Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is a plant, specifically a type of mint from the Lamiaceae family, and it grows in the Sierra Mazateco region of Oaxaca, Mexico. It has been used for a very long time by native and the Mazatecs, ancient people in the region, for religious ceremonies and to treat common ailments. People take Salvia in several ways: chewing on the leaves, making a tea out of the leaves, or smoking them in a water pipe or rolled up like a cigarette. While it has been around in the United States for a few decades, it probably didn’t reach mainstream culture until a 2010 video of Miley Cyrus smoking some in a water pipe hit the Internet.

Salvia is a drug that falls in the hallucinogen family of drugs, which it shares with LSD and PCP. That’s because Salvia has a chemical called salvinorin in its leaves, which creates hallucinations and out-of-body experiences for anyone who ingests them. Despite those known effects, there haven’t been many studies performed on Salvia to understand how it works in the body, if it’s addictive or if there are any long-term effects. For that reason, Salvia is legal in many states, though several have come together to place restrictions on the plant.

Symptoms of Salvia Abuse

Some research has shown that Salvia works on kappa opioid receptors in the brain, which are involved with interoception, pain sensing, mood and consciousness. This can explain Salvia’s dissociative effects which have caused people to forgot where they were and that they had smoked the drug. They sometimes forgot they had bodies and weren’t sure what was real.

Additionally it has caused physical effects like slurred speech, lack of coordination and silly behavior. The effects were relatively short, lasting less than eight minutes.

With so little research done on Salvia, it is difficult to determine if a person can abuse it or become addicted to it. Studies have shown that it can impact learning and memory in animals, but if that extends to humans is still unknown. Anecdotal reports from people who have tried the drug report that, along with the hallucinations and perception altering experiences, symptoms of Salvia use included anxiety, confusion, language impairment, headache, and drowsiness. Others have reported that they wouldn’t use Salvia again, as it was too intense for them. There have been no reports of salvia overdoses, but some people have accidentally killed themselves while on the drug.

Salvia Addiction

Until more research can be done, it’s hard to know what effects salvia abuse or salvia addiction has on a person. However, there are signs and symptoms of salvia abuse or addiction someone could look for, which include physical health changes, a noticeable lack of energy, motivation, depression, irritability, etc. Signs of Salvia addiction can include:

  • A person needing to use the drug daily or even several times a day
  • A person having intense cravings for a drug
  • A person becoming tolerant of the drug, and needing more of it to get the same effect
  • A person always ensures they have the drug on hand
  • A person spending money for drugs … Even money they may not have
  • A person neglecting responsibilities and social activities
  • A person focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
  • A person failing attempts to stop using the drug
  • A person experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop taking the drug

If you or a loved one who regularly uses salvia are showing any of these signs, it’s time to seek treatment.

Treatment For Salvia

There is very little research on what the withdrawal symptoms of salvia are, if there are any. However, anyone who is addicted or has abused salvia should go through medical detox, and be monitored for any withdrawal symptoms or any life-threatening issues. If they have any co-occurring disorders, such as salvia addiction, and depression, those should be treated as well to prevent any chance of relapse due to the secondary illness.

Once detox is completed, a person will then go into therapy. Therapy is a crucial part of any treatment for addiction or substance abuse, as it teaches people the skills they need to learn how to live drug-free. This includes understanding the nature of addiction, what factors may have led to a person becoming addicted, and what emotions and thought processes can lead someone to start using drugs. After treatment, supportive programs such as a 12-step program or classes can continue to help someone as they make their way to a drug-free life.

Finding Help at Sovereign Health of Texas

If you or a loved one are struggling with salvia addiction, find out how Sovereign Health of El Paso, Texas, can help you. With our world-class care and cutting-edge treatment methods, Sovereign Health can help you get started on the road to recovery. For more information on our treatment programs, call our 24/7 helpline.

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