Well kittens, I missed you all last week and I'm glad to be back. DC was great, thanks for asking, and I'm happy to report that I accomplished my mission and the world is officially saved. Feel free to send flowers or checks or whatever to my office, VU 517.
But seriously, it's good to be back, and boy do I ever have some cutting-edge stuff to talk about this week. It's called salvia and it's only recently that I realized this stuff is out there in full force. I always kind of thought it was one of those weird underground drugs that people talk about but no one really did, but it has come to my attention that it's actually pretty popular. So much for having my finger on the pulse of Western. But hey, better late than never, right?

As I am wont to do, I busted out all my little books and sweet trusted websites and scoped the stuff out. It's tantalizing information, to be sure.

Salvia is the shorthand for salvia divinorum (italics mean science) which translates to “diviner's sage” or my favorite, “the shepherdess.” It's a plant which is in the sage genus and grows naturally in Southern Mexico. For centuries it was used by Mazatac shamans and curanderas (medicine men and women) in healing ceremonies and in spiritual rituals.

Around the 1990s it was discovered by what one book calls the “underground psychedelic culture” and has since made its way into the homes and hearts of young America. Here's the 411.
So salvia is a plant that contains the psychedelic ingredient salvnorin A. It can be ingested via chewing, drinking a tea made of its leaves, smoking it, or by vaporizing the extracted oil. Quick note, there are a lot of plants in the salvia genus that grow in places like grandma's garden, but only the divinorum variety contains the joy juice. This variety is particularly difficult to grow and is unlikely to be found out in the wilderness of your backyard pea-pod.

Salvia is not tested for in any known drug tests, and is unlikely to trigger a false positive in any of the detectable categories. There doesn't seem to be any physical or psychological addiction potential with this drug, although as with any other, some people report using more than they are comfortable with.

An ounce of salvia contains about 100-200 leaves, which is enough for 4-12 doses, depending on the strength of the leaves and the susceptibility of the user. The extract on the other hand, is taken in doses of 200-500 micrograms and produces a consistently much more out-of-this-world high. Dried leaf is sold for 50-100 dollars per ounce, and the extract is sold for 20-50 dollars per gram.

Despite its status as a mild to strong psychedelic, which is reported by users to be most similar to a PCP high (minus lifting cars), the government hasn't decided to axe its totally legal status yet. You won't find this stuff for sale at many parties or on the corner of Railroad and Holly, but a quick Google search shows a booming market for it on the internets.

When smoked the effects take approximately 20 to 60 seconds to kick in, followed by a peak of 1 to 5 minutes, and a 10 to 15 minute tapering off period.

During those 12 to 21 minutes, the effects vary based on whether you are doing the leaf or the extract. There is a six-level scale of how dramatically the effects of the drug are felt, called S-A-L-V-I-A (clever!). The levels are Subtle, Altered, Light, Vivid, Immaterial, and Amnesic.

I read some user reports on internet message boards and people were saying stuff like they turned into a tree, became one with the cosmos, had their body melt into a giant puddle (in a scary way), and uncontrollable screaming and/or laughter. Huh.
In less colorful terms, people report feeling a radical perspective shift, dreamlike experiences, really digging life, and experiencing epiphanies into their personal lives.

There are also pretty strong visuals associated with it, hot flashes, the sense of entering other realities, drooling, and feeling the presence of other beings.

Sometimes people get super freaked out by terror, fear, and panic. It is also reportedly extremely difficult to communicate with other people while high, hard time standing and controlling muscles, sweating, and headaches.

This is the part where I give my three-point schpeel about not doing psychedelic drugs by yourself or without a sober sitter. It is also very important to remember that doing psychedelics while you are under mental or emotional duress is also a big risk. And again, if you have a family or personal history of mental conditions like schizophrenia, best to steer clear. We've gone over this like four times now, so I expect that if given a pop quiz on the matter, everyone would get As.

So we are all on the same page now as far as Salvia is concerned. Now I know that it's out there and not imaginary, and you are highly informed.