I was wondering what this was, and it seems it's the same stuff that is being sold in packages in some seven-eleven type stores in the U.S. I remember some news program that explored its use among teenagers who buy it to smoke. Sounds like a dangerous occupation that, though the homeopathic version would likely be just the reverse.
in case anyone wants to read more, this was the first thing that came up.
Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant grows in large groupings to over three feet in height. Characteristics of the plant include large green leaves, hollow square stems and white flowers with purple calyces. Salvia divinorum is one of several plants that have been employed by the Mazatec Indians for ritual divination and healing. In recent years the active ingredient of Salvia divinorum has been identified as Salvinorin A.
There has been interest among young adults and adolescents to discover ethnobotanical plants that can induce hallucinations, changes in perception, and other psychological effects. Since neither Salvia divinorum, or any of its constituents, are listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a variety of Internet sites have appeared advertising Salvia divinorum as a legal alternative to plant hallucinogens such as mescaline. Seeds, fresh and dried leaves, plant cuttings, whole plants, and various extracts are purported to be sold over the Internet.
Salvia divinorum has no approved medical uses in the United States.
Chemistry and Pharmacology:
Salvinorin A, also called Divinorin A, is believed to be the ingredient responsible for the psychoactive effects of Salvia divinorum. Chemically it is a neoclerodane diterpene found in the leaves, and to a lesser extent in the stems. Other substances have been isolated from the plant, but with the possible exception of Salvinorin C, none have been shown to be psychoactive.
In the United States, plant material is either chewed or smoked. When chewed, leaf mass and juice are maintained within the cheek area with absorption occurring across the lining of the oral mucosa (buccal). Effects first appear within 5 to 10 minutes. Dried leaves, as well as extracts purported to be enriched with Salvinorin A, are smoked. Smoking pure Salvinorin A, at a dose of 200-500 micrograms, results in effects within 30 seconds and lasts about 30 minutes.
A limited number of studies have reported the effects of using either plant material or Salvinorin A. Psychic effects include perceptions of bright lights, vivid colors and shapes, as well as body movements and body or object distortions. Other effects include dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, a sense of loss of body, overlapping realities and hallucinations (seeing objects that are not present). Adverse physical effects may include incoordination, dizziness and slurred speech.
Recent studies using tissue testing (in vitro) assays and functional assays show that Salvinorin A acts as a potent agonist on the Kappa opioid receptor. This may explain the psychoactive effects of Salvia divinorum and Salvinorin A since other drugs acting at Kappa opioid receptors have been found to cause dysphoria, illusions, and hallucinations.
Salvia divinorum is chewed or smoked to induce illusions and hallucinations, the diversity of which is described by users as similar to those induced by ketamine, mescaline, or psilocybin.
Information on the user population is limited. It appears to be mostly younger adults and adolescents influenced by promotions of the drug on Internet sites.
Salvia divinorum is grown domestically and imported from Mexico and Central and South America. The Internet is an important venue for the promotion and distribution of Salvia divinorum. It is sold as seeds, fresh or dried leaves, plant cuttings, whole plants, and extracts purported to contain Salvinorin A.
Salvia divinorum and Salvinorin A are not currently controlled under the CSA. However, a number of states have placed controls on Salvia divinorum and/or Salvinorin A. In 2005, Louisiana made it illegal to purchase or distribute Salvia divinorum. Both Delaware and Missouri have added Salvia divinorum and Salvinorin A into Schedule I of the states’ drug regulations. Effective July 2006 in Tennessee, possession or distribution of Salvinorin A will be illegal. Several states including Alaska, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming have also proposed legislation to control the sale and distribution of Salvia divinorum and/or Salvinorin A. It is currently controlled in Finland, Denmark, Australia, and Italy.
Comments and additional information are welcomed by the Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, FAX 202-353-1263 or telephone 202-307-7183.