Feds In Canada want to control herb

Discussion in 'Salvia divinorum' started by Alfa, Mar 26, 2005.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    TRIPPY DRUG LEGAL IN CANADA


    A hallucinogenic drug banned in Australia and listed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as a drug or chemical of "concern" is freely available for sale in Vancouver.


    Renee Boje, owner of Urban Shaman on Hastings Street, sells salvia divinorum, a species of sage which belongs to the mint family, in the form of dried leaves, extract and plant cuttings. The plant is commonly used by Mazatecs in Mexico for curing rituals and divination.


    Boje says the leaves and extract are the most popular items sold at her store.


    "It's a fast-track way to get a spiritual experience," said Boje, who uses salvia. "Smoking it is short-acting, it's quick and they can think about the experience after."


    While the drug is illegal in Australia and under restrictions in other countries, Canadian law does not prohibit its sale.


    Nathalie Lalonde, a media relations officer at Health Canada, says salvia is not being monitored in Canada and is not listed as a controlled substance under the Drug and Controlled Substances Act.


    Monitoring includes studying information from WHO and the International Narcotics Control Board and from police and drug organizations.


    "Should evidence arise that suggests an abuse problem with significant risk to public health and safety, the department will investigate and take whatever action is appropriate to mitigate the risks," Lalonde said.


    Marc Emery, president of the B.C. Marijuana Party, doesn't see salvia getting banned in the future primarily because he believes its use is not widespread.


    "It shouldn't be banned because no one uses it much," said Emery. "It doesn't have a negative impact."


    Adding a drug to Health Canada's list of controlled substances would call for a regulatory change, a process which could last several months, said Lalonde.


    "Where a substance presents grave harm to the public, extraordinary measures may be taken to control a substance in a more timely manner by eliminating the consultation phase," she said. "Health Canada currently has no plans to add salvia divinorum to the list of substances controlled under the CDSA."


    Boje says it would be a shame if salvia is outlawed because she claims it provides people with the ability to connect with their divine selves. She remains hopeful it will remain legal because she believes the Canadian government is more open to people having autonomy over their minds and bodies.


    Effects of smoking salvia can vary, according to Emery, who conducted a test on 15 individuals by administering the extract to them. While the women in the group were "giggly," the men seemed scared and hyperventilated, with some dropping to the floor, he said.


    Boje says if salvia is taken the "traditional way" in a quiet, dark room the experience can be positive.


    "I had visions of beings that were made of light and they were dancing around me," she said. "I felt they were my spiritual family showing me love."


    However she cautions about not doing the drug alone but to have a friend or "sitter" present. Boje says there are no known side effects of the drug but describes it as hallucinogenic.


    Salvia is available at other stores in Vancouver. The Seed Co. on Hastings Street advertises its sale on a sandwich board on the street.


    Staff at the store declined to comment.
     
  2. poweredbyhate

    poweredbyhate Gold Member

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    As a Canadian, I've seen Salvia available in many stores in the Toronto
    area. You can find it for sale outside of major metropolitan
    areas, too, so it's not just available in the big cities. A local
    hemp shop sells Salvia extract, and after talking with the owner of the
    store, I found that it is a pretty big seller.



    Like Mark Emery stated in the article, I don't see Salvia being made
    illegal anytime soon. Only a few of my friends have tried it, and
    most haven't even heard of it. It's definitely not as popular as
    many other 'divine' substances in my area.
     
  3. Joy_of_Salad

    Joy_of_Salad Newbie

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    I'm sure many of you know this already, but it's worth mentioning that
    salvia divinorum is also legal to sell, buy and possess in the United
    States. While it's not approved for human consumption, it can be
    sold legally as incense (despite the fact that it smells kind of like
    fishfood).
     
  4. drwoo

    drwoo Newbie

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    Interesting article. Not surehow aware people are ofthis, but Renee Boje is an citizen and natural of the United States she is wanted on "drug" charges with a minimum of 10 year sentance. She was working for a sick guy in California helping him care for his stash. This was shortly after California passed their medicinal marijuana law. Anyway the charges are totally bogus, and she is seeking asylum in Canada. There is an article about her and a couple of others in this month's issue of razor magazine.
     
