Salvia Divinorum

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Date: Oct. 1, 2016
Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company
Document Type: Drug overview; Topic overview
Length: 5,400 words

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Official Names: Salvia divinorum (Epling and Jativa-M.), salvinorin A, divinorin A
Street Names: Hierba (YER-buh) Maria (the Virgin Mary's herb), semilla de la Virgen (the Virgin's seed), ska Maria Pastora (the leaves of Mary, the shepherdess); also diviner's sage, herbal ecstasy; Mexican mint, Pastora, salvia
Drug Classification: Not scheduled, hallucinogen

What Kind of Drug Is It?

Salvia divinorum is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family of plants. When the leaves from this plant are chewed or brewed as a tea, they release a substance called salvinorin A. The substances cause humans to experience hallucinations, which are images, sounds, or other perceptions of things that are not actually present.

The Salvia divinorum plant grows naturally in the mountainous regions of central Mexico. In the Oaxaca region, the native peoples have traditionally used the plant in rituals that, they believe, cure physical ailments and allow them to see into another world. There are several other plants that have been used for similar purposes in Mexican indigenous (native) cultures, including the peyote (pay-OH-tee) cactus, psilocybin (sill-o-SIGH-bin) mushrooms, and the morning glory flower. (An entry on psilocybin is available in this encyclopedia. Peyote is discussed in the mescaline entry.)

These types of vegetation are known as psychotropic plants. They are all considered to be in the hallucinogen family of drugs. Hallucinogens are substances that bring on hallucinations and alter the user's perception of reality.

Overview

Salvia divinorum has been used for centuries by the people who live in the highland areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. Within the Mazatec Indian culture, the plant is an important part of rituals that promote physical healing and spiritual growth. It is not clear exactly when the Salvia divinorum plant was first used by humans, but it is known that native peoples have used other such plants for several thousand years.

After the Spanish took control of the region in the 1500s, they did not allow the native peoples to perform rituals using hallucinogenic plants. The Spanish were devout Catholics and viewed the use of such substances as being contrary to Christian practices. They severely punished those who used the drug. The indigenous peoples did not change their traditions, however. They merely began conducting them in secret. Knowledge of the plants, and the practices associated with them, continued to be passed on through the generations, in various regions.

Researchers Examine the Herb

During the 1930s, Richard Schultes was one of a group of researchers who led expeditions to Oaxaca to study the rituals and plant use of the Mazatec Indians living in the northeastern region of the state. Their surveys included investigation into the use of Salvia divinorum. Samples of the plant were brought to the United States some thirty years later by another team of researchers, headed by amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson (1898-1986) and Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann (1906-2008). Hofmann was the man who created the well-known synthetic hallucinogen, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), in a laboratory. The plant was subsequently identified by researchers as a type of Salvia, or sage, which is a genus or subgroup within the larger mint family of plants.

For many years the plant was grown in the United States mainly by a few researchers. Although use of it was still uncommon in the early years of the twenty-first century, it has increased in popularity since the mid-twentieth century, when it was almost completely unknown in the United States. As of 2015, the drug is legal to use in about half of the United States, making it readily available for both research and for recreational use in those states.

Despite the drug's availability and legal status, authorities predict that use of Salvia divinorum will not become a problem because it has several characteristics that make it unappealing as a street drug. These include a bitter taste and effects on the user that may be more frightening than enjoyable.

What Is It Made Of?

Salvia divinorum is an herb, a member of the family of sages and mints. When fully grown, it stands approximately 24- to 36-inches (60- to 90-centimeters) tall. Its leaves--which are the part of the plant that causes hallucinations and other changes in the user's mind--are about 6-inches (15-centimeters) long. Salvia divinorum grows naturally in Mexico, in the highland areas of the Sierra Mazatecas in the state of Oaxaca. Originally, the plant grew only in remote pockets of the mountainous regions of that area. But the Mazatec Indians transplanted it at lower elevations, closer to their villages. In modern times it continues to thrive at these lower elevations, both in the wild and in cultivated areas. The first plants brought to the United States were imported by researchers, who kept them mostly in university greenhouses. By 2005, however, Salvia divinorum had been identified as growing in the wild in California. It has also been cultivated in Mexico, Hawaii, and California.

In chemical terms, the pure active ingredient in the plant is known as salvinorin A. When salvinorin A is extracted from the plant and purified, it takes on a crystalline form.

