Salvia Divinorum is a relative of the mint family that has become widely known for its cheap, technically legal high (the drug acts as a hallucinogen) among teens. It’s become popular enough for this purpose in fact that videos of the herb’s effects have cropped up all over YouTube and other social networking sites.
Were Salvia known only for this purpose this wouldn’t pose a problem, however it’s also being researched for potential healing effects for depression, addiction and pain and these videos are undermining that research. It was also once used by shamans for mediation and spiritual reflection.
If authorities and parents see these videos and feel that these teens are in danger from the herb it could lead to criminalization of Salvia and therefore make research into its effects more trouble than it might be worth to researchers. Several states have already started considering making it a regulated substance and some have already passed laws that punish those who sell or use the herb. Abuse of the herb is startlingly common among the young. As many as 1.8 million have at least tried it for its hallucinogenic purposes in recent years and more young men between 18 and 25 use it regularly than those who use ecstasy and LSD.
The herb isn’t well studied or understood at this stage but it doesn’t appear to have many side effects for those who use it and doesn’t appear to have an addictive effect (largely in part due to the brief intense high it creates. Many only ever try Salvia once). Certain properties of the herb are believed to be a good potential source for pain medication.
October 24, 2009
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