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    Salvia divinorum is a hallucinogen sold over the internet in several forms. Perhaps the most common method of use is smoking the dried leaf material. The sole presumed active constituent, salvinorin A, is a selective kappa-opioid receptor agonist. Upon smoking of the dried leaf material, some of the salvinorin A is destroyed or converted to other materials, leaving in question the actual amount of salvinorin A delivered that leads to the psychotomimetic effect. On average, 133 μg of salvinorin A was delivered in the smoke from an 830 mg per cigarette, which contained ∼2.7 mg of salvinorin A. Hence, only ∼5% of the salvinorin A available in the dried plant material was delivered in the smoke. Upon smoking, hydrolysis of salvinorin A to salvinorin B, an inactive and minor component of the leaf material, also occurs as evidenced by a higher delivered amount of salvinorin B vs salvinorin A (217 vs 133 μg per cigarette). Since smoking is an effective means of achieving the hallucinogenic effect and salvinorin A is the presumed sole active ingredient in the plant, the estimated effective dose of salvinorin A by inhalation is <133 μg per person. Considering the reported rapid metabolism of salvinorin A in vivo, the dose reaching the brain would be substantially less. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:


    John L Krstenansky, Miguel Muzzio. Analysis of the smoke of cigarettes containing Salvia divinorum. Journal of analytical toxicology. 2014 Sep;38(7):451-5

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    PMID: 24908261

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