "I" live somewhere in the neighborhood of the Claustrum. Salvinorin As in multitudes show up - I say "welcome little buddies!" They say "Well we got some crazy work to do here, hope you're all buckled up there champ." By un-syncing the Claustrum's normal compilation job, I essentially experience waves of de-synced somatic input/output. These are the steamrolls, the zippers, the pulling energies, the ubiquitous "folds".

My own thoughts seem like echoes of other beings' voices. I wish I could give them a voice that can express clearly, but for the most part I seem stuck with arbitrary echoes of sentence fragments running again and again through my mind, each one matched up to repeating ribbons or bodily maps that interlock - like I have a "left" body and a "right" body attached at the point of a shared head/brain ("my" location), and these halves duplicate again and again and interlock like the teeth of a zipper which by turns zips and unzips (or petals of a flower folding and unfolding) according to whether or not there's an energy wheel/orb "steamrolling" onto or off of me. The particularly strange part of the process is the seeming marriage between the auditory echoes of arbitrary vocal fragments and these somatic zipper-teeth being "printed" into some kind of timestuff. Echo-echo-echo - each echo is a sound AND a ribbon of bodily sensation which seems "recorded/printed" into the salviaic atmos, which is itself like a swirling air made of silly putty.

In between "steamrolls" it's fairly quiet and mellow and generally feels close to ordinary bodily consciousness. The center which I take to be my "pilot seat" generally always feels like a fuzzy humming vibrating light bulb in the middle of my brain. I always beat myself up a little during this fairly unpleasant shifting process, wishing I had some means of quieting the overall chatter and feeling not totally up to the task of "shutting my brain up," but I try to take the echoing arbitrary voices as outside events and remain in the experiencer's seat and always attempt to find a place of quiet receptive awareness.

But very little of this aspect is really quiet! It's a slow storm, this stuff. Always annoys me a bit when I'm in the middle of it. I'm thinking that the frequency is very slow on the tincture, possibly too slow to achieve breakthrough at all - It seems to me that breakthrough may itself be the single consciousness's natural reaction to particular kinds of trauma. When the "experiencer" is confronted with a wild-enough somatic change, it transcends, it shifts to another mode - a dream awareness that is clear by comparison, like getting in a rocket and lifting up out of the swamp-of-zippers.

I hypothesize one trick to it is by focusing your awareness not on the immediate sensations, but on the entire "print" that is being left in the "putty atmos". I remember from smoking the extract - Eventually it ceases to resemble a human form at all and before long you've plumb forgot how to get back to your previous mode and are immediately stuck with being some kind of fractalized uber-self. Do the "psychedelic shrug!" Throw your hands up like you're at the peak of a roller coaster and go with it.

My ultimate goal in working with this substance is to break through on tincture, to find enough comfort with the language of the drug to find the path. But I reckon if one were to wait until the "quiet moment" after the first major steamroll comes through, and then boost with some 10x, you'd be sitting pretty. Perhaps if I can rope a sitter into dealing with me for a potential hour of salvia meditation I'll attempt it next time.

All in all, this was a by-the-book "swamp-level" Salvia trip as I'd put it, but particularly interesting for me to apply the entire experience in light of the Claustrum's kappa receptors as they lit up with all those little salvia fingers - it really is almost like you can feel each one, each little Sally-A doing its thing.

If any Sally users have bothered to read this whole thing, I appreciate the time, and I hope it's done something for you!
#5 Posted : 7/3/2014 3:52:34 PM

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Interesting related info on the claustrum


<Ringworm>hehehe, it's all fun and games till someone loses an "I"
#6 Posted : 8/5/2014 10:36:11 PM


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I love perturbing the claustrum,

Also opens the possibility of hindering the seat of the 5 senses.
Thereby increasing one's awareness of it and possibly causing out of body experiences e.g. Experiencing something other than this synch of various impressions incl. memory and connections of concepts to words, the stream of visual impressions, physical sensations, desires manifesting in strange ways, and even absolute substitution of regular experience for a novel display of forms and colors, and the whole list is subject to morphing and experiencing synesthesia between them.

So how much of these effects can be attributed to salvia vs. the one being administered salvia?

Anyways just bumping this thread pretty much.
Parshvik Chintan
#7 Posted : 8/5/2014 11:32:24 PM

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absolutely fascinating
My wind instrument is the bong
#8 Posted : 8/7/2014 8:34:06 PM


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cubeananda wrote:
I love perturbing the claustrum,

So how much of these effects can be attributed to salvia vs. the one being administered salvia?

To answer my own question, and also to open it up to considering what the experience of perturbing the claustrum is like in terms of subjective experience, I'll quote from the Ralph Metzner article. I feel what he has to say about 5-MeO-DMT is easily applicable to both salvia and perturbing the claustrum in general

Someone with little or no prior experience with meditative states or practices might simply go completely unconscious, i.e. dissociate, while those with more experience might find themselves in transcendent, out-of-body or absorptive trance states that can be only partially remembered and described afterwards. Body movements, sounds and verbal utterances that are observed by others but not remembered by the subject – also indicate dissociative disconnect, no matter how pleasurable the subjective experience. The ability to make sense of the experience would certainly be a function of having had some prior experiences of transcendent consciousness and acquaintance with the literature of meditative practices.

#9 Posted : 1/6/2015 1:25:14 AM

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I've been working with homemade tincture the last few months, and...wow!

In summary, I feel strongly that salvia can "resolve" consciousness down to cellular level, from the point of view of the user. I become a country of sentient cells, on election night. At one moment, I asked out loud "Is this what you are for?"

Terpenes like salvinorin typically have a stimulating odor, and I now interpret the "lapping of invisible cat tongues" as this odor percolating through my system and waking each cell up in turn.

Along the way it shakes up weird little compressed memory packets, that give rise to childhood audiovisual memories, that loop. At one point I felt like a cell in my nose, during class, as the teacher said "And this is what happens to people who do drugs," endlessly, which was amusing!

Another time, after an OBE, I came back to find I was just a neuron now, and that "somebody else is running him now".

But the effect always dissipates, of course, and I return to my benign dictatorship Twisted Evil

“I sometimes marvel at how far I’ve come - blissful, even, in the knowledge that I am slowly becoming a well-evolved human being - only to have the illusion shattered by an episode of bad behaviour that contradicts the new and reinforces the old. At these junctures of self-reflection, I ask the question: “are all my years of hard work unraveling before my eyes, or am I just having an episode?” For the sake of personal growth and the pursuit of equanimity, I choose the latter and accept that, on this journey of evolution, I may not encounter just one bad day, but a group of many.”
― B.G. Bowers

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