Salvia (salvia divinorum) is an herbal mint plant that is native to Mexico.
A member of the sage family, this naturally occurring hallucinogenic plant has been used for centuries by the Mazatec Indians for divination, shamanism, and medical practices.
Salvia produces visual hallucination effects similar to hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, including mystical and spiritual experiences.
Because it is fast-acting, has a low incidence of side effects, low addiction potential, and is easy to obtain, salvia has become popular as a recreational drug among adolescents and young adults.
Fast facts on salvia= SAGE
Here are some key points about salvia. More detail and supporting information are in the main article.
The exact psychoactive mechanism of the plant was first identified in the 1990s
Although only native to one mountain region of Mexico, salvia is cultivated in some areas of the United States.
Salvia induces a short but profound psychedelic experience and is considered the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen
Users often experience space and time distortions, such as traveling to other worlds or dimensions
Salvia is believed to carry a low risk of toxicity and abuse potential
Side effects often include slurred speech and loss of coordination
After a teenager on salvia committed suicide in 2007, the state of Delaware passed "Brett's Law," classifying salvia as a schedule I controlled substance
Also in 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) placed salvia on the list of "drugs of concern," indicating that it poses a risk to people who use it
At present, salvia has no approved medical use in the United States
Some researchers suggest salvia has properties that could be used in medications for conditions such as chronic pain, depression, and some forms of dementia.
What is salvia?
Salvia's active ingredient is "Salvinorin A", a kappa opiate receptor (KOR) agonist. An agonist attaches to and activates certain central nervous system receptors located mainly in the brain.
Salvia is a hallucinogenic plant that belongs to the sage family. The plant is native to Mexico but is grown in some areas of the United States.
The KOR is where much of human perception is controlled. Research also suggests that Salvinorin A has an additional effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Salvia has been used for centuries by Mazatec Indians. They refer to the leaf as "Herb of Mary, the Shepherdess," believing the plant to be the incarnation of the Virgin Mary. Visions of a woman are reportedly common during hallucinations.
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Mazatec shamans brew a tea from the leaves and drink the vision-inducing mixture during religious ceremonies. The Mazatec also roll fresh salvia leaves into a cigar-like "quid." The quid is sucked or chewed without swallowing so that the drug is absorbed from the mouth into the bloodstream.
Once it is swallowed, Salvinorin A is deactivated by the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
Recreational users either inhale the drug through water pipes (hookahs), smoke it in cigarettes, or chew the leaves and hold the juice in the inside of the cheek.
The most intense effects are felt within 2 minutes after smoking and last for less than 30 minutes. When users take salvia orally, the drug's effects are milder. Onset takes up to 15 minutes with a duration of effect between 1-3 hours.
Extent of salvia use
The 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey on drug use revealed 1.9 percent of 12th graders used salvia during the last 12-months. Over half of the participants expressed no desire to use the drug again, suggesting that low numbers of people continue to use salvia regularly.
A salvia user is most likely to be a white, affluent male aged 18-25 years, and a recent user of LSD.
Salvia is primarily obtained through "head" or tobacco shops, and Internet sources. Individuals report using salvia for various reasons, including curiosity, for relaxation and improved mood, for getting high, and for the spiritual effects of the drug.
Street names for salvia
Salvia users can inhale the drug using hookahs. Salvia can also be smoked in cigarettes or chewed.
Ska Maria pastora
Hierba (yerba) Maria
Leaf of Prophecy
Yerba de Maria
Sage of the seers
Salvia is a hallucinogen, meaning it causes the user to see or feel things that aren't really there. Some of the hallucinations and sensations the user may experience while under the influence of salvia are considered dream-like.
Effects of taking salvia include:
Visual distortions such as bright lights, vivid colors and unusual shapes and patterns
Feelings of detachment (disconnected from self and the environment)
Recollection of memories, such as revisiting places from childhood
Sensations of motion, or being pulled, twisted, stretched, or flipped
Merging with or becoming objects
Distortion of time and space such as the feeling of being in several locations at once
Contact with entities or other dimensions
Overall feeling of uneasiness
Loss of contact with reality.
Side effects and health risks of salvia use;
Salvia can make users feel as though they have been transported to an alternative place and time.
The most common side effects of salvia use are:
Lack of coordination
Additional effects can include tiredness, loss of memory, flushing, and a potentially disturbing sensation called "spatio-temporal dislocation."
Spatio-temporal dislocation is where the user feels transported to an alternative time and place, or has a feeling of being in several locations at the same time.
Disruption of space and time can be a frightening experience and can lead to serious psychotic disturbances in vulnerable people.
The phenomenon is reported to last for hours after the hallucinations have disappeared, and is most often associated with doses of 500 milligrams or more.
To date, there are no known hangover effects for salvia use. The drug also has a low addiction potential and no reported overdoses. However, the long-term effects of salvia are not known.
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