Salvia is an herb that's native to the mountains of southern Mexico. One type,
salvia divinorum, has a substance called salvinorin A that can cause intense psychedelic
Salvinorin A affects structures in the brain called opioid receptors. This makes
salvia different from other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and mushrooms, which affect
the brain's levels of a chemical called serotonin.
diviner's sage, magic mint, maria pastora, sally-d, seer's sage, and shepherdess's
How It's Used:
As a drug, salvia usually comes as fresh green plant leaves or dried shredded green
leaves. Salvia can also be a liquid extract. Traditionally, users chewed the fresh
salvia leaves or drank the extract, but now people also smoke the dried leaves.
What It Does:
Salvia's effects come on quickly, sometimes in less than a minute. They usually
disappear about 30 minutes to an hour later. Salvia's effects on the mind can range
from mild to intense. They may be frightening, depending on how strong a dose of the
drug someone takes.
Common short-term effects include:
hallucinations and changes in visual perception
mood and emotional swings
a sense of detachment from self and reality (not being able to tell the difference
between what's real and what's imagined)
dizziness and lightheadedness
lack of coordination
Some studies suggest that, over time, salvia use may contribute to a condition
called dysphoria that is characterized by feelings of depression, discontent, and
Smoking any substance over a long period of time, including salvia, can lead to
breathing trouble and other health problems.
The biggest problem with salvia is that it has such dramatic psychological effects.
Because the drug can impair a user's coordination and reality so much, people under
the influence of salvia can be a real danger to themselves. There is a substantial
risk of injury or accidental death to salvia users.
Salvia is illegal in a number of foreign countries and in many American states.
Possession or use of salvia in states where it is illegal is punishable by fines and