Long Term Effects of Salvia Abuse

Salvia is sometimes marketed as a “legal high,” and in some states, users can even find salvia divinorum leaves in their local health food stores, tucked in the bulk spices aisle among the rosemary and sage. Unfortunately, just because the drug might be natural, and just because some states haven’t yet banned the drug, doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe for people to use. In fact, people who abuse salvia for a long period of time might do long-term damage that will be hard for them to recover from.

Salvia Used Alone


There have been few studies on the long-term use and abuse of saliva in human beings, since this is a drug that’s considered a relative newcomer in the field of addiction. Unlike other drugs of abuse that have been in circulation for decades, salvia is somewhat new and all of the research about the herb hasn’t yet been completed. There have been some studies performed on rodents, however, and these might be useful comparisons. These animals have shorter lives and quick generational spans, so it’s easy for researchers to see the impact of drug use when they’re working with mice. In one such study, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, mice exposed to salvia had difficulties with learning and memory. It’s quite possible the same could be said of humans who abuse the drug.

The few articles concerning humans are similarly disturbing. For example an article in the journal Addiction suggests that some chronic users could develop symptoms that last for days on end, and perhaps even longer. In this article, a salvia-addicted man had these symptoms for three days:

  • Paranoia
  • Deja vu
  • Slow speech
  • Impacted thought
  • Blunted affect

The researchers suggest that the symptoms could last longer for this man, but it might be the kind of thing he might not report. Deja vu, for example, is easy to attribute to some outside source, so drug addicts might not report their symptoms to authorities or believe that their drugs are to blame. The damage is still there, but it might remain hidden.

Salvia Used in Conjunction


Salvia used alone can provide users with a powerful transformation, but when users blend the drug with other addictive substances, the changes can be even more intense. According to a study in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation, 53.7 percent of people who used LSD and 30.1 percent of people who used ecstasy also used salvia. Studies like this seem to suggest that people rarely use salvia alone, and combining in this way can lead to even more difficult cases of addiction damage, as the drugs might combine and meld inside the brain in ways that researchers just can’t predict. This particular study mentions a link between depression and multi-drug salvia abuse, but there might be even more intense complications for users that just haven’t come to the surface quite yet. It should be an issue of concern for all people who abuse salvia.

Begin Your Recovery Journey Today

866-922-1350

Get Help


If you’re abusing salvia, you can get better. At Alta Mira, we provide a comprehensive treatment program that begins with a thorough assessment of all of the factors that could be contributing to your addiction. With that information in hand, we can provide you with a treatment program that can help you to heal, and the work can start right away. Please call us to find out more or to schedule an intake appointment.