image by: Eva Rinaldi
As parents, we warn our kids about the dangers of alcohol and drugs but teens are creative and always looking for new, inexpensive ways to get high and it looks like they may have a new legal one...smoking salvia
Have you seen Miley Cyrus' new video? No, it’s not from her latest single "Can’t Be Tamed" but of her smoking something from a bong. Yes, a bong. The Hannah Montana actress is seen partying with friends during the week of her 18th birthday and apparently having a great time - lots of incoherent babbling and hysterical laughing. At one point Miley looks into the camera and says, "Ok, I’m going to lose it now. Is that me tripping? I’m having a bit of a bad trip. Does that look like [my boyfriend]?" The video ends with Miley saying, "I want more of that s---" and laughing like a lunatic.
The video is definitely damaging to her Disney image and Miley’s people immediately came out in defense mode saying, “Miley was not smoking marijuana. She was smoking Salvia.” Interesting. Have you ever heard of Salvia? I have and I’m not sure it’s any better than being caught smoking pot. Salvia is an herb related to sage and for centuries was commonly used by mystics and shaman during religious ceremonies. More recently, it’s used as a recreational drug among teens.
Nicknamed Sally-D, Magic Mint and Diviner's Sage, Salvia is usually smoked in a bong and looks very similar to marijuana, but Salvia has an entirely different effect on its users. Salvia is a hallucinogenic drug. Its effects are similar to LSD or PCP and can lead to aggression, irrational behavior, and psychotic episodes. But, unlike LSD or PCP, Salvia's effects last for a much shorter time - peaking after two minutes and virtually disappearing in about 30 minutes.
Proponents of the drug say Salvia is harmless and has many benefits. According to one pro-Salvia website called Sage Wisdom, “Salvia has much to offer: fascinating psychoactive effects, sensual enhancement, magical journeys, enchantment, apparent time travel, philosophical insights, spiritual experiences, and perhaps even healing and divination.” Wow…
Proponents also suggest that there is no risk of users becoming physically or psychologically addicted or of Salvia being a “gateway” drug. However, a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that “teenagers who had used any herbal products, even dietary supplements, were six times more likely to have tried cocaine and nearly 15 times more likely to have used anabolic steroids than those who have never used an herbal product.” In 2008 another study found that nearly 2 million people in the US had used Salvia to get high and 3% of all men aged 18-25 said they’d smoked it in the past year.
Perhaps the scariest thing about Salvia is that it is 100% legal. Anyone can own it, buy it, grow it, and smoke it legally. In fact, I saw it last night at the grocery store in the spice section. This means your kids can walk in and buy Salvia…no questions asked. And they probably have. According to people who grow and sell it, “Salvia sales have increased since the [Miley] video was released - in some cases up to 3 times.” In Los Angeles, not only have sales increased but customers are specifically asking for “the stuff Miley was smoking.”
Miley’s had a year full of controversy: semi-nude photos, underage drinking, divorcing parents, and now this video. She’s clearly a girl in trouble and denial. Her only comments so far have been, “I’m getting on with my life.” and “It was no big deal.” So much for that whole teen role model thing.
As parents, we warn our kids about the dangers of alcohol and drugs but teens are creative and always looking for new, inexpensive ways to get high and it looks like they may have a new legal one. Watch out.
Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.
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