The mystery sage

November 1, 2007

Nos Estados Unidos e em Inglaterra alguns adolescentes fumam uma poderosa planta alucinogenea, filmam as suas experiencias e colocam as filmagens no YouTube. A substancia e legal. Os seus defensores dizem que e inofensiva. Para os seus opositores e uma substancia potencialmente perigosa e deve ser investigada.

“Senti-me como se o meu corpo fosse uma palette de tinta atirada contra uma tela e estivesse a escorrer por ela abaixo lentamente.”

Esta descricao dos efeitos da planta salvia divinorum – uma parente da salva comum – parece uma piada dos hippies dos anos 60 que procuravam expandir a mente. Mas nao e atipica numa subcultura curiosa centrada no YouTube dos dias de hoje.

E parente da salva comum
E legal em Inglaterra
E usada pelos xamas Mazatecas no Mexico
O ingrediente activo e salvinorum A
Actua sobre os receptores kappa-opioides no cerebro
Mascada ou fumada

Os xamas mexicanos tem usado esta planta em rituais religiosos, desde ha milhares de anos, mas e agora mais uma das “drogas legais” vendidas nos dois lados do Oceano Atlantico.

Smoked, the effect can be intense but lasts as little as 10 minutes, while chewing it creates a longer period under the influence. Its defenders say it is neither toxic or addictive, but legislators have been concerned enough for it to be banned in Australia, a number of European nations and a handful of US states.

Users can experience uncontrolled laughter, a temporary inability to speak, dramatic visual and auditory hallucinations, uncoordinated movement, a feeling of being out of the body and a wide range of other unsettling phenomena.

In the US, following the suicide of a teenager last year who had at some point smoked the plant, there were calls for a federal ban.

Here, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, John Mann, recently tabled an early-day motion demanding the government urgently rectify its “oversight”. “Some claims made about salvia are very bad. People will be shocked by this,” he said.

One person while he was immersed in this intense visionary state when he regained his senses found some of the furniture in the room was smashed up and he had a broken shoulder
Daniel Siebert

Botanist Daniel Siebert is regarded by some as the guru of salvia, and since 1991 he has been examining the chemistry and history of the substance, as well as using it and selling it. He fears that its widespread availability and irresponsible use by teenagers may lead the US authorities to ban it.

“A lot of people would say even if you don’t have any evidence of psychological harm, just the fact it causes intense hallucinations is dangerous in itself. That can be a dangerous thing to do. You could jump out of a window. In that sense you could make an argument that there is a legitimate concern.”

Mr Siebert says salvia should be used in a safe environment, supervised by someone sober, and in low doses. The consequences of ignoring this advice can be unfortunate.

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