The Associated Press reported today that Salvia divinorum, the next marijuana!, is being targeted by lawmakers for its parallels to pot. But while the plant is similarly inexpensive and easy to get, salvia is nothing like marijuana.
For starters, the drug is highly psychoactive, and users’ responses can range from uncontrollable laughter to profoundly altered states—states centered around childhood memory recall, strong sensations of motion, and distorted and overlapping realities.
It’s name means “diviner’s sage.” One online seller leaves no question why, boasting that the plant “induces out of body experiences, astral projection, divination, and enhances spiritual development”.
And so far, it’s 100% legal.
Similar to it s closer counterpart LSD, a drug which inspired Mark McCloud’s blotter art, The Grateful Dead, and Ken Kesey, Salvia has already inspired decades of artists, musicians, and writers.
Luke Brown, an artist in residence in BC Canada, said his “medicine journeys seem to guide and be guided by the colorful symmetries and living surfaces of his art.”
1200 Micrograms, a psychedelic trance act from Ibiza, calls the plant “the most powerful since the discovery of LSD” in their song “Salvia Divinorum.” They got their band name from a reference to a very high dose of the drug.
Ethnobotanist Dale Pendell says he reads pharmacology as it “intersects with the direct experience of [his own] human psychoactive use.” In his 1995 book“Phamako/Poeia—Plants Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft”, which won the 1996 Firecracker Alternative Book Award, Pendell recounts his personal experiences with Salvia, calling it “the sneaky one. We caught all the others, but we couldn't catch this one-- this one was too subtle. We've been after this plant for almost five hundred years."
Eight states have already placed restrictions on salvia. 16 others are considering a ban.
Not for long, Pendell. Not for long.