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Revision as of 15:48, 14 July 2014

Other Names


Substance type: diterpene (derodane)

Salvinorin A is the active constituent in Salvia

divinorum. Apart from THe and the constituents

in essential oils, it is the only known nonnitrogenous

psychoactive plant constituent.

Salvinorin is not an alkaloid.

The substance was first described by Ortega et

al., who named it salvinorin (1982). The same

substance was subsequently described under the

name divinorin A (Valdes et al. 1984). Salvinorin

A is extracted from fresh plant material. The

effective dosage is between 200 and 500 /-Lg.

Salvinorin A can be smoked in a glass pipe; a

better technique involves vaporizing the plant and

then inhaling the fumes. It can also be taken in

solution under the tongue. When the substance is

smoked or inhaled, the effects are immediately

apparent, and the primary effects last from five to

ten minutes. When it is administered sublinguallyRoute of administration in which the subject places a substance under the tongue.,

the effects become manifest after about ninety

seconds and reach their peak some ten to fifteen

minutes later, after which they gradually diminish

(Turner 1996).

The potent and strange psychoactive effects of

salvinorin A were probably discovered by Daniel


Salvinorin A is an extremely powerful compound

for altering consciousness. In fact, it is

the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen

that has been isolated to date. But

before potential experimenters become too

interested, it must be clearly stated that the

effects are often extremely unnerving and that

there is a very real risk that persons may

physically harm themselves when using it....

I have seen people get up and jump across

the room, thereby falling over the furniture,

babbling incomprehensible nonsense, and

hitting their heads against the wall. Several

people tried to leave the house. When the

experience was over, they did not remember what had happened. In fact, they actually

believed that they remembered entirely different

events. To an outside observer, it appears

as though these people have an emptyexpression

in their eyes, as though they are not

present (and perhaps they really are not).

(Siebert 1995,4)

This description is strongly remInIscent of

phenomena that occur with high dosages (overdoses)

of nightshades (Atropa belladonna, Brugmansia

spp., Hyoscyamus niger, Datura spp.) and

the tropane alkaloids atropine and scopolamine.

Most subjects have no desire at all to repeat an

experiment with salvinorin.

The neurochemistry of salvinorin A is still

unresolved. In spite of extensive receptor testing

(NovaScreen method), salvinorin A has not been

found to bind to any known neurotransmitter

receptors, including the receptor that ketamine

occupies (David Nichols, pers. comm.). The daring

and extreme experiments of D. M. Turner suggest

that salvinorin A does not have any negative crosstolerance

with other psychoactive substances (such

as LSD, N,N-DMT, ketamine) (Turner 1996).
Commercial Forms and Regulations



See also the entries for Coleus blumei, Salvia divinorum,

and diterpenes.

Ortega, A., J. F. Blount, and P. S. Marchand. 1982.

Salvinorin, a new trans-neoclerodane diterpene

from Salvia divinorum (Labiatae). Journal ofthe

Chemical Society, Perkin Transactions 1:2505-8.

Siebert, Daniel J. 1995. Salvinorin A: Vorsicht

geboten. Entheogene 3:4-5.

Turner, D. M. 1996. Salvinorin: The psychedelic

essence ofSalvia divinorum. San Francisco:

Panther Press.

Valdes, Leander, William M. Butler, George M.

Hatfield, Ara G. Paul, and Masato Koreeda. 1984.

Divinorin A, a psychotropic terpenoid, and

divinorin Bfrom the hallucinogenic Mexican

mint Salvia divinorum. Journal ofOrganic

Chemistry 49 (24): 4716-20.

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