No, we didn’t make a typo on the word saliva - Salvia is a legit thing (quite literally). This plant is a legal high that can give you pretty bad hallucinations. Keep in mind, this isn’t because of anything humans did to mess with it. Along the same vein as other legal highs, Salvia is taken directly from Mother Earth, no nasties cut in. But you should pause a minute before you start doing the stuff by the handful. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s always safe. We’ll talk you through how to use it safely and what the plant actually does.

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What is salvia?

Salvia divinorum is a Mexican herb that is one of 900 species found in the sage family. It contains an extremely potent active ingredient called salvinorin A. People have smoked the plant for hundreds of years. In fact, it’s a pretty strong psychedelic. Salvia leaves are typically dried and then smoked through a water pipe or a bong. They can also be chewed, with the bitter juice held in the mouth to increase absorption.

What are the effects of salvia?

People smoke Salvia leaves to get a high. Here’s a rough guide to what the experience will entail: 

  • It can cause powerful hallucinations where you perceive other dimensions or experience alternate realities.
  • Smoking salvia divinorum leaves can cause a loss of physical coordination with trouble walking or standing.
  • It produces uncontrollable laughter, usually at the beginning of the trip.
  • The psychedelic aspect can be terrifying, including feelings of utter terror and panic.
  • The trip usually lasts from 20 to 45 minutes, with the average being 30 minutes. Usually, you feel the effects 20 seconds after taking it. 
  • Headaches can come on as salvia starts to wear off.

What are the risks of taking dry leaves?

Here are some of the not-so-pleasant long-term effects, and some immediate effects, of taking salvia: 

  • The effect can be extremely overwhelming and somewhat terrifying. People experienced upsetting hallucinations where time seems to go on indefinitely, or they believe themselves to be inanimate objects.
  • If you’re going through emotional upheaval, don’t take it. The high can intensify your problems.
  • You can hurt yourself by trying to stand or move around while high.
  • The herb is very strong and can cause long term throat and lung irritation.
  • Users with a family history of mental illness should be careful as strong psychedelics can trigger psychological problems.
  • There is no evidence to suggest salvia is addictive, but frequent users often become more sensitive to the drug and feel the effects (and side effects) more strongly with regular use.

Is salvia legal?

It’s not listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act, meaning it’s legal to possess and even grow salvia. But, you can still be charged for selling it as a recreational drug. Legal high traders dodge this part of the law by writing “not for human consumption” on the packaging.

Now that you know the answer to ‘Is salvia legal?’ , find out more about other drugs and the law by clicking here.

Common street names:

Eclipse, holy sage, Sally D, Mexican magic mint, the leaves of the shepherdess, diviner’s mint, or diviner’s sage.

If you are planning on taking it:

  • Ensure you have a friend with you who is completely sober. They can stop you from injuring yourself if you try to move around. If you’re that friend, click here  to find out about drugs first aid.
  • Don’t take it if you’re going through a rough emotional time. It is likely to make things worse.
  • It might seem obvious, but we’re gonna say it anyway. Don’t attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery whilst under the influence of salvia.

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 06-Sep-2021