Legal Highs
August 4, 2005 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone every tried the legal highs offered by sites like this and this.

And more importantly, did they work and are they really legal?
posted by panoptican to Society & Culture (31 answers total)
I've tried Salvia Divinorum. It takes a little technique to smoke it correctly. It was like a 5 minute acid trip except more intense (and yes I've taken lots of acid). I wouldn't actually call it recreational, it's more religious than fun. I can't speak for anything else they're offering.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:02 PM on August 4, 2005

I also tried salvia.
I thought I was the color yellow for 8 minutes.
Not colored yellow, I thought I was yellow itself.

I don't recommend.
posted by cyphill at 7:09 PM on August 4, 2005

For more information on salvia divinorum than you ever thought existed in the world, check out
posted by Rhomboid at 7:22 PM on August 4, 2005

I hope that no one has clicked on panopican's second link at work with their speakers on. It announces the site's name, "Herbal Smoke Shop."
posted by Morrigan at 7:40 PM on August 4, 2005

Salvia legal for now.
posted by tellurian at 8:43 PM on August 4, 2005

Salvia can be interesting. I've only taken it at what some might consider "low" doses. Lasts about 5 minutes, you end up in a cold sweat (or at least what feels like it), and it can feel like you're being torn in half or just tingly all over, in addition to whatever "trippiness" it gives you.

Don't take it alone unless you've done it before or have some experience with psychedelics. The results are different for just about everyone, and unpredictable.

More here, here, and here. Most head shops sell powdered extract of varying degrees of "potency" (10x, 20x, etc.)
posted by wakko at 8:54 PM on August 4, 2005

All my friends who have tried salvia couldn't get it to work for them, and they were using a concentrated extract. What went wrong?
posted by Bengston at 8:55 PM on August 4, 2005


- wild dagga (leonotis leonurus): gave me a headache, much like smoking paper would. A very slight stone, less that I'd get from standing up too fast.

- salvia divinorum: yes. Hoo boy. This is not a marijuana alternative, and anyone who attempts to sell it as such is doing a serious disservice. Not recreational, as doctor_negative stated. Also see the Erowid Salvia vault for heaps of information and experience reports.

- a variety of other "legal sticky buds" type plants, most of which did nothing.

That's not to say that none of them do nothing -- just that the ones I'd tried, for the most part, were duds. Pleasant to smoke, if that's your thing.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 8:57 PM on August 4, 2005

Bengston, you need a HOT flame and good lung capacity, plus the ability to hold it solidly for a bit. Salvinorin-A doesn't vaporize at low temperatures like THC.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 8:58 PM on August 4, 2005

As 5meo said, you need to hold it much longer than a hit of, say, marijuana. 20-25 seconds is recommended. It can be very difficult to hold it this long.
posted by wakko at 9:01 PM on August 4, 2005

Salvia can be fantastic if you set yourself up correctly: don't do it alone for the first time and make your environment safe and pleasant. If taken right (big breath, hold for 30 seconds) the initial intense trip lasts for 5-10 minutes, and a light high for another 20. After that there are usually no aftereffects whatsoever, making this a very efficient trip, with nothing to worry about the morning after.
posted by greasepig at 9:27 PM on August 4, 2005

I've tried a bunch of those products. Salvia is some heavy duty stuff. I fully expect it to not be legal in the next 10 years. Everyone else has pretty much filled you in on it.

The herbal smokes, or "not-pot" as my friends used to call it, never really did anything for me except induce a headache.

If you're also looking at non-smokables, my favorite is Druids Fantasy (or "not-shrooms">, which come in 6 small caplets. It's a mild hallucinogen and with one package you trip for 6-12 hours. Once you're past the initial nausea it's pretty fun, if you're into that sort of thing. That same company used to make Space Cadets ("not-X") though I don't know if they make it any more.

Regardless of what you do, be careful if you have any history of bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. It'll screw with your chemicals big time. A lot of the pills react to MAOIs too. On the plus side, none of these things are physically addicting.
posted by Jenesta at 12:00 AM on August 5, 2005

Salvia Divinorum is the real deal. But you won't want to do it that often--it's wildly entertaining, but not something to mess around with, either. It's for personal exploration, not for parties. Make sure you're sitting down when you take your hit, as it comes on fast, and is over within 15-20 minutes.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:12 AM on August 5, 2005

Salvia divinorum is a controlled / prohibited substance in Australia. It's on the same schedule as heroin. Seriously.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:14 AM on August 5, 2005

Uhhh, what is in those Druid's Fantasy pills? Don't see an ingredient list and I would not reccomend taking a drug you can't identify.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:25 AM on August 5, 2005

Obiwan: Seriously? Over here, one of the reasons that I doubt Salvia will be outlawed is that it's a pretty common indigenous weed in the Southern US. I could see outlawing the extract, but not the plant itself.

