Salvia divinorum and depersonalization/derealization Options
#1 Posted : 9/8/2011 7:42:05 AM

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Salvia divinorum and depersonalization/derealization

First, a couple of definitions:

Depersonalization- "an anomaly of the mechanism by which an individual has self-awareness. It is a feeling of watching oneself act, while having no control over a situation. Sufferers feel they have changed, and the world has become less real, vague, dreamlike, or lacking in significance. It can be a disturbing experience, since many feel that, indeed, they are living in a 'dream'. Chronic depersonalization refers to depersonalization disorder, which is classified by the DSM-IV as a dissociative disorder. Though degrees of depersonalization and derealization can happen to anyone subject to temporary severe anxiety/stress, chronic depersonalization is more related to individuals who have experienced a severe trauma or prolonged stress/anxiety." (wikipedia)

Derealization - "an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems strange or unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one's environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional coloring and depth. It is a dissociative symptom of many conditions, such as psychiatric and neurological disorders, and not a standalone disorder... Derealization is a subjective experience of unreality of the outside world, while depersonalization is unreality in one's sense of self." (wikipedia)

I realize this is a bit of an uncomfortable subject. But considering the harm reduction nature of the forum, it's a conversation that I can't help but bring up.

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I believe that for the vast majority of people, S. divinorum is at worst benign and at best a benevolent substance in terms of personal growth and wellbeing. Of course, there are always exceptions. I'm aware of only two cases reported in the literature where ingestion of the drug led to a long-term adverse reaction; one of these cases resolved after several weeks, while the other remained unresolved after several months. There are also several records of people admitted to the emergency room exhibiting paranoid or schizotypic behavior after smoking salvia, but in these cases it tends to either clear up rapidly, or the individual leaves against the advice of the medical staff. Many of these cases actually involve polydrug use, and there is no indication of a tendency toward long-lasting symptoms.

I have generally regarded these cases as atypical reactions arising after an altered or peak state of consciousness, rather than being part of a complex specific to S. divinorum... sort of in the vein of the phenomenon that Ann Shulgin experienced (as described in PiHKAL) that she termed a "spiritual crisis."

When composing some comments on these atypical reactions, I had a vague recollection of reading a few posts some years ago where people reported experiencing derealization and/or depersonalization after smoking S. divinorum, with the phenomena persisting for a few days or weeks before clearing up. When I started googling around to try to turn up some of those posts for reference, I was struck by the number of posts I found that described very long-term impairment of this nature correlated to the use of S. divinorum. Below I've collected several accounts of long-term derealization/depersonalization attributed to S. divinorum, as well as a few accounts of transient/short-term effects.

A few features particularly strike me:
  • Stress and anxiety are often mentioned when people experiencing long-term adverse effects discuss their mindset prior to the experience that triggered the derealization/depersonalization.
  • While many of the reports are heart-wrenching to read, they are very few in number compared to the total portion of the population that has tried S. divinorum (a very conservative estimate would indicate that at least a few million people have tried the drug).
  • Every episode of derealization/depersonalization attributed to S. divinorum occured after smoking the drug... never from any other route of administration.

So while I think that people considering trying the drug should be informed of this risk, it is also worthwhile to remember that in terms of raw numbers, the risk is not a large one. Because S. divinorum seems to directly stimulate feelings of derealization and depersonalization by way of the kappa-opioid receptor, it could be that it carries a greater risk of inducing long-term adverse psychological effects tha the "classic" serotonergic psychedelics. Somewhat ironically, I wonder at the possibility that being informed of this risk might intrinsically increase the risk: Derealization is a very common acute effect of salvinorin A (that is, one experiences dramatic derealization while under its influence). After the drug wears off, it is not uncommon to dwell on that sensation, on how real it may have felt that this reality is an illusion or a hoax, or how one may have felt terrified that they would not find their way back to the correct reality, or that a different version of them might find its way back to the correct reality instead. These feelings are within the normal range of integrating a smoked S. divinorum experience. But if the user is concerned about the possibility of long-term derealization, I can imagine that rather than productively integrating these thoughts, they could inadvertently trick their brain into producing the sort of long-term derealization that they desperately wish to avoid.

I think it is very prudent to avoid using S. divinorum while stressed, anxious, or exhausted. And I would encourage people to explore other routes of administration besides smoking; sure it's easy and the effects are immediate, but I think there's a lot more to be gained by taking things more slowly.

These are just some preliminary thoughts. I'm still mulling over the subject myself, and would like to hear what others think about it as well.

Edit (19 Sep 2011): I notice that in a couple of accounts below, people describe having a panic attack while under the influence, and that the experience lasted several hours. That the experience seems to last much longer when someone has a panic attack under the influence leads me to suspect that panic attacks are a crucial factor in these rare long-term reactions. A lack of prior experience with strong mind-altering drugs and a lack of clear ideas of what to expect appear (from the very small sample size of people who have experienced this) seem to be risk factors for this atypical reaction... but these same criteria could also be expected to be risk factors for experiencing a panic attack when faced with the extreme altered state induced by salvinorin A.

I can't help but wonder if this phenomenon is in fact a fairly straightforward manifestation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first diagnostic criterion for PTSD is exposure to a traumatic event which involved both loss of "physical integrity" (which could be experientially satisfied by the acute effects of S. divinorum) and "a response to the event that involved intense fear, horror, or helplessness" (I think a panic attack qualifies as such a response, and fear, horror, and helplessness may all be experienced under the influence). Other criteria are persistent re-experiencing, persistant avoidance and emotional numbing (including things like "decreased involvement in significant life activities," "decreased capacity to feel certain feelings,"an expectation that one's future will be somehow constrained in ways not normal to other people"), persistent symptoms of increased arousal not present before (including problems with concentration or difficulty sleeping), persistence of symptoms for more than one month, and "clinically significant distress or impairment of major domains of life activity, such as social relations, occupational activities, or other important areas of functioning." These criteria seem to be well-represented in the experiences quoted below.

Just some food for thought.

