What Are the Effects of Salvia?

Salvia use can result in a variety of effects, both physical and psychological. This page will cover what salvia is, the effects it causes, and how to get help if you or someone you care about is struggling with salvia use.

What Is Salvia Divinorum?

Salvia divinorum is a plant in the mint family, which has leaves similar in shape to mint plants, but it interacts much differently in humans. This is a naturally occurring hallucinogenic herb, and it has been used in Mexico by the Mazatec Indians in the Sierra Mazateca region for centuries.

This plant-based drug was first tried by US researchers in 1962, and the compound responsible for the euphoria and perception changes was identified in the 1990s.

Salvia is commonly ingested in several ways:

  • Smoking it like a cigarette or in a bong.
  • Chewing fresh or dried salvia.
  • Inhaling the substance.
  • Brewing it into a tea.
  • Mixing it into a drink.

What Are The Effects of Salvia?

Here are some of the most common effects of salvia use:

  • Sweating
  • Skin Flushing
  • Fatigue
  • Motion Sickness
  • Hallucinations
  • Perception Change
  • Euphoria
  • loss of Contact with Reality
  • Loss of Time
  • Feeling Uneasy
  • Feelings of Detachment
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Damage to Organ Systems
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke

Although salvia is not considered addictive, people who struggle with substance use, polydrug use, or co-occurring disorders are more likely to use this drug or take too much of it. Even a small dose of a powerful hallucinogen like salvia can trigger mental health issues. Consistent use can lead to long-term physical problems.

Mental Effects of Salvia Divinorum

When a person ingests salvia, they typically hope to induce a high, hallucinations, or perception changes. Hallucinations include:

  • Changes in how sounds, light, and color are processed.
  • The sensation of flying through space or time.
  • A sense of spinning or floating.
  • Feeling as though the body is heavier or lighter.
  • Feeling as if one is floating outside their body.

Sometimes, the person can experience other visual or auditory hallucinations, like patterns or shapes, which typically end when attention is drawn elsewhere. However, the high from salvia can last for 6-8 hours.

Hallucinations can be dangerous, especially if the individual can no longer tell the difference between reality and fantasy. If the individual becomes paranoid, anxious, scared, or angry, they may become aggressive and physically harmful toward themselves or others. This can turn into drug-induced psychosis, and the individual may need to be hospitalized in order to calm down and stabilize.

If the person ingesting salvia does so regularly or has a preexisting mental health problem, taking the drug can lead to long-term depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, “flashback” hallucinations, and even psychosis that persists.

Additional Side Effects of Salvia

Although some people ingest salvia specifically for hallucinations and euphoria, the drug is likely to have some side effects that the person using the drug does not expect or intend. These side effects include:

  • Loss of coordination.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sweating or body temperature changes.
  • Confusion.
  • Delirium.
  • Skin or face flushing.
  • Fatigue.

Other side effects that occur during the high can include a loss of contact with reality or time, feeling uneasy or anxious, motion sickness, and feelings of detachment.

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Physical Effects of Salvia Divinorum

Salvia has sometimes led to such a high level of dissociation that individuals may not feel pain from harming themselves, either intentionally or on purpose. During salvia intoxication, some people have also reported that they could not move one side of their body. Physical harm can lead to broken bones, infections, and hospitalization for more serious problems like blood loss.

Additionally, if a person experiences a “bad trip” on salvia, they could experience such a high level of anxiety or paranoia that they could cause damage to their cardiovascular system. Heart attack, stroke, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, and rapid breathing or gasping can all cause lasting damage to the body.

Salvia can cause damage to the lungs, stomach lining, liver, and kidneys, depending on how it is ingested.

Long-Term Effects of Salvia Divinorum

Salvia use can lead to changes in the structure of the brain that can make mental health issues, like psychosis, depression, or anxiety, permanent. Damage to other organ systems, like the lungs, liver, and kidneys, may also become permanent.

Get Help for Salvia and Polydrug Misuse

Although Salvia Divinorum is not considered addictive, it can cause short-term and long-term damage to the brain and body, especially with repeated use. A comprehensive addiction treatment program can address issues of polydrug use as well as co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

To learn more about the specialized inpatient rehab treatment programs offered at Sunrise House—a drug rehab in Lafayette, NJ—call today.

Our admissions navigators can answer your questions about insurance coverage for rehab, rehab payment options, and help you start the admissions process. To begin the process online, simply complete the now.

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