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A New Drug Making its way into the Teen Scene: Salvia

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Salvia the legal and dangerous drugEvery once in a while, a street drug becomes popular before much is known about it, and many people don’t think twice about its negative effects, because it is still legal. Salvia is one of those drugs right now. Salvia is an extremely strong hallucinogen, and it is gaining in popularity among young people, so much so that it is now twice as popular as LSD in males in their 20s.

Salvia Divinorum

Salvia divinorum is a mint plant that has been used by Mazatec shamans in Mexico for hundreds of years for spiritual healing sessions. Salvia has been used in recent years by young people in the U.S., by smoking the dried leaves or adding the liquefied form to a drink.

Effects of Salvia

Salvia’s effects start almost immediately and last from 5-10 minutes. During that time, the user loses control of their body, often falling over or becoming unable to function. Salvia’s strong hallucinogenic effects are sometimes scary or dangerous. Users might think they see someone chasing after them, or inanimate objects talking to them. If the individual is not in a safe place, they could do something to harm themselves, even in that quick 5-10 minutes.

Only a few studies have been done on salvia, and they seem to show that it does not produce the euphoric state of other drugs, such as LSD, and the addictiveness is unknown. But users take pleasure in the effects it has on the brain, and the distorted view of reality it produces.

A Legal Drug

The fact that salvia is still legal in many states is concerning to both law enforcement and some parents. Since it is legal, many people assume that it is safe and harmless, but that may not be the case. The quick acting, strong hallucinogenic effects of this drug are of concern to some, and the widespread availability and marketing to young people is another concern.

Salvia is outlawed in 12 states and several foreign countries, but other states are having a harder time banning it. It is currently listed by the DEA as a drug of concern, which means law enforcement can’t stop the sale or use of it.

Medical Benefits

If salvia is so potentially harmful because of the altered mental state it produces, why wouldn’t more states push to outlaw it? It’s possible some people are thinking ahead to the potential medical benefits of the drug. Banning it would slow scientists’ research and clinical trials on it. Some scientists are already working on salvia’s uses as therapy for chronic pain or mood disorders, and banning it would add years to the arrival of any positive clinical use for the drug.

It is possible that after more research this drug will be found to be relatively harmless, and that the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives. But without more research on the drug and its long-term effects on the body, it should be treated with caution and respect.


Editorial: Legislatures need to ban salvia Nov. 20, 2008

Gaskins, Nikki Salvia: The new pot, yet legal

Legal Herb “Salvia” Produces Dangerous Effects Nov 13, 2008

Brain’s Reaction To Potent Hallucinogen Salvia Explored Apr. 28, 2008

Shanks, Chad Doc Anderson works to outlaw salvia on Dr. Phil Nov. 12, 2008


This article was written by Jared More

As the Director of Interactive Marketing for American Addiction Centers I am a forward thinking and big picture focused Online Marketing Specialist. Online marketing must be an organizational objective and cannot be compartmentalized into a specific field of pursuit. My objective is to build integrated teams of advertising, technical and marketing professionals that can inspire and influence entire organizations. Successful online marketing requires a group of talented professionals that truly enjoy and are very good at what they do, working together toward common goals. Often companies have disconnected teams of paid advertisers, technical folks, content development and organic marketers. A team that works together on paid, organic, social and traditional channels that also has the technical ability to make changes on the fly is a team that will quickly generate more exposure and revenue for their company. This cohesive approach allows for exponential growth in the rapidly changing digital space. I currently have the pleasure of working exclusively for American Addiction Centers, a rapidly growing leader in the addiction treatment space. American Addiction Centers has a fast paced, challenging and innovative marketing team that is an exciting place to be a part of.


MSDecember 17, 2008 at 2:06 amReply

Factual correction:

In fact, salvia’s addictiveness is NOT unknown. Salvia is not only not addictive, but is rather considered to be aversive.

jaredm JaredDecember 17, 2008 at 7:11 amReply

And your evidence for this is what? Salvia like any drug can become addictive or perhaps more likely be a gateway drug to more powerful and dangerous drugs.

salviaDecember 30, 2008 at 3:02 pmReply

I don’t think the gateway idea is a good argument