|Summary sheet: Salvinorin A
|Salvia, Salvia divinorum, Diviner's Sage, Ska María Pastora, Seer's Sage, Sally
|Routes of Administration
Salvinorin A is the main active psychoactive molecule within Salvia Divinorum, a Mexican plant which has a long history of use as an entheogen by indigenous Mazatec shamans. It is structurally distinct from other naturally occurring hallucinogens (such as DMT, psilocin and mescaline) because it contains no nitrogen atoms, making it a terpenoid and not an alkaloid as is the norm. This means it cannot be rendered as a salt.
Salvinorin A is a neoclerodane molecule, an oxygenated cyclic diterpenoid. It contains four isoprene groups bound to its oxygenated polycyclic rings. Salvinorin A is unique as it is not an alkaloid; it contains no nitrogen atoms unlike almost all known classical, natural, or synthetic hallucinogens.
Salvinorin A is a potent κ-opioid receptor agonist. It does not have any effect on the 5-HT2A receptor, the receptor targeted by most psychedelic substances, nor does it act as an NMDA receptor antagonist as dissociatives do. The unique structure of salvinorin A lacks features commonly associated with opioid ligand binding such as a guaternary carbon atom linked to a tertiary amine group by two other carbon atoms. Unlike traditional opioid agonists, salvinorin A targets the κ-opioid receptor rather than the μ-opioid receptor.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below cite the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), an open research literature based on anecdotal user reports and the personal analyses of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism.
It is also worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a predictable or reliable manner, although higher doses are more liable to induce the full spectrum of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become increasingly likely with higher doses and may include addiction, severe injury, or death ☠.
- Sedation - Salvia tends to produce a strong sedative effect in a dose-dependent manner.
- Changes in felt gravity - The most prominent physical sensation of a salvinorin A trip is known by many people as “salvia gravity.” This is at least partially present during the mildest of trips and increases proportionally with dose until it is all-encompassing. It begins with a heavy sensation that pulls and tugs at the body. As this increases, it inevitably becomes so powerful that it swiftly lifts the user up and out of their body at extremely high speeds and over vast distances in a direction that often doesn't quite make sense. This feels as if the user is being pushed or pulled into a space vastly different from anything found on the classic hallucinogens.
- Changes in felt bodily form - This effect often accompanies the onset of powerful salvinorin A gravity and can be described as non-painful sensations of being stretched horizontally or vertically into infinity, splitting into two halves, and a variety of other sudden changes. This can even include the user feeling as if they have actually become an inanimate object within their current setting.
- Spontaneous bodily sensations - For some unlucky people, this is sometimes accompanied by the sensation of intense, sharp and cold pins and needles all over a person's skin which can quickly become very uncomfortable. Most people, however, will never experience this feeling.
- Spatial disorientation
- Motor control loss
- Pain relief
When a user of this substance keeps their eyes open throughout the duration of a moderate to strong trip, a number of open eye distortions and alterations are usually present. These are significantly more simplistic from that of open eye distortions found with other classes of hallucinogens. They seem to play heavily on different sections of the user's vision and generally include:
- Depth perception distortions - This effect is usually characterized by a total loss of depth perception and a complete flattening of the visual field into a 2-dimensional image. It can also make objects seem further away or closer in distance than they actually are.
- Perspective distortions - This effect can be described as specific objects with the external environment or the surroundings as a whole changing in physical size and becoming impossibly huge or small in size.
- Environmental cubism
- Scenery slicing
At moderate to high doses in darkness or with closed eyes, a full array of level 1 - 4 hallucinatory structures becomes present once the user has become disconnected from their body. This is an effect which is most commonly found within dissociatives such as ketamine and DXM. The hallucinatory structures of salvia are distinctively different in style and are significantly more likely to be based on mathematical constructs such as vast and elaborate fractals.
In terms of stylistic appearance, they also tend to contain significantly more detail in their style with a greater variety of materials and abstract detail comprising the structures.
Another key difference between the manifestation of this effect within salvia and those found within dissociatives is the extremely prominent sense that the user actually is the structures that they are visually perceiving. This can be described as the sensation that they have become the structure itself and can physically feel every detail and moving part across itself. In comparison, this effect is only present at level 4 within the classical dissociative drugs, but is often present across all levels within salvia.
