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Asia Pac Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;8(1):23-31. doi: 10.1111/appy.12225. Epub 2015 Nov 29.

Salvia divinorum: An overview of the usage, misuse, and addiction processes.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore.
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.


Salvia divinorum, a sage plant with leaves that can produce a psychoactive high, has been used for hundreds of years for its psycho-mimetic effects in religious rituals in South America. Salvia has now become popular mainly with adolescents and young adults for the short-lived relatively pleasant experiences many consider a "legal high" and its ready availability through Internet purchases. The main (psycho)active compound in salvia is Salvinorin A, a potent κ-opioid agonist and although the short and long-term effects have not been examined in sufficient detail, it is widely believed to have low addictive potential and low toxicity. Recent findings, however, seem to suggest that Salvinorin A can precipitate psychiatric symptoms and negatively affect cognition. Its ready availability and increasingly widespread use requires clinicians to have knowledge and awareness of its effects.


Salvia divinorum; novel psychoactive substance; salvinorin A

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