  5. LeGalizeit

    LeGalizeit Newbie

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    Here is the article..(exerltbelow)

    http://www.gnn.tv/forum/thread.php?id=24656

    A December 2005 report by the marketed health products directorate, an arm of Health Canada, recommends that salvia be placed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    Department spokesman Jason Bouzanis said salvia has been known to cause hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, unconsciousness and short-term memory loss. But that’s not enough to declare it illegal.
    “We can’t make any recommendations to place salvia under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act schedules until we have sufficient scientific and empirical data that concludes it has the potential for misuse and abuse,’’ Bouzanis said.
    Australia is one of few countries that has made it illegal to possess, distribute and consume salvia, also known as Sally D, the diviner’s sage, or the sage of seers. It is a species of sage, which belongs to the mint family, and is most commonly found in Mexico, where indigenous Mazatec shamans have used it for centuries for spiritual journeys.
    Salvia leaves are most commonly dried and smoked. Extracts of salvinorin-A, salvia’s active ingredient, are available in tablet form. Pill prices can range anywhere from $30 to $80 in Canada depending on the potency desired. Most online sellers of salvia advertise the herb as a natural health product.
    [end excerpt]
    ..

    Feds want controls on common psychedelic herb

    Updated Sat. Apr. 7 2007 8:41 PM ET
    Canadian Press

    A common garden herb that packs a powerful psychedelic punch has some federal health officials recommending strict controls.

    But Health Canada says it can't regulate the use of salvia divinorum until there's more evidence of its dangers.
    Department documents obtained by The Canadian Press under Access to Information law say salvia is being used by adolescents and young adults for its hallucinogenic properties.

    A December 2005 report by the marketed health products directorate, an arm of Health Canada, recommends that salvia be placed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    Department spokesman Jason Bouzanis said salvia has been known to cause hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, unconsciousness and short-term memory loss. But that's not enough to declare it illegal.

    "We can't make any recommendations to place salvia under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act schedules until we have sufficient scientific and empirical data that concludes it has the potential for misuse and abuse,'' Bouzanis said.
    Australia is one of few countries that has made it illegal to possess, distribute and consume salvia, also known as Sally D, the diviner's sage, or the sage of seers. It is a species of sage, which belongs to the mint family, and is most commonly found in Mexico, where indigenous Mazatec shamans have used it for centuries for spiritual journeys.

    Salvia leaves are most commonly dried and smoked. Extracts of salvinorin-A, salvia's active ingredient, are available in tablet form. Pill prices can range anywhere from $30 to $80 in Canada depending on the potency desired. Most online sellers of salvia advertise the herb as a natural health product.
    An October 2006 report by the natural health products directorate of Health Canada, which is responsible for assessing safety among all marketed health products, highlights four cases of adverse reactions to salvia.
    One case involves a 16-year-old Canadian boy who reportedly became incoherent, suicidal, and threatened to kill police officers after taking a single tablet of salvia in March 2005.

    Despite being aware of salvia's potentially harmful effects, the RCMP can't crack down on the herb because it's legal.
    "As far as including salvia included under the Controlled Substances Act, that's Health Canada's responsibility,'' said Sgt. Nathalie Deschenes.
    "The RCMP is always concerned about any substance or product that may put the safety and security of Canadians at risk.''
    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists salvia as a "drug of concern'' but it has not been banned by the U.S. federal government.

    Missouri and Louisiana have criminalized the herb and there are proposals to make it illegal in Alaska, Illinois, Oregon and Wyoming.
    Dr. Bryan Roth, a professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is very concerned about the availability of the herb.

    "Salvia is the world's most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen,'' he said.
    "You wouldn't want to be driving a car, or you wouldn't want to be on a balcony in a high building so the concern is that if individuals were to take a sufficient dose, they might get themselves or others into trouble.
    "The distribution is totally unregulated so unsuspecting teens or even children younger than teenage years might chance upon it and that's a recipe for disaster.''
    But for one salvia user, such concerns are unnecessary.

    "Salvia is so intense, most people only try it once or twice,'' said Ryan (Big P) Poelzer, who works at the Urban Shaman, a popular botanical store in downtown Vancouver.
    He says the store sells at least fifty pills every week, mainly to people between the ages of 19 and 25.
    Poelzer, 20, describes his experiences using salvia as "mind blowing'' and "out of this world.''
    "You don't think you're in this world and you don't think you're coming back. It's like going into outer space. Time being ripped in half is a good way of describing it.''
    "It's definitely the most powerful psychedelic out there.''
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2007
  6. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    Salvinorin-A pills?? really? Anyone have a take on this one?
     
  7. seechao

    seechao Silver Member

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    Called the urban shaman, apparently weird missquote, they sell extracts only, no salvinorin-a or pills. pills wouldnt even be active, would they?
     
  8. Salvinorin A

    Salvinorin A Gold Member

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    Not unless one took and insane amount which would cost a ridiculous amount of money that one could spend about 1000 times less smoking.

