The Rise of a New Psychoactive Agent: Salvia divinorum

Abstract

Since the 1990s, there has been a rise in the availability and recreational use of a herbal plant called Salvia divinorum. Numerous internet websites have advertised it for sale as a legal herbal alternative to illegal hallucinogens. Initial data surveying use has indicated many young adults are obtaining and using this herb for its psychoactive properties. Reported methods of ingestion for the plant include chewing, and smoking leaves or fortified extracts. Subjective effects of the plant include, affect changes, psychedelic-like changes in perception, and even loss of consciousness. Although the pharmacological properties and possible antidepressant effects have been studied in recent years, little information is known about potential negative impact resulting from recreational use, and scant information about Salvia divinorum currently exists in the psychological and substance abuse literature. While Salvia divinorum appears to be a substance with some therapeutic potential, it also poses some significant dangers as a substance of varying legal status with a potential for abuse.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Appel.

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Appel, J., Kim-Appel, D. The Rise of a New Psychoactive Agent: Salvia divinorum. Int J Ment Health Addiction 5, 248–253 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-007-9086-4

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Keywords

  • Salvia divinorum
  • Salvia
  • Drugs of abuse
  • Recreational drugs
  • Hallucinogen
  • Kappa-opioid receptor
  • Salvinorin-A
  • Herbal drugs