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Hallucinogenic herb attracts DEA interest, isn't illegal ?
    #1702096 - 07/10/03 11:57 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)


Hallucinogenic herb attracts DEA interest, isn't illegal ? for now

(KRT) In the mountains of southern Mexico grows a plant that has inspired New Age spiritualists seeking profound transformation - and attracted the interest of American law enforcers.

It's not marijuana, peyote cactus or psychedelic mushrooms. And although it's not illegal, someday it could be.

The plant is called Salvia divinorum, a perennial herb related to mint that can produce vivid hallucinations when smoked or chewed.

Salvia is sold on the Internet, in botanical stores, and in "head shops" that traffic in marijuana paraphernalia, officials say. But because its possession and use aren't illegal, few in the law enforcement community know about it.

"I've never even heard about this stuff," said Lt. Al Della Fave, a New Jersey state police spokesman. "We haven't even had any call to our stations or reports of it."

Because of a growing interest in the herb among teens and young adults, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has posted an information bulletin on its New Jersey Web site to help educate the public, said Alexander J. Gourley, the acting special agent of the agency's Newark office. But federal drug officials say they haven't seen Salvia in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, DEA headquarters is looking into the long-term effects of the plant, which it characterizes as a drug. The agency wants to determine the extent of the plant's availability in the United States, its potential for abuse, and what happens to people who use Salvia, before considering whether to seek to regulate it, said Will Glaspy, a DEA spokesman in Washington.

"We're not saying at this point that it needs to be controlled," Glaspy said. "Our research will determine if there is a need to control it."

DEA has no timetable for reaching its recommendation on Salvia.

Salvia divinorum is related to the 900 or so plants in the Salvia genus, which include a variety of common garden plants - Sage and Pink Sunday Salvia among them. It primarily grows wild in the mountains of Sierra Mazateca, in Mexico's Oaxaca state, where the Mazatec Indians have used the herb for centuries in their spiritual traditions. More recently, it has been raised in Hawaii and California. Authorities say it also can be grown indoors.

The plants grow in groups more than 3 feet high, with large green leaves, hollow square stems, and purple and white flowers.

When its leaves are chewed, or dried and smoked or ingested as tea, Salvia can cause vivid hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, sensations of traveling through space and time, and feelings of merging with inanimate objects, its proponents say.

Little is known about the long-range health consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has not studied the plant's effect, although the primary active ingredient, salvinorin A, has been described in one scientific journal as "the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen" in the world, rivaling LSD in its strength, with effects that last from just a few minutes to over an hour.

Even proponents say Salvia causes mental and physical impairment and suggest that users wait at least three hours before driving.

A study published in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that salvinorin A might be used in medicine to treat schizophrenia or other diseases involving perceptual distortions.

Still, DEA officials say they're skeptical.

"Just because it's legal doesn't make it safe," Glaspy said.

Proponents say Salvia unleashes spiritual power, winning the plant a growing body of devotees in alternative-lifestyle circles.

Its price in the United States can be steep.

Daniel Siebert, who operates The Sage Wisdom Salvia Shop out of Malibu, Calif., said he has sold the plant's dried leaves to more than two dozen online customers in New Jersey over the past year. He charges $120 for a single ounce of what he calls "exceptional" quality Salvia from the Sierra Mazatecan highlands - provided buyers attest to being at least 18 and having read information about the herb.

Siebert said he has studied the plant for more than a decade, and visited Oaxaca to watch Mazatec tribal shamans use it in ceremonies designed to diagnose medical ailments believed caused by evil spirits.

He said the plant is poorly suited for "recreational use" but, if used responsibly by adults, can open doors into another realm of consciousness.

"Salvia puts you into a profoundly introspective state," Siebert said. "If the dose is strong enough, it produces internal dream-like images and scenes that are, in many ways, similar to the dreams we experience when we sleep."

Later this month, an event touted to feature the ceremonial use of Salvia is scheduled at a New Age retreat in the Amazon region of Brazil.

"Salvia divinorum provides a multidimensional doorway into completely alien landscapes of the psyche and beyond," says an online brochure for the conference, which will be held at the Ayahuasca Healing Retreat near Manaus, Brazil. "These experiences can not only serve as a prelude to what awaits us after the human experience, but may also beneficially transform one's sense of being and the relationship one has with oneself and with the world around."

The retreat will include a seminar by Zoe Seven, a self-described researcher of "techno-shamanism."

"Basically, we are taking about a plant," Seven wrote in response to an e-mail query about his views on Salvia. "And as you may know, just as nature made plant species that can be used to treat biological ailments, there are others that affect the emotions and the mind."

Not everyone is singing the plant's praises.

One visitor to a Yahoo! Internet chat room posted a complaint about some Salvia bought online.

"I smoked a huge joint by myself and the only thing it did was make me feel queasy," the user wrote. "I actually tried it about four different times before I gave up and sent it back for a refund."

Although the DEA hasn't yet committed to regulating Salvia, it's only a matter of time before it does, said Dr. Radu Kramer, a Paramus kidney specialist affiliated with Hackensack University Medical Center who combines traditional and alternative therapies.

"I would say that due to its proven hallucinogenic effect, it will probably become regulated," he said


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Re: Hallucinogenic herb attracts DEA interest, isn't illegal ? [Re: motaman]
    #1702443 - 07/10/03 02:16 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

Fuck the police

"Early man walked away
As modernman took control
There mind's weren't all the same
And to conquer was their goal
So he built his great empire
And he slaughtered his own kind
He died a confused man
And killed himself in his own mind"

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Re: Hallucinogenic herb attracts DEA interest, isn't illegal ? [Re: motaman]
    #1704464 - 07/11/03 01:21 AM (14 years, 6 months ago)


"Just because it's legal doesn't make it safe," Glaspy said.

Haha, oh, the irony.


"I smoked a huge joint by myself and the only thing it did was make me feel queasy," the user wrote. "I actually tried it about four different times before I gave up and sent it back for a refund."

What a moron! If he even bothered reading up on it, he would have read that you can't smoke it in a joint if you want it's effects to be fully felt. That's like buying an appliance, trying to get it to work without reading the instruction manual, and then taking it back and complaining that it doesn't work.

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Re: Hallucinogenic herb attracts DEA interest, isn't illegal [Re: Sheepish]
    #1711714 - 07/13/03 05:01 PM (14 years, 6 months ago)

man fuck the dea


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