I remember that as a young smoker, I bought a pipe while on vacation (after losing mine) that came with a bag full of the Wizard Weed shit. It smoked like dryer lint and gave an equivalent high. Good way to waste money and instantly smell like a hippy.
posted by klangklangston at 1:14 AM on August 5, 2005

Salvia is the only mind-altering substance I have tried that I really never want to do again.
Very strange stuff, and under no circumstances to be treated as a "marijuana substitute".
posted by anagrama at 2:44 AM on August 5, 2005

Over here, one of the reasons that I doubt Salvia will be outlawed is that it's a pretty common indigenous weed in the Southern US. I could see outlawing the extract, but not the plant itself.

You mean like Jimson Weed?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:26 AM on August 5, 2005

I love Salvia. Definitely a lot of fun. It's definitely the most intense trip that I've experienced. In contrast to other folks, I don't find that it's very useful as a entheogen... it doesn't last nearly long enough for me to learn anything while I'm on it.

I find its recreational qualities questionable also. It definitely fucks you up *hard* for a few minutes, but I find it more entertaining than fun. I do it for the curiosity of what will happen next, and the entertainment of trying to describe it to my friends, as opposed to "having fun". It is sort of fun as a party drug if people do it in turn, since you get to watch people freak out.

The physiological effects fucking suck, though: sweating, cottonmouth like you're chewing a dessicant package. I consistently get a very painful and unpleasant feeling that I'm being pricked all over by needles (none of my friends report this). But, they only last a few minutes, so I can endure them easily.

None of the "marijuana alternatives" do a goddamn thing.

I've been experimenting with Datura inoxia lately. Definitely some interesting effects. However, those effects definitely have almost no recreational value, since you rarely realize that you've split from reality until you call your friends in the morning and find out that, no, they hadn't come by your house with their friend the Chesire Cat. High dose effects also last for several days, and nearly everybody finds it entirely impossible to "maintain" while on it, since the hallucinations offer almost nothing to distinguish themselves from reality.

I place datura squarely in the category of entheogen, and unless you're looking for a vision quest, you should probably leave it alone.

It also has a fairly low LD50 (look it up).

Really, the gummint has outlawed nearly all the good drugs. Remember, they're legislating your nervous system.
posted by Netzapper at 7:27 AM on August 5, 2005

I've tried Salvia. Some of my friends liked it, but I thought it was a pretty awful experience. Like others here have said, it isn't similar to marijuana in any way except that they are both plants that you smoke to get high. It tastes bad. The high is extreme, like an acid trip, but very short-lived. We were smoking it through a bong--each of us got a bowl-full. I was blind for a minute or two after taking a hit. Then I had the most acute paranoia I've ever experienced. I couldn't move. I was agonized and I just wanted it to stop, now. I'll never touch the stuff again.
posted by ijoshua at 8:05 AM on August 5, 2005

Over here, one of the reasons that I doubt Salvia will be outlawed is that it's a pretty common indigenous weed in the Southern US.

This is wrong. I have no idea what you're talking about but Salvia does not grow wild anywhere. In fact it cannot or rather, very, very rarely reproduces. There are only a handful of genetically different types of the plant. It is theorized that even in the jungles where it was discovered the local tribes cultivated it, meaning there are no known places where it survives wild.

The main method of propogation of salvia is through cuttings. I doubt it will ever become illegal because it's just not fun to do.
posted by geoff. at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2005

Oh, yeah, if a legal high is what you're looking for, you might check into Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds. They contain LSA, and, as far as I know, are legally obtainable in the U.S. The effect is more similar to acid than marijuana--a very intense psychedelic experience that lasts 8-12 hours. You may gain supernatural power.
posted by ijoshua at 8:10 AM on August 5, 2005

I should also mention that salvia extract and the like are incredibly overpriced. I would recommend finding some hippie who grows it and buying it directly from him. The problem with most Salvia users/growers I know is that they think they have some sort gnostic knowledge and must keep it from all those who aren't "in" on it to keep it out of the limelight. It appears to be working, but it makes them huge dicks.
posted by geoff. at 8:15 AM on August 5, 2005

First off, I can't say this enough - turn to Erowid with questions about psychoactive substances. It's pretty much the clearinghouse for that kind of information, with everything from chemical structures to individual trip reports to sections on the legal status of each drug to links to other sites. There's a pretty huge list of plants and herbs that they have information about.

Secondly - Salvia is the real thing, though it affects people differently. Some people can smoke a lot and feel barely anything, others have religious experiences [what Shulgin would call a plus-four] on it. Like someone upthread, I fully expect the government to get around to scheduling it at some point soon. Around Boston, I've seen a lot of flyers openly advertising Salvia as a legal high; I can't imagine that the DEA likes that any more than they liked the websites hawking research chemicals a year ago.

And klangklangston - opium producing poppies are available through any plant catalogue. There's an Harper's Article that's been linked to before on this site regarding the strange legal state of the poppy plant. As long as you're ignorant of what you can do with it, you're fine, but if you know that it can be used to make opium, you're not anymore. If Salvia does grow naturally in the Southeast, I'd expect it to eventually become subject to the same sort of situation, where as long as you don't know what it can do, you're fine.
posted by ubersturm at 8:34 AM on August 5, 2005

I'm also one who is sure Salvia will shortly be illegal.

