Salvia is a psychedelic drug, typically used recreationally, which means it can affect all the senses altering a person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions. Psychedelics can cause a person to hallucinate, seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted.Salvia is a herb from the mint family and can cause brief, intense psychedelic experiences. Salvinorin A is the active ingredient in salvia divinorum, which has a long history of use by Indigenous shamans in Mexico.

What does salvia look like? 

Salvia, a plant, looks very similar to mint. It is a light green leafy plant.

Other names:

Diviner’s Sage, Ska María Pastora, Seer’s Sage

How is salvia used?

The fresh leaves are held under the tongue (also called sublingual absorption) and the dried leaves are smoked in a pipe or mixed with tobacco and smoked as a cigarette. Salvia is also used as a tincture or tea and in some countries, commercially extracted products are available.

Effects of salvia 

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Psychedelics affect everyone differently, based on:

  • size, weight and health
  • whether the person is used to taking it
  • whether other drugs are taken around the same time
  • the amount taken
  • the strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch)
  • environment (where the drug is taken).

Effects of salvia may include:

  • anxiety
  • amnesia
  • short but intense hallucinations
  • loss of energy (higher doses can cause sedation)
  • pain relief
  • confusion
  • delusion
  • feelings of impending doom
  • increased appreciation of music
  • uncontrolled body movements
  • changes in visual perception
  • laughter
  • detached from the body
  • restlessness
  • increased body temperature
  • time distortion.

According to anecdotal user reports, when smoked the effects of salvia begin in 15 to 60 seconds and last for about 15 to 90 minutes.When placed under the tongue, the effects begin in around 10 to 20 minutes and last for about 30 to 90 minutes.

Impact of mood and environment

Drugs that affect a person’s mental state (psychoactive drugs) can also have varied effects depending on a person’s mood (often called the ‘set’) or the environment they are in (the ‘setting’):

Set is a person’s state of mind, previous encounters with psychedelic drugs, and expectations of what’s going to happen. For example, feelings of stress or anxiety before using salvia may result in an unpleasant experience (bad trip).

Setting is the environment in which someone consumes a psychedelic drug – whether it’s known and familiar, who they’re with, if they’re indoors or outdoors, the type of music and light. For example, using salvia in a calm, quiet and relaxed environment can lead to, or contribute to, a pleasant experience but being in a noisy, crowded place may result in a negative experience.Being in a good state of mind, with trusted friends and a safe environment before taking salvia reduces the risk of having a ‘bad’ trip.


To date there have been no reported deaths from salvia, but as salvia impairs thoughts and emotions, it can cause loss of contact with external reality, leading to impaired judgement and risk taking.

Coming down

When smoked the after-effects can last approximately 15 to 60 minutes. When placed under the tongue, the after-effects may last around 30 to 120 minutes.

Long-term effects

The long term effects of salvia haven’t been studied enough to understand what the risks might be. Ongoing studies are actively trying to understand its effects on people over a long period of use.

Salvia and mental health

People with a family history of mental illness are more likely to experience anxiety or paranoia after using salvia. This is in line with what the evidence tells us about people with mental illness and psychedelic use.

Bad trips 

Some people may have negative experiences taking psychedelics, or experiences they find challenging such as:

  • frightening or confronting hallucinations
  • intense anxiety or confusion
  • fear and paranoia.

Tolerance and dependence

Similar to other psychedelics, salvia does not produce dependence. The desire to use salvia can decrease with use.

How to get help?

When trying to overcome drug addiction, it can be a very challenging task to manage alone. Even with the help of family and friends it can prove to be an overwhelming and difficult experience. Can-Am Interventions specializes in helping people with addictions. We are here to bring clarity and the answers to the questions that you may have. We will provide a treatment plan best suited for you, and will support you and your family throughout the recovery process. If you or someone you know is struggling from addiction, please call us today. We look forward to helping you.

For More Information:

E: patti.pike@canaminterventions.com

W: www.canaminterventions.com

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