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Salvia Divinorum: The New LSD for Teens?

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UPDATE: The AP reports that more states are considering a ban on Salvia, bringing relief to worried Moms.

We want to give Moms a heads up about a new drug out there that teens are calling the "new LSD." It's called Salvia Divinorum, and the scariest part is that it's legal in all but eight states (Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Delaware, Maine, Illinois and North Dakota). Salvia Divinorum is a Mexican herb that's being packaged as "incense," but kids smoke or chew it like tobacco to get high. Its leaves can also be boiled to make an intoxicating tea. The effects include hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, unconsciousness, and short-term memory loss. The DEA has included it on its list of "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern," and is considering whether to add the herb to its list of controlled substances. If you're the parent of a teen or tween, Salvia should definitely be on your radar.

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59 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous February 9, 2008, 5:35 PM

Seriously, what’s next?

John February 22, 2008, 9:18 PM

Oh please,

Another ridiculous rant coming from someone who knows nothing about what they are talking about. The effects of salvia last a whole 3 minutes, which basically eliminates the risk of driving under the influence. It is not addictive, and has no proven adverse health effects. NO one has ever died from using it. The only case they have is some depressed boy who bought it and 4 months later killed himself. His parents wanted something to blame it on rather than their divorce, so they blamed it on salvia.

James Milson March 4, 2008, 9:26 PM

Salvia, having used myself, is not dangerous, it’s effects lasting for a few minutes and having no lasting harmful effects or addictive potential. It is not physically addictive. While I do agree it should be illegal to sell them to minors, I do think that they should be legal for responsible adults to use them, given, especially so, that they are safe and harmless, especially compared to alcohol or cigarettes.

SugarPlumFairy March 11, 2008, 4:25 PM

Two non-Moms of course made those comments. Interesting that both the men commenting have used it. Incredibly insensitive.

Kristin March 11, 2008, 5:14 PM

I agree. With both of the men, and I’ve never used it. I think it’s rediculous that we waste so much money banning things that aren’t even has harmful as tabacco and alcohol. I think there should be an age restriction and I think the growth should be monitored to make sure that what they use to grow the substance isn’t harmful. I think that’s a better way to go then making it illegal because something about making things illegal drives people wild. I don’t really want to get into it but I think that most herbal things (when you have age restrictions and such) aren’t as bad as some other things out there. Particularly when considering drugs that are man made (LSD, ecstasy, meth). Its effects only last a few minutes and there are always going to be the few that take it to far, but I think we should be fair. Not so close minded to anything new or get rid of tabacco and alchohol too seeing as those have proven side effects and are proven addictive to some.

Barbara  March 11, 2008, 5:39 PM

I don’t think we need to have this banned.

what we need are parents that are made aware of things such as this and then actually parent. Be aware, talk to your kids about drugs, sex, whatever.

Be your child’s parent not their friend. Your job is to teach them, help them make decisions and become responsible adults.

Jamie March 11, 2008, 11:22 PM

I personally dont get the attraction.

Alcohol and tobacco wont be banned simply because it makes too much money for too many people.

Hold your breath, that could give you the same effect for a few minutes….and in the end they’ll probably never link it to cancer.

JacquesP March 25, 2008, 9:45 PM

Salvia is never made into a tea and is nothing like LSD. When Salvia becomes illegal the guys our kids buy it from will be bigger and more heavily armed. How many people are killed over illegal drugs? Making yet another plant illegal will put your white kids in jail and give drug dealers something else to profit from.

Salviant May 2, 2008, 3:45 AM

I basically agree with John’s comment, but I’d have said a few bits differently.

  1. The readers of these comments are primarily parents (who are trying to do one of the most important and demanding jobs of all, in a complex world they have little control over), rather than the author of the article (which I agree is horribly written), so I’d keep the tone a bit more mellow.

  2. It lasts longer than that - even smoked, the intense effects taper off at more like 10 minutes, and residual effects (eg slower reaction time) may last half an hour (and the writing in the notebook may last another hour after that :-)
    Still wears off quicker than a couple of beers though.
  3. Probably the most important point: Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity! People can drive under the influence of anything, no matter how short the effect, if they’re already driving first, for example.

Children don’t normally have enough judgement to know what they’re getting into let alone account for what may happen, so of course they shouldn’t play with mind altering substances. (They shouldn’t play with matches either, but they should learn how to use matches carefully, when they’re old enough.)

Salviant May 2, 2008, 5:46 AM

Comments on the article itself…

“bringing relief to worried Moms” -that’s just playing on peoples’ emotions - passing laws against useful medicines does not prevent abuse; watching children and educating them does.

“the scariest part is that it’s legal” - This says that either any actual qualities of Salvia Divinorum themselves are not much to worry about, or it says that freedom is bad.

