Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb in the mint family found in southern Mexico. The main active ingredient in salvia, salvinorin A, changes the chemistry in the brain, causing hallucinations (seeing something that seems real but isn’t). The effects usually last less than 30 minutes but may be very intense and frightening.
What Is Salvia?
Salvia Divinorum, shortened to just Salvia, is a type of sage and part of the mint family. While this may make it sound harmless, it is actually a potent hallucinogenic. Hailing from South Mexico, the psychedelic was a ceremonious plant among the Mazateca people native to that area, similar to how DMT was used around the Amazon.
While there has not been any conclusive information declaring that Salvia is addictive, it can still be used as an escape from reality, which means it can be abused. People who suffer from stressful situations in day-to-day life, or suffer from another disorder that causes anxiety, are more likely to abuse substances that provide some kind of escape for them. In cases like these, someone may feel that they need that substance to go on. While this isn’t what people traditionally think of as an “addiction,” it can still be damaging for people stuck in this loop.
y, the federal government has not seen it necessary to ban Salvia. That, however, has not stopped the majority of states banning it themselves. Much of this is because of the dangers that come out of consuming Salvia. While no deaths have been conclusively tied to it, smoking the drug causes erratic, unpredictable behavior and realistic hallucinations. In certain situations, this can cause someone to become violent to themselves or others, especially when used with other drugs. People who smoke Salvia will usually have at least one person who is sober to help in case someone is hurt. Other names for Salvia include:
- Diviner’s Sage
- Magic Mint
- Maria Pastora
- Seer’s Sage
- Shepherdess’s Herb
- Ska Maria Pastora
- Seer’s Sage
- Shepherdess’s Herb
- Lady Sally
- Purple Sticky
- Incense Special
The Effects of Salvia
Salvia’s notoriety comes from its use in psychedelic ceremonies. While it is used recreationally, many try to use it to have some kind of revelation. Some users feel that what they are doing can bring them further in their understanding of themselves. While there is little evidence of hallucinogens like Salvia producing some kind of addiction, bad trips can create erratic behavior and cause someone to try again and again in an attempt to attain some inner peace. After someone smokes Salvia, they’ll feel the full effects in less than a minute. These can last up to 30 minutes and include:
- Visual hallucinations
- Physical sensations
- Feelings of detachment
- Distorted sense of space
The above effects are incredibly personal and are often not detected by another person. However, there are physical effects that are easy to monitor if someone has smoked Salvia. These include:
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Awkward sentence patterns
- Decreased heart rate
- Erratic or violent behavior
Due to lack of studies, there has been no real examination of serious long-term effects. This should not, however, be interpreted as there being none. If anything, it is more dangerous. In our modern day of raw information, there is so little we know about some naturally occurring drugs. This means that long-term exposure can result in any variety of unpredictable effects.
The herb usually isn’t used in rolled cigarettes, or joints, because the dried leaves may not be potent enough to create any effect.
More often, fresh leaves are used to create an extract. Pipes or water bongs may be used to smoke these extracts. The salvia extracts may also be infused in drinks or vaporizer pens.
Fresh salvia leaves can be chewed, too. As with dried leaves, the fresh leaves aren’t considered very potent, but some people may experience a mild effect.
Although your brain will experience the greatest effects, some physical effects are possible.
- possible loss of control over motor functions and coordination
- irregular heart rate
Salvia studies are few and far between, but researchers are looking to better understand how the drug works and what effects it may have on the body and brain.
Salvia is often marketed as a “legal high” or a “natural high,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions if you use it. Because research is limited, the list of possible side effects and risks is short. However, the possible issues are serious and worth consideration.
- Dependency. Salvia isn’t considered addictive — you’re unlikely to develop a chemical dependency on the drug — but many people who use it become accustomed to using the drug for the “high” effects. Regular use can be cause for concern.
- Physical side effects. found that people who use salvia, either alone or with alcohol or other drugs, were more likely to experience neurologic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal side effects.
- Effects on learning and long-term memory. Found that salvia use may have negative effects on learning and impair long-term memories. This study was conducted in rats, so it’s unclear how this translates to humans.
- Anxiety. Worries about the effects of the drug and fear of a “bad trip” may occur with salvia use. In severe cases, you may experience paranoia and possibly a panic attack.