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Salvia Divinorum or S. Divinorum is a herb that belongs to the mint family. Chewed, smoked or vaporized, some of its common street names are “Salvia,” “Maria Pastora” and “Sally-D.” When smoked, the herb has an immediate effect on its users.

Native to the areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, salvia is considered to be one of the strongest naturally occurring hallucinogens. Also referred to as “diviner’s sage,” salvia is currently listed as a “drug of concern” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Salvia can easily be purchased in most states at “head” shops, also called smoke shops, or on the internet.

Methods of salvia abuse

For centuries, salvia has been used by the Mazatec Indians in religious ceremonies for its ability to produce visions. Visual and auditory hallucinations can result from drinking tea brewed from salvia leaves, smoking a cigar-like quid made from fresh leaves, or sucking or chewing on the leaves.

Smoking salvia leaves rolled in cigarettes or placed in water pipes (hookahs) produces strong effects within one or two minutes, which last about 30 minutes or less. Chewing on the salvia leaves allows the main psychoactive ingredient, Salvinorin A, to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which produces less intense effects within about 15 minutes and lasts up to three hours.

Although salvia or “Salvinorin A,” the ingredient responsible for the herb’s psychoactive effects, is currently approved for treating some medical conditions in the United States, 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.

Effect of salvia on the brain

Salvia’s main psychoactive ingredient, Salvinorin A, produces 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 the four different types of opioid receptors, they differ from the other opioid receptors in that they are not associated with reducing pain.

Salvia’s effects

Salvia produces short-lived, intense psychedelic and subjective effects. Common side effects of salvia include loss of coordination, slurred speech, sensations and hallucinations.

Following are some of the other short-term symptoms of salvia.

  • Psychedelic-like visual distortions
  • Changes in a person’s perception of reality and sense of self
  • Talkativeness
  • Uncontrollable laughter
  • Heightened mood
  • Cartoon-like imagery
  • Feelings of detachment or loss of contact with 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)
  • Sweating
  • Concentration and coordination difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Feeling uneasy
  • Tiredness
  • Memory loss
  • Flushing

Salvia abuse: Long-term effects

Salvia is currently considered to have a low potential for abuse and salvia addiction is unlikely due to its short-lived effects, but as per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for teens, due to lack of evidence on the ability of salvia to produce dependence or long-term physical or psychological effects on its users, the drug is being carefully monitored by authorities.

Salvia can also contribute to coordination, learning and memory problems, and can have other potential unknown effects, which can have dangerous consequences, especially when one is driving. Further research is needed to clarify its safety, efficacy, addictive potential and long-term effects.

Salvia abuse: Withdrawal symptoms

Salvia abuse is not currently associated with withdrawal symptoms and there are no reported overdoses from taking the drug. However, an older study reported that the herb causes gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neurological effects when used alone or in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Salvia addiction treatment

One of the first steps in treating salvia drug addiction, salvia detox treatment helps remove any trace of the drug in the body. Post a successful detoxification treatment, a user often undergoes counseling or therapy sessions to help uncover any hidden causes of addiction.

In addition to a supervised detox program and behavioral therapies, patients can also be provided with educational opportunities during rehab to explain the potential dangers of continued drug use in their personal and professional life and teach them preventive measures and necessary life-skills to discourage continued use of drugs like salvia.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health of Arizona provides individualized treatment for women who have substance use disorders, mental disorders and co-occurring conditions. A women-only rehab, it provides evidence-based and complementary treatment options to women basis a thorough medical, biopsychosocial and substance abuse assessments upon their admission. In addition to traditional clinically proven treatment modalities offered to our women patients, our state-of-the-art facilities provide each of our patients with individualized, personalized addiction treatment programs basis their needs and symptoms to help in their treatment and ease the recovery process.

Following are some of the treatments offered to female patients with substance use disorders at Sovereign Health of Arizona’s Chandler facility.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Neurofeedback
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy

Therapists at Sovereign Health of Arizona are trauma-trained to provide specialized treatments to women who have been affected by trauma and/or abuse. We also include opportunities for women to attend yoga and meditation classes, go on gym outings, and participate in other recreational activities. Treatment at Sovereign Health of Arizona includes a combination of individual, group and family therapies.

We also offer group therapy that focuses on various areas to improve women’s health and well-being. Some of the group therapy sessions offered at our Arizona facility include:

  • Process group therapy
  • Stress management group therapy
  • Anger management therapy

For more information about the top-notch treatment programs offered at our facilities or to locate the finest salvia detox centers near you, please call at our 24/7 helpline number and speak to our admission specialists. You can even chat online with our representative for any further assistance.

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