I've read that it activates a neural/neurotransmitter system in the brain that is wholly unique, ie. other drugs don't activate that part of the brain.

Everything I've read indicates that most of those who use it have an incredibly intense experience that they do not wish to repeat, though do not regret having experienced.

One of these days I'll have to ask which psychedalics are safe to use with SSRIs. There are many that are contraindicated.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 AM on August 5, 2005

fff: I know lots of people who regularly trip salvia. Many, many people do not find the experience negative or unpleasant. Most do find it intense, but the duration is so short that almost nobody I know has had a "bad trip" on it.

Basically, the drug only lasts for a few minutes (in my experience, only about 2, despite what folks say about 5-10). As a result, there's really not enough time to build up the proper fear and loathing necessary for a bad trip. While the experiences in and of themselves may seem unpleasant, the fact that literally every trip is different leads to my friends doing it regularly.

I liken the experience to playing low-stakes psychic roulette: you know you're going to get something weird, but what form it will take cannot be predetermined. But, you only have to endure it for a couple of minutes, so even if you're convinced that Woody Gurthrie is screaming at you from the radio, or if you get stuck in the closet, you don't really have to worry, since you'll come down before you realize how screwed up reality is.
posted by Netzapper at 12:11 PM on August 5, 2005

A few years ago, I ordered a gram of concentrated Salvia Divinorum on the Internet. It came by Priority Mail, in a little brown paper envelope. I opened it and looked in. It resembled powdered marijuana. Not much of a smell. I put it in my desk drawer. A couple of weeks later my friend came into town. He wanted to try it.

I dug the envelope out of my desk drawer and brought it into the den. I put a paper plate on the table and poured out the powder. It was grayish green and dustlike. The recommended dose is 1/20th of a gram, so I took a credit card and divided the little mound into five equal piles. Then I took one of the piles and divided it into four portions.

The television was tuned to Cartoon Network. (An exec at Cartoon Network once told me that he imagined the only people who watched Cartoon Network after midnight had needles hanging out of their arms.)

I scooped up a dose of the Salvia Divinorum and put it in a small pipe made of green metal. It was an ugly little pipe, and it reminded me of the hardcore pot smokers I knew in high school. They’d have had a pipe like this. I handed the pipe to My friend. He put it to his lips and lit the bowl with a charcoal grill starter. The Salvia made a high-pitched crackle as it burned, not like the sound pot makes, which makes more of a soft popping sound in the bowl.

The smell was like pot, with a foul undertone. My friend sucked the pipe until the Salvia was completely burned. He held the smoke in and pantomimed for me to hurry and smoke some too, before his buzz came on. I put another dose in the pipe and smoked it. It didn’t have much of a flavor. While I was holding the smoke in my lungs, My friend fell back on the couch, giggling in tight little jerks. That made me blow the smoke out right away. I didn’t want to get hit too hard with the stuff.

It came on immediately. My friend was now laying flat on the couch. He was stroking the lenses of his eyeglasses, saying “jeez, jeez” and laughing. I felt like I was getting lost in static. I stood up and tried walking. My legs didn’t feel like a pair. They felt like two independent entities. They were split. The split feeling rose through my body until it reached the top of my head. My tongue was split. I could still walk and talk, but I felt as though I had two brains in my head, operating without communicating to each other. It was hard to walk back to the couch, each side was slightly out of synch.

“What are you feeling?” asked My friend.

“I feel like two animals tied together,” I said.

My friend shut his eyes and giggled.
posted by ottomatik at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2005 [2 favorites]

Just out of curiosity, was Cat-Dog the show on Cartoon Network at the time, ottomatik?
posted by Pollomacho at 2:44 PM on August 5, 2005

This is wrong. I have no idea what you're talking about but Salvia does not grow wild anywhere.

Actually, you're both right.

Salvia, a.ka. various varieties of sage, grows all over the southwest and has lovely bright multi-colored flowers that hummingbirds find attractive. Some are cultivars, some are wild, and some are growing in my backyard.

Salvia divinorum, the particular type of salvia/sage that gets people high, is purely a cultivar and, as you said, reportedly hard to grow.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:15 AM on August 6, 2005

I meant to follow this thread, but got completely side tracked!

Someone mentioned something about the ingredients in Druids Fantasy. Here is one place to find them, though I know there are others. Googling it (and any other prepacked pills) usually yields good results.
posted by Jenesta at 11:08 AM on August 6, 2005

Salvia divinorum isn't hard at all to grow. I've done it. You can buy it at my local greenhouse. While it seeds rarely and those seeds are rarely viable, it's a perennial that will propogate by sending down roots when it's knocked over, it's incredibly easy to grow through cuttings. Again, I've done it. It's originally from Mexico, but does grow wild throughout the southwest. The plants will reach about 3 feet tall, in a Michigan climate, and stink like all manner of evil when you dry them.
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on August 12, 2005

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