Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family that is abused for its hallucinogenic effects. Street names include Maria Pastora and Sally-D, The plant has spade-shaped variegated green leaves that look similar to mint. The plants themselves grow to more than three feet in height, have large green leaves, hollow square stems, and white flowers with purple calyxes. Salvia can be chewed, smoked, or vaporized.

Psychological effects include perceptions of bright lights, vivid colors, shapes, and body movement, as well as body or object distortions. Salvia may also cause fear and panic, uncontrollable laughter, a sense of overlapping realities, and hallucinations. Salvinorin A is believed to be the ingredient responsible for the psychoactive effects of Salvia divinorum. Adverse physical effects may include loss of coordination, dizziness, and slurred speech. When Salvia is chewed or smoked, the hallucinogenic effects elicited are similar to those induced by other hallucinogenic substances.

Neither Salvia divinorum nor its active constituent Salvinorin A has an approved medical use in the United States. Salvia is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act. Salvia divinorum is, however, controlled by a number of states. Since Salvia is not controlled by the CSA, some online botanical companies and drug promotional sites have advertised Salvia as a legal alternative to other plant hallucinogens like mescaline. Salvia is native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazaleca region of Oaxaca, Mexico.

It is one of several plants that are used by Mazatec Indians for ritual divination. Salvia divinorum plants can be grown successfully outside of this region. They can be grown indoors and outdoors, especially in humid semitropical climates.

(SOURCE: DEA www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com)