These constructs and structures are often so huge that they appear to expand across hundreds to thousands of miles and gradually change by means of panning, zooming and rotating slowly into view as more and more detail is gradually revealed. As dose increases so does the level of detail and intricacy of these structures. This continues until level 4 when the sensation of seeing the entire universe condensed into an infinitely vast and intricate self-transforming machine form becomes present.
Salvia produces a full range of high level hallucinatory states in a fashion that is just as consistent as that of any of the classical psychedelics. These effects include:
- Transformations - In comparison to psychedelics, the transformations found within salvinorin A are significantly more solid, believable and realistic in appearance. They are commonly manifested as objects within the external environment coming alive or changing in some way.
- Internal hallucination - The imagery on salvia is described as more solid than psychedelics and does not seem to be composed of condensed visual geometry as with the imagery found within psychedelics. It is often embedded within and across structures which often become solid fractal representations of the original image. At higher doses, this particular effect commonly contains a full array of hallucinations with plots, scenarios, settings and autonomous entity contact. They can be described as both lucid and delirious in their believability, fixed in style and often ominous or sinister in nature. A unique aspect to the hallucinatory scenarios found within salvia are how commonly they are manifested with a 2nd person perspective in comparison to other classes of hallucinogens. This is commonly described as suddenly becoming a random object with common examples often including a conveyor belt, a wall, a book or a specific part of a building.
The cognitive effects of salvinorin A can be broken down into several components which progressively intensify proportional to dosage. The general head space of salvia is described by many as one of extreme cognitive suppression and strong feelings of confusion. It’s these effects which create an experience devoid of personal introspection. This substance is best described as a drug that does not create profound personal insights, but simply creates powerful and interesting experiences.
The most prominent of these cognitive effects generally include:
- Anxiety - General paranoia, anxiety and panic are very common for the unprepared and this can be accounted for by the fact that k-opioid agonists have been shown to cause such feelings in people.
- Cognitive dysphoria
- Ego replacement - This effect differs qualitatively from psychedelics in that it usually comes about in the form of another human being, animal or even plant.
- Feelings of impending doom
- Increased music appreciation
- Analysis suppression
- Language suppression
- Laughter fits - The average first time salvia user generally experiences a mixture of extreme giggles and confusion.
- Memory suppression - This substance is particularly intense in its cognitive effects due to the near instant transition from sobriety into ego death (complete memory failure) which can occur very suddenly at moderate to high doses. Throughout the experience, this feels as if the user is receiving the sensory input of their trip but are not fully conscious enough to process the implications of it until the offset.
- Thought deceleration
- Time distortion
Anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index include:
- Experience: 20x Salvia Divinorum extract - Parade of the Shepardess
- Experience:15mg 15x Salvia extract - Becoming a machinescape
- Experience:20x Extract - a tall humanoid figure wearing a white cloak
- Experience:40x Extract - Bastard Wizard and his miserable little witch
- Experience:Salvia 20x (Smoked) - Scary Cartoon Land
- Experience:Salvia Divinorum 40x (smoked) - First time tripping ever. Lego Land.
- Experience:Salvia divinorum (1 gram plain leaf, smoked. Combination with DXM, Nitrous, and Tobacco) - A journey into godhood with Diviner's Sage
Additional experience reports can be found here:
Salvia Divinorum (also known as Diviner's Sage, Ska María Pastora, Seer's Sage, and by its genus name Salvia) is a psychoactive plant which is a potent producer of "visions" and other hallucinatory experiences. Its native habitat is within Cloud Forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico where it grows in shady and moist locations. The plant grows to over a meter high and has hollow square stems, large leaves, and occasional white flowers with violet calyxes.
Forms of Salvia Divinorum
Fresh leaf (sublingual)
The fresh leaf is typically used for making a quid of leaves and is held under the tongue for sublingual absorption. Fresh leaf is preferred for sublingual absorption because it does not break up in one's mouth and is easier to chew. If one plans to use dried leaf for a quid, they should soak them in water for at least ten minutes otherwise ingestion can become highly unpleasant. Soaking the dried leaf in water can also cause it to lose potency.
- Light - 10 g fresh / 2 g dried
- Common - 30 g fresh / 6 g dried
- Strong - 50 g fresh / 10 g dried
Dried leaf (smoked)
Dried leaf is usually prepared by simply taking the leaf and leaving it out in the sun. The leaf can also be dried in the oven at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit until it becomes crispy. Dried salvia leaf is used for smoking.
