TEEN SOUL POWER
Salvia divinorum is an herb that is common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. This drug is a hallucinogenic which affects users by activation of an opiate receptor site known as the kappa receptor. The drug is known on the street as "salvia," "sage," "Sally-D," and "mint."
Methods for ingestion include chewing leaves or drinking extracted juices. The most common form of abuse of this drug is by smoking the leaves.
Generally thought to have been discovered in Mexico hundreds of years ago, the drug can be planted and grown in nearly any temperate zone climate. It is widely available in the United States. The drug is extensively documented on the Internet through YouTube and other similar outlets. Marijuana paraphernalia stores ("head shops") typically sell the drug; it's packaged and sold in varying strengths. Most "highs" are less than five minutes long, and thus, it also contributes to a widely held impression that the drug is relatively safe to use but some of the YouTube vignettes have chronicled some scary and unsafe effects for those who use it.
A drug that's widely available in marijuana head shops and on the Internet (and grown in home gardens), Salvia has turned out to be a new age alternative to old guard hallucinogens such as LSD, or marijuana. A member of the sage family of herbs, Salvia can be prepared or cooked up to render a "high" that's best characterized as being "out of body," or dissociated from a surrounding environment. The Internet now features videos of teenagers under the influence of this drug; most of these vignettes oddly enough depict kids who appear to be in angst or discomfort. While some anecdotes show who experience profoundly hallucinogenic yet calm effects, distortions of sound, color and sense of touch. It seems that like LSD, Salvia tends to elicit feelings and moods that reflect the basic nature of a person who has consumed it. In other words, someone who is a sort of bubbly and effusive personality might end up experiencing a Salvia "high" that's manageable and pleasant, but someone who is dour, downbeat and moody, might experience a very uncomfortable set of effects that may even border on being terrifying. A Salvia high is relatively short lived, oftentimes no more than 20-30 minutes long. Salvia's leaves can be tinctured into a tea, chewed and digested orally or crimped up and smoked. Salvia seeds are less potent than the plant leaves are, but they too contain traces of the prime hallucinogen that causes its unique effects.
Salvia's hallucinogenic effects are driven by a constituent component called Salvinorin A, a substance member of a chemical class of substances called diterpenoids. Unlike nearly all other modern hallucinogens, Salvia exerts its hallucinogenic power through activation of an opiate receptor site, the kappa receptor to be exact. This particular subunit of opiate receptor is one that is responsible for the feeling of some unusual effects that aren't commonly associated with popularly abused opiates (i.e. heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone). The chemical activity of Salvinorin A can result in a range of behaviors and feelings that span experiences of sedation, tranquility and introspection to feelings of anxiousness, central nervous system stimulation and dysphoria.
Based on what's known about Salvinorin A, it is believed that the drug is not capable of causing physical dependency, but because of its activity at the kappa opiate receptor site addiction and dependency cannot be entirely ruled out as yet.
Salvia is grown, tended to and harvested at various strengths and concentrations. The greater the concentration of Salvinorin A, the more likely a user will experience its hallucinogenic effects., Salvia use can be detected in urine and in blood. Given the half-life of Salvinorin A however, detection times are short and elusive.
Adolescents and young adults popularly abuse the drug; it seems to fit in well with a wide variety of social and cultural settings. Hispanic gangs, club drug hippies, and marijuana "stoners" are all aficionados of this drug.
For most who smoke the drug, the hallucinogenic effects are modest, however some users claim that they experience very intense effects when they smoke this drug. Users most commonly cite the following effects and experiences immediately following inhalation of the smoke that contains it: