Salvia Medical Uses
Although salvia is currently not approved for treating any medical conditions, it is sometimes taken for joint pain, bloating, headaches and diarrhea. Despite the potential medical uses of the drug, insufficient evidence exists for its safety, efficacy and benefits, reported WebMD.
In The Brain
Salvia’s main psychoactive ingredient produces its hallucinogenic effects by activating specific proteins in the brain and body. Unlike other hallucinogens, salvia does not affect serotonin receptors; salvinorin A attaches to and activates the kappa opiate receptors (KOR) and is considered a KOR agonist.
KOR receptors are involved in human perception, pain awareness, consciousness and mood. Although KOR receptors are one of four different opioid receptors, they differ from the other opioid receptors in that they are not associated with reducing pain like, for example, morphine and hydrocodone.
Salvia produces short-lived, intense psychedelic and subjective effects. Common side effects of salvia include loss of coordination, slurred speech, sensations and hallucinations. Other short-term symptoms of salvia, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), include:
- Psychedelic-like visual distortions (e.g., perceptions of vivid colors, shapes and body movements)
- Changes in a person’s perception of reality and sense of self
- Uncontrollable laughter
- Heightened mood
- Cartoon-like imagery
- Feelings of detachment or loss of contact from reality
- Recollection of memories
- Hallucinations of merging with or becoming objects
- Out-of-body experiences
- Altered perceptions of time and space (e.g., feeling two locations at once)
- Concentration and coordination difficulties
- Feeling uneasy
- Memory loss
Withdrawal Symptoms Of Salvia
Salvia abuse is not currently associated with withdrawal effects and there are no reported overdoses from taking the drug. However, a 2011 study in the Journal of Medicine reported that salvia can cause gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neurological effects when used alone or in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
Salvia is currently considered to have a low potential for abuse and salvia addiction is unlikely due to its short-lived effects, but the NIDA added that there lacks evidence on the ability of salvia to produce dependence or long-term physical or psychological effects.
Salvia can also contribute to coordination, learning and memory problems, and can have other potential unknown effects, which can have dangerous consequences, especially when driving. Further research is needed to clarify its safety, efficacy, addictive potential and long-term effects.
There is currently not enough information available on the ability of salvia to produce addiction. Because salvia is fast-acting, it is considered to have a low addictive and abuse potential.