A Surprising Effect
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Continuous daily use of sertraline (50mg, orally) for many previous months, stopping a few weeks before this experience.
Substance obtained from an online vendor of essential oils who I assume is trusted.
Optically, it’s a transparent, basically colourless fluid. Upon touch, it feels just about the way one would assume an oil would. It smells somewhere between a hospital disinfectant/hydrogen peroxide and a pine tree, with the balance being far tilted in the direction of the disinfectant/peroxide. Not what I expected.
There is around 15g/18ml of a-Pinene in the tiny bottle that I am using. Given that my target dose is 40mg (which was the dose that Josikinz said made her pretty high), I will draw 0.05ml of the oil with a syringe and deposit it under my tongue.
Previous experience with the compound: None. This is my first experiment with it. I have no experience with other supposedly psychoactive essential oils either.
Set: A little anxiety over whether the product that we got is pure – it seems irrational, there is no reason to assume it isn’t, but stuff like this is impossible to test without professional chemical equipment, and I always get nervous when experimenting with a new substance, especially one with almost no known reports of prior human use.
Setting: At home, in my room, sometimes accompanied by my youngest brother (he’s 18).
Deposited under my tongue with the syringe. Disgusting in a way which is hard to describe, but is strongly reminiscent of its smell. Burns slightly.
Spat the oil out. It leaves a kind of mint sensation on the tongue, which might be pleasant if not for the slight burning that continues.
I might be feeling something, but it’s hard to place – some very vague and weak sensation of highness, for a lack of better description. When I look at one of my paintings, this feeling seems particularly manifest, and it’s almost as if the painting was drawing me in (very subtly). Definitely could be a placebo effect though, for all I know.
There are weak hints of a headspace and there seems to be some effect on my resting eye-focus – when I am looking at a particular piece of architecture between the two towers of the church on the square where I live, it’s blurry. Squinting my eyes fixes this, and I specifically washed my glasses to rule out the possibility of an outside influence. Tops of the towers themselves (which are further away from me) do not seem to be as blurry. Strange.
I also feel that there is some very weak cognitive suppression going on – when writing an address into my browser and generally when browsing the internet, I feel somehow blunted. This seems in line with our earlier impression that this might be a depressant (based on Josie’s experience and the fact that it supposedly somehow works on GABA).
Some slight pupil constriction, especially given that I was first sitting in the dark and then in normal light, but not pronounced enough to be of note.
The headspace seems to have retreated a little bit (though it’s hard to tell due to how subtle it was/is). When I look at one of my paintings, the complex details of the textures seem to be baaaaaarely drifting, and, just perhaps, the whole piece (which is a geometric abstraction) appears very slightly more ‘spatial’ than normally (though it was designed to evoke a feeling of spatiality and non-flatness).
There are still hints of some headspace. Music does not seem potentiated – in fact, perhaps even a liiiittle dulled, but it’s really hard to say.
The subjective intensity level seems about the same as ten minutes ago. I would say that music sounds nicer now though, and I feel comfortable overall. The effect enhancing the painting seems to have increased in power, though it’s still subtle. Certain parts of the geometric structure of the painting seem to be slightly ‘popping out’ from the painting, as if it was truly a 3D shape. Definitely stronger than it was twenty minutes ago, and it made me really excited about trying this substance in higher dosages. If the effect holds, it might be a great tool for enjoying galleries even more. I tried switching the painting for a different one (also abstract geometry), to similar albeit perhaps somewhat weaker results. This almost feels like immersion enhancement for paintings, almost in a psychedelic way (but weak).
I tried closing my eyes. There are no visuals, unsurprisingly, except for perhaps a super subtle ‘melting’ of the almost uniform blackness of my visual field. With my eyes closed, I feel significantly higher than with them open, and there is a hint of a body high which I would describe as comfortable and very subtle waves of warmth spreading from my chest or perhaps my neck alongside my pulse.
This reminded me to measure my heartbeat. 65 BPM, normal. Focusing on the stopwatch while counting was sort of strange, and made me unsure whether I am experiencing time flow slightly slower or faster than normal, but then I realized it’s probably just somewhat harder for me to focus properly on it. Again, an effect that one would expect from a GABA drug.
However, this does not feel like an anxiolytic. I am always a little anxious when I am trying out new compounds, especially when there are almost no known reports on them, and this anxiety does not seem to be alleviated.
Measured my breathing rate too – 14 breaths in a minute (measured at 23:26 – T + 01:06). Somewhat elevated. Might be due to the subtle anxiety. Focusing on breathing feels strange, as if I were more aware of air passing through my airways and lungs.
I think I figured out a part of the deal with the paintings – I feel like I am more aware of each individual part of the overall whole that I am looking at and how it fits into the whole, and perhaps also of the differences between individual shades of colours – the colours don’t seem enhance per se, though, just more distinct from each other. This effect is extremely subtle though, and might be just me overthinking it and convincing myself of something that isn’t there.
I feel quite sedated, thought it might just be me being tired (but I don’t think it is, I went to sleep at 3AM last night and woke at like 11:30AM today). Painting enhancement definitely still ongoing, and music seems to be somewhat enhanced.
I will try to play some Osu! now, as that seems to be a good way go gauge my overall ability to perform difficult coordination tasks.
Spend the last twenty minutes playing Osu!. My performance felt like it was reduced somewhat, but I am pretty sure that it actually either wasn’t or was only slightly, as I set a pretty good score.
The painting-enhancing effect is still there, but I think it’s getting a little weaker.
Time to try watching a TV show to see if it too will be enhanced somehow.
The show (The Expanse, S03E12) was perhaps somewhat more engaging than it would normally be, but it’s hard to say. The headspace seems almost gone, but the depth-enhancing effect on the paintings lingers.
Watched another episode of The Expanse. Engaging, though probably not more than a season finale of a show would normally be.
It seems that the state is retreating further. Only a faint hint of the headspace remains, if it’s not a placebo, the body high seems lessened (though still of the same character), and the painting-enhancing effect is also reduced.
Went to sleep at about 04:20 (T + 06:00) after spending about an hour playing Warframe. At this point, I think almost all of the effects were gone. Falling asleep did not seem to be affected.
Woke up after about five hours of sleep, then went back to the bed and got another four. Somewhat worn, but that might be just due to messed up sleep schedule. If any effect still lingers, it would be the painting enhancement, but at this point it’s so weak that it might as well be placebo.
Looked at the piece of architecture between the church towers again and it wasn’t blurry. Seems like it was an effect of the compound after all.
Conclusion / Aftermath
An unexpectedly strong experience (though subjectively it really wasn’t that strong, it was like a quarter-trip or so). It felt somewhat cold, with only a little physical euphoria that only really manifested when I was focusing on it. I liked it, mostly for the novelty, as I don’t generally appreciate empty highs.
Will definitely try in a higher dose at some point, though I don’t feel in a particular rush. My main interest is to see whether the painting-enhancing effect is consistent, and whether it can be made even more intense if more of the substance is taken.