Salvia is a controlled substance in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

About salvia

Salvia (also known as Salvia divinorum) is a type of sage belonging to the mint family. This plant contains psychoactive ingredients that affect a person's:

  • mood
  • behaviour
  • perception (how you experience your surroundings)

Among its many effects, the plant is known to cause hallucinations when it is:

  • chewed
  • smoked
  • swallowed

It is found in the form of:

  • dried leaves
  • plant cuttings
  • extracts and concentrates
    • the main psychoactive ingredient is removed and as a result, much stronger than what is typically found in a leaf
    • this product can then be:
      • taken alone
      • mixed with or sprayed on salvia leaves

Popular street names for the drug include:

  • puff
  • Sally D
  • Lady Sally
  • magic mint
  • ska pastora
  • Maria pastora
  • diviner's sage
  • incense special
  • ska Maria pastora

There are no industrial or commercial uses for Salvia divinorum in Canada. However, other species of salvia seeds and plants are not hallucinogenic and are commonly sold by retailers for gardening purposes.

Short-term health effects of salvia

The short-term effects of salvia use change from person to person and may include both mental and physical effects. These effects are similar to other hallucinogens, such as ketamine.

The effects may be different from one use to the next depending on factors such as:

  • how much is used
  • the purity of the product
    • products that contain salvia can be mixed with other substances to make it stronger
  • the strength of the product
  • how it is taken, whether it is:
    • chewed
    • smoked
    • swallowed
  • the person’s mood and expectations

Mental effects

Short-term mental effects include:

  • hallucinations
  • short-term memory loss
  • out-of-body experiences, which can feel like you are:
    • floating outside of your body
    • seeing your environment from a position outside of your body
  • dysphoria (a general feeling of being unwell, unhappy or uncomfortable)

Physical effects

Short-term physical effects include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • uncontrollable laughter
  • reduced physical coordination
  • slurred speech and unusual sentence patterns

Long-term health effects of salvia

Little is known about the long-term health effects of salvia use or how it affects the brain overall. This includes if it can cause permanent damage.

Substance use disorders and withdrawal

As with its long-term effects, not much is known about how the drug:

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