Salvinorin A is a member of a group of nitrogen-containing compounds known as neoclerodane diterpenes (nee-oh-CLER-uh-dane dy-ter-peenz). These substances have psychotropic properties, or the ability to cause changes in the human mind. Other substances classified as neoclerodane diterpenes are the active ingredients in the wormwood, or artemisia plant, and in tetrahydrocannabinol (TETT-ruh-HY-droh-kah-NABB-ih-nol; THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. (An entry on marijuana is available in this encyclopedia.) Oil of wormwood is used in making absinthe, an alcoholic drink whose properties are so strong and potentially damaging that it has been outlawed in many places. THC, salvinorin A, and the active ingredient in wormwood are all chemically very similar.

In the traditional means of using the Salvia divinorum plant, the leaves are taken in their natural state. As people outside the traditional Indian cultures have begun to experiment with it, other methods of preparing the substance have been developed. A purified form of salvinorin A can be extracted from the leaves of the plant, and then concentrated through repeated crystallization (the process of causing a substance to form a crystalline structure).

How Is It Taken?

The shamans, or medicine men, of the Mazatec Indians collect Salvia divinorum to use in their work. Shamans are spiritual leaders who seek to cure the sick and uncover hidden truths. Shamans use the plant for their rituals of healing and divination. Once the leaves of the plant are removed from the stalk, they are prepared in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are ground up, or they are crushed or squeezed. At times they are brewed as a tea, while in other instances the leaves are simply chewed.

The dosage varies, according to the desired effect. Four or five pairs of fresh or dried leaves are the usual treatment for minor ailments. This treatment would be given to cure headaches; to treat constipation (the inability to have a bowel movement); or to serve as a general tonic for someone feeling weak or achy. A similar amount is considered to be an excellent cure for a mysterious illness that the Mexican Indians call panzon de barrego. This illness causes a swollen belly, and legend says it is caused by the curse of a sorcerer--a being with magical powers given to him by evil spirits.

Ritual Uses of Fresh Leaves

There are other reasons why a shaman, also called a curandero (KOO-ren-DAH-roh), would use the plant. Low doses cause mild effects, but when the leaves are taken in much larger amounts, the results are much more noticeable and unusual. Doses of perhaps twenty to sixty leaves of Salvia divinorum cause hallucinations and a trance-like state. A trance is a sleep-like state in which important body functions slow down. In a trance, users will usually talk, and the words spoken are thought to reveal some sort of hidden truth.

If a person is suffering from an unidentified illness, Salvia divinorum may be used to try to determine the nature of the problem. In this case, the curandero climbs a mountaintop to obtain some leaves; kneels and prays before harvesting the plant; then returns to the patient. A dose of perhaps fifty leaves is prepared for the ill person to consume. However, if the person is known to be an alcoholic, twice as much of the plant is used.

Continuing the ritual, the curandero, the patient, and a third person, who acts as an assistant to the shaman, all proceed to some quiet spot. Once there, the person being treated drinks a preparation of water, into which the leaves have been squeezed. Soon, the person becomes intoxicated, like he or she has been drinking a lot of alcohol. The person then enters a trance state and begins speaking. It is believed that whatever is said will reveal the true problem causing the illness. When the experience is over, the patient tosses aside all clothing in a symbolic gesture to free himself or herself. Then, the person goes to sleep. The final phase of treatment takes place the following morning, when the curandero gives the patient a bath, which completes the ritual cleansing.

Chewing

The chemical makeup of salvinorin A is such that it is quickly broken down by the human digestive system. Therefore, simply eating it immediately makes it almost completely inactive. This is why the substance is usually administered in some other fashion--one that allows the body a chance to absorb the compound. In the traditional medicine of the Mazatec Indians, Salvia divinorum is usually taken by means of chewing the leaves. The leaves are not, however, quickly chewed and swallowed as if they were food.

Taking four or five fresh leaves, the user instead holds them in the mouth for quite a while. The user chews the leaves thoroughly without swallowing them, in a manner similar to that used on a plug of chewing tobacco. This method causes the active ingredients to be absorbed through the tissues of the mouth. After many minutes of thorough chewing, the user finally swallows the mass of leaf material. The taste of the leaves is extremely bitter, so chewing them may be quite an unpleasant experience. Curanderos, however, consider this the best method for taking in the salvinorin A and the most effective way to bring on long-lasting visions.

