June 27, 2007

New Legal Hallucinogen Identified - Salvia Divinorum

Legal, intense hallucinogen raises alarms
Salvia divinorum produces short, dreamlike experience

Salvia divinorum is a bright, leafy green plant from Mexico that when chewed or smoked causes intense hallucinations comparable to LSD or "magic mushrooms."

And it's legal in California.

The drug is available all over the Bay Area, mostly in smoke shops and herbal stores. It's also sold over the Internet. For $15 to $50 a hit, users get a high that sends them into a dream-like state for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two.

Unlike well-known illicit drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, salvia is not in widespread use. It hasn't caught the attention of state or local health departments. San Francisco police said that while they're aware of salvia, it's not yet a problem.

The plant is grown primarily in Oaxaca, Mexico, where for decades it has been used by the Mazatec shamans in religious ceremonies -- thus the "divination" in the name.

SOURCE: SFGate.com, 6/27/07

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