    It would be really sad if Canada's laws started prohibiting salvia divinorum. Sally gets a ridiculous amount of BS fromt he media.

    Down here in Cali, a bill was introduced but luckily didn't make it past it's first hearing (a reconsideration was granted though). The main reason for it not passing, I believe, was because there were plenty of people to advocate salvia's good qualities. And of course Daniel Siebert lives in Cali as well, he wouldn't let it happen.

    Here's his letter...

    XXXXX- link not allowed, letter in post below -XXXXX

    Hard to say no to something like that.

    Basically I think that as long as people advocate against the media, salvia shouldn't be hassled to badly. If only there was a stronger salvia community (by stronger SWIM means larger, much larger, instead of just kids trying to get high).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2007
  9. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Here is Daniel Siebert's letter from the link above that was removed:



    Dear Honorable Assembly Member:

    This letter summarizes the important medicinal properties of Salvia divinorum and its primary active constituent salvinorin A. It also puts forth several objections to Assembly Bill 259, which inappropriately seeks to make this medicinal herb a Schedule I controlled substance.

    As a pharmacognosist who has devoted the last 15 years to the scientific study of this herb, I believe that I am particularly qualified to speak on this issue. I was the first person to investigate the human pharmacology of salvinorin A and to clearly identify this compound as the psychoactive principle of Salvia divinorum. My findings have been published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals. These include a paper that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which my research group identified the neurological mechanism of salvinorin A’s action. That finding is of particular significance because it provides solid evidence for the medicinal value of this compound. I am currently working in collaboration with several other scientists to further investigate the medicinal potential of salvinorin A and closely related compounds. My collaborators include Dr. Bryan Roth (Project Director of the National Institute for Mental Health Psychoactive Drug Screening Program), Dr. Thomas Munro (pharmaceutical chemist at McLean Hospital Psychiatric Research Center, MA), Dr Lee-Yuan Liu-Chen (professor of pharmacology at Temple University School of Medicine), and Dr. Jordan Zjawiony (Pharmacognosy and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Mississippi). In addition to these endeavors, I am presently completing work on a comprehensive academically oriented book about Salvia divinorum.


    Medicinal properties

    There are approximately one thousand species of Salvia worldwide. Salvia divinorum is just one of the many species that are recognized for their useful medicinal properties. The common name for salvia is sage. Most people are familiar with the common culinary sage, Salvia officinalis, which in addition to its usefulness as a flavoring agent, is also used for its medicinal properties. The genus name Salvia is derived from the Latin salvare, meaning “to heal” or “to save.” The words salvation and savior also come from this same root.

    Salvia divinorum is endemic to the Mazatec region of central Mexico, where it has a long history of medicinal use. The Mazatec people use this herb for its psychoactive properties and as an effective treatment for arthritis, headache, and eliminatory complaints. The validity of each of these different applications is well supported by recent pharmacological findings.

    Salvinorin A is a uniquely potent and highly selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist, and as such, it has tremendous potential for the development of a wide variety of valuable medications. The most promising of these include safe non-addictive analgesics, antidepressants, short-acting anesthetics that do not depress respiration, and drugs to treat disorders characterized by alterations in perception, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and bipolar disorder.

    Kappa-opioid receptor agonists are of particular interest to pharmacologists because they provide effective pain medications that are not habit forming and do not produce dependence. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that kappa-opioid agonists are actually “aversive”—the opposite of addictive. This is an important advantage over most powerful analgesics currently prescribed. The effectiveness of salvinorin A as an analgesic has been repeatedly demonstrated in animal studies. In my book I include many case reports in which people testify to the effectiveness of this herb for managing pain. The traditional Mazatec use of Salvia divinorum to treat headaches and arthritis also attests to its effectiveness as an analgesic.

    The ability of salvinorin A to block perception of pain also suggests that it may prove useful as a short-acting general anesthetic. The fact that it does not depress respiration is particularly interesting because it indicates that salvinorin A could be much safer than most general anesthetics currently in use.

    Several years ago Dr. Karl Hanes published a case report in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, in which he described a patient that obtained relief from chronic depression by using Salvia divinorum. Subsequently he published a paper in the journal MAPS, reporting that he obtained similarly positive results when he prescribed the herb to other patients who suffered from clinical depression. In my book I describe dozens of additional accounts of people who have recovered from serious depression with the help of this herb. It is especially interesting that these people were able to obtain persistent relief from their depression after only a few treatments. Quite unlike the continuous medication regime required with conventional antidepressants such as Prozac, which in most cases only offer symptomatic relief from depression, Salvia divinorum often produces long-lasting clinical improvement.