- Light - 0.25 g dried
- Common - 0.5 g dried
- Strong - 0.75–1.00 g dried
Commercial salvia extracts are easily accessible both online and within local head shops in certain countries. They are sold in varying forms depending on how concentrated they are and are usually marketed as being 5X, 10X, 15X, 80X, etc. This symbolizes that the extract is X times stronger in psychoactive effects than those that can be had from the regular leaves (5X is 5 times as strong as regular leaf). The stronger the extract, the stronger the experience; use at your own risk.
This is made by dissolving pure salvinorin A or a semi-pure form of it into ethyl alcohol. It is meant to be used sublingually by holding a certain amount under the tongue for a period of time. This type of preparation tends to cause longer but weaker effects. It's worth noting that holding strong tincture under the tongue for long periods of time can eventually cause blistering. It is sometimes best to dilute the pure tincture with water (although potency may be decreased).
A tea can be made by crushing 3–4 g of dried leaves and boiling them for 5 minutes. Afterwards, let it simmer for around 15 minutes. Salvinorin A is not orally active, so the tea has to be kept in the mouth for around 15–20 seconds for each sip. This tea, if properly brewed and ingested, can produce a trance-like state when closing the eyes and up to an entire night of vivid and intense dreams along with occasional closed eye visuals.
Other salvinorin A containing plants
- Salvia Recognita (also known as Turkish Cliff Sage) is a psychoactive plant which is 10 times less potent than its relative Salvia Divinorum. Its native habitat is at the base of cliffs in the central Turkey, where it grows in light shade at elevations of 4,000 feet. The plant grows up to a meter high and leafs that span from 3-4 inches to nearly 1 foot long, and occasional white flowers with many whorls of widely spaced flowers.
- Salvia Glutinosa (also known as Jupiter's Sage) is a psychoactive plant which is far less potent than Salvia Recognita. Its native habitat is in forested areas located around Central and East Europe and West Asia, where it grows in partial shade in calcareous soils, at elevations of 330 - 5,250 feet (100 - 1,600 metres) adobe sea level. The plant grows up to a 16-24 inches (40 - 60 cm) tall and hairy leafs that span from 5.1 inches (13 cm) inches with petioles of about 3.1 - 3.9 inches ( 8 - 8 centimetres), and occasional white flowers with many whorls of widely spaced flowers.
Currently, the scientific literature classifies salvinorin A as a hallucinogen. However, there is additional debate as to whether it can correctly be labeled as a dissociative or an atypical dissociative with some psychedelic and even delirious qualities.
Although salvia shares states of hallucinatory structures and out-of-body experiences commonly reported with typical dissociatives (NMDA receptor antagonists), this is arguably not sufficient so that it falls under the same classification. For example, the hallucinatory structures (although similar) are vastly different in their style and complexity. Alongside of this, the out-of-body experiences commonly reported with dissociatives are presumed to be triggered by the way in which NMDA receptor antagonists block signals to the conscious mind from other parts of the brain. This is accompanied by a distinctive feeling of dissociation, disconnection and detachment which is not present on salvia as it works on an entirely different set of receptors, the function of which in the human brain is almost entirely unknown.
The effects of salvia have a subjectively unique style and pharmacology that is not found within any other category of hallucinogen, this has led many within the psychonaut community assert that it deserves recognition for falling into an entirely new class of its own. Any compound within this subjective and pharmacological class could potentially be referred to as a "salviagenic". This would also include various other similar analogues such as Salvinorin B and many others.
Salvinorin A is currently being researched in relation to its properties as an anti-addiction drug, and several analogs with improved pharmacokinetic profiles have been shown to have anti-addictive effects as well.
Toxicity and harm potential
This toxicity and harm potential section is a stub.
As a result, it may contain incomplete or even dangerously wrong information! You can help by expanding upon or correcting it.
The toxicity and long-term health effects of recreational salvinorin A use do not seem to have been studied in any scientific context and the exact toxic dose is unknown. This is because salvinorin A is a research chemical with very little history of human usage.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there are no negative health effects attributed to simply trying it by itself at low to moderate doses and using it very sparingly (but nothing can be completely guaranteed). Independent research should always be done to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe before consumption.
Due to its unusually potent and potentially overwhelming effects, it is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.
Please see Research Articles below in External Links section for dose related scientific research on Salvinorin A.
Tolerance and addiction potential
Salvinorin A is not habit-forming and the desire to use it can actually decrease with use. It is most often self-regulating.
