Salvia contains a notable chemical substance called Salvinorin A. Salvinorin A is responsible for Salvia’s mind-altering effects. It is not chemically related to any other psychoactive drug. Unlike most visionary compounds, it is not an alkaloid. Pure Salvinorin A is extremely potent. Because of its extreme potency, pure Salvinorin A should never be used unless the dosage has been precisely measured with an extremely accurate chemist’s scale. Fortunately, Salvia leaf is hundreds of times weaker than pure Salvinorin A; therefore, Salvia leaf can be used much more safely.
First precaution to know about Salvia is that salvia is not a party drug. Salvia is not “fun” in the way that alcohol or Cannabis can be. If you try to party with Salvia you probably will not have a good experience. Salvia is a consciousness-changing herb that can be used in a vision quest, or in a healing ritual. In the right setting, Salvia makes it possible to see visions. It is an herb with a long tradition of sacred use. It is useful for deep meditation. It is best taken in a quiet, nearly darkroom; either alone but preferable with a sitter, or with one or two good friends present. It should be taken either in silence or (sometimes) with soft pleasant music playing.
Need for a Sitter as a precautionary measure. A sitter is absolutely essential if you are taking doses on which you may freak out, become confused, injure yourself, fall, or do anything that might harm others. Have a sitter present if you are new to Salvia, are experimenting with a stronger form than you have used before, or are using a more effective method of ingestion.
An experienced Salvia user who is chewing a quid, may often choose to do it alone, and may be quite safe in doing so. But having a pleasant, sensible, sober sitter is an absolute must if you are trying vaporization, smoking high doses of extract-enhanced leaves, or using pure Salvinorin. Smoking leaves usually falls in between in terms of risk. Many people do so without a sitter, but a sitter is never a bad idea.
What a Sitter Should Know and Do
The sitter must remember that no matter how strangely the person acts, the effects of salvia are short lived, don’t take the person to the emergency room (unless, of course, there is a true medical emergency). Keep the person safe and wait it out. If you can’t keep the person safe, get help. Otherwise keep the matter private. Within an hour or so (usually much less) the person will be back to normal. It is very reassuring to hold onto this knowledge if things get messy. It helps to have experienced Salvia yourself before sitting for another person. Experience with other visionary materials may be only partially helpful.
The Roles of a Sitter
The most important of these is to keep the person, and others who may be present, safe. This comes before all else. The main danger is accidental injury. Your job is to be a gentle guardian. Be as unobtrusive as possible, but remain alert in case the person should suddenly start moving about recklessly. Do not use physical force unless nothing else will do. Use of physical force may result in injury. It could be misinterpreted as an assault. Keep the person safe from falls, head banging, sharp objects, walking into walls, walking into furniture, walking through windows, wandering out into the street or other public areas, open flames, hot surfaces, and breakable objects. But let the person move about in a safe area.
Another job of the sitter is to reassure. Often, simple repeated explanations may help if they appear frightened, e.g. “You’re safe, and I won’t let anything harm you.” Silence is often less threatening to the person than trying to decipher what a sitter is saying. With the above precaution in place, your safe trip of Salvia experience is guaranteed.