A Literature Review on the Status and Effects of Salvia Divinorum on Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Functioning
Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogenic herb that was originally used in the Mazatec Indian culture of Oaxaca, Mexico for spiritual and medicinal purposes (Wasson, 1962). Salvia divinorum produces powerful hallucinogenic effects when the leaves are chewed, orally consumed in a liquid state, or dried and smoked. Its active ingredient is Salvinorin-A (Roth et al., 2002; Siebert, 1994), a highly selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist (Roth et al., 2002), that researchers consider to be the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen (Ortega, Blount & Manchand, 1982; Siebert, 1994; Valdes et al., 1984). In recent years, the use of Salvia divinorum as a recreational drug has become increasingly popular (Vortherms & Roth, 2006), facilitated by the availability of the drug and videos (e.g., YouTube) documenting its hallucinogenic effects on the internet (Gonzalez, Riba, Bouso, Gomez-Jarabo, & Barbanoj, 2006). The purpose of the current clinical research project is to critically review the literature to investigate the effects Salvia divinorum use has on cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning in humans. The review has implications for research on depression, anxiety, addiction, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The study also provides a review of DSM-IV-TR diagnoses and precautions in diagnosing for clinicians. Based on this review, recommendations are provided in areas for future research, development of assessment instruments, and areas requiring clinical attention. Furthermore, the current study will act as a comprehensive review of the history, background, and research of Salvia divinorum for the use in future studies and for the purpose of educating clinicians and the general public about the substance.