Salvia is the genus of an herbal species consisting of several subspecies including the hallucinogen drug, salvia divinorum. Salvia and salvia divinorum often refers to the same drug, also known as diviner’s sage, which produces psychedelic effects of visual distortions and altered senses. The main constituent of salvia (salvia divinorum) is Salvinorin A which is found in the leaves of the plant.
Salvia once grew exclusively in Mexico and was used as an entheogen in religious, shamanic, spiritual, and healing ceremonies. As salvia grew in popularity for its hallucinogen effects it became well known via the internet and its use and abuse spread around the world, instantly.
Is Salvia Legal?
At this time, the DEA considers salvia a drug of concern, but, it is not a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act. However, legality is under review in several states and salvia and has been criminalized to a broad range of degrees. It may have limited legal uses for aesthetic gardening purposes in one state and be a felony in another.
How is Salvia Used?
Salvia is often smoked to get intensified effects or the leaves can be chewed or boiled in tea. Most users do not use salvia frequently, in public places, around strangers, or at parties because it can produce a deep meditative state.
How Does Salvia Work?
Salvia produces its effects by activating kappa opioid receptors (KOR) in the brain. The effects are altered perception of pain, mood, motor control, and consciousness. The KOR is a type of opioid receptor, but, differs from opioid receptors that are activated when using heroin or other opioids. The KOR may actually provide an addiction control mechanism and that is why salvia is not addictive. It also differs from other hallucinogens because it does not act on serotonin receptors and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,” there is little evidence of salvia causing dependence or long-term psychiatric problems in humans.”
Short Term Effects of Salvia
Salvia effects are subjective to the user, amounts used, method of ingestion, and whether other drugs or alcohol are involved. Users describe effects that start within seconds and last up to an hour with the most intense effects lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Reported effects include:
- Distorted perceptions of senses, images, shapes, and movement
- Loss of coordination
- Dreamlike state when eyes are closed
- Vivid Colors
- Lucid thought processes
- Mood changes and emotional swings
- Feelings of detachment
- Modified perception of self and reality
- Decreased ability to interact with others
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Meditative states of introspection, mysticism, and contemplations