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Effects of Using Salvia

Salvia is a plant that can function as a dissociative Hallucinogen. While there is no evidence that the effects of Salvia cause dependence or overdose, the physical and psychological effects of Salvia can be distressing for some users.

What Are the Effects of Using Salvia?

Salvia is a common name for salvia divinorum , a plant native to forests in Mexico. The leaves of the Salvia plant contain the psychoactive chemical Salvinorin A, which functions as a dissociative Hallucinogen. The indigenous Mazatec people have brewed tea with Salvia leaves for generations as part of their religion, but Salvia has recently become a popular drug in the United States and Europe. Many people use Salvia for its alleged relaxing and enjoyable effects.

In taxonomy, Salvia divinorum belongs to the sage genus of the mint family. As such, Salvia as a recreational drug is often called “sage of the diviners” or “seer’s sage.” Magic Mint, Sally-D, and maría pastora are other street names for Salvia. In the United States, the legal status of Salvia varies by jurisdiction. At the federal level, Salvia is not a controlled substance, but it is illegal to use or possess in the majority of states.

The effects of Salvia arise when Salvinorin A enters a person’s bloodstream after they smoke, chew, or drink Salvia leaves. In most cases, Salvia will cause visual hallucinations with bright colors, strange imagery, and distorted sensations of space and time. As a drug with dissociative properties, Salvia can also provoke out-of-body experiences and perceptions of detachment from reality. Some Salvia users report experiencing synesthesia, vividly recollecting old memories, and even communicating with “other worlds.”

There is no evidence that Salvia poses any risk of overdose. There is also no evidence that Salvia causes violent behavior, withdrawal, or dependence, but a person with an addiction to other Hallucinogens may be more likely to use Salvia repeatedly. Scientists continue to study the effects of Salvia on the human brain.

How Long Do the Effects of Salvia Last?

Salvia is a fast-acting drug with short-lived effects. A typical Salvia “trip” lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. The method of administering Salvia can affect the duration of the drug’s effects. More specifically, smoking Salvia causes hallucinations to begin almost immediately, while drinking or chewing Salvia typically causes hallucinogens within 15 minutes. These hallucinogens are often less vivid, but they may last for as long as an hour.

The Side-Effects of Salvia

There is no documented case of Salvia provoking any serious or life-threatening medical emergency. Furthermore, limited research on Salvia has not yet proven that the drug poses risks for any long-term physical or psychological problems. However, Salvia can cause some uncomfortable side-effects, especially debilitating, uncontrollable laughter. Other Salvia side-effects include:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech

Additionally, a person who uses Salvia may experience frightening or distressing hallucinations. Consequently, a Salvia user could suffer fear, panic, or anxiety until the effects of the drug subside. While Salvia makes some users euphoric, the drug makes other users feel disoriented and exhausted.  Salvia can also place a person in danger of accidentally harming themselves or others if they attempt to use tools or operate a vehicle after taking the drug.

Learn More About Rehab for a Salvia Use Disorder

While Salvia may not be addictive, Salvia abuse is possible if a person uses it frequently. A Salvia habit could contribute to a larger substance use disorder with Hallucinogens or create legal trouble for the user in jurisdictions where Salvia is illegal.  If you or someone you know is using Salvia harmfully, please contact a dedicated treatment provider today to learn more about rehab options.

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