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The Long Term Effects of Salvia on the Body and Mind

Updated on April 7, 2011

The use of salvia as a drug has dramatically increased over the last decade. Increased use has caused some concern in parents and legislators regarding long-term effects of salvia use, even prompting additional legislation and regulation in some jurisdictions. The effects of salvia are often short-term when compared to other hallucinogenic compounds. However, both auditory and visual hallucinations are often so intense, that the person using salvia must be watched for the duration of their high.

It is not recommended that a person smoking salvia stand or try to do any type of activity while under the influence of the drug. The effects of salvia typically last anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, when the leaves of the plant are smoked. Salvia leaves or extracts can be smoked through a pipe or through a bong, much like with marijuana. Unlike marijuana, however, the effects of salvia are often psychedelic in nature, with many people reporting an “out of body” experience.

The long-term effects of salvia have not been studied, but salvia should be used only in moderation. The use of salvia divinorum dates back to ancient Aztec times, when the plant was used in a tea as part of Native American rituals and ceremonies. Salvia was used by many early people and medicine men to induce “visions” that provided insight into certain situations and relationships with other people.

The use of salvia did not become all that popular in the United States until the last ten years. Previously, the plant was also used by natural healing practitioners as a means of treating a number of common conditions. The effects of salvia on the body, in mild doses, include a diuretic effect that can decrease bloating and water weight gain. Mild doses of salvia extracts have also been used to treat diarrhea and anemia, as well as frequent headaches and rheumatism.

When the leaves of the plant are smoked, there is more potential for hallucinogenic effects because active compounds in the plant extracts are allowed to immediately enter the bloodstream. When salvia is ingested, stomach acids destroy these active compounds, and there is no psychoactive effect. The active compounds in salvia are known as Salvinorin A, one of the most potent psychoactive herbs.

Short-term effects of salvia include increased insight, improved mood, increased sweating, feelings of warmth, greater concentration, and improved self-confidence. The long-term effects of salvia use may include depression, which has only been documented in a small number of cases. There has been one incident of psychosis induced by salvia, but doctors suggest that this incidence may have been due to a genetic predisposition towards schizophrenia.


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  • sligobay profile image

    sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

    I don't use drugs but found this to be an interesting article. Thank you..