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Should Salvia be banned?

By September 9, 2008 - 8:58am
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It’s known as Sally D and Magic Mint, and is said to be the world’s most potent hallucinogenic herb.

Salvia -- used originally by Mazatec shamans in its native Oaxaca, Mexico, is related to mint and because of its ability to induce feelings of relaxation, has become twice as prevalent as LSD and nearly as popular as Ecstasy. One user described the experience with the drug as a masseuse having rubbed out the knots in his psyche. And because of this popularity, one lawmaker in Texas is trying to have the drug banned, saying it’s dangerous.

Hold on though – say pharmacologists who believe salvia could open new frontiers for the treatment of addiction, depression and pain

“We have this incredible new compound, the first in its class; it absolutely has potential medical use, and here we’re talking about throttling it because some people get intoxicated on it,” said Dr. John Mendelson, a pharmacologist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute who, with federal financing, is studying salvia’s impact on humans. “It couldn’t be more foolish from a business point of view.”

He’s not alone. Researchers at institutions like Harvard and the University of Kansas are convinced that salvia’s active compound, Salvinorin A, holds great promise and will aid in the development of new lines of pain and psychiatric medications.

If criminalized or banned, it could make it more difficult for these institutions to do any further research.

If you’d like to learn more, check out the article from the New York Times.

What do you think? Should salvia be banned?

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I am ashamed to say I had never heard of Saliva before, although I thought it was similar to toad-licking to get high. I see that it's a plant!

All good medicines can be used for bad reasons. Morphine is a good example, as well as all kinds of pain killers. If Salvia can be used to treat depression or mental illness then maybe it should not be banned - rather it should be controlled?

I watched the video on the side of the NY Times article and am not sure what 'good' a 5 minute high is for all the people using it. What's the good of rocking back and forth or laughing like a hyena - for the good of one's 'psyche'? I'd rather they just said "I like to get high" rather than trying to make it some kind of religious experience. I think that's phony and pretentious. I'd have a lot more respect for people who take it for the rush, rather than trying to make it some kind of art form. (can you see my eyes rolling, here?) That's like me saying I had a third cocktail one night because it took me to a new found place in my cosmic spectrum. Spare me! No, I had a third because I really liked the first and second and had a bit of a buzz!

Back to the topic - I think it would be wonderful if this plant could be safely used for a cure. Other than that, if people use it for recreation, I hope they do it with no children around and don't get behind a wheel. Banning it won't work, it'll probably even make it more attractive. So it should be somewhat controlled and made as safe as possible.

September 9, 2008 - 1:04pm
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