Salvia Trip
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Why Does Salvia Make You Trip So Hard?

2 min
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Salvia is an extremely potent atypical hallucinogen. It is well known for its often jarring and full on trips, leading it to be used as more of a spiritual aid than a recreational hallucinogen. We take a look at some of the reasons it has this reputation.

Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is a plant belonging to the mint family. You might also know salvia by one of its other names, such as Leaves of Mary, the Shepherdess, and Maria Pastora. Some also refer to it as Diviner’s Mint, Sally-D, or Magic Mint.

Salvia is a serious hallucinogen. In fact, it maintains a reputation as one of the strongest natural hallucinogens out there. It is a very intense experience and not for novice psychonauts.

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It is commonly found in Mexico and Central and South America. Indigenous tribes including the Mazatec traditionally utilised salvia in religious ceremonies and shamanic divination. When used in this manner, participants must follow strict guidelines for use, including being in near or total darkness as they take the drug.


Kind Of Drug Salvia

Salvia is a drug known as a dissociative hallucinogen. Effects include strong hallucinations, altered perception, and mood changes. Salvia is also a powerful psychotropic. Other effects include uncontrollable laughter, confusion, and loss of self-awareness.

Why? The main ingredient is salvinorin A, which attaches to the kappa opioid receptors. These, in turn, are responsible for regulating human perception.

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Salvia is unlike most naturally-occurring hallucinogens, which are made up of organic, nitrogen-containing alkaloids. As a result, if abused, the side effects of salvia can be very dangerous. The most common way of using salvia is to smoke it. When used this way, the high only lasts for about 20 minutes.

Salvia is also known as an atypical psychedelic because there is nothing like it. Most common hallucinations include synaesthesia - the crossing of one sensation into another. In other words, users can see things and literally “feel” them. Some users report the sensation of literally “seeing” through their skin, not their eyes. This is not the case with salvia.


How Salvia Affects The Brain

Most hallucinogenic substances affect serotonin, GABA, and glutamate neurotransmitters. In contrast, salvia targets the brain’s kappa opioid receptors, reducing levels of dopamine. Opioid receptors play a powerful role in the formation of opioid addictions. However, opiates target the brain’s mu opioid receptors. This, in turn, causes pain relief and euphoria. As salvia activates the kappa receptors, the effects are different. It is worth noting, salvia is not an opioid and is being explored as a way to potentially break the addiction associated with opioids.

Salvia is also very different from opiates in another way. Opioid-based medications create euphoria and calm. Salvia, on the other hand, can create negative mood disturbance along with its hallucinatory effects. Such hallucinations are quite different from LSD and mescaline.

For this reason, it is considered a "serious" hallucinogen. It is used for vision quests, inner journeys, and spiritual pursuits - which is exactly how it was traditionally used by the Mazatecs. It is not a recreational drug, and those who use it out of the right setting and mind frame are often shocked.


Not A Party Drug: The Side Effects Of Salvia

When used in plant form, the side effects of salvia are minimal. It can cause a feeling of dissociativeness and headaches, but these are rare. Salvia is not considered dangerous in its plant form, with overdoses being pretty much unheard of. This does not apply to pure salvinorin A. The main danger from using salvia leaves are losing a sense of awareness and physically hurting yourself somehow. This is why it is important to have a trip sitter when using salvia.

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Salvia: Everything You Need To Know

Many can find salvia to be an intense and uncomfortable experience - nothing like other hallucinogens. It is best to start out with a low dose. Salvia is not thought to be addictive either physically or psychologically. However, it can be habit-forming. Salvia is legal throughout most of Europe. However, few people who use salvia describe the drug as a “party” drug.

Due to its unique effects, it is being studied at the moment for use in treating severe depressive disorders. It is also being considered as a treatment for alcohol and narcotic addiction. However, due to its potent nature, people should not consider using it unless they consider themselves sound of mind.

Marguerite Arnold

Written by: Marguerite Arnold
With years of writing experience under her belt, Marguerite dedicates her time to exploring the cannabis industry and the developments of the legalisation movement.

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