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Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer > > Drug Defense > Despite Its Religious and Medicinal Uses, Salvia Divinorum Is Illegal in Pennsylvania

Despite Its Religious and Medicinal Uses, Salvia Divinorum Is Illegal in Pennsylvania


Is it a healing herb or a dangerous drug?  Since ancient times, people in the plant’s original homeland have prized the plant’s leaves for their effect on the mind and body, and a counterculture in the United States embraced the plant in a big way.  Sensing its allure with young people, the plant’s detractors aimed to show on film just how scary it could be.  Their films showed people under the drug’s influence taking leave of their good judgment behaving frighteningly, recklessly, even violently, doing what in certain decades has been called “freaking out.”  Now, in the United states, there is a growing movement to see the plant and its psychoactive chemicals as medicine, not as a vice.  The medical establishment has made chemicals found in the plant the subject of clinical trials.  All of the above statements apply to cannabis, which as of 2020, is more legal than illegal in Pennsylvania, although it is certainly still possible to get criminal charges for illegal sale of marijuana, or even for illegal possession.  These statements also apply to Salvia divinorum, which gets much less publicity than cannabis but about which opinions are similarly divided.  If you are facing a criminal case related to Salvia divinorum, contact a Pennsylvania drug crimes defense attorney.

The Legal Status of Salvia Divinorum in Pennsylvania

First described in the scientific literature in 1939, Salvia divinorum has not attracted the attention of legislators until the last few decades.  There are no federal laws criminalizing it.  It is not listed on any of the federal schedules of controlled substances, in part because its potential medical applications are still being investigated.  Pennsylvania only passed a law outlawing Salvia divinorum in 2011.  The law forbids the possession, transport, and sale of the plant or its psychoactive chemicals.

In the News

The compound in Salvia divinorum that gives the plant its psychoactive effects is called salvinorin A.  Like other psychedelic substances such as LSD and psilocybin (the “magic” in magic mushrooms), it is the subject of research into its potential to treat depression, PTSD, and addiction.  Unlike other psychedelics, salvinorin A acts on the kappa opioid receptors in the brain.  Therefore, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are in the process of conducting clinical trials regarding the potential of salvinorin A as a non-addictive form of pain management.  The drug takes effect within minutes of being ingested, and the effects of one dose are very short-lived, giving the drug its nickname “the businessman’s trip.”  In an article on Wired, Daniel Oberhaus describes his experiences as a participant in the trials.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Many people who benefit from the effects of Salvia divinorum and other psychedelic substances find themselves in legal trouble if they get caught in possession of natural psychedelics.  A Pittsburgh drug crimes lawyer can help you if you get criminal charges for possession of a drug that is more beneficial than harmful.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson about your case.





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