Anyway, on to the reports:

Salvia induced permanent effects?
Azen wrote:
I smoked some 6X Salvia 3 days ago along with drinking some beer to relax me to the state of smoking. I took a very large hit and was completely gone for about 30 minutes. I had a sitter and she said I was mumbling the whole time some gibberish. After waking up 2 days ago (the next day after smoking) I noticed bothersome visual disturbances and shrugged it off. But as the day went on and until right now I'm experiencing a depersonalization/derealization and almost fright to go into dark places. My head feels like its being crushed by my skull constantly and I really have to struggle to even talk. When I do talk, I sound raspy and distant to people and have had to repeat myself several times because of mumbling.

My first day back at work yesterday a few people came up to me and told me I looked and acted like I was in a different world. I've been struggling with this and have also had constant panic and keep seeing things move in my peripheral vision ontop of the constant visual distortions. The visual distortions can also be pretty intense when trying to go to sleep and I turn the light on immediately when I go into dark rooms.

The visuals have a universal design that makes me look away. They almost feel as they have a presence. I enjoyed the design like experiences when under salvia's influence but don't want them for the rest of my life or even months. It's quite disturbing. I won't touch it again, I couldn't imagine it being worse.

I'd really appreciate any input or help anyone can give me. I hope I didn't do anything permanent.

... I guess my mindset wasn't that great. I'm stressing over a impending separation from my wife but that wasn't why I did Salvia. I don't remember much from the experience (probably alcohol) but I do remember being frightened by an evil presence and also elated from a good presence. I felt many "live" plants growing at a quick speed and wrapping around my body.

truekimbo2 wrote:
azen i get the same thing. i know its kind of scarey but if you ignore it, it should go mostly away within a week. redgreenvines mentioned something similar so there are a couple poeple that get like that.

for me what happens is time gets super fast and my visual field gets super clear and at the same time starts cycling which patterns i'm paying attention to at high speed (don't know how better to put it, feels like i'm seeing how my brain puts together all the mental concepts coming from my visual field), but i kind of lose my ability to think. then the depersonalization kicks in and de-realization kind of starts to fade in.

i would say if you want to get back to normal quicker do not use any substances, even weed and alchohol.

from whats happened to me it seems the only danger is of panicing. also for me not trying to focus on anything helps, just doing stuff while pretending i am normal works while focusing on my breath or body just makes it worse. i'm sure its a somewhat individual reaction. anyways, yeah just no that those effects appear to be semi-normal, and that it does go away.

Azen, 3 years later, wrote:
I've had a few people ask me about updating this thread, and I think now is a good time.

Whatever site, research study, or just random people saying that certain drugs are harmless, I'm here to disagree. Almost 3 years later and some symptoms have gone, but some are more pronounced.

My visual disturbances have gone away mostly, but I still see salvia patterns and especially when I get short naps (15-45 min). When I wake up, I get that odd feeling again for about an hour or so.

I was very shaky, writing horribly, and had a new not so good outlook on life after my last salvia trip. These things are permanent. My ability to write has diminished significantly, and continues to get worse. I can't make certain patterns when I write, like a circular pattern or change from circular to straight writing, and sometimes can't even write a straight line. For example, when I'm writing the letter B, when switching from the circular part of the letter to straight part, I have a terrible time doing it. My hand won't do what my brain is telling it to do, if that makes any sense.

The shakiness hasn't gone away, and has actually gotten worse. I work in a lab and need fine motor movements in my work, and I might have to quit my job because even holding one hand with the other when I do fine motor work is impossible sometimes.

I was depressed before this whole situation, but I have a new completely new depressed outlook on life. I've tried diet, exercise, all kinds of things but this hasn't changed. I feel like I just exist and am waiting to grow old and die. That's all I feel. I lost the ability to love. I'm completely indifferent to everything and everyone, even close family members. Even my 4 year old daughter, for fuck's sake.

This is not coincidence, it happened right after my last salvia trip and salvia is the cause. I've been to neurologists that tell me one after another that nothing is wrong. MRI shows nothing. *shrug*

Just a gentle reminder to those who wish to dive into the salvia universe!

crazyskateboarding wrote:
i have had this same effect...but i did 100X salvia and im not sure if it was directly the salvia of if it was cuz i first tired pot like 3-4 weeks later and had a very bad panic attack...ether way im not myself now. i do get better days than others though...and i do notice trying to find stuff to distract me from it helps like friends, video games, movies etc. i was feeling ok for 3-4 days now and then i filmed with a video camera and im not sure what happened but it came back for a bit. anyway best of luck to you glad to hear in some ways im not the only one this happened to.

salvia-induced DP
sekhmet wrote:
Been suffering from DP/DR for the past 8 months. I'm not a drug user, but I took a whiff of 7x salvia during orientation right before my first year of grad school started along with a bunch of other students. I was tripping balls for 45 minutes while everyone was looking at me with a confused look after their 2 minute trips. Never came out of that dreamland and I've been sleepwalking ever since. On top of that somehow my brain chemistry got so screwed up I plummeted into clinical depression and didn't have the energy to walk for more than 5 meters. I'm at a very prestigious school for my field- and this thing totally ruined all my ambitions and research plans- not to mention my usually chatty and lighthearted personality got wiped away.

Anyway, I took 25mg of sertraline for a month and a half to take away the clinical depression (small dose, but more didn't do any good) but that didn't do anything for the DP/DR as predicted. It's been very very very slowly fading away these past months but the dissociation has still taken a toll on my life;.. grad school is hard enough without something like that. If it doesn't go away soon, I'll have to quit a promising academic career.

These past couple of months I've been taking 150 mg of naltrexone, and that greatly improved my standard of life- prolly 20 percent DP improvement- but its still not enough.

Anyway, it's interesting to note that for the year prior to DP, I was really overworked and burnt out from family/school/friend life and had at least mild anhedonia. Dynorphins are implicated both in chronic stress and anhedonia- and maybe salvia, another kappa opioid agonist, was the tipping point as a kind of "artificial chronic stress." (I guess DP was my reward for hard work). Hopefully KOR antagonists will come out and may be the answer for a lot of people..

strangeways wrote:
I think mine was salvia induced too, but I smoked a lot, and I mean A LOT of 80x out of a gravity bong. But do you think its possible it lasted so long because you had a panic attack during the trip? That's what I'm convinced it was for me because mine lasted about and hour too.

