Though very little is known about the risks associated with smoking salvia, it may alter the mental state of the user. Use of salvia is illegal in many regions.
Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is a plant that belongs to the sage family, and is native to Mexico. It is known in various other names, like diviner’s sage, seer’s sage, etc. These names are derived from its traditional uses, that include healing and divination. The medicinal uses of salvia have been traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who considered this herb sacred, and used it for therapeutic purposes. Even today, this herb is part of the traditional medical systems in different parts of the world.
Of late, salvia has been in news for all the wrong reasons. Being a psychoactive plant, salvia has been increasingly misused. It has been reported that the leaves of this plant are used for chewing and smoking, so as to derive a euphoric mental state. This herb is not declared illegal in most regions and so, is freely available from health stores. It is also grown as a household plant. Easy availability and absence of legal constraints are some of the reasons for its increasing misuse.
Salvia plants are commonly available in many parts of the world. In case of the United States, only a few states have banned this herb. Studies show that the leaves of this plant contain a compound called salvinorin, which is a highly potent psychoactive substance. The hallucination effect of this herb is mainly due to the presence of this compound. Earlier, people used to chew the leaves of the plant for obtaining that ‘high’. They also used to ingest the infusion prepared with the leaves. However, now it is being used as a recreational drug, and is commonly used for smoking.
The dried leaves and leaf extracts of Salvia divinorum are used for this purpose. It can cause hallucinations and visions. A euphoric state is attained with its use, and the users are often found to laugh uncontrollably, and have an altered mental state. It is said that a single use of salvia may not cause any harmful effects, but continuous, long-term use, that too in large amounts, may result adverse effects.
If used in large amounts, salvia may cause hallucinations, and leads to an altered mental state. In such cases, the user may experience confusion, and even lose his motor functions for some time. In some cases, uncontrollable twitching and twisting of the body may occur. The person may also develop dizziness and loss of coordination. While some people are rendered unable to move after smoking salvia, others move towards a single direction only. Salvia smoking is also linked to depression and suicidal tendencies as the mental state of the user is altered.
For some users, the aftereffects are pleasant, like an improved state of mind. This may not be the case with others. They may experience headaches, restlessness, irritability, bronchial irritation, and insomnia. As salvia can alter the mental state, and affect the motor functions of the body, it is not advisable to drive vehicles or operate heavy machines, for at least three hours from the time of smoking. Even though it is not said to be addictive, long-term use may sometimes cause this problem.
Not much is known about the dangers of salvia smoking and its long-term effects. However, it is advisable to refrain from smoking salvia. In some regions, it is now illegal to use salvia. So, it is always better to keep away from this herb.