Used for centuries by indigenous groups throughout the Americas for religious purposes, salvia divinorum is a psychoactive herb which produces extremely intense hallucinations when used. It’s also being used recreationally more and more often – witness the many videos posted to YouTube and other forms of social media of people under salvia’s effects. Slang terms for the plant include “diviner’s sage, “magic mint” and “sally d.”
Although not a drug commonly abused, the underlying problems that can drive people towards substances like salvia are well known to Sovereign Health. Our California facilities treat both the mental and physical symptoms that often accompany salvia abuse.
Usually, salvia is smoked – it can also be chewed, vaped and even turned into a liquid concentrate. Salvia ready for use typically resembles chopped-up green leaves. As to the question of salvia addiction, studies aren’t clear. Research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests salvia use doesn’t result in dependence or addiction. Additionally, the waters are further muddied by salvia’s legal status: salvia is legal – or decriminalized – in several states, but an illegal drug in many others.
It can be easy to dismiss concerns about salvia – after all, it has been used as a spiritual tool for years, and there are promising reports about potential roles in treating Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Underestimating salvia’s potency is a mistake.
Salvia rapidly and utterly alters a person’s perception – a change that can be highly damaging to a user unprepared – or unaware – of salvia’s intense effects. Salvia administered in a clinical or spiritual environment is simply going to affect the user in a different way than a user experimenting with salvia at a loud party … or a user who was expecting the vastly different effects of marijuana. Experiences with salvia can result in memory loss and the loss of consciousness. Yes, salvia’s effects are short-lived; most trips can be measured in minutes. That’s more than enough time for a person to crash through a coffee table, or jump through a window to escape disturbing visions.
Symptoms of Salvia Use
- Mood swings, including sensations of extreme fear and panic
- Memory loss and severe impairment of coordination
Red Flags of Salvia Use
- A compulsion to escape reality via salvia
- An inability to stop using salvia, or a belief that salvia use makes life worth living
- Participating in dangerous behavior – intentionally or otherwise – while under the influence of salvia
- Psychological damage resulting from repeated salvia disorder – or from using salvia along with other illicit substances