...I think my dr/dp was caused from salvia that time, I felt like I never completely stopped tripping. I've always had a panic disorder though. So I just figured it could be linked. I wasn't stressed when I was smoking it but during the trip I had a point where I couldn't see or hear anything but weird fake world and a voice saying I was stuck this way forever. But on a positive note my dr/dp did go away after about a year. But about six months ago I had a really bad panic attack and it came back in full force.

Scary Lasting after effects
d11 wrote:
I would appreciate any insight into this please. I've smoked 15x twice. Once a month ago and once two weeks ago. Neither time did I experience a full 'breakthrough', nor did I want too. I was interested in it for the post experience mood elevating properties many users report... Second time after doing the hit, within seconds I experienced acute panic, racing heart, a huge sense of shock, and acute depersonalization. It was as though I was seeing through 'the eyes' of a seperate conscious entity that had taken up simultaneous residency inside my head. there were no vivid hallucinations but this universe became less real

I felt truly crazy. For several minutes I just sat entranced and in misery and fear. My sitter friend had no idea of how anxious I was but his presence, a good and trusted friend, made me 'paranoid.' 15 minutes later I was shaken but ok.

The problems kicked in two days later when I woke feeling like I was tripping. This is to say feeling the same depersonalization, as though i didn't fully inhabit my body. This was accompanied by severe anxiety and fear of going outside. I had errands I needed to do and managed to get through them in a state of real fear. This lasted several hours.

Ten days have passed. There have been continuing bursts of anxiety though less extreme. What worries me is the continual subtle persistance that I am different. My memory seems ok but there is a sense of being disconnected to my normal sense of identity. I used to take naps and now I feel to anxious and alert, like I switched on some brain circuitry that's always running in the background. I can still read and concentrate but that seems somewhat impaired as I am distracted by this 'alien' sensibility.... No fool like an old fool...I'm not a kid for sure. Maybe thiis psychoactive triggered a latent schizophrenia....I hope not. I don't here voices or see anything out of the ordinary. It's just like I switched something on that won't fully go away... All it seemed to teach me is a new respect for normal waking consciousness, which at the moment seems compromised...and that is scaring me.

dvader wrote:
i had 10 or so experiences and the last one was very rough.
it was about 2 months + before everything was back to 100% normal..
each week will get better.

Salvia - The day after
Creamsoda wrote:
Has anyone felt anything that sounds like Depersonalization or Derealization for short period after an intense salvia trip? I remember the day after one of mine I felt the way they describe these sensations pretty badly. I though maybe that I hadn't eaten much that day and I was trying to shake it off but it was pretty persistent for a while. Finally wore off by the end of the night

d11 wrote:
One main reason I'm disliked here is because I contend that these changes are permanent. You will never be rid of them. In time you will ajust to it, because what choice do you have? But from now on, you are no longer who you were. You have rearranged something chemically inside you so that all previous definitions and perceptions of this earth as a solid thing..that life is over.

This is the gift of just one salvia experience. People try to find some good in the permanent perceptual changes, and maybe for them it's good to have performed auto-brain surgery.

There is no other substamce on earth that does not allow you to return to who you were after using it. Welcome to the club. This is what the salesman and afficiados won't tell you in simple unvarnished language.

so what do you think about this?!
Dioxippus wrote:
Even if Salvia does cause depersonalization, I don't see how it could be permanent. I've experienced some symptoms of depersonalization after many heavy trips on Salvia, but they were short-lived. I've definitely never experienced anything like schizophrenia from it. I was severely depressed in the past as well and Salvia really helped me lift myself out of it. I would trade that crushing depression for a little short-lived DP any day.

6 days and still feel effects
mat369 wrote:
iv taken salvia twice x12. the 1st time with a couple of friends. we all had a gd experiance and had no after effects. however, a couple of weeks later(6 days ago) me and a friend decided to finish the rest off. he had a long deep trip and came out of it relaxed. i however didnt have a trip, insted went into a dreamy feeling that can only b explained as having a fog hovering over my brain. 6 days have passed and this feeling will not leave! im getting anxiety and small panic attacks im on the point of thinking im cazy. Sometimes i cant tlk properly and everything feels like a dream. I feel im going to wake up any minuet and find out this is a horrible nightmare. but im not dreaming. iv taken alot of different drugs in my life but nothing has effected me in this way. Salvia definatly triggered how i am feeling. Its like im between worlds, the reality and sally.
iv tryed to explain exactly how i am feeling sorry if it sounds repetitive or stupid but its hard to think straight.
im not telling this to scare people and am deffinatly not lying. just looking for an answer to get me out of this state!
people have got to relise that salvia can effect u in different ways in the long term aswell as short... as we all know it hasnt had much studies on it and lets face it... how many hallucinogens do u know that dont cause harm? lsd was 1st brought out as mediciene(im sure il b corrected) and even cocaine was sold as a anti depressent at 1st... just as salvia is sold as a meditive suppliment...the sellers dont give a shit about who buys it! its a wa of making cash!
sorry to be coming on very negative but... the way im feeling off this 'plant extract' has made me lose all respect for it! its messed my head up and possibly ruined my brain forever as far as i know! every nite i go to bed hoping to wake up 'normal' but it dosnt happen!

mat369 wrote:
Some of you may remember me from april of this year.
I came on saying i thought salvia has stole my mind and was causing me to question my sanity. I was a complete mess and really thought salvia had fried my brain, but this was not the case!
After a long time of feeling alone and confused i found out i have Derealization. A form of anxiety brought on by variouis different reasons. One of which is using psychedelics.
A change in an individual's experience of the environment, where the world around him/her feels unreal and unfamiliar.
Terms commonly used to describe the symptoms and sensations of derealisation:

like looking through a gray veil
a sensory fog
being trapped in a glass bell jar
in a goldfish bowl
behind glass
in a Disney-world dream state
feeling cut off or distant from the immediate surroundings
like being a spectator at some strange and meaningless game
objects appear diminished in size
artificial; objects appear to be unsolid, to breathe, or to shimmer
"as if my head were inside a Coke bottle and I'm viewing the world through the thick glass at the bottom

This is how i feel prety much all of the time. At times it gets real difficult but now i know whats wrong it really reduces the anxiety.
Im not posting to say don't do salvia because you will get this(been there done that)
But mostly just a general update because i kind of just disapeared... Anyway thats all really. Thought id give an update.

