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Salvia Side Effects And Their Dangers

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Although s.divinorum is considered to have a low-risk for addiction, salvia negative effects can be dangerous, especially in a long-term perspective. The most common salvia divinorum side effects include hallucinations, distorted reality, anxiety, fear, and loss of control or body movement. Still, the nature of the long-term effects of salvia remains under-researched.
Why is salvia bad for one’s health? What are the dangers of salvia? How does salvia affect the brain? What does salvia do to one’s body?

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Table of Contents

Common Side Effects Of Salvia

The abuse of salvia drug can result in several immediate and long-term adverse reactions. Many people who consume this drug consider recreational purpose as one of the primary uses for salvia and may not be aware of what it might do to their body in the long run. Some of the physical and psychological adverse reactions can be quite severe. Here is the list of common side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Slower heart rate
  • Slurred speech and improper sentence formation
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of control over body movements
  • Body Chills

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Short-Term Side Effects Of Salvinorin A

According to a publication about the health impact of Salvinorin A, it produces strong cognitive adverse reactions, including dissociative effects and memory impairment. These short-term salvia drug side effects which users experience after the initial feeling of “high” include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slurred speech
  • Lightheadedness
  • Restlessness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Chills
  • An irregular heart rate that usually manifests as a slower heart rate
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Loss of control over body functions

One of the most dangerous salvia risks is the possibility of injuring oneself due to the loss of control over body movements and functions. A user in such a situation also puts others in danger.

Adverse reactions vary between abusers and are unpredictable. Note that even low dosages may yield unpleasant side effects.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Salvinorin A

Generally, salvia divinorum effects are short-lived. Individual regain mind clarity instantly when effects wear off. Nonetheless, divinorum can cause long-term severe aftereffects for the users. These effects can either be mental, physical, or both.
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Long-Term Mental Adverse Reactions

Salvia effects on the brain can prove to be quite dangerous, and more research is required to assess what it does to the brain in the long-term. According to the report in the International Journal of Neuropsychology, s.divinorum induces intense dissociative reactions, blocks external sensory perception, and modulates interoception of body ownership. As a result, an individual may experience specific mental side effects like:

  • Psychological dependence
  • Mood swings
  • Unpredictable behaviors and flare-ups
  • Cognitive effects
  • Unhealthy sleeping and eating habits
  • Memory losses
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Suicidal intentions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
One of the possible dangers of salvia is potential for triggering schizophrenia and other mental illnesses if a user is predisposed to mental illnesses. Abusers can experience sudden and unexpected flashbacks that can cause visual and auditory disturbances. Such a phenomenon is known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), and it can interfere with the healthy lives of its users.

Long-Term Physical Adverse Reactions

Salvia long-term effects that primarily affect the body and internal organs are:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of control on body movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Cardiovascular effects including slowed heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal effects and nausea
  • Respiratory problems
  • Chills as a result of changes in body temperature

Sometimes users combine divinorum with other drugs or alcohol to enhance the results. Such combinations can increase salvia after-effects and, when used for the long-term, can pose disastrous risks on learning and memory. Research carried out about the trend of salvia use and substance-use disorders concluded that salvia causes psychiatric, neurological, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal effects. Such events may cause severe adverse reactions like seizures and intubations when the substance is combined with alcohol or other drugs.
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Salvia Tolerance And Reverse Tolerance

There is not enough research to prove whether salvinorin A causes tolerance, like most of the common drugs or not. Some individuals become tolerant to it and require higher doses of the drug to feel the same experience they felt at lower doses.

The phenomenon of reverse tolerance increases the probability of chronic, uncontrolled, and severe drug abuse.

On the other hand, users claim that it has a reverse tolerance effect. Reverse tolerance is a phenomenon when the same feeling of “high” or even a more enhanced feeling results from the same dose during the long-term abuse. This phenomenon is common among abusers who practice microdosing salvia by chewing a small number of dried leaves. However, such practice also increases salvia health risks, especially in the long run.

Dangers Of Salvia Abuse

Salvinorin A is a type of hallucinogen drug that can cause dangerous reactions when used for a prolonged time. S. divinorum affects not only the health of the abuser but also the quality of life. Among the dangers of salvia are:

  • Decreased productivity at the workplace
  • A drop in grades at school
  • Social withdrawal
  • Financial instability
  • Relationships struggle

Treatment For Salvia Abuse And Addiction

Is salvia illegal? This drug has not been approved for medical uses in the United States and individual state laws apply. Different states have different regulatory laws for possession, buying, and selling. The abuse cannot be proven by any standard or extended salvia drug testing. Individuals who want to overcome the addiction from seer’s sage should immediately get enrolled in a rehab center for drug addiction. The first step of treatment for drug abuse can be detox, which will help the body get rid of the toxins. Through the use of various therapies and educational opportunities, patients can be taught to direct their negative behavior into constructive ones.

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  1. Katherine A. MacLean, Matthew W. Johnson, Chad J. Reissig, Thomas E. Prisinzano, and Roland R. Griffiths, “Dose-related Effects of Salvinorin A in Humans: Dissociative, Hallucinogenic, and Memory Effects”, Nov 2012,
  2. Ana Elda Maqueda, MSc, Marta Valle, PhD, Peter H. Addy, PhD, Rosa Maria Antonijoan, PhD, Montserrat Puntes, MD, Jimena Coimbra, MD, Maria Rosa Ballester, MSc, Maite Garrido, MSc, Mireia González, MSc, Judit Claramunt, MSc, Steven Barker, PhD, Matthew W. Johnson, PhD, Roland R. Griffiths, PhD, and Jordi Riba, PhD, “Salvinorin-A Induces Intense Dissociative Effects, Blocking External Sensory Perception and Modulating Interoception and Sense of Body Ownership in Humans”, Nov 2015,
  3. Li-Tzy Wu, George E Woody, Chongming Yang, Jih-Heng Li, and Dan G Blazer, “Recent national trends in Salvia divinorum use and substance-use disorders among recent and former Salvia divinorum users compared with nonusers”, Apr 2011,
  4. Anderson, T., Petranker, R., Christopher, A. et al. Psychedelic microdosing benefits and challenges: an empirical codebook. Harm Reduct J 16, 43 (2019).
  5. California Poison Control System. Salvia Divinorum (2016, January 11).


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