    Because salvinorin A alters various perceptual modalities by acting on kappa-opioid receptors, it is clear that these receptors play a prominent role in the modulation of human perception. This suggests the possibility that novel psychotherapeutic compounds derived from salvinorin A could be useful for treating diseases manifested by perceptual distortions (e.g., schizophrenia, dementia, and bipolar disorder). This is a promising area of research that is important to pursue further.

    Salvia divinorum has several properties that make it useful in psychotherapy: It produces a state of profound self-reflection, it improves one’s ability to retrieve childhood memories, and it provides access to areas of the psyche that are ordinarily difficult to reach. I have spoken with several psychotherapists who have used this herb in their practice. They are impressed with its effectiveness as a psychotherapeutic tool. This type of application is not new—the Mazatecs have long used Salvia divinorum to treat psychological complaints.

    Salvinorin A is also an important neurochemical probe for studying the dynorphin/kappa-opioidreceptor system. As such, it is useful for research into the neurological mechanisms of perception and awareness. Salvinorin A is remarkable in that it belongs to an entirely different chemical class than any previously identified opioid receptor ligand (it is a diterpenoid). This fact is of great interest to pharmacologists because it opens up a vast new area for future drug development.


    No potential for long-term abuse

    There are many popular misconceptions about Salvia divinorum. Presumably, Assembly Bill 259 is based on some these. Many of these misconceptions have their origin in sensationalistic stories presented by misinformed journalists, and others derive from the absurd advertising claims of unethical herb vendors who market this herb as a “legal high” and deliberately exaggerate its effects to increase sales.

    The fact is that the effects of Salvia divinorum are not appealing to recreational drug users. The majority of people who try it find that they do not enjoy its effects and do not continue using it. It does produce an altered state of awareness, but does not produce a “high” (i.e., it is not euphoric or stimulating). Salvia divinorum produces a state of increased self-awareness. For this reason, some people use it as an aid to meditation, contemplation, and spiritual reflection. There are people who are intrigued by salvia’s effects, but even these people use it infrequently. Because it increases self-awareness, it is useless as an escapist drug. When used in a careless manner, it tends to produce unpleasant experiences, and that of course discourages further use (i.e., abuse is self-limiting).

    Salvia divinorum is not addictive or habit forming. This has been demonstrated in several animal studies. Its mechanism of action indicates that it may actually be anti-addictive. Many people have reported that Salvia divinorum actually helped them to overcome previous substance abuse problems. With funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), researchers at the University of Iowa are now studying salvinorin A and attempting to develop derivatives that could be useful for treating methamphetamine and cocaine dependence.


    Safety

    Salvia divinorum is non-toxic. Toxicological studies have been performed by Dr. Leander Valdés at the University of Michigan, Jeremy Stewart at the University of Mississippi, Dr. Frank Jaksch of Chromadex Inc., and Dr. Wayne Briner at the University of Nebraska. Neither Salvia divinorum nor salvinorin A showed toxicity in any of these studies. There is a vast body of empirical evidence that indicates Salvia divinorum is a remarkably safe herb. Indeed, the Mazatecs, who have probably used S. divinorum for hundreds of years, do not attribute any toxic properties to this plant.


    Conclusions

    Salvia divinorum is an important medicinal herb that has no potential for long-term abuse. It does not present a significant risk to public health or safety. Obviously, there is a problem with young people using this herb (especially when they use it carelessly). There is a sensible way to deal with that problem: regulation that prohibits sale or delivery to minors. This is a useful medicinal herb that enriches the lives of many responsible adults. Since it is by all accounts a remarkably safe herb (when used responsibly), it would be overly restrictive to make it illegal for all citizens. Placing it in Schedule I would deprive people of a safe and useful medicinal herb, and it would seriously hamper promising medical research. Because of its complex stereochemistry, salvinorin A is virtually impossible to produce synthetically. It is important that its source plant, Salvia divinorum, remain available so that researchers can continue to study this important compound.

    Evidently, this bill is based on inaccurate information about Salvia divinorum. Schedule I is intended for substances that have a high potential for abuse, a lack of accepted safety, and no currently accepted medical use. Salvia divinorum does not meet any of these criteria.

    I appreciate your taking the time to read this letter and acquaint yourself with the facts about Salvia divinorum. Please feel free to contact me if I can provide you with any additional information.


    Sincerely,

    Daniel J. Siebert