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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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