|Crushed and dried salvia leaf as commonly marketed.|
Salvinorin A produces psychotomimetic & hallucinogenic effects through its potent agonist binding at kappa-opioidergic and D2-dopaminergic receptors in the brain. Being an agonist at the kappa-receptor, its effects are generally perceived as dysphoric in nature and are not likely to contribute to habituation or addiction. Its effects are short lived and intense. The salvia experience is generally not an experience that most users seek to repeat, but makes for interesting conversation none the less.
Salvia, along with its derivative salvinorin A, have in recent years been criminalized by state law in some areas, but remain legal and available throughout most of the US and world.
Salvia is typically available in crushed or whole leaf form, or as a standardized extract - consisting of crushed salvia leaf which has been treated with a pure crystalline powder form of salvinorin A (thus allowing a known quantity of alkaloid per weight of material). Salvia, in plain leaf or extract form, is usually smoked like tobacco. In other cultures, the leaves have been eaten, brewed as a tea-like infusion, or chewed by mouth like coca leaf (i.e. as a "quid") and absorbed through buccal membranes. The efficacy of traditional oral routes is disputed, as salvia is largely inactivated by the GI tract when swallowed.