The rise of teen salvia use may be cause for alarm. The herb salvia divinorum produces a hallucinogenic effect and a cheap high. Crushed leaves are usually smoked to result in a short 5-20 minute mind altering state. In some states, salvia is legal and easy to obtain. Therefore, it is rising in popularity among teens and is now more popular than LSD or PCP as a hallucinogenic drug.
The concern for teen salvia use stems from several factors. Primarily the safety of using the drug is being questioned, as there are no conclusive studies of its long term effects. Plus, salvia may become dangerous as a result of its hallucinogenic properties. The fear with teen salvia use is that it may result in impaired driving, and reckless behaviors, endangering the life of the teen and those around them.
In addition to the hallucinogenic effect, salvia use may result in dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, loss of coordination, chills, and a decreased heart rate, for a short period of time. With regards to long term effects, no evidence has been generated to prove that there are any medical implications caused by salvia use. Salvia has been smoked for centuries as a healing agent and divining tool, while no cases of salvia related death or injury have been reported. However, the long term effects of salvia have yet to be studied thoroughly.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 1.8 million people ages 12 and up have used salvia at least once in their lifetime. The majority of salvia use occurs in teens and young adults. However, many medical professionals strongly advise against salvia use, due to the limited knowledge and research that exists about the drug.