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Pop Star's Use of Salvia Puts Hallucinogen in the Spotlight
Date:1/4/2011

>The study, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, was published in the current online issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The widespread publicity given to salvia after the Miley Cyrus incident has driven up interest in the drug. In fact, The New York Times recently reported that Google searches for salvia jumped some 600 percent following public postings of the Cyrus escapade.

By trying it out in Los Angeles, however, Cyrus broke no law, since regulations regarding the substance vary state by state, and California currently has no prohibition in force. Salvia is banned in 13 countries and 15 states in the U.S, and for the moment it remains easily accessed online and in American head shops in jurisdictions where it is legal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration currently labels salvia a "drug of concern" instead of a controlled substance.

Johnson's study focused on two men and two women who all said they typically tried to be both mentally and physically healthy. However, all had reported having taken other hallucinogens in the past, such as LSD, mescaline, and/or "magic" mushrooms, although the authors note that salvinorin A does not actually stimulate the same serotonin receptors as those other substances.

Each volunteer participated in 20 lab sessions (lasting about 2.5 hours) that were spread across an eight to 14-week period. During that time, a total of 16 doses of pure salvinorin A were administered via smoking, with higher doses being given in succession, sometimes interspersed with sugar pills (placebos) that were randomly inserted into the regimen.

The participants themselves reported that the drug "hit" within seconds of inhalation, prompting an extreme disorientation that peaked in strength at about two minutes post-ingestion. After 20 minutes, however, the drug's effects had pretty much worn off.

While under its influence, users described the impact as strong and intense, provoking a
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