Drinking

Other methods of ingesting the leaves are sometimes used as well. The fresh leaves are squeezed, and the juices are consumed as a beverage. Because of the action of the digestive tract on the salvinorin A, if this method is chosen, the liquid must be held in the mouth for some time before swallowing. This is done in order for the substance to have a noticeable effect. As with the chewing method, the longer the liquid is held in the mouth, the stronger the effect will be, because the salvinorin A is absorbed through the lining of the mouth. Still, the effect from this method is typically quite mild, as it is difficult to hold the liquid in the mouth for very long.

In yet another method, fresh leaves are crushed and soaked in water to create an extract. A solution made with four or five leaves is said to act as a mild tonic (a substance that energizes or refreshes) to increase general well-being. A solution made with twenty to sixty leaves is required to bring on hallucinations.

Smoking

In addition to eating or drinking Salvia divinorum, users occasionally smoke it. The leaves are dried and rolled up into cigarette form. In this method, five or six deep puffs will produce a mild euphoria (yu-FOR-ee-yuh), a state of extreme happiness and enhanced well-being. This feeling is somewhat like the high produced by marijuana. The feeling will rapidly reach a peak but then linger for an hour or two. The most powerful effect comes from vaporizing the crystalline form of salvinorin A and inhaling it. When taken by means of this method, a dose of 200-500 micrograms will produce very intense hallucinations.

Experimentation with Various Forms

In the early 1990s, Daniel Siebert, a researcher who has studied the effects of Salvia divinorum, coordinated an experiment using twenty human volunteers who took the substance in a variety of ways. Those participating in the experiment reported that no effects at all were noticeable when they took 10 milligrams in a capsule, which was swallowed.

However, as little as 2 milligrams produced effects when prepared as an alcohol extract and sprayed on the tissue of the mouth. Yet, the results from this method were unreliable. When participants in Siebert's trial took 200-500 micrograms of crystallized salvinorin A, vaporized over heat and inhaled, hallucinations were experienced reliably, with an intensity that was very much like that brought on by the use of fresh leaves.

Are There Any Medical Reasons for Taking This Substance?

As of 2015, Salvia divinorum was not being used in the modern medical field. Tribal healers in Mexico have used the plant, probably for centuries, to treat constipation, headaches, and generalized symptoms of pain, weakness, and lack of well-being. Daniel Siebert, along with some other researchers, has claimed that Salvia divinorum is an effective treatment for depression. A mood disorder, depression causes people to have feelings of hopelessness, loss of pleasure, self-blame, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.

More information is being gathered about the way this plant works. In the early twenty-first century, the active ingredients in the herb were being investigated for possible use in treating certain psychiatric disorders.

Usage Trends

Interest in Salvia divinorum has increased among people outside the native cultures that have traditionally used it for centuries. It was first brought to the United States by researchers and botanists during the mid-twentieth century. It was scarcely known outside these small, academic circles for several decades. Yet during the last several years of the twentieth century, information about Salvia divinorum began to be more widely spread.

Subsequently, interest in its use rose, in part because it is not classified as an illegal substance. People from various walks of life have experimented with the plant for its possible herbal healing qualities, as a way to enhance meditation, and as a recreational hallucinogen used to get high.

According to the most recent report of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH; 2013), an estimated 5,417,000 Americans had used the drug at least once in their lifetime, while 518,000 had reported using it in the year preceding the survey, and 145,000 had used it in the preceding month. These numbers represented a significant increase for lifetime use (up from 1,802,000 in 2006), but a decrease in past year use (from 761,000 in 2006), and roughly no change for past month use (136,000 in 2006). The drug was most popular among those in the 26 and older age group for past month use (94,000), followed by the 18 to 25 age group (36,000), and the 12 to 17 age group (15,000). It was also about four times as popular among males (118,000 users) as for females (27,000 users) for past month usage.

Growers in Hawaii, California, and Mexico raise and sell Salvia divinorum. The leaves of the plant, both fresh and dried, are widely available for sale on the Internet. Other preparations made from the plant are also sold, including: 1) an extract of the leaves combined with alcohol and water; 2) an extra-strength leaf product fortified with an extract; and 3) a pure, crystallized form of salvinorin A, the active ingredient normally created for use in scientific experiments. A milligram of purified salvinorin A crystals might cost approximately $20, while an ounce of the leaves in their natural state sells for around $100.

