Dissociation is a psychological state. Dissociation comes as a natural part of the use of some psychoactive hallucinogens. If you read part one of this series then you will know that Salvia is a psychoactive hallucinogen which puts users in a dissociative state. But what exactly does it mean to be in a dissociative state? Read on.
A dissociative drug (for example Salvia) is one which blocks signals to the concious – thinking – part of the brain from the other parts of the brain. This retards the brain’s ability to perceive things in the ways that we would normally perceive them. If, when I have a sober mind, I look at a chair then I will recognise that it is a chair. It is made of wood and is designed for sitting on. If I look at the same chair under the influence of Salvia then I may just see some kind of malformed object (the signals telling me its shape being blocked) and in perceiving this object other parts of my brain may decide that this chair is actually moving towards me, and has wings. If I consider myself at the same time as the chair then it may be that my thoughts get confused and I actually imagine myself as part of the chair.
The fact that we are not rationally processing certain information can sometimes feel like we are perceiving things in a different – or perhaps spiritual – way. This is the way that the Mazatec Shamans view the effect of Salvia Divinorum on their minds.
Dissociatives might have effects on the central nervous system and might – although this has never been known to occur with Salvia – effect your nervous system enough to cause death. Fortunately Salvia is one of the safest drugs that we know of, and scientists have even mooted the opinion that it may have beneficial effects on the human body.
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