"The Road to Recovery" and why you shouldn't be scared of it!
Luciiz wrote:
I got DP/DR about 2.5 years ago after cannabis/salvia consumption. It hit me like a brick wall after that salvia trip. Suddenly, every thing was different. As a side note, what I saw on that salvia trip was an athlete shape in the bushes, distinctly feeling like I was the "Salad Man" - my body felt weak and frail. Not a very nice trip at all. I'll get to what these mean later. And that's made for a painful last 2 years. I just couldn't cope... [Goes on to say that after two years he adopted a drastically healthier diet and is seeing consistent improvement in symptoms]

Cure for my derealization?
Luciiz wrote:
Well I don't want to make a massive post, so here's the gist of my story

- Did salvia about the beginning of September, have had derealization (not depersonalization) ever since, and don't know why. This happened straight away and has barely stopped in intensity.

- Went to doctors, told her about it - she gave me a confused look and told me to get some blood tests done. Today I find out there's nothing wrong with my blood... [Goes on to wonder if KOR antagonists might reverse symptoms]

noname wrote:
Im a 21 years old french man , and im new on this board . I ve always liked to experiment drugs (never abusing).
I' ve experiment Salvia 3 years ago , and the result was a dp/dr state , which stay for approximately 6 month (of hell). Next I have partially recovered , i was able to live without anxiety and my dp/dr have reduced in intensity.

But the bad thing is that I've re-experiment Salvia at beginning of September (as you) : just before I' ve had my license in Computer Science , I was on holydays , was on party , smoke joints , feel fine and want to re-experiment this drugs (I very like the strange trip induced from salvia) ...
And now im fucked , the DP/DR has flare up Sad , and I experiment , as 3 years ago , sligth visual disturbance (but I dont know if its a very minor case of HPPD or just derealization) . Yes I know it' s very (very very very) stupid , and I will never take anymore Salvia .

The AMAZING thing is that the two times Ive just smoke leaves and have a "small" trip , not "ego dissociation" , not the "forget that i've smoked salvia" effect , not big visual effect or anything . Just very sligth visuals distortion , DP/DR , and a nice sligth "transe state" , which I very like. Just this trip throws DP/DR... Sorry for my fault in english

I need your help guys, please.
chemicalaffinity wrote:
In March of 2008 I smoked a high concentration of Salvia, looking for a spiritual religious experience. Instead it was a brainf*%$k. I became a two dimensional object, folding in on my self a 1000 times a second. In this trip, there was no such thing as life and everything that I knew and loved was a dream. It was all fake. When I awoke from the trip, for about 20 seconds, I didn't know who I was, who my sitter was, and where I was. It was very traumatizing for me.

Ever since that day, reality has seemed like a dream, and that trip was the true reality. I would often have panic attacks and feel like I was going to just melt back into that trip, the "true reality". Now everything that I do is no longer enjoyable, because the DR just invades it, and taints it's beauty. I see people living their lives, having conversations, getting drunk, having a good time and I feel left out because I know that I'm not normal psychologically anymore... I get jealous and wish I could go back in time, and throw that Salvia in the garbage instead of smoking it. I can't even have a conversation without zoning out for half a second while that person is talking to me. After I zone out for that half second the rest of the conversation seems so insignificant, and my mind concentrates on my vision. My eyes focus super hard on the person I'm conversing with, then I have to struggle to listen to what he's saying and listen to my mind saying "don't freak out, don't make a fool of yourself".

My dreams have become super vivid, often waking me up several times a night. After waking from some of these dreams I feel the anxiety kicking in and if I don't do my best to control it, it would most likely develop into another anxiety attack. Sometimes I'm even afraid to go to sleep because of the possibility of a super vivid dream.

My life has become a living a nightmare.

I am fortunate that I have, what I believe, a strong mind - often thinking positive thoughts to myself when anxiety and DR kick in. But I feel like my mind is getting a bit exhausted from this constant battle with DR. [Note: This was posted in May 2010, so the problem has persisted for over two years]


Trippy glass for trippy people.
#2 Posted : 9/8/2011 2:24:58 PM


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I wonder what age all these guys are. Psychedelic drugs on the young mind can have a mgjor impact for years
#3 Posted : 9/8/2011 3:45:37 PM


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Interesting ideas and insights. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

Thankfully, I’ve never had such symptoms from salvia. During experiences – yes. The idea that the world is a fabrication and that everyone but me knows it! But these feelings always faded within minutes once the effects wore off.

The suggestion you make regarding smoking vs. traditional oral methods of ingestion that traditional methods may be less likely to produce such symptoms: I don’t think there’s enough data. One reason there might not be reports of such symptoms from people who consume salvia using traditional methods is that (I’m guessing) only a miniscule percentage of people regularly consume salvia that way. I bet there aren’t even that many people who smoke plain leaf.

One of my frequent observations concerns the potency of salvia. Salvinorin A is the most potent naturally occurring psychoactive drug. Noticeable effects are produced by as little as 200 micrograms of salvinorin A. A fairly strong dose is 1 milligram. And many users, enticed by marketing hype, try the strongest extracts they can find. Novice users almost never weigh doses, they just “pack a bowl”.

(As an aside, I remember reading a paper that said salvinorin A does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier, and I think the amount that actually gets into the brain is 1% or less – can’t remember exact number – but that means a strong salvia experience is caused by as little as 10 micrograms of salvinorin A circulating in your brain. That’s amazing.)

It seems that salvia experience reports include a lot more unpleasant or downright horrific experiences than many other drugs. This is often attributed to its effects on the kappa-opioid receptors, but I wonder if that’s the case? My guess is that novice users are routinely consuming huge doses – doses far in excess of what is needed to produce a “salvia breakthrough”.

Just to speculate – let’s say someone’s using legitimate 60X extract and they “pack a bowl” that holds 150mg of material. A milligram of 60X extract contains 0.15mg of salvinorin A, so a “bowl” contains an astounding 22.5mg of salvinorin A! When vaporizing pure salvinorin A, Siebert reported that a dose of 2mg was extremely uncomfortable. So imagine what 11 or 12 times that dose would do to you!!

By comparison, if we use 30mg as a typical dose of vaporized DMT, a dose 22.5 times that would be 675mg! Imagine what a dose of that size would do to a person. It’s hard to imagine it being anything other than horrific.

My point is that if most novice users of DMT were routinely consuming 675mg at a time, all we would hear about would be horrific experiences that cause lasting psychological (and maybe neurological) damage.

So I’m not convinced that salvia has any more potential to cause harm than any other common psychedelic. But due to the potency of salvinorin A, the marketing practices surrounding high-strength extracts, and the uninformed consumption of these extracts by novice users, my guess is that many users routinely consume massive doses.
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#4 Posted : 9/8/2011 4:19:57 PM

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it is hard for me to really call the salvia state "depersonalization"..I mean it is is probabily the best word we have but it is at the same time different than that, or beyond it.

Often times I have felt that the experience jolts one beyond the limits of individual body I am not depersonalized so much becasue I can often remember who I am and what I have done, UNTIL I open my eyes or move at all and then I realize I am somehow still connected to the body, yet linked to some greater reality network as well and can believe that it is always this way.

I think alot of the problems occur in that state where people try to reintegrate into reality before the effects have fully worn off..that can be devistating and has caused me to spend a good day or 2 feeling sort of creeped out and questioning reality..I still went back though many many times and never ever had long term effect.

I have seen alot of people flip out with salvia. I had one friend that horus later felt disphoric and weird..I know that salvia blocks some seratonin activity I think so I gave him a large dose of cacao and some honey oil and he said that sort of canceled out the disphoric feelins and made him feel okay about the trip.

Salvia is just so weird I think it is bound to shake people up..
#5 Posted : 9/8/2011 4:47:14 PM


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As kind of a side note to this occurring only with smoalking and not with traditional methods.

The Mazatec say the reason they prefer the mushroom over salvia is that when you take the mushroom you go out and then you come back, sometimes when people take salvia they go out but they don't come back.

I forget the exact source I heard this from, I'm thinking it was likely one of Kat Harrison's lectures on the traditional uses of salvia.

Anyhow I just wanted to point out this appears to be known to happen with traditional methods as well.
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Visual diagram for the administration of dimethyltryptamine

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#6 Posted : 9/8/2011 4:58:46 PM

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It was Kat Harrison that said that. I think that if you only have experience smoking than you dont have a rounded approximation of salvia in how it relates to the mazatecs. Quidding is very different in how it unfolds for me..but it can still make you break though I think if you take alot of it.
#7 Posted : 9/8/2011 7:18:13 PM

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Interesting thread. I expected there to be a d11 post in there Very happy

My problem with the depersonalization/derealization is that it seems like people are blaming the Salvia for their problems. Just because I haven't experienced long term depersonalization/derealization doesn't mean I don't think some people can experience those things in the long term. But when you get some background on some of the people who post about long term depersonalization/derealization, like d11, you see that they have a history of using psychiatric drugs or no drugs at all. I think something like Salvia isn't the best thing to do for your first drug experience, or if you have a history of mental illness. It might not even be the best thing if you're the kind of person who plays the blame game and has a hard time taking responsibility for how you feel or your own actions.

All that said, some people may simply be predisposed to this type of thing. I myself have experienced it, although when I have experienced it it was very short-lived:

Entropymancer wrote:
so what do you think about this?!
Dioxippus wrote:
Even if Salvia does cause depersonalization, I don't see how it could be permanent. I've experienced some symptoms of depersonalization after many heavy trips on Salvia, but they were short-lived. I've definitely never experienced anything like schizophrenia from it. I was severely depressed in the past as well and Salvia really helped me lift myself out of it. I would trade that crushing depression for a little short-lived DP any day.

These episodes I experienced were after I took massive doses. Well above what I would suggest anyone take. And the feelings lasted for a while, perhaps a couple days, and I realized that I was doing it to myself mostly. It wasn't the Salvia, the effects from the Salvia were long gone. I was tricking myself into feeling that way.

What we don't see here is the way d11 used to blame Salvia for ALL of his problems. He would pop up periodically to say how horrible Salvia was, that it's worse than anything he's ever done, and that his one time use has made him mentally ill. That just doesn't sound rational to me.

Salvia can and does cause depersonalization/derealization in some people. As for it being a long term condition, I question that. I believe that people will blame the drug (no matter what drug it is) for their problems, as it's a convenient excuse, and it's far easier to blame something else than take responsibility for it themselves. To admit that it could be them working themselves up in their own head and not some drug experience they had three years ago.

My opinion is biased, of course, because Salvia has helped me tremendously in my life. I do acknowledge that it can cause stressful experiences, and those could go on to haunt some people. But as for a biological reason, that salvinorin A somehow can cause these depersonalization/derealization experiences years after ingestion, I would have to disagree.
#8 Posted : 9/8/2011 8:10:17 PM

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Thanks for compiling this!! Great advice to suggest not smoking salvia while stressed out. It probably won't calm you down. It doesn't work as a feel good drug. As many have said, it seems salvia is more likely to make one feel bad, or dysphoric, as they say.

Depersonalization, derealization, and solipsism are common with salvia. It's good to warn about these effects, however, I don't believe these effects are to be avoided. I believe derpersonalization, and derealization are natural experiences of life. Anyone who studies Zen will soon confront the idea of the world being illusion. Entire philosophies, and sects of Buddhism revolve around the illusory nature of the universe. To feel depersonalized or unreal is not necessarily a bad thing. I think when some people have that depersonalized experience for the first time, it just scares the hell out of them, and they go through this inner conflict where they don't want to believe the truth they have experienced.... they want to undue what was experienced, but they can't deny how they feel within. So, they conclude that something is wrong, they've gone insane, they think about the conflict all the time, and maybe even seek medical treatment. To an extent, I think people who continue to be freaked out after the effects have worn off are doing it to themselves. I think what would really help them is if they had someone who has experienced the same thing to tell them they aren't insane and everything is fine. I think the problem is people who experience depersonalization think everyone else is different, and so the individual must be flawed, and this scares them.

