Some consider Salvia (Salvia divinorum) a safe, herbal high. Experts on the subject, however, warn of its deadly potential. Statistics on salvia abuse clearly back up their concern:
- In 2010, the National Clearinghouse for Drug Abuse Information reported that there were more than 2,800 visits to U.S. emergency rooms related to Salvia abuse.
- In 2011, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received reports of nearly 300 cases of people experiencing adverse effects from Salvia use.
- A 2012 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that Salvia use was associated with an increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms.
- A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that people who used Salvia were more likely to experience hallucinations, delusions, and other mental health problems.
Salvia is a Hallucinogenic Drug
When you engage in salvia drug abuse, you’re likely to hallucinate. People may smoke the dried leaves, chew fresh leaves, or use a concentrated version of the product. By far the most typical method of consumption involves smoking it with a water pipe. Although still legal in most states, others have made salvia illegal or curtailed its sale in some jurisdictions.
When you take the drug, you may see things that aren’t there. These hallucinations can seem frighteningly real. Even though this hallucinogenic effect lasts far shorter than LSD, for example, it can cause severe psychological responses. This intensity can result in adverse physiological side effects such as heart palpitations and a fight-or-flight response.
Salvia Drug Abuse and the Fallacy That Natural Equals Safe
Many users, particularly younger adults, believe salvia is a safe alternative to synthetic drugs. Because it’s an herb, you might think that this doesn’t put the salvia on par with LSD or opioids. However, this line of reasoning is faulty. Consider that morphine, too, is a natural product. Even so, it’s highly addictive and leads to significant problems when you abuse it.
Salvia is not considered an addictive drug. However, researchers have identified some effects of salvia drug abuse. These effects can range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. They may include dizziness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and nausea. In some cases, people may also experience seizures.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that there are any long-term risks associated with salvia abuse. However, as with any drug, there is always the potential for salvia drug addiction.
To be fair, there are no long-term studies that track salvia drug abuse. Therefore, no one knows if it creates lasting problems for anyone who uses it. There is anecdotal evidence that it has a negative effect on cognitive abilities. Moreover, people report memory problems.
There are also the side effects of use that occur in the moment of abuse. Spikes in your heart rate send your blood pressure soaring. Your body temperature increases. You may be putting a lot of stress on your circulatory system when you repeatedly abuse the drug.
Quit Using Salvia in a Supportive Atmosphere
It’s interesting to note that many people who abuse salvia do so for creative reasons. They want to boost their artistic or musical inspirations. Others use the drug to enhance meditation. There are many safer ways to deepen these actions without the need for a mind-altering substance.
Rehab makes it possible to shift your focus. Examples of helpful treatments include:
- Psychotherapy that focuses on your reasons for using and uncovers other ways of dealing with situations
- Behavioral therapies that enable you to make healthier choices when pursuing artistic endeavors
- Experiential treatments that foster art and music participation without the need to use a hallucinogenic
- Group therapy sessions, which allow you to interact with peers without using and provide support for your decision to quit
- Holistic care as a way to include meditation and yoga into your healing process
Quit salvia drug abuse today. Experience what it’s like to live in the here and now. Supportive therapists at Crestview Recovery want to help you. Call 866.262.0531 today to find out more.
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.