Nervousness about using substances that affect the brain’s chemistry is often justified. The confusion regarding how chemicals affect the brain however has led some to make serious mistakes about what is, and is not a safe drug. Psychedelic drugs such as salvia-D, and marijuana gain an underserved reputation because of immediate effects while other drugs genuinely capable of doing long-term damage are viewed as “safe”. To understand the difference it’s necessary to understand how various chemicals cause reactions in the brain of people using them.
How Does Salvia Affect the Mind?
The immediate effect of taking S. Divinorum is caused by salvinorin A, which is a chemical compound found in the leaf of this plant. This chemical is a potent activator of kappa opiod receptors of the brain. Unlike some hallucinogenic herbs or substances however, salvia works differently. It does not work on the serotonin receptors in the same way. These receptors are usually activated by other psychedelic drugs such as LSD or psilocybin (mushrooms), so the effects are different with S.divinorum. This difference is the reason that using this herb offers a shorter and more intense experience than others. The experience starts quickly in less than a minute and usually runs it course in under 45 minutes. Some report lingering effects for an hour or more, but these lingering feelings are light.
How does it feel to Take S. Divinorum?
After smoking, chewing, or drinking the extract of this leaf those doing so will have mind and body sensations of floating, visual perception changes, feelings of detachment, and a perception of external reality or feeling detached from the self. This makes it difficult to interact with others or discern the environment. Those taking this herb are strongly advised not to be alone, and not to attempt activities such as driving.
Some drugs have a lasting effect on the mind and body. Some extracts or forms of cocaine for example offer an intense high at first, but this initial reaction is followed by a crash of depression, anxiety, and often a craving for more of this drug. This presents health risks in the form of addition. This drug can also have lasting impact on the way the brain functions. Those who take drugs, as crack will often have trouble with having normal serotonin levels for a long period after the use of these drug. Crack is able to do permanent damage to the brain after long-term use.
Research into S. Divinorum indicates none of these issues. After use there is a short period of increased activity of a person’s brain, but this does not last long. There have been no reports of dependency issues after use, and no fatalities related to using it.
Does Using Salvia Change a Person?
Some report seeing things different after the use. Many report having a period of enhanced creative ability, while others feel nothing at all after the initial effects. The feeling of being detached from the self for this short period of time does “follow” some people in that they will have revelations regarding themselves, or an increased awareness of spirituality, or their connection with others. This is not due to changes occurring within a person’s brain, but rather the same type of change that follows a regular real-life experience. This is why such drugs as salvia-D are referred to as “mind-expanding”.
This type of psychedelic can cause physical reaction while taking the drug and having the experience. These changes include a decreased heart rate, racing heart, pupil dilation, and changes in blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea. These effects will stop within a few hours of taking the initial dose. There are no lasting physical changes reported from taking this drug.
No Psychiatric Problems
While a persons mind might reel from the experience itself for a few days depending on the intensity of the trip there is no evidence from research that this will cause long-term psychiatric problems.
Because of renewed interest in psychedelic drugs such as marijuana being legalized in many places in the U.S. there is renewed interested in researching long term and short term effects. The same is true of S. divinorum. Researchers are using test animals, and also monitoring those who use this substance to gage reactions and understand more about reasons people use it.
While this is legal to own or possess in most areas of the U.S. and the U.K. there have been recent statewide and municipal bans on having it or selling it. It is a good idea to check ahead to be aware of local laws before using this substance. It is also recommended to use salvia in a safe place, and to have a sober friend around to protect against mishap while under the influence.