Internet Sales

The use of Salvia divinorum is still relatively rare, yet it appears to be increasing. A major reason for the rising interest in the use of this substance is the Internet, which has provided a means for people to learn about Salvia divinorum and also to obtain it. But despite the growing interest in this psychotropic plant, law enforcement agencies do not appear alarmed about its use.

Hallucinogen History

Hallucinogens had their first wave of popularity in the United States during the 1960s, particularly on college campuses. At that time, LSD and other psychotropic drugs were hailed by some as a means to find happiness, creativity, and increased spiritual awareness. Users claimed to experience these feelings while under the influence of the drugs. However, many realized that simply taking a drug cannot produce lasting happiness or enlightenment.

Abusing hallucinogens caused many people to experience negative effects, including paranoia (abnormal feelings of suspicion and fear), accidental injury, depression, and loss of touch with reality. Almost all hallucinogens were made illegal and declared controlled substances during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Use of these drugs decreased sharply and reached the lowest levels of use during the mid-1980s.

Throughout the 1990s, however, hallucinogen use began to rise. In 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported on its Web site that young adults and adolescents were regaining an interest in plants that could provide hallucinations or "mystical" experiences. In 2000, there were about 1 million users of hallucinogens in the United States. The number of new hallucinogen users among people age 12 to 25 doubled between 1990 and 1997, from 12 per 1,000 in 1990 to approximately 24 per 1,000 in 1997. These numbers dipped again, however, after the turn of the twenty-first century.

According to the most recent NSDUH report (2014), the use of hallucinogens has dropped substantially since the beginning of the twenty first century for those between the ages of 12 and 17, from about 1.0 percent of the population in 2002 to 0.5 percent in 2014. The rate has also dropped somewhat for those in the age group 18 to 25, from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 1.4 percent in 2014, but has increased slightly for those 26 years of age and older from 0.2 percent in 2002 to 0.3 percent in 2014. For the population as a whole, the use of hallucinogens has dropped only slightly, from 0.5 percent in 2002 to 0.4 percent in 2014

There have been no reports of emergency room visits or other health problems associated with the plant. It is not considered a substance that is likely to be much abused. There are several reasons for this, including the unpleasant taste of the leaves and the length of time necessary to chew them in order to obtain a noticeable effect. Furthermore, Salvia divinorum does not produce the kind of sensations or behavioral changes that are likely to make it a so-called party drug. It does not make people less inhibited, or more sociable. Instead, it tends to cause users to become withdrawn and inwardly focused.

Effects are sometimes described as extremely strange, perhaps even profound, but not particularly enjoyable. For many who try it, the first time is also the last time they will ever want to use Salvia divinorum. Although the pure form of the active ingredient, salvinorin A, can be taken without experiencing the unpleasant taste, the effects have the same strange quality as when the natural leaves of the plant are used.

Effects on the Body

The psychotropic effects of Salvia divinorum are of interest to scientific researchers. The active ingredient in the plant has been identified as salvinorin A. Testing on animals and human volunteers in research projects has shown that the effects of salvinorin A in its pure, crystallized form are similar to those of mescaline, the active ingredient in one of the most widely recognized of the psychotropic plants, the peyote cactus. (An entry on mescaline is available in this encyclopedia.)

A dose as small as 200-500 micrograms of pure salvinorin A will produce hallucinations when the crystalline form is vaporized and inhaled. Salvia divinorum has a reputation as a very mild psychotropic. However, when pure forms of the active ingredients of the various psychotropics are compared, salvinorin A turns out to be the most powerful natural hallucinogen of all, based on the size of the effective dose. The leaves, in their natural form, contain between 1 and 4 milligrams of salvinorin A per gram of dry leaf.

Seeking the Truth

In Mexico, the Mazatec Indians have used Salvia divinorum and other hallucinogenic plants in their religious practices for thousands of years. Within the native culture, physical illness is seen as a symptom of a spiritual problem. Therefore, religious practice and medical treatment are combined. The curandero, or medicine man, is both a doctor and a religious leader. Curandero is Spanish for shaman.

In addition to using Salvia divinorum to treat physical symptoms, the curanderos have also traditionally used the herb in rituals that are meant to uncover hidden truths, or even to find lost objects. If a crime has been committed but remains unsolved, the curandero may attempt to clear up the matter by giving Salvia divinorum leaves to someone involved in the incident. The shaman will then sit and listen when the person becomes intoxicated and begins to talk. It is believed that the person's speech will reveal the truth about whatever happened.

