The Truth about Salvia

Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant, which can grow to over three feet in height, has large green leaves, hollow square stems and white flowers with purple calyces, can also be grown successfully outside of this region . Salvia divinorum has been used by the Mazatec Indians for its ritual divination and healing. The active constituent of Salvia divinorum has been identified as salvinorin A. Currently, neither Salvia divinorum nor any of its constituents, including salvinorin A, are controlled under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, the abuse of Salvia Divinorum is gaining popularity in the United States, particulary by adolescents and young adults.

Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A are not currently controlled under the CSA. However, a number of states have placed controls on Salvia divinorum and/or salvinorin A. See the legislation section of this page for more information.

Street Names include: Maria Pastora, Sage of the Seers, Diviner’s Sage, Salvia, Sally-D, Magic Mint

Short Term Effects:

A limited number of studies have reported the effects of using either plant material or salvinorin A. Psychic effects include perceptions of bright lights, vivid colors and shapes, as well as body movements and body or object distortions. Other effects include dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, a sense of loss of body, overlapping realities, and hallucinations (seeing objects that are not present). Adverse physical effects may include incoordination, dizziness, and slurred speech.

Scientific studies show that salvinorin A is a potent and selective kappa opioid receptor agonist. Other drugs that act at the kappa opioid receptor also produce hallucinogenic effects and dysphoria similar to that produced by salvinorin A. Salvinorin A does not activate the serotonin 2A receptor, which mediates the effects of other schedule I hallucinogens.

Due to the hallucinogenic effects there is a substantial risk of injury or death as a result of impaired judgment due to disruptions of sensory and cognitive functions

Salvia divinorum is grown domestically and imported from Mexico and Central and South America. The Internet is used for the promotion and distribution of Salvia divinorum. It is sold as seeds, plant cuttings, whole plants, fresh and dried leaves, extract-enhanced leaves of various strengths (e.g., 5x, 10x, 20x, 30x), and liquid extracts purported to contain salvinorin A. These products are also sold at local shops (e.g., head shops and tobacco shops) and over the internet as a “legal alternative to controlled hallucinogens” however DEA is not aware of any legitimate medical use.

As of November 2008, thirteen states have enacted legislation placing regulatory controls on Salvia divinorum and/or salvinorin A. Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Virginia have placed Salvia divinorum and/or salvinorin A into schedule I of state law. California, Louisiana, Maine and Tennessee enacted other forms of legislation restricting the distribution of the plant. States in which legislative bills proposing regulatory controls died are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Carolina, and Utah. Legislative bills proposing regulatory controls are pending in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Salvinorin A and/or Salvia divinorum have been placed under regulatory controls in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden.

Salvia Divinorum Fact Sheet