Agreed upon by all experienced psychedelic users is the need for an extra, sober person to stick around and take care of a person who is heavily tripping. Having that essential helper, known as a tripsitter or sitter, around is extremely important when one takes strong doses of Salvia or is new to Salvia smoking, just like any other potent psychedelic.
Smoking plain Salvia leaves or chewing quids are usually activities that don’t scream for the need of a tripsitter, especially for regular users. But when large doses or extracts become involved in smoking or vaporizing, the trip reaches a new level, and even the heaviest of Salvia users will still come to a time when they’re glad they had their sitter around (or furious they didn’t). People, of course, still take these forms of Salvia alone. But clear judgement of the situation is key.
The rule of thumb for tripsitting is to keep a calm head when the person tripping is not. People tripping out may freak out or express strange patterns of emotions that can be scary and disturbing, and the job of the sitter is to judge the situation and keep him/her safe. With salvia, trips always subside quickly. Dialing the police or medics is probably not necessary unless there is a true emergency; instead, in a safe situation, keep the person physically safe and let the trip fade out. In minutes, the person should be approaching baseline again (knowing this can keep you calm and somewhat relieved during intense trips; remember it!). Experience, with psychedelics in general and particularly Salvia and strong doses of Salvia, will always make a tripsitter more likely to do the right thing at the right time. It’s important to note, however, that when an experienced person may touch or hold a person on heavy pscyhedelics to bring them back to reality, the dissociative effect of Salvia can make this extremely scary for the person tripping, and cause the opposite effect.
I like to divide the tripsitter duty into three separate roles: Keeping the person (and others around them, including yourself) physically safe, keeping them emotionally safe, and afterwards, helping them remember the event. The first is the most essential, and should always be the priority of a tripsitter. In fact, physical safety is always the number one priority in all of psychedelic experimentation and, truthfully, any adventurous experiments in life. Specifically, carefully watch the person and keep their head safe. Don’t let them run off or wander aimlessly into objects; try to get them to sit. Keep them away from anything hot, anything sharp or breakable, any weapons, furniture, walls, and other obstacles, public places, other people, and streets. Don’t push against them, but guide them, with words and soft, slow movement. In an emergency, take any potentially dangerous objects away from the person tripping, slowly, informing them of what you’re doing, and gently loosening their grasp. If all environmental dangers are taken care of, other factors of safety then come into play. Don’t use physical force to move the person or make them do something, and only guide them if they begin to move about, without forcing them with any sudden or hard movements. Avoid touching them if you can; people tripping on Salvia have been known to mistake touching and physical forcing as an attack or threat (another reason to always keep weapons and dangerous or sharp objects away from trip settings, ALWAYS). Additionally, a sitter should practically assist in the person’s trip, as long as they don’t intrude on the trip or interfere with the person’s safety. If other people become distracting or they get in a situation where they might need help acting well or getting away from someone, help them out. They’ll thank you for it later.
The second of these roles is the obligation of the tripsitter to help make the trip the best experience in any way possible. Simple emotional reassurance can go a long way during a trip gone wrong, and giving a tripping person soothing, easy to understand phrases to pay attention to can help tremendously. Try making clear to them that they are hallucinating, and that they are physically safe. Tell them who you are, tell them your name, and call them by their name, explaining that they are simply going through a bad trip that won’t last. Sometimes, if the situation calls for it, not speaking can come with positive results as well, depending on the tripping person’s mindset.
Thirdly, once the trip is safe and enjoyable, a memory of the experience is worth nearly as much as the experience itself, and a sitter should protect that memory. There are actually multiple ways to easily and effectively do this. Write down what the person does and says during the trip, clearly and with details so the person can picture their trip later. A way of revealing the actual experience of the trip is simply asking the person what they are feeling, or where they are, or what they’re doing, and writing that down along with the record of the trip. This is great as long as the person has it together enough to speak and the questioning isn’t intrusive. For both of these, a digital audio or video recorder can be an excellent tool, but use your judgement. Anything you film and record will be available to anyone who can access it.