Salvia, also called salvia divinorum, is a plant species common to Central America and South America that can be turned into a psychoactive drug if it is chewed, smoked or used as a tea ingredient. While not found in the United States naturally, the drug made its way to the country in the 21st century as a new drug with extreme hallucinogenic effects. People most often chew the leaves from the plant or drink the extracted juices. However, salvia also is often rolled into cigarettes and smoked, similar to marijuana, and can be inhaled through water pipes or vaping pipes. Salvia is considered the most potent natural hallucinogen due to its extreme, short-lasting effects.
- Diviner’s Sage
- Magic Mint
- Maria Pastora
- Seer’s Sage
- Shepherdess’ Herb
“Psychedelic drugs are especially dangerous for individuals who are psychologically unstable or not yet fully matured emotionally, for example, teenagers.” Dr. Eugene Shroenfeld, Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist
- Changes in vision
- Increased mood and body sensations
- Time distortion
- Altered thought patterns
- Emotional swings
- Changes in body temperature
- Feelings of detachment or panic
- Losing contact with reality
- Slurred speech
- Physical imbalance
- Uncoordinated movements
- Seeming disconnected from reality
- Bouts of uncontrollable laughter
Short-term Effects of SalviaDr. Jacob Hooker says of salvia: “Most people don’t find this class of drugs very pleasurable. So perhaps the main draw or reason for its appeal relates to the rapid onset and short duration of its effects, which are incredibly unique. The kinetics are often as important as the abused drug itself.” Essentially, salvia offers teens an “easy” way to try psychedelic drugs, without having to commit very much time to being mentally altered. Several of the drug’s short-term effects is as follows:
- Dissociative hallucinations
- Dysphoria (a general state of unease)
- Uncontrollable laughter
- A feeling of “loss of body”
- Low heart rate
- Motor function impairment
Long-term Effects of SalviaBecause salvia is relatively new to the modern drug market, its long-term effects have not received much study. This uncertainty is reason enough to approach this drug with tremendous apprehension. However, it is known that similar drugs in the hallucinogenic family can produce long-term effects. Long-term effects of hallucinogens include the following:
- Flashbacks, well after the initial drug usage
- Lowered motivation
- Alterations in brain chemistry
- Trouble focusing
- Personality changes
Effects on the BrainSalvia’s active ingredient, salvinorin A, adheres to nerve cells and disrupts the communication lines between the brain and the spinal cord. To get a little more specific, salvia is called a kappa opioid receptor agonist. These proteins have analgesic properties, which means they offer some relief from physical pain.
Bad Trips on SalviaUnfortunately, in some teens, salvia has been known to induce a terrifying temporary psychosis. This is known as a “bad trip.” The aforementioned psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Shroenfeld offers a warning tale about a teenage patient of his, who experienced a bad salvia trip and prolonged toxic psychosis. The young lady was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where she engaged in self-mutilating behaviors. While Dr. Shroenfeld says that that horrific experience is rare, it demonstrates the dangers of salvia.
Salvia WithdrawalYou may not notice your child’s salvia withdrawal manifest itself physically. However, since salvia can be emotionally addictive, your teen might experience some mental distress when this drug is removed from their life. From your perspective as a parent, this could mean your teen is moping around more than usual or is even showing signs of severe depression.
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- http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/salvia“Salvia.” NIDA for Teens. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide/salvia-divinorum/“Salvia Divinorum.” Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens“DrugFacts: Hallucinogens.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). National Institutes of Health, Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/salvia/dependence“Dependence, Addiction and Overdose Risk | NZ Drug Foundation.” NZ Drug Foundation | At the Heart of the Matter. NZ Drug Foundation, 9 Oct. 2012. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://www.salvia.net/articles.php?id=32Schoenfeld, Eugene. “A Salvia Divinorum Horror Story.” Salvia.net – Salvia Divinorum Use, Experiences and Other Info. Salvia.net, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v13n1/13118han.htmlHanes, Karl R. “Salvia Divinorum: Clinical and Research Potential.” MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS.org, 2003. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/resources/substances/hallucinogens/short-and-long-term-effects.cfm“Short and Long Term Effects | Teens | Survive – Stop Yourself. Stop a Friend.” Partner Sites. Administrative Office of the Courts, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1880Ebbett, Alicia. “The Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs on The Brain | Serendip Studio.” Serendip Studio’s One World. Serendip Studio, 16 Jan. 2008. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/salvia_d.pdf“Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A.” DEA Office of Diversion Control. Drug Enforcement Administration, Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428120701.htmDOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory. “Brain’s Reaction To Potent Hallucinogen Salvia Explored.” ScienceDaily. Science Daily, 28 Apr. 2008. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
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