Salvia, the Controversial Legal Hallucinogenic

big bag of salviaSalvia Divinorum is a legal hallucinogenic herb in California, but The National Institute on Drug Abuse repots that the Drug Enforcement Agency has listed the known hallucinogenic as a drug of concern. The DEA has been considering classifying salvia as a schedule 1 drug like LSD or marijuana, and several states have already made the drug illegal.

Salvia has developed huge popularity by having many poster children post their experiences on Youtube. In December local head shops said there sales of salvia increased after TMZ posted the video of Miley Cyrus smoking salvia out of a water pipe.

It has also been revealed that the recent Tucson shooter, Jared Loughner, was also using salvia.

Most recently Daniel Tosh, host of Comedy Centrals Tosh.O, created a skit described as; “Two of the biggest drug celebrities in the world compete to see who can finish the tire drill first on their drug of choice.”

Tosh had marijuana legend Tommy Chong go against Youtube, viral sensation, Salvia Eric. They both had to smoke their drug of choice and run through a tire obstacle course. The skit went as planned; Eric started hallucinating while rolling around on the tires and Chong just walked right past him.

Salvia has been gaining popularity since the 1990’s, but on March or 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice issued a drug alert watch on abuse of the plant. The problem is it’s not a drug regulated by the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Ohio considers salvia to be like heroin. West Virginia passed a law last year making it a misdemeanor when Salvia is grown or possessed for human consumption. Places like West Virginia and Washington have also been trying to regulate the problem. There have been 15 states that have outlawed the sale of salvia, but it’s still legal to purchase on-line and in California smoke shops.

According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, salvia divinorum is available as a green plant leaves or a liquid extract. It can either be smoked or ingested directly. When abused, salvia can induce psychedelic effects, but cannot be detected by traditional drug tests.

Drugfree.org states that the substance’s hallucinogenic effects can sometimes cause dramatic and frightening mind-states. Effects of the plant include, affect changes, psychedelic-like changes in perception, and even loss of consciousness.

A study was conducted by researchers Baggott, et al, from the University of San Francisco. They surveyed 500 Salvia users; this is one of the biggest test groups to conduct a study in salvia abuse.

The users reported: increased insight, improved mood, calmness, increased connection with universe or nature, weird thoughts, things seem unreal, floating feeling, increased sweating, body felt warm or hot, mind racing, lightheaded, and increased self-confidence.

Others had persisting negative effects, mostly anxiety, but some sought professional help for salvia related problems. Some of the users felt addicted to or dependent upon salvia, reporting strong cravings.

Nicknames or slang terms for salvia include, Sally D, Magic Mint, Lady Salvia, Purple sticky, or Sage. Almost nothing is known about either the long-term or short-term health issues relating to Salvia. This scarce amount of information can lead to some potentially dangerous assumptions, for example that because it can be purchased legally it is safe to use.