Salvia Divinorum

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This is a paper I did for my research writing course, a lot of it is personal experience and opinion.

Salvia Divinorum:
A Divine Tool or a Dangerous Hallucinogen?

Salvia divinorum is an herb that contains the world’s most potent, naturally occurring hallucinogenic chemical, called Salvinorin A. States are joining together, attempting to make this herb illegal. Salvia is a ritualistic tool that is still used in that way to this day. However, because young adults are abusing this herb, it should be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, rather than banning its sales and use.

Salvia divinorum, aka ’Magic Mint’, ‘Ska Maria Pastora’, and ‘Sally D’ is a plant that has been on this Earth for a long time, and, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse will tell us, is just now hitting the college and high school drug abuse scene. It has been known a lot longer than that to the indigenous people of Oaxaca, Mexico. The Maztec Indians used this herb for vision quests and medicine. The journal, Herb News, informs us of its effects, “…the intense, dreamlike experience it induces can be very unpleasant. It has been dubbed a ‘spacio-temporal dislocation’ that alters perception of time and space (A).” The state of mind induced is how Shamans, Native American medicine men, are able to pull forth a cure for whatever ails their people. This state also allows one to seek deeper truths. Salvia is still used to this day in this traditional manner, amongst Native Americans and Pagans.

There are three ways, to this day, known to consume salvia divinorum. The first method, which is the original traditional method, is done orally through a quid. Sagewisdom.com informs us that a quid is generally eight to twenty-eight leaves rolled together in either a cylinder or a ball. They also tell us that it is generally chewed on every ten seconds, with the remainder of the time the quid remains under the tongue. The quid is very bitter and has a rather unpleasant taste (E). The quid produces the longest known effects, which could last anywhere from fifty minutes to two and a half hours (www.erowid.com/plants/salvia/salvia_dose.shtml). The second method to consume salvia divinorum is by smoking. Smoking is also a traditional method of ingestion, but the second method of smoking the herb is modern. The first method of smoking salvia is by packing the semi-dried leaves into a pipe and smoking it in the same fashion as tobacco. This technique has minor effects that some describe the state of mind as being euphoric. The second method, the modern method, is by smoking the extract of salvia. I spoke with an informant who makes the extract himself and distributes it, this informant would like to remain anonymous. He shared with me a brief explanation of the extraction technique: Acetone is the best solvent for home extractions for SA [salvinorin A] from Salvia divinorum and it evaporates all away faster than al.[alcohol] [Put the dried leaves in the acetone first]Make sure and heat the extract up to 200 d[degrees] F[Fahrenheit] till it is bone dry. After you pour it on Let it all evaporate naturally first and get the last bit out in the oven. If you put it in the oven while it is still saturated, you could ignite the acetone fumes. As you can see, this makes a very potent version or the herb that is found to be the most popular way of consumption. Many people pack a tiny bit of the extract into a pipe to smoke, and have vivid hallucinations. This method is also popular amongst the young adults who use drugs because they tend to mix it with marijuana for a “better” or prolonged “high.” The effects of the extract generally last two through twenty minutes. Pictures of leaves and extract below.

The last method, which is not as common and is also a modern method, is a liquid tincture extract. This extract is made with alcohol and combined with a small amount of water. It is generally sipped and placed under the tongue for...
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