Salvia Divinorum- Psychology of the Effects of Drugs

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Salvia divinorum Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogenic plant that is native to northeastern Sierra Mazateca mountain region of Mexico. Although this is the only place known that grows this herb naturally, salvia is cultivated in some areas in the United States. Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family and it is one of five hundred species of Salvia. This plant is cultivated in large groups and grows well over 3 feet in height. Some of its characteristics are that it has large green leaves, hollow square stems, and white flowers with purple calyces, which similarly characterizes the sage plant. Recently, this unique plant has become popular among people, especially young adults and adolescents ("Salvia divinorum”, 2008). Since Salvia divinorum is an ethnobotanical plant, it can produce changes in perception, hallucinations, and other psychologically induced changes, therefore engaging people’s attention for its recreational use. The psychoactive component (the element that produces hallucinogenic effects) of Salvia divinorum is Salvinorin A and is currently the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen in the world (Salvia divinorum, 2006). Salvinorin A induces an intense, short lived hallucinogenic experience qualitatively distinct from that induced by the classical hallucinogens lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin, and mescaline (Chavkin, 2004). Salvia is sold as seeds, plant cuttings, whole plants, fresh and dried extract-enhanced leaves of various strengths, and liquid extracts that contain salvinorin A. It is sold online with the help of online botanical companies and drugs promotional sites, advertising salvia as the legal substitute to other hallucinogenic producing plants like mescaline. These products are also sold at local shops including head shops, tobacco shops, and gas stations (Salvia divinorum, 2006). Salvinorin A and Salvia

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