In the case of a lost object or animal, the person who cannot find his or her property may be given a dose of Salvia divinorum and encouraged to go to sleep. Another person stays close by, listening carefully when the person who has taken the dose begins to talk in his or her sleep. As in the case of undiagnosed illness or unsolved mysteries, it is believed that the words of the speaker will reveal the true location of the lost animal or object. When the next day comes, the two people will go together to locate the lost item.

Salvia divinorum is also considered an important tool for training new curanderos. It is believed that the trance brought on by consuming the leaves allows one to travel to heaven and learn from God, as well as from saints that are already in heaven. Also, because Salvia divinorum is relatively weak, it is thought to be an ideal starting point for training the curanderos to work with more powerful hallucinogenic plants, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, or morning glory seeds.

Not like Other Hallucinogens

Most hallucinogenic drugs seem to bring about their strange effects on the mind by affecting the places on the brain's nerve cells that respond to serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that has a powerful effect on many other chemicals within the brain. Tests were conducted to measure the effect of salvinorin A on nearly fifty different chemical receptors in the various tissues of the body, including the brain. None of these receptor sites, including the serotonin receptors, seemed to exhibit any unusual activity due to the presence of salvinorin A.

However, in the early twenty-first century, the drug was re-examined using new technology. In 2002, B. L. Roth and other researchers revealed that salvinorin A binds to kappa opioid receptors (KOR), which influence human intellect and perception. Since this finding, Salvia divinorum has been the subject of considerable research. According to researchers, the plant may prove useful in the development of antipsychotic drugs.

In tests conducted on mice, it was noted that salvinorin A seemed to bring about responses similar to mescaline. Mice in the tests became quiet and inactive. They appeared to be under sedation, but this was not really the case. If touched or startled by a noise, they were easily stimulated to move, and they continued to display the righting reflex, or the natural urge to get back on their feet if turned over. If truly sedated, the mice would not have been able to respond to these stimuli.

Wide-Ranging Effects

The effects of Salvia divinorum on humans range from mild feelings of well-being to full-blown, intense hallucinations, extreme anxiety, and feelings of leaving the body altogether. The size of the dose, the method of taking it in, and the surroundings and emotional state of the person taking the substance will all affect the outcome.

Users in the United States have reported that chewing the leaves in a cud or smoking them brings on an experience that is even more intense than one resulting from LSD, although it will last for a much shorter time span. An LSD experience may last for many hours, while the effects of Salvia divinorum usually peak within twenty minutes and begin to fade away after an hour. A dose of 200-500 micrograms of salvinorin A will bring on a strong hallucinatory experience, lasting anywhere from between half an hour to two hours.

While many hallucinogens simply distort true perceptions, making everyday objects appear strange or alive, a high dose of Salvia divinorum may bring on true hallucinations, or vivid, intense images of things that simply are not there at all. This can be very frightening and disorienting to the user. Visions of people, places, and objects may take over the user's mind. The sense of personal identity may be lost. The user may feel completely disconnected from his or her body. There can be a sense of being in many places at once, or in many time periods at once. The user may feel that he or she is taking on the identity of some object.

Other Bizarre Feelings

Another commonly reported feeling is that of turning into a two-dimensional surface, then being twisted and pulled. At times, users laugh uncontrollably for no apparent reason. When heavy doses are taken, the user sometimes babbles uncontrollably and staggers about in an uncoordinated way, creating the risk of accidental injury. The native peoples typically take the Salvia divinorum user to a dark, quiet place, but users in more stimulating environments may find themselves overreacting, or reacting inappropriately, to normal stimuli.

Other hallucinogenic drugs can have adverse effects or negative side effects on the brain from long-term use. As such, some researchers suspect that Salvia divinorum may have similar effects. However, as of 2015, there is no scientific proof of this.

Reactions with Other Drugs or Substances

There is no scientific data about the effect Salvia divinorum may have on the actions of other medicines or illicit (illegal) substances. Information indicates that when it is consumed, it is usually taken without any other drugs or substances. The drug alone is known to cause disorientation and the loss of contact with reality. Therefore, some researchers believe that such feelings would only intensify if the substance was consumed along with other drugs that cause these sorts of sensations.

