Interest in the hallucinogenic drug salvia exploded this weekend when a video of teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus using salvia hit the Internet Friday.
Salvia divinorum is a member of the sage family and users smoke it like a cigarette, chew it, or smoke it in a pipe or bong. It’s legal for adults in the state of California, where Cyrus was videoed inhaling it through a bong. The video comes from TMZ.com.
Sales of the substance have tripled since the video went public, according to Fox News. Now there’s new talk about banning salvia, which is already illegal in 15 states including Georgia.
Georgia law O.C.G.A. ß 16-13-72 reflects ambivalence about the drug. The law enacted in July prohibits the possession, planting, cultivating, growing or harvesting of salvia, but it’s still legal to plant salvia for “aesthetic, landscaping or decorative purposes.”
"I think it's a dangerous drug, no doubt about it…[but] we don't want grandma to have to tear it out of her front yard," Rep. John Lunsford, the lawmaker behind making salvia illegal in Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Thousands of YouTube clips show teens using the drug, which produces an intense high that causes illusions, uncontrollable laughter and slurred speech among other things. The effects last 5 – 15 minutes and do not significantly increase heart rate or blood pressure, according to a Johns Hopkins study, which is why some feel the drug is relatively harmless.
This is a cautionary tale for teens that record video of themselves. According to TMZ.com, a friend recorded Cyrus while celebrating her 18th birthday. The video was stolen or copied, leaving Cyrus stuck with some explaining to do.