Marco Mozzoni: August 5, 2007
Demographic data and information on pattern of use and subjective effects of Salvia divinorum were obtained by means of self-report questionnaires from a sample of 32 recreational users of salvia and other psychedelics. The study, led by Gonzalez D, Riba J, Bouso JC, Gomez-Jarabo G, Barbanoj MJ, researchers at Departamento de Psicologia Biologica y de la Salud, Facultad de Psicologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, is published in PubMed.
Involvement with salvia appeared to be a recent phenomenon. Smoking the extract was the preferred form of administration.
Subjective effects were described as intense but short-lived, appearing in less than 1min and lasting 15min or less.
They included psychedelic-like changes in visual perception, mood and somatic sensations, and importantly, a highly modified perception of external reality and the self, leading to a decreased ability to interact with oneself or with one's surroundings.
Although some aspects of the subjective effects reported were similar to high doses of classical psychedelics with serotonin-2A receptor agonist activity, the intense derealization and impairment reported appear to be a characteristic of salvia.
The observed simultaneous high scores on the LSD and PCAG subscales of the Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI) have been previously reported for other kappa-opioid agonists, and support kappa receptor activation as the probable pharmacologic mechanism underlying the modified state of awareness induced by salvia.
Salvia divinorum is a member of the Lamiaceae family and contains the psychotropic diterpene and kappa-opioid receptor agonist salvinorin-A.
Originally a shamanic inebriant used by the Mexican Mazatec Indians, the plant and its preparations are becoming increasingly popular among non-traditional users.