3.4.6 Frankincense

Frankincense #

Binomial / Botanical Name Boswellia Sacra
Street Names Olibanum
Major Active Compound Incensole Acetate
Indigenous Source Arabian Peninsula; North Eastern Africa
Form Resin
RoA Quidded / Smoked
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale +*


Frankincense is a resinous dried sap which is harvested from trees in the burseraceae family, particularly the boswellia sacra tree. Whilst not thoroughly documented, its mild psychoactivity is widely cited, including in a number of science journals.

Over the years I have occasionally used frankincense as incense. I always felt that it relaxed a little, but never assumed real psychoactivity. Eventually, however, I decided to explore this possibility.

The resin is available in various grades and qualities, which I found difficult to differentiate, largely because my purpose was untypical. I eventually procured 20g of “the most exquisite pure frankincense from Oman” courtesy of Amazon.co.uk. This was superficially hard but softened when pressure was applied, and was green in shade.

Regarding RoA both chewing (not swallowing) and smoking are referenced. I therefore elected to test both methods.

According to The Revisionsist (therevisionist.org), chewing on the highest grade resin creates significant psychoactive effect:

“It is quite relaxing, and it puts your mind at peace. You may work at a slightly slower pace, but that is because you feel more focused & more patient such that you actually take the time to comprehend what it is that you are doing. It’s an awesome relaxant, with not a bit of sedation.” “While I was chewing the Hojari frankincense tear, I noticed that it has a vision brightening effect, making colors more vibrant and pop out more.”

Whilst on the dmt-nexus.me forum smoking from a bowl was reported as follows:

“I found that 3-5 minutes after numerous inhalations that my mood was lifted quite a bit. I might even say a little euphoric. I closed my eyes and found that while i couldn’t see anything, there was a definite depth to the blackness. When i covered my eyes and waited for something to emerge, flowing lights appeared which would sometimes form images of things i observed that day and then fade away. Another interesting thing was that i found myself forming sentences with much more ease. I was speaking before I knew what i was going to say, but the sentence was coherent.” ~ nickynack338

For the first experiment I separate approx 3g of the supply, pop it into my mouth, and masticate. Its constitution is chewy and it quickly softens into one large blob. I move it around my mouth waiting for something to happen.

The taste is a little perfumey with a slight cleansing-like tang, but it is not unpleasant. It soon begins to disintegrate, probably due to excessive saliva, which it seems to stimulate. It also sticks to my teeth. After about 15 minutes there is very little left.

I do sense that I am more relaxed and content, and generally more comfortable. There is no euphoria and there are no visuals, but perhaps a mild and gentle heady presence has slowly materialised.

After the resin has totally disappeared (apart from remnants still sticking to my teeth), my mind turns to smoking. Whilst still bathing in the mellow lingering ambiance I prepare a fresh clean bong and fill the bowl with broken pieces of the compound

After about an hour I take a few hits. It isn’t the harshest smoke in the world but the resin itself soon catches fire, so the operation is far from flawless. In the background I light an incense burner, and occasionally hover above it and inhale.

I notice no sudden change in the complexion of the experience, but subjectively there is possibly a minor intensification of the headspace. This gradually dissipates but the soothing and subtle nature of the ride persists for an hour or two.

Overall this was quite pleasant. Noting that I have no idea of the quality of my supply, it wasn’t mind blowing, but my change in disposition was evident, and I felt pacified without feeling sedated. Some of this could be placebo, but nonetheless this was certainly psychoactive.

I am unlikely to repeat the experiment, although as with other botanicals, should the opportunity arise to engage in an authentic Middle Eastern setting I will certainly take it.