Salvia divinorum is a powerful hallucinogenic plant that is legal in most states.  The plant, its seeds, leaves and chemical extract are not regulated by the federal government, and many American teenagers are turning to the Internet and head shops to purchase this Mexican herb as a legal alternative to get high.

What is Salvia divinorum?

Salvia divinorum, a.k.a. “Sally D;”,”Magic Mint”; “Shepherdess’ Herb;””Ska Maria Pastora;””Diviner’s Sage;” or “Sage of the Seers;” is a perennial herb in the mint family. Salvia is a plant with large green leaves and white and purple flowers that usually grows in large clusters to more than 3 feet in height.

It is traditionally used by the Mazatecs Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico as a mystical healing tool with vision-inducing and ritual divination qualities. The plant contains a powerful psychoactive chemical, salvinorin A, which causes intense hallucinations.

Salvinorin A is one of the most potent of the naturally-occurring hallucinogens, being effective at 200-500 micrograms. LSD is orally active at 50-100 micrograms.

How is Salvia divinorum used?

It is sold in solid (seeds or leaves) or liquid (extract) form and can be chewed, imbibed (drank), inhaled or smoked. When chewed, its effects first appear within 5 to 10 minutes. When smoked (most common), its effects appear within 30 seconds.

What Are the Effects of Salvia divinorum?

Current research suggests that Salvia (salvinorin A) acts on the kappa opioid receptor of the brain which alters perception. Hundreds of derivatives of salvinorin A have been synthesized since its reported action on kappa opioid receptors. This receptor is implicated in pain control and possibly in psychiatric disorders. Experiences, describes as intense but short-lived, are influenced by dose and administration. Effects range from visual distortion,hallucinations, intense dissociation,and disconnectedness from reality, physical and visual impairment, synesthesia (e.g. hear colors and smell sounds), disorientation, dizziness and dysphoria.

What is legal status of Salvia divinorum?

Salvia is not regulated by the United States Government. It is not listed under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) nor approved for medical use. The DEA regards Salvia a “drug of concern,” and is monitoring reports of abuse.

DEA is in the process of conducting the Eight Factor Analysis as required by the CSA to assess the dangers of Salvia. At the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s request, Salvia is being monitored by the Community Epidemiology Work Group. In place of a Federal designation, various local communities and states have passed or attempted to pass regulations on the possession and/or sale of Salvia divinorum and/or salvinorin A.

Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy