What is Salvia?
Salvia is a psychoactive herb in the mint family. It acts as a hallucinogen and is being advertised on a number of internet sites as a legal herbal alternative to illegal hallucinogens. Those who consume it generally claim to be doing so for its psychoactive properties. Slang terms for include sally d, magic mint, lady salvia, purple sticky, or sage.
Native to Southern Mexico, This substance was commonly used by the Mazatec Indians for its hallucinogenic properties. Folk healers used this for medicinal or spiritual purposes, including medical divination, and foretelling the future.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the effects of saliva can include, “psychedelic-like changes in visual perception, mood and body sensations, emotional swings, feelings of detachment, and a highly modified perception of external reality and the self, leading to a decreased ability to interact with one’s surroundings.” Most users of salvia ingest the drug by chewing or smoking the leaves and the effects can appear within one minute.
The long term health effects are still not fully understood. Preliminary tests have shown a connection between salvia use and a decline in learning and memory. Dr. Howard Samuels, a psychotherapist, testified before the Senate Public Safety Commission in California that salvia causes, “hallucinations and loss of body control much like epileptic fits.” With him was a mother who told the story of her 17-year-old-son who committed suicide after the repeated abuse of salvia.
Salvia is illegal and considered a substance with the potential for abuse in much of the world. It is not currently regulated by the Controlled Substances Act in the United States, but several states have passed laws to make it illegal and control its use due to the possibility of negative health effects.
Medical professionals and legislators are concerned that this substance is acting as a gateway drug and leading unsuspecting users to a life of drug abuse and addiction.