Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Salvia Use


Salvia is also known as Diviner’s Sage and Seer’s sage. Salvia is a psychoactive plant, green and leafy, which can create dissociative effects and is the producer of potent “visions” and other hallucinations. Salvia originates from the cloud forest which is in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico. Salvia use began with the Mazatec shamans who used the plant for religious reasons; trying to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during healing sessions. Salvia use has a low toxicity and low addictive potential.

Mazatec shamans use salvia in the same way that it is recreationally used in the United States. The shamans crush the salvia leaves to extract the leaf juices and mix these juices with water to create an infusion or tea which they will drink in order to induce visions used in ritual healing ceremonies. Chewing and swallowing or oral salvia use is also common among the Mazatec shamans. In the United States the most common form or salvia use is to smoke it.

Salvia use through smoking can be done by taking dry salvia leaves and putting them into a pipe. Most people begin their salvia use because they want to experience the psychedelic effects that salvia use has to offer. Psychedelic experiences are somewhat subjective and variations in the effects of salvia use are expected. Some of the most common psychedelic effects of salvia use are but are not limited to:

  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Past memories, such as revisiting places from childhood memory
  • Sensations of motion, or being pulled or twisted by forces
  • Visions of membranes, films and various two-dimensional surfaces
  • Merging with or becoming objects
  • Overlapping realities, such as the perception of being in several locations at once

A survey of salvia users found that a little less than half experienced effects similar to other methods of altering consciousness such as yoga, meditation or trance. After the peak effects of salvia use, normal awareness-of-self and the immediate surroundings return but lingering effects may be felt. These short-term lingering effects have a completely different character than the peak experience. About half of users report a pleasing ‘afterglow‘, or pleasant state of mind following the main effects. These lingering effects of salvia use are feelings of calmness, weird thoughts, and things seem unreal, floating feelings, mind racing and feeling lightheaded.

Although there are no serious long term effects of salvia use, it is established that drugs such as salvia can cause dysphoria in humans and can possibly have depressive-like effects, although salvia use has been used in the treatment of depression. There has been one case of salvia use precipitating psychosis although the user was already predisposed to schizophrenia. It has also been suggested that a long term effect of salvia use may include feelings déjà vu. Most salvia users report no hangover or negative after-effects the next day after salvia use. There are no studies suggesting that intense negative after effects are apparent with salvia use. This is apparent because of the low toxicity of salvia itself and salvia use in general.

Salvia use is legal in most countries and is even legal within the United States. It is not currently regulated by US Federal drug laws although many states have called for its prohibition or regulation and have passed laws criminalizing salvia use.