What is Salvia?
A shrub-like plant found in southwestern parts of U.S., and in Mexico has been known in a number of different names. Seer’s sage, Maria Pastora, Diviner’s mint or sage, Sally-D, and S. divivnorum are all names for one plant who’s spade shaped leaves have an active psychoactive component known as savinorin A. Savinorin A is capable of reaching the kappa Opioid receptors in the brain in a short amount of time.
The History of Maria Pastora
Under the name Maria Pastora these leaves were chewed during religious healing ceremonies in order to reach a trance like state and experience visions. The ill person, and shaman used these visions to heal the sick believing the imagines and feeling experienced were divinely inspired.
What’s known About S. divivnorum?
The western world became aware of this plant as anthropologists studying the people of remote regions of Latin American cloud forest discovered the use of Maria Pastora in the 1930’s. Very few people were aware of this drug until the 1970’s in American when the drug became very popular among those looking for a legal, and safer high than LSD or shrooms. Research into the Savinorin A has found some interesting properties unique about this chemical.
The unique aspect of Savinorin A is that it reacts with kappa Opioid receptors in the brain, but doesn’t cause a flooding of serotonin as happens with other psychedelics such as magic mushrooms, LSD, or cannabis. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter in a person’s brain that’s known as for elevating mood. Since this is the reaction most researchers have believed makes people feel good when using cannabis or other drugs it’s not known why Salvia still has some of the same benefits. What is known is that divinorum has been used successfully in studies to help with depression, and addiction.
What is Taking Salvia Like?
Savinorin A causes the same reactions in an individual’s brain offered by other psychedelic drugs, however this is a shorter, more intense experience than most. It’s must faster with durations of roughly 30 minutes, and it doesn’t offer a warm buzz with the release of serotonin. The person involved will feel a rushing sensation, followed by hallucinations involving changes in light. This imagines of light changes can occur even when the eyes are closed. The next sensations usually involve feeling dissociated from the body, and a sensation of being connected to everything or nothing. Many have related this experience as being similar to out of body experiences, or what those who have survived a near death experience report feeling. Most state they feel somewhat out of control of these sensations, and while they are aware what they are seeing is the result of taking a drug, they have difficult distinguishing what they see, hear, or smell as the result of taking salvia from reality. Having someone around especially when taking S. divivnorum for the first time is a good idea in order to involve issues of standing or moving around while having these experiences.
Is Salvia Safe?
Research has found that Savinorin A is not addictive, and doesn’t cause any long-term effects. Those who take do report having some lingering psychological effects such as either an up lift of emotion, or a disconnect from elements of their life that once seemed important. This is pleasurable for most who take it, but others do not enjoy these effects. No matter what the reason for taking it, few people end up seeking help at a hospital with anything more than nausea.
Salvia is legal in many areas, but recent concerns regarding it’s use have arise out of fears of its being a “gateway” drug. In other words while this drug seems to show few long term affects on the user, fears it could lead to the use of other drugs is the reason for banning it. Thus far the U.S. and U.K. has no national or federal law regarding the use or sale of products containing only Savinorin A, but some states, local Providences, and cities do have laws prohibiting it.