What Is Salvia? | Uses, Effects, & Risks

Salvia is a hallucinogenic drug that naturally occurs in plants found in parts of Mexico. It is typically used by chewing the leaves of the plant and causes hallucinations as well as other psychological distortions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), salvia divinorum, known as salvia, is a hallucinogenic that comes from plants in southern Mexico in the highlands of the Mexican Oaxaca.

Salvia use includes chewing and ingesting fresh leaves or the juices extracted from the plant. The drug is then degraded within the gastrointestinal tract.

This Mexican plant is from the mint family and is known as “ska Maria pastora.” Salvia leaves can also be smoked, vaporized, or inhaled. These dried leaves can be smoked by using a pipe or bong.

What Is Salvia?

Salvia is not considered a controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that Salvinorin A can be used for medical use in the United States.

Some of the common street names for salvia include:

  • diviner’s sage
  • magic mint
  • maria pastora
  • sally-d
  • shepherdess’s herb
  • sage of the seers

While other hallucinogenic drugs act on serotonin receptors, salvia works by using the active ingredient Salvinorin A, a kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonist.

Uses Of Salvia

Throughout the years, salvia has been used for a number of reasons, including for religious purposes and recreational use.

Religious Reasons

In fact, the use of Salvia divinorum to increase states of consciousness occurred years ago with Mazatec Indian shamans. This Mexican ritual also used salvia as a way of healing, also referred to as the “diviner’s sage.”

Recreational Use

The marijuana and salvia similarities have led to adolescents and young adults abusing the drug. Both produce a similar high, but salvia provides potential hallucinogenic effects, although they are not as strong as LSD or psilocybin.

Since salvia is legal in the United States, young adults and students can easily purchase the drug.

Effects Of Salvia

Salvia can cause a number of side effects, including euphoria and psychoactive effects.

Short-Term Side Effects

Some of the side effects of salvia use may include:

  • dysphoria
  • euphoria
  • hallucinations
  • loss of coordination
  • uncontrollable laughter
  • feelings of panic or extreme fear
  • slurred speech
  • visual distortions
  • dizziness
  • dissociation

Long-Term Side Effects

According to the NIDA, long-term use of salvia may lead to a withdrawal syndrome.

In addition to this, long-term use can also cause:

  • depression
  • memory loss
  • speech difficulties
  • anxiety
  • social withdrawal
  • suicidal thoughts

Risks Of Using Salvia

Using salvia as a recreational drug may lead to a person seeking more of the drug and engaging in substance use. Engaging in excessive salvia use can cause a number of problems.

Accidental Harm

Accidents can be caused by those who take salvia due to the disturbances in reality. Those with psychedelic experiences may accidentally die by suicide from falling from a building, drowning, or simply stepping into the road.

Motor vehicle crashes or homicides can even take place depending on the severity of effects from this psychoactive drug. Serious hallucinations can create intense panic and fear which may cause someone to experience extreme changes in behavior, including aggression.

Mental Health Problems

Those who take hallucinogenic drugs can experience a number of mental health side effects such as hallucinations or anxiety.

If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, seek the medical advice of your doctor before participating in salvia use, as the drug may exacerbate certain mental health conditions.

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Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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