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Navigation: Salvia Overview, Salvia Abuse, Salvia Dependence and Addiction, Effects of Salvia Abuse


Salvia is a plant with powerful hallucinogenic properties. Because of its mind-altering effects, it is commonly recreationally abused. Just like many other substances, Salvia can cause a number of dangerous long-term and short-term effects on the mind and body.

Salvia, also known as salvia divinorum, is a plant that is native to Oaxaca, Mexico. It is used in spiritual and divination practices.

Salvia Overview

The salvia plant belongs to the Lamiacae family and has over 800 varieties. Salvia has vibrant purple stems, a distinct aroma, and the flavor composition of mint. It goes by many names, including: Sally-D, Maria Pastora, Magic Mint, Diviner’s Sage, Sheperdess’ Herb, Diviner’s Mint, The Female, and Sage of the Seers. Most of these names refer to the plant’s use in spiritual practices.

Salvia is often used recreationally to achieve hallucinations, with some saying that its effects are similar to that of LSD. This is due to the fact that salvia’s active ingredient is salvinorin-A, which provides LSD’s hallucinogenic effects.

But because salvia has a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical purpose, it is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in some states in America. However, it is legal for recreational use in other states.

Salvia Abuse

Salvia is available in the form of a green plant or a liquid. It can be smoked or chewed. The leaves are typically dried and smoked in pipes just like marijuana. The result is a high that kicks in quickly but doesn’t last long. The high can begin within minutes of consumption, and generally lasts around 30 minutes.

The most intense effects kick in within 2 minutes of smoking salvia. The effects usually fade within 20 minutes. Under the plant’s influence, the user’s perception of their surroundings will be distorted.

When salvia is chewed, the leaves secrete chemical components of salvinorin-A. This causes visual hallucinations that last from 1 to 2 hours. Some recreational users crush the leaves and mix them into drinks.

Salvia Dependence and Addiction

It is possible to become dependent on salvia. The active ingredient may attach to the opioid receptors in the brain, altering the user’s ability to perceive reality as is. But whether or not salvia is addictive is unknown. However, they may repeatedly use salvia anyway because of the appeal of its hallucinogenic effects. Some users learn that after taking salvia, they need to take more to experience the same intense high. This tolerance can cause them to take larger doses. It can transition into a substance use disorder.

Salvia dependence is marked by someone craving the substance when they reduce their intake or stop using the drug. They may feel withdrawal symptoms like irritability and anxiety. They will take salvia to combat these feelings and help them ‘relax’. Someone who is dependent on salvia will feel the need to keep taking the substance just to feel normal.

Salvia abuse is characterized by regular use of the drug—even taking it on a daily basis. They may take other drugs in addition to salvia.

Generally speaking, addicted individuals may struggle at school, work, or at home. They may neglect their responsibilities in order to prioritize their drug abuse. Their loved ones may notice changes in their behavior, such as becoming more secretive or isolated. Salvia addiction may lead to mood swings, unpredictable actions, changes in appetite, sleep disorders, mood swings, frequent accidents or injuries, and risky behaviors.

The addicted person may display a decreased interest in their own physical appearance or hygiene. They will also lose interest in things they used to enjoy, like their hobbies, interests, etc.

Effects of Salvia Abuse

Salvia is considered the strongest natural hallucinogen. It can produce both short term and long term effects. The hallucinogenic effect of salvia is only one of its many effects on the mind and body.

The person taking salvia may experience hallucinations that involve floating, vivid colors, unusual patterns, levitating, depersonalization, chills, slurred speech, nausea, talkativeness, dizziness, uneasiness, irregular heartbeat, and loss of touch with reality. In some cases, users experience “bad trips” that include terrifying or traumatizing hallucinations.

There are many studies concerning the long term effects of salvia. Some sources reveal that long term use of salvia can affect both learning and long term memory. Another long term effect is anxiety. Users may struggle to adjust to a grounded reality, or have difficulty feeling relaxed.

There are some rare cases in which salvia users may endure psychotic side effects. If people combine salvia with other chemicals like alcohol or stimulants, there is a high risk of overdose.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearbyaddiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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