Tolerance to the effects of salvinorin A does not occur. In fact, many users report that the effects of this substance can actually become stronger over time and with repeated usage (a phenomenon known as "reverse tolerance"). Due to its unique set of target receptors, salvinorin A presents cross-tolerance with no other hallucinogens.
- Australia: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Australia.
- Austria: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess, produce and sell under the NPSG (Neue-Psychoaktive-Substanzen-Gesetz Österreich).
- Belgium: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Belgium.
- Croatia: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Croatia.
- Czech Republic: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Czech Republic.
- Canada: Salvia divinorum and its preparations and derivatives (including Salvinorin A) are schedule IV in Canada.
- Denmark: Salvinorin A is a Class B drug in Denmark.
- Germany: Salvinorin A is not controlled in Germany, however Salvia Divinorum was added to BtMG Anlage I, making it illegal to grow, import, possess, sell, or transfer it as of March 1, 2008 
- Ireland: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Ireland.
- Italy: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Italy.
- Latvia: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Latvia.
- Lithuania: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Lithuania.
- New Zealand: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in New Zealand.
- Poland: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Poland.
- Romania: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Romania.
- Spain: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Spain.
- Sweden: Salvinorin A is illegal to possess and sell in Sweden.
- Switzerland: Salvia divinorum as well as Salvinorin A are controlled substances specifically named under Verzeichnis D.
- United Kingdom: Salvia is legal to produce, supply, or import if sold not for human consumption under the Psychoactive Substance Act, which came into effect on May 26th, 2016.
- United States: Salvinorin A is illegal in certain states.
- Salvinorin A (Wikipedia)
- Salvinorin A (Isomer Design)
- Salvia (Erowid Vault)
- Salvia Recognita (Wikipedia)
- The Big & Dandy Salvia Thread - Second iteration (Bluelight)
- Salvinorin Analogues; Beyond Salvinorin A (DMT Nexus)
- Human psychopharmacology and dose-effects of salvinorin A, a kappa-opioid agonist hallucinogen present in the plant Salvia divinorum
- Dose-related Effects of Salvinorin A in Humans: Dissociative, Hallucinogenic, and Memory Effects
- Johnson MW, Maclean KA, Reissig CJ, Prisinzano TE, Griffiths RR. (2010) Human psychopharmacology and dose-effects of salvinorin A, a kappa opioid agonist hallucinogen present in the plant Salvia divinorum. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Dec 4.
- Baggott MJ, Erowid E, Erowid F, Galloway GP, Mendelson J. (2010). Use patterns and self-reported effects of Salvia divinorum: An internet-based survey. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Oct 1;111(3):250-6
- Mendelson JE, Coyle JR, Lopez JC, Baggott MJ, Flower K, Everhart ET, Munro TA, Galloway GP, Cohen BM. (2010). Lack of effect of sublingual salvinorin A, a naturally occurring kappa opioid, in humans: a placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Dec 8. [Epub ahead of print]
- Seeman, P., Guan, H.-C., Hirbec, H. (August 2009). "Dopamine D2 High receptors stimulated by phencyclidines, lysergic acid diethylamide, salvinorin A, and modafinil". Synapse. 63 (8): 698–704. doi:10.1002/syn.20647. ISSN 0887-4476.
- Martial, C; Cassol, H; Charland-Verville, V; Pallavicini, C; Sanz, C; Zamberlan, F; Vivot, RM; Erowid, F; Erowid, E; Laureys, S; Greyson, B; Tagliazucchi, E (March 2019). "Neurochemical models of near-death experiences: A large-scale study based on the semantic similarity of written reports". Consciousness and cognition. 69: 52–69. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2019.01.011. PMID 30711788.
- Salvinorin Analogues; Beyond Salvinorin A - Salvia Divinorum - Welcome to the DMT-Nexus
- Kivell, B. M., Ewald, A. W. M., Prisinzano, T. E. (2014). "Salvinorin A analogs and other κ-opioid receptor compounds as treatments for cocaine abuse". Advances in Pharmacology (San Diego, Calif.). 69: 481–511. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-420118-7.00012-3. ISSN 1557-8925.
- Branch, L. S. (2022), Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
- 21. BtMÄndV Einundzwanzigste Betäubungsmittelrechts-Änderungsverordnung
- "Verordnung des EDI über die Verzeichnisse der Betäubungsmittel, psychotropen Stoffe, Vorläuferstoffe und Hilfschemikalien" (in German). Bundeskanzlei [Federal Chancellery of Switzerland]. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
- Legal status of Salvia divinorum, 2022