“that’s being packaged as “incense,”“ - the author dishonestly, in my opinion, leaves out the fact that only some products are so labelled, and when they are labelled “incense” they also say “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION! Keep out of the reach of children”. (The packagers want to make it obvious that they are not explicitly suggesting it be smoked.)

“to get high” - words like “high” or “abuse” are overused to the point of meaninglessness.

“Its leaves can also be boiled to make an intoxicating tea.” - This is flat out incorrect. The digestive system does not absorb the active ingredient enough for a noticable effect.

“The effects include…” - The effects also “include”: significant memory improvement, profoundly increased concentration, peaceful introspective state, anti-depressant activity, easing of certain intestinal
problems without the side-effect of constipation, etc. A partial list without any discussion of what conditions/dosages/etc cause which effects is not useful. And since it is only the scary effects, it is a biased list.

“The DEA has included it on its list of “Drugs and Chemicals of Concern,” and is considering whether to add the herb to its list of controlled substances.” - It has not scheduled Salvia Divinorum. The “Concern” only means that it has noticed the hysteria in the press and in other legal jurisdictions. It has not come to any conclusion one way or the other. (And, remember it’s the DEA and not the FDA, which means its job is to fight the “war on drugs”, not practice medicine.)

And that stock photo of someone smoking some unknown substance - it illustrates why a lot of people who try Salvia Divinorum conclude that it doesn’t do anything: because, since they haven’t bothered to do research, they don’t know how hot a flame they need to smoke it. (I’m mainly just pointing out that the author didn’t do enough research.)

Your teen or tween should definitely be on your radar, since the “war on drugs” doesn’t provide free babysitting.

Anonymous August 9, 2008, 4:43 PM

This article is ridiculous.
Salvia Divinorum is a non-toxic, non addictive, short lasting, entheogen with hundreds of years of use by natives and shamans in oaxaca. its horrible to treat a plant as such a bad thing. its been proven that making something ILLEGAL DOES NOT WORK. LOTS OF DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL. does that mean people dont use them? infact since the war on drugs not one drug has decreased in use other than opium and that is becuase we made heroin instead. all drug use has INCREASED. i would be in favor of lealizing heroin or crack, just decriminalizing. addicts need treatment. not prison.
for these less concerning hallucinogens, IE: weed, salvia, psilocyben, etc.
regulation would work much better.
look at alcohol. they tried making it illegal. did that work? NO. and now its restricted.
regulation works much better.
not to say people dont abuse alcohol.. just to say.. its much less abused than it would be if it were illegal and available readily down the road from your local dealer.
as for moms being concerned about salvia.
speak for your self.
my mom grows divinorum.

shoutingsteve September 8, 2008, 8:44 PM

Salvia is not addictive, and although research on it is not complete, it is far safer than glue sniffing or other highly toxic hallucinogen. According to psychotropic research, the active ingredient is about twice as potent as LSD, however, it is not a stimulant (it falls directly between stimulant and depressant) and will not cause the desire to move around. The trips are characterized by laughter.
Most importantly: The trip is not inescapable— visual signals to the brain can override the trip. Simply open the eyes can end a trip.

hasinaxavion November 11, 2008, 9:12 PM

I can’t believe the stupidity of the human brain. Anything that alters your actions to be other than normal are asking for all sorts of problems. Drugs react differently to different people. It is not the same for any one person. Get a grip. Would you pour a fifth of whiskey down a 2 month old child? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Obviously, it has already gotten to some of your brains!!

Natasha November 15, 2009, 12:35 AM

Salvia is extremely dangerous if abused. And yes, it is addictive but what would a bunch of naive American kids write here in oreder to keep the darn salvia legal? Go get a life and an education and then post about something that you have absolutely no clue about. Apparently you must have enjoyed the buzz and the high you get from it. Petitions are flying all over the country as well as in the EU countries - yes - salvia will soon be regulated as a narcotic - controlled substance.

Buy Salvia December 5, 2009, 2:29 PM

why should they ban salvia? after all it is less harmful than nicotine.

salvia effects January 4, 2010, 12:45 AM

I have only tried SD once and I experienced the pulling forces trying to take me down…down…down…like a thousand fingers pulling every inch of my body…even inside my mouth…I couldn’t relax and go with it. My ‘self’ fought it and all I could think was ‘I don’t want this…make it stop!’ .

Jon March 26, 2010, 4:01 PM

Natasha, you have no idea what you’re talking about. A lot of the people I know who introspect with salvia are people with solid careers. The media on salvia is completely skewed. The target is parents: their weakness is their children.

Katie July 23, 2010, 7:55 PM

Banning this isn’t going to do anything. This war on drugs is pathetic and there will always be something else to take the spotlight. This k2 incense stuff looks like it’s going to be the next thing banned. What happened to the land of the free?

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