Salvia is a psychoactive plant classified as a hallucinogen, a group of drugs that alters the user’s thoughts, feelings and perceptions. The active ingredient in Salvia is Salvinorin A which induces hallucinations. The drug has increasingly become popular among teens and young adults, with cases of salvia abuse rising significantly.
A member of the mint family, salvia is native to the northeastern Sierra Mazateca mountain region of Mexico. It can be grown successfully in other areas of the world as well, including parts of the United States. Natives who considered the drug to possess healing properties previously used it ritualistically.
Some common street names of the drug include Maria Pastora, Sage of the Seers, Diviner’s Sage, Sally-D and Magic Mint. People consume the drug in different ways. For instance, they chew resh leaves directly or smoke it either as a cigarette or in a water pipe, such as a bong or a hookah, after drying the leaves. Some use the crushed form of leaves by mixing the extract in a liquid.
On consumption, the drug’s active ingredient Salvinorin A releases into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. It then binds to the parts of nerve cells called kappa opioid receptors, thereby, producing hallucinatory effects that can last for a few seconds or as long as 30 minutes. The effects include visual hallucinations, feeling of traveling through space or time and a sense of detachment from the surrounding environment. Some other symptoms of salvia use include loss of coordination, slurred speech, dizziness, nausea and chills.
Symptoms of salvia abuse
Salvia abuse alters an individual’s perception dramatically. It can lead to trips that commonly involve loss of consciousness and memory. Some other common symptoms of salvia abuse are:
- Extreme mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Psychotic state
- Inability to control urge to use salvia
- Psychological damage, including psychosis
- Impairment in vision