Anyway, I don't advise anyone use psychoactive drugs unless they want to learn deep and possibly disturbing things about themselves, and the universe. People shouldn't be using salvia to feel good, or "get high". It's a serious learning tool.
#9 Posted : 9/8/2011 10:28:41 PM


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Found it!

It was Kat Harrison at the World Psychedelic forum in her lecture about salvia.

In case the time thing doesn't work for any reason, she starts talking about it at around 5:25 till about 6:00
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Visual diagram for the administration of dimethyltryptamine

Visual diagram for the administration of ayahuasca
#10 Posted : 9/9/2011 6:19:13 AM

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Some excellent points have been raised here.

I've been convinced to retract my suggestion that routes other than smoking may decrease the risk. I'm not sure how much weight to give to the Mazatec claim that they prefer mushrooms, because with S. divinorum they aren't sure that they'll come back... With indigenous knowledge, it's hard to tell how much empirical knowledge, how much is tradition, and how much is the informants own spin. One curandero has claimed that mushrooms are preferred because salvia moves too quickly for many to grasp its lessons, another claims that it "speaks in a small voice." But at any rate, only a very small portion of those who try the plant take it by any means other than smoking; it's therefore reasonable that a rare abnormality would have been reported only among people who smoked it. Also, people who take it orally are not apt to be taking the sort of ridiculous overdoses that users smoking extract might (as Gibran mentioned).

That point about unintentional overdose is an aspect of the problem that I hadn't considered. It boggles my mind that someone trying a drug for the first time would just pack a bowl without bothering to wonder, "What sort of dose should I start with?" But I've met enough people and read enough posts to know that questions about dosage don't occur to many people. This probably does explain why salvia seems to correlate with more adverse after-effects than other powerful mind-altering drugs... If it was common for people to eat a few tenstrips their first time taking LSD, I'm sure that we would see more people struggling with integration issues that might linger for months or years in some cases.

Dioxippus, your points are also well taken. I'm not sure that "people blaming the Salvia for their own problems" is a fair characterization, because salvia does seem to trigger the state in some people. But I have a strong suspicion that the difference between people who return to normal in a matter of days or weeks and those who never return to normal is largely related to their personal attitude toward the issue. When browsing a depersonalization self-help forum (which I got a few of these reports from), it seems that many of those who are chronically affected by it (whether salvia-induced or otherwise) have very hypochondriacal tendencies... I wouldn't be surprised if many of these people are worrying themselves into a feedback loop where anxiety that the condition might be permanent is what renders it a permanent condition... basically the sort of thing Apoc is talking about.

gibran2 wrote:
As an aside, I remember reading a paper that said salvinorin A does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier, and I think the amount that actually gets into the brain is 1% or less – can’t remember exact number – but that means a strong salvia experience is caused by as little as 10 micrograms of salvinorin A circulating in your brain. That’s amazing.

It is amazing indeed. They observed that the peak concentration in the brain was 3.3% of the total dose (when injected intravenously in baboons), so a vaporized 200 μg dose would result in less than 10 μg in the brain. The reference for the paper you're referring to is:
Hooker, J.M., Y. Xu, W. Schiffer, C. Shea, P. Carter, and J.S. Fowler. 2008. "Pharmacokinetics of the potent hallucinogen, salvinorin A in primates parallels the rapid onset and short duration of effects in humans" Neuroimage 41(3): 1044-1050.

Edit: One more recent account from our very own forum.

Permanent Salvia Trip?
Alex79 wrote:
I never did any drugs except one marijuana try when I was 19-20 (I only got anxious from that, no pleasant feelings). I am now 32. I didn´t know anything about Salvia, my good friend, fan of psychedelics, just said to me that if I experience anything bad I shouldn´t be worried, it will last only few minutes. Well, after several weeks I must say, it simply didn´t...! It was horrible experience beyond any imagination. It is like I am high ever since. I smoked dried Salvia plant (no extract). I took two hits of it within a minute because I though it is not working. At first I felt that my consciousness is opening and widening, which was interesting. After five minutes I sensed that inside myself opened a huge vast space full of green-yellow light. It was enormous. I got panic attack and things got worse and worse after that.

I hoped that it would fade away in the next few days, but I was wrong. After few days I started hallucinating (hypnagogic hallucinations). My opened consiousness simply didn´t close itself, it stood irritated and wide-opened. I was not able to return from my trip. My anxiety was so bad that my hands and legs were constantly shaking for weeks. I became sensitive to light almost to the point that I though I should adopt vampire lifestyle. I hated sunlight and all plant forms (they reminded me of Salvia). I felt as if electricity was running through my body: I was like burning in flames, my skin was hot and sweat. O couldn´t sleep. It was like sitting on electric chair, shouting for mercy, crying for somebody to stop it but it was impossible. It was permanent. I was so scared that I damaged my neurochemistry forever! Not I am on neuroleptics and antidepressants which didn´t solve my problem but eased my depression and anxiety little bit.

Few days after my Salvia trip I tried so hard to come back just to realize that the only way is forward. The depersonalization came in instantly. When I closed my eyes I saw bizzare objects and patterns in myself (geometric shapes). I felt nothing, my head was empty. I felt like I killed my soul. I even had suicidial thoughts. This was simply beyond my ability to cope, I couldn´t imagine I will stay in this condition forever. I lost all higher feelings, no love, affection, motivation. My mind and perception were altered, I was unable to concentrate. I had to quit one of dream job (coaching) and hoped I won´t loose another one (I am also a teacher). I couldn´t imagine how will I be able to write scholarly papers, when reading simple text was nearly impossible: letters begun dancing in front of my eyes, meaning nothing. I was so desperate, I felt I lost all humanity and sense of life. I had bizzare vivid dreams, like full color movies, very intense emotionally also (that´s a paradox because I feel emotionally numb when I am awake).

