Herb, salvia divinorum belongs to mint family, found abundantly in Mexico. The plant can grow up to three feet in height and has large green leaves, square stems and white flowers with purple calyces. This plant can also be cultivated successfully outside of this region. Salvia divinorum has already been used by the Mazatec Indians for its divination and healing properties. The most potent ingredient of salvia divinorum is known as salvinorin A. Neither salvia nor its active ingredient has been approved for medical use in the U.S.
Pharmacology of salvia
Salvinorin A, or divinorin A, is the ingredient, considered to be liable for the hallucinogenic effects of salvia. Chemically, it is a neoclerodane diterpene found concentrated in the leaves than stems. Although many chemicals have been isolated from the plant but none of them have shown any psychoactive property.
In the U.S., way of using is by chewing or smoking or use of extract. When chewed, the juice is retained within the cheeks which absorbs across the lining of the oral mucosa. Effects start to appear within 5 to 10 minutes. Dried leaves or extract are also smoked. Smoking of pure salvia, at a dose of 200-500 micrograms, results in effects within 30 seconds and wears off in 30 minutes.
Extreme psychic effects include observation of bright lights, vivid colors and shapes, as well as body movements and body or object distortions and strong relation with nature. Other mild effects reported are dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, overlapping realities, and hallucinations. Adverse physical effects may include incoordination, dizziness, and distorted speech.
Researches have shown that substance salvinorin A is a effective and selective k-opioid receptor agonist. Other drugs which also contain this compound also produce hallucinogenic effects in the same way as the salvinorin A.
Salvia products are abused because of their ability to evoke hallucinogenic effects, which, in general, are similar to those of other known hallucinogenic substances. However in some cultures this is bona fide as a sacred plant.
Kind of User
According to the survey it is calculated that 1.8 million persons have used salvia in their lifetime, around 750,000 did so in the past year. Use of salvia was more common among young adults (18 to 25 years old) as compare to older adults (>26 years of age. Salvia use was more common in men than women.