Drug Suppliers Use Loophole To Sell 'Magic Mint'

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jul 17, 2001.

  1. By Adam Nathan
    Source: Sunday Times

    An obscure hallucinogenic herb from Mexico has become the latest fashion in the world of recreational drug-taking. Suppliers are using a loophole in the law to sell the powerful drug - known as Lady Salvia or the magic Mexican mint - to young people.
    Users have reported sensations of travelling through time and space, assuming the identities of other people and merging with inanimate objects. Experts say they are risking their minds, and perhaps their lives, by taking the drug. Salvia divinorum, a type of sage used for thousands of years in Mexican Indian rituals, is legal in Britain and America and is available on the internet.

    Originally found in only one square mile of the Oaxaca region of Mexico, it is either chewed or smoked and causes a short but intense high. In New York's Greenwich Village, it has triggered a mini-renaissance of 1960s psychedelic culture; there is even a rock band called Salvia.

    In Amsterdam, where large-scale indoor marijuana growing is now outlawed, cannabis growers have switched to salvia, flooding the European market.

    In Britain there are about a dozen suppliers of dried salvia leaves. Most do not advertise it as a drug but as incense, mainly through fears that they will be sued if people are damaged by their experience of taking it.

    Experts say the leaves of the plant are often super-impregnated with the active hallucinatory ingredient salvinorin A to make it up to 20 times stronger. This enhanced leaf sells for up to £80 a gram.

    The drug's increasing popularity, coupled with scientific acknowledgment of its mind-bending powers, has prompted the Home Office to review its legal status. But it could take years to ban it.

    Dr Tim Kendall, an expert based at the University of Sheffield, said: "When you take salvia you are playing with fire. People can be very damaged in terms of their personal functioning. They frequently have flashbacks that intrude into their life, which can be almost like a post-traumatic stress problem after very bad experiences."

    In 1994 Daniel Seibert, a Californian ethnobotanist, first isolated the psychotropic part of the herb and tested it on a human - himself - with an accidental overdose of 2mg of pure salvinorin A.

    "One minute I was sitting on my couch expecting nothing to happen and the next I was in a deep out-of-body experience," he said. "I was panicking because I felt I must have died.

    "After a little while I regained sensory awareness and opened my eyes and looked around me and realised that I was in my grandparents' home from when I was a child. I had come back into the wrong place in my life history. It was extraordinary. The certainty and the detail made it so real."

    Source: Sunday Times (UK)
    Author: Adam Nathan
    Published: July 15 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.
    Contact: editor@sunday-times.co.uk
    Website: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/

    Salvia Divinorum Vault http://erowid.org/plants/salvia/salvia.shtml

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