Now about Salvia and responsibility. What happened to me can happen to anyone. Nobody knows how his brain works, how much of a dose is safe. No guarantees. I would disagree that some people are blaming drugs for their own troubles. I did my best to solve my troubles before the drug experiment and still ended messed up! I studied psychology for some time, went to therapy (wanted to became therapist someday), resolved all family and personal problems (you know, childhood trauma and so). I was perfectly mentally healthy. Untill Salvia... (my psychiatrist diagnosed me F-23 – Acute Psychosis Disorder). I take full responsibility for what I did to myself. I am so sorry for my stupid decision to take that drug with absolutely zero information about it...
My friend told me that Salvia high will last three or five minutes. Well, it lasted 12 hours. I felt that it is complete fraud. I sensed something „holly“ in myself, but it was meaningless and empty – like watching some sort of abstract video on MTV. It was nothing like beatifull, rich and safe experiences in meditation or prayer! When you meditate or pray, your consciousness may expand but you are in control. You never lose your self or identity (although you are losing your ego – but you know and feel that you are loosing your false identity – you are not loosing your mind and that is the point – actually, your mind become stronger and healthier throught meditation or prayer). After Salvia I realized that: 1. my „self“ is gone, 2. my mind has changed in a very unpleasant way, 3. I cannot control anything what is happening to me (panic attacks, electricity sensations, depersonalization). It was not like „my“ consciousness has expanded but „something“ alien entered my self, some sort of artificial entity („it“) became to live in my head. I expanded into nothingness and this emptiness became part of me. Horrific.
#11 Posted : 9/9/2011 6:44:15 AM

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Nice thread, attention

Who would just pack a bowl, of an unknown powerful substance? Hahaha, like, only most american youth right.

I've never been mentally stable, bi-polar and anxiety chaos for ever. Here and there and against myself everywhere. I smoked a stupid amount of 15x, and was returning into the world, wondering how/why I believed this lie. I didn't have time to feel dp/dr really. I was just, in my state, so fucking glad to be back. The alternative seemed way too absurd to accept. I have been timid of all psychedelic states, ideas of oob experiences scare me, but, I don't feel detached, I don't feel like my family means more or less to me. Well, more maybe, b/c I'm happy with my dream or illusion. My illusion, my dream, = my heroin.

I smoked Diablo, a blend similar, but very different, to K2 or JWH chems, and that, with 1 hit, made me feel VERY DP in a matter of seconds. DP to me 'just' seems like a really anxious energy that everything is NOT as you think it is. That YOU are far and AWAY from your body, and come from some place, OTHER. It bothers the fuck out of me when it hits.

I'm sort of with Dioxippus and Apoc, on the idea that, persistant DP/DR is a problem of an individuals coping skills. I don't like to pass judgment, I do not like the feeling that is DP, and am very glad when it is gone. I cannot imagine living like that 24/7. But anxiety is anxiety is anxiety. Either you have faith that everything is gonna be just fine, or you worry without end that you will face immeasurable pain and separation.
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#12 Posted : 9/9/2011 7:03:09 AM


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I have felt this way after full bowls of 20x but only for half an hour at the most, mainly while I was still feeling residual effects of the salvia.

Lack of education about substances is one of the main reasons I think this stuff happens.
Psychedelics are the most powerful tools on the planet when combined with the human brain, and if you are torn apart at every level of your existence by something like salvia, you are bound to have some heavy feelings about it.
I had done plenty of psychedelics before trying salvia and done a lot of research on it and was still blown to smithereens by its power.
If I'm being honest salvia completely changed my perception of everything.

Even though it was rough and scared the shit out of me it changed me in a good way, it was the turning point in my life that let me know there really is something more to these plants and life as we know it.
I won't smoke salvia to this day, I used it many times and never had a pleasant experience but was so intrigued that I kept venturing further.

What I will say is that the depersonalization and derealization that I did feel for the few minutes during and after the experience seemed to get longer each time I smoked it.
I just felt like the entities in that space wanted me there and it became too weird to handle so I swore off of it.

I'll have to admit that salvia has also been a big influence in my hesitation with spice, I am afraid to let go and take the full plunge into hyperspace.
I have been very close but it is such a similar feeling being on the verge of the precipice that I cannot make myself go further.
'Little spider weaves a wispy web, stumblin' through the woods it catches to my head. She crawls behind my ear and whispers secrets. Dragonfly whiz by and sings now teach it.'
#13 Posted : 9/9/2011 7:30:02 AM

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Entropymancer wrote:
Dioxippus, your points are also well taken. I'm not sure that "people blaming the Salvia for their own problems" is a fair characterization, because salvia does seem to trigger the state in some people. But I have a strong suspicion that the difference between people who return to normal in a matter of days or weeks and those who never return to normal is largely related to their personal attitude toward the issue. When browsing a depersonalization self-help forum (which I got a few of these reports from), it seems that many of those who are chronically affected by it (whether salvia-induced or otherwise) have very hypochondriacal tendencies... I wouldn't be surprised if many of these people are worrying themselves into a feedback loop where anxiety that the condition might be permanent is what renders it a permanent condition... basically the sort of thing Apoc is talking about.

As I said, I am quite biased when it comes to Salvia Smile I do realize that a lot of people do not have the kinds of experiences someone like gibran and myself have. Most people simply do not enjoy it and only do it a handful of times.

I have never returned to "normal" since that first breakthrough with Salvia Smile Not persistent long term depersonalization/derealization, but a much more positive outlook. I think everyone will agree it does change you, and there has been talk of how Salvia "rewires" your brain in some fashion, what with the reverse tolerance and all.

I do agree with you about those who tend to experience depersonalization/derealization, drug induced or otherwise. They do seem to be the hypochondriac type, and prone to anxiety. That's what I was trying to say when I referred to them "working it up in their own head".

I did experience some depersonalization/derealization, but once I started to analyze it and ask why I was feeling that way, it was easily dispelled.
corpus callosum
#14 Posted : 9/9/2011 7:46:31 AM

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Good thread!

Ive little to add but I once came across a pharmaceutical opioid some years ago called Pentazocine; this has mu and kappa receptor agonistic properties and a reasonably common side-effect of this drug were feelings of depersonalization and delusions of a persecutory nature.It was quite pleasant but did feel more 'dissociative' than the mu agonists and did resemble some of the distinct 'head-effects' experienced with Salvia.

