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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Apr 1;108(1-2):138-40. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.11.010. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Salvia divinorum: effects and use among YouTube users.

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Prevention Science Collaborative, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120, United States.


Salvia divinorum (salvia) is an intense, short-acting hallucinogenic plant gaining popularity among adolescents in the United States. There has been little scientific documentation of salvia's effects. The popular video-sharing website YouTube has received literally thousands of video-posts of people using salvia. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of salvia use through systematic observations of YouTube videos. A sample of salvia videos was obtained using the search term "salvia." The videos were further screened and only videos that captured the entire drug "trip" without video edits were included in the analyses described here (n=34). Three trained research assistants independently watched the videos and rated their observations on 42 effects in 30-s intervals. Onset of symptoms was quick (often less than 30s) and tended to dissipate within 8min. Further, there was a relationship between salvia dose and effect duration. Since salvia's effects on humans are largely undocumented, this study provides the look at users in a non-laboratory environment (e.g. self-taped videos) exhibiting impairments and behaviors consistent with this powerful hallucinogen. Also, this study demonstrates the feasibility and shortcomings of using YouTube videos to assess emerging drugs and drug effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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