Treatment for Habitual Users

A person going through an intense hallucinatory experience after taking Salvia divinorum may feel a sense of panic, delirium, or confusion. In this situation, it is helpful to have another person calmly offer reassurance that the drug will wear off, and that any frightening visions cannot really harm the user.

A guardian who helps the user through the Salvia divinorum experience is typically part of the Indian rituals involving the drug. Part of the guardian's role is to offer reassurance. Guardians also help keep users from accidentally harming themselves or others. In very rare cases, people under the influence of an hallucinogenic substance may become so anxious and confused that their state of mind may become violent and psychotic. When people become psychotic, they suffer a dangerous loss of contact with reality, sometimes leading to violence against themselves or others. Such a reaction might require treatment with sedatives or tranquilizers, which calm people down, or with antipsychotic drugs.

There is very little hard scientific data about the effects, long- or short-term, of Salvia divinorum use. However, it is considered a hallucinogen, and hallucinogens have been linked with long-term, undesirable side effects. These primarily include hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD, commonly known as "flashbacks"), mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders. In a flashback, the user experiences the effects of the drug even though he or she has not recently taken a dose of the drug. The unexpected hallucinations of a flashback can be particularly terrifying.

Consequences

As of 2015, Salvia divinorum is legal in 21 states in the United States, so there are no penalties for possessing or using it in these states. Various forms of it can be purchased, and the plants may be grown for personal use. If more people begin using Salvia divinorum, and negative side effects begin to be identified, the legal status of the plant could change.

There have been no known reports of emergency medical treatment needed for the use of Salvia divinorum. Because its use is not widespread, little is known about the long-term physical, mental, and emotional effects of the plant and its extracts. In a sense, the status of Salvia divinorum in the early part of the twenty-first century can be compared to that of LSD and other hallucinogens during the 1960s. They, too, were legal throughout much of that decade. Yet, when this led to widespread use, their negative effects became more evident, and their alleged benefits were deemed less practical. Eventually, this led to such drugs being declared illegal.

The Law

As of 2015, there are no federal laws in the United States that regulate or outlaw the possession or use of Salvia divinorum. It is illegal in 29 or the 50 states, however. In Mexico, California, and Hawaii, it is grown and sold. Its legal status is probably one of the main reasons that it has gained some popularity as a recreational psychedelic drug. Information about the plant has spread widely by way of the Internet, and is the subject of various Web sites. Many different types of people have sampled it to find out firsthand about its herbal healing properties, its supposed benefits as a meditation aid, or its psychotropic qualities.

In 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated that, in general, there was growing interest among young people about plants that bring on hallucinations and apparently mystical experiences. According to the DEA, Salvia divinorum is most commonly smoked in order to bring on hallucinations similar to those caused by THC, the active ingredient in the hemp or marijuana plant (cannabis sativa).

On June 1, 2002, Australia became the first country to issue a ban on Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A. Bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress suggesting that these substances be banned, but none have yet been passed. The DEA is aware of Salvia divinorum and monitors its growing availability and increasing use.

The legal status of Salvia varies between countries, and sometimes between towns and counties. As noted, in 2002, Australia banned Salvia, but it remains legal in New Zealand. Italy made its sale illegal in 2005. In the United States, North Carolina has made possession or sale an infraction, subject to a small fine, and only rising to the level of misdemeanor after three convictions. Although the Maryland legislature has not banned the drug, Worcester County Maryland has prohibited its sale with fines of $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. In Nebraska, effective August 30, 2009, possession became punishable by up to five years in prison, selling it by up to 20 years.

Key Terms

psychotropic
having an effect on the mind
mycologist
a person who studies mushrooms
cultivated
planted and tended with the intention of harvesting
active ingredient
the chemical or substance in a compound known or believed to have a therapeutic, or healing, effect
divination
the mystical experience of seeing into the future, witnessing a hidden truth, or gaining a deep insight
meditation
spending time in quiet thought and reflection
serotonin
a combination of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen; it is found in the brain, blood, and stomach lining and acts as a neurotransmitter and blood vessel regulator
receptors
groups of cells that receive stimuli
anxiety
a feeling of being extremely overwhelmed, restless, fearful, and worried
delirium
a mental disturbance marked by confusion, hallucinations, and difficulty focusing attention and communicating
anxiety disorders
a group of mental disorders or conditions characterized in part by extreme restlessness, uncontrollable feelings of fear, excessive worrying, and panic attacks
psychedelic drug
a drug that can produce hallucinations and distort reality

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CV2646400049