Found in southern Mexico, Salvia divinorum or S. divinorum is a herb used by indigenous people of the U.S. in religious ceremonies, for its psychoactive effects. Of late, North Americans have been using it recreationally, often for spiritual insight. Though there is little conclusive information on its dangers and addictive properties, saliva is by no means a harmless drug.
Usually chewed fresh or extracted in the form of juice, people also use the dried leaves of S. divinorum by smoking in a pipe or a joint, mixing in a drink, vaporizing, or inhaling. Using the drug causes one to experience psychic and physical symptoms, including fear and panic, uncontrollable laughter, slurred speech, dizziness and loss of coordination. A hallucinogen, salvia is a popular recreational drug among teens and young adults and produces effects similar to that induced by other scheduled hallucinogenic drugs. Its effects are short-term, but intense. The effects of salvinorin A, the main active ingredient in salvia, last for less than 30 minutes. Though not widely popular, social media videos demonstrating salvia’s intense hallucinatory powers do also point to its inherent danger when abused.
A dissociative drug known for creating “out-of-body” experiences, salvia is mind-altering and causes changes in the brain chemistry of the user. Though studies are not conclusive if there is such a thing as salvia addiction, several U.S. states have decriminalized salvia and most others have declared it illegal. In the black market, salvia is referred to as “Diviner’s Sage,” “Magic Mint,” and “Sally D.” Similar to marijuana, people consume the herb in various ways, including the following:
- Converted into a liquid concentrate for multipurpose
While psychoactive drugs made from plant products like salvia, ayahuasca, peyote, and others are often considered harmless, there are nonetheless a number of dangers associated with their use, and abuse of salvia could co-occur with a variety of other more serious issues.