Salvia may be completely legal, but users can often experience intense and frightening hallucinations. Here's what you need to know.
What is salvia?
Salvia divinorum is a herb found in Mexico and belongs to the sage family. It contains an extremely potent chemical called salvinorin A. It has been smoked for hundreds of years and used widely as a strong psychedelic. Its leaves are typically dried and then smoked through a pipe or a bong. Salvia leaves can also be chewed, with the bitter juice held in the mouth to increase absorption.
What are the effects of salvia?
- Salvia can cause powerful hallucinations where you perceive other dimensions or experience alternate realities.
- Some people report a loss of physical coordination with trouble walking or standing.
- Uncontrollable laughter, usually at the beginning of the trip.
- The psychedelic aspect can be terrifying, with users reporting feelings of utter terror and panic.
- The trip usually lasts from 20 to 45 minutes. The effects of salvia can be felt within 20 seconds of taking the drug.
- Headaches can come on as salvia starts to wear off.
What are the risks in taking salvia?
- The effect can be extremely overwhelming and somewhat terrifying. Users have experienced upsetting hallucinations where time seems to go on indefinitely, or they believe themselves to be inanimate objects.
- People going through emotional upheaval have found salvia exacerbates their problems.
- Personal injury can be caused by trying to stand or move around while under the influence of salvia.
- The herb is very strong and can cause throat and lung irritation.
- Users with a family history of mental illness should be careful as strong psychedelics can trigger psychological problems.
- There is no evidence to suggest salvia is addictive, but frequent users can find they become more sensitive to the drug and feel the effects more strongly with regular use.
Salvia and the law
Salvia is not listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act, and therefore it's legal to possess. However, it is illegal to sell it for the sole purpose of human consumption. Legal high traders dodge this loophole in the law by writing "not for human consumption" on the packaging.
Salvia is also known as:
Eclipse, holy sage, Sally D, Mexican magic mint, the leaves of the shepherdess, diviner's mint, or diviner's sage.
If you are planning on taking salvia:
- Ensure you have a friend with you who is completely sober. They can stop you from injuring yourself if you try to move around.
- Don't take it if you're going through a rough emotional time. It is likely to make things worse.
- It might seem obvious, but don't attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery whilst under the influence of salvia.
Read the comment policy
Use our free question and answer service and speak to an expert!