Salvia Effects

Effects of salvia include short hallucinations, visual distortions and uncontrollable laughter. Side effects include dizziness, coordination loss and slurred speech. The short-term effects last less than 30 minutes, and long-term effects of the drug are unknown.
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People use salvia for its hallucinatory effects. The drug causes feelings similar to the effects of magic mushroom or LSD, but salvia’s effects don’t last as long.

The Drug Enforcement Administration hasn’t classified salvia as a controlled substance, but several states have criminalized salvia abuse. In other states, using salvia is a legal way to experience hallucinations and other psychoactive effects.

No deadly overdoses have been documented. The drug also rarely causes emergency room visits because its effects wear off quickly. However, salvia does cause serious physical and psychological impairment. People under the influence of the drug are at an increased risk of injury.

Physical Effects

Many people use salvia for its psychological effects, but one of its prominent effects is physical. Most people laugh uncontrollably after using salvia. The laughter can be so debilitating that the person is unable to move.

Other physical effects of salvia include:

  • Coordination loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Chills
  • Slowed heart rate

A hangover or comedown period may follow salvia use. Some people who used the drug reported feeling physically tired, mentally exhausted and heavy-headed after the initial effects faded, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Psychological Effects

Salvia’s psychological effects can be pleasant or unpleasant. Some people see vivid colors and feel euphoric. Others experience frightening hallucinations and lose sense of what’s real, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Other psychological effects of salvia include:

  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Feeling heavy
  • Feeling like you’re spinning
  • Emotional swings
  • Feeling detached from your environment
  • Dysphoria

The long-term effects of salvia are not fully understood. However, animal studies suggest the drug may impair memory and learning, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It’s unclear whether the drug has the same effect on humans. Salvia abuse doesn’t appear to lead to drug addiction.

Effects of other hallucinogens include flashbacks to drug experiences, visual impairment and a condition called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. However, it’s unclear if salvia causes similar long-term effects.

Duration of Effects

Hallucinogen abuse typically causes psychological effects lasting several hours. However, the effects of salvia usually last for less than 30 minutes. The time it takes to feel the effects and the duration that they last depend on the method of use.

Smoking salvia is the most common way to consume the drug. When salvia is smoked, the effects occur almost instantly and peak within one minute. The effects usually subside within five minutes.

Using the drug sublingually, or under the tongue, causes slightly longer-lasting effects. The effects typically fade in less than 15 minutes and rarely last longer than 30 minutes.

Crushing and swallowing salvia may cause longer-lasting but milder effects compared to other methods of use. The effects may last up to an hour, according to a 2004 article in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Salvia is a hallucinogen that causes short-lasting effects. It’s legal in many states, and the effects are not associated with deadly overdoses. But people who use the drug are at an increased risk of injury. While further research on the long-term consequences of salvia abuse is needed, no evidence suggests that the drug is addictive.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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