Im not that much of a fan of Salvia; Im impressed by its sheer power but the psychic effects, for me personally, seem to head towards delusions.I wonder if smoked/vaporised salvinorin A will be shown to be a hazardous pursuit in the fullness of time.
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.

#15 Posted : 9/9/2011 3:01:33 PM

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I had a profound and crazy salvia trip quite a few years back that was a turning point in my life and one of the reasons i''ve ended up here oddly enough. It was in nature with a few friends, the experience had a powerful effect on me.
For the first time ever in my life I was suddenly thrust into a completely new dimension. It was so real in fact that i forgot
what i did to get there.
It felt like we had crossed the line somehow and I was now going to have to learn to live like this with everything melting into itself etc. I was standing up the whole time. I'm not sure how long it lasted, to this day I wonder what a crazy nut i must have sounded like. There was a friend that didn't do it and came up to me afterwards genuinely concerned and worried, I felt bad for scaring him and still do to this day. I must have made some sight carrying on like an uncontrollable mental patient.
luckily the only lingering effects have been a life long commitment to trying to make sense of all this. To say it got my attention is putting it mildly.

I think people have no idea what they're getting into when they try this stuff. I know at the time i didn't.
education or lack there of is significant.

there's a reason why native peoples use these things in particular way. This Hi octane western version of this stuff may be the whole problem especially in the hands of someone that has no reference point as in the majority of badly educated , in general western society. I think the average person cannot even imagine something being so powerful and profound to begin with.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
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#16 Posted : 9/9/2011 6:41:58 PM

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Hi, I just joined this forum because I had a couple odd experiences and when I went to see if anyone else had something similar I ran onto this thread.

I've smoked salvia around once a month for the past year. No experience with drugs prior to that. I had to work quite a while to be able to breath in smoke. I've mostly smoked plain leaf, and I think the extract I bought is all about 5x regardless of what it was sold as. Which is fortunate for me, I think since reading this forum, since I would measure my 20X by taking a "healthy pinch" and smoking it down. So because of my caution so far with the plant I haven't broken through to any other place, I only lose a sense of self and receive interesting thoughts on the nature of reality.

But in dreams I've gone much deeper. I've had very salvia-ish dreams that go deeper into salvia space than I've actually been. A few days ago my son brought me his little keyboard and said it was out of batteries. I couldn't get it to turn on so I told him I'd look at it in the morning. At 4 am the keyboard turned itself on and started playing this distorted waltz like rhythm. I woke up when I heard it. I heard it going faster and faster. I understood it to be 2 universes, 2 different realities, merging together. I got up out of bed scared of the tear in reality that was being tied together out in my kitchen, but I knew I had to go face it. As I got closer it got louder and the rhythm got faster. When I grabbed the piano my brain flipped and that feeling was gone. I turned off the piano and went back to bed wondering what had happened.

Because of my dreams that go deeper into salvia space that I've been, and because of the reverse tolerance, I think salvia rewires or activates a previously dormant part of your brain. Then normally it is only activated when on salvia but for some it can be activated by the dream state or remain partially active all the time for the people stuck with the DP/DR. I noticed in a lot of the reports they mention that the derealization will be worse when they first wake up.
#17 Posted : 9/9/2011 7:30:06 PM

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You could be right about it being tied to the dream state. I have Salviaesque dreams all the time. Sometimes the feeling lingers for a few moments after I wake up as well. I usually smoke it before going to bed, so I just attributed it to that, although I have read of other people drawing parallels with the dream state and Salvia space.
#18 Posted : 9/9/2011 11:59:37 PM

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thanks for great threat. Fascinating read.
It must be hell to be trapped in such disorder for years. Struggling in a bad dream, believing being insane, trying to get life back as remembered.
'Life is an illusion designed to keep your mind occupied while you are digested by God.'
#19 Posted : 11/23/2011 7:47:27 AM

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Wonderful thread. Thanks for sharing, and to everyone for being so open. It's important to me that we look at the at-times unpleasant aspects of these substances because all they may be is a key into the mind, and whatever we discover inside (and after re-emergence) is worth looking at very closely because it is a frontier.

I have myself felt some lingering de-realization after doing Salvia. But as with most people it was mostly short-lived or would pop up in intense sudden moments and then start to dissipate.

I knew immediately during these moments, which were sort of like flashbacks, that integration would be of the utmost importance with this substance. You must find a healthy way to deal with what you've gone through. We form beliefs by spending time in a certain thought or feeling, and applying that thought to the world we experience. Doing this chronically reinforces the thought until it's strong enough to become a belief. The seeds can be as arbitrary as a sentence uttered in a tv commercial or as profound as a Salvia journey. The truth is WE DON'T KNOW what we are in this universe, and so it behooves us to rationally pursue beliefs that we ascribe value to, that can benefit us and those around us.

When it comes to intense psychedelic experiences they can go a number of ways depending upon how you rotate perspective.

We plant seeds which grow and grow as we nurture them, sometimes without realizing we're doing it. Be careful which plants you feed, because some are poisonous:
"Everyone else is fine and I'm an alien."
"Life is arbitrary and nothing matters."
"I'm fucked forever."

As opposed to these sorts of lessons which can be had, and on Salvia especially, they can be seen in a very neutral light, without the intense emotional quality known to DMT and other psyches:
"All life is connected."
"I have a higher self."

Certain neutral lessons like "There is no time, only energy" can lead to either a blissful re-discovery of the world, or derealization problems - it isn't what the drug necessarily did, it's what you did with the belief seeds that were planted - did you nurture healthy ones or poisonous ones? I think it's crucial to always put a great deal of emphasis on the INTEGRATION phase, which I think is at least, if not more important than set-and-setting. The trip doesn't end when you come down. The trip never ends if you've witnessed something profound and changing. It continues as you integrate it into the rest of your life, into your own pattern of belief.

I have had difficult experiences on Salvia, though I did a great deal of research and took much care in my experimentation - and still it shattered me and changed everything for me. My heart sincerely goes out to anyone who continues to struggle with the experience and integration. Please be well and I wish everyone healthy healing.
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