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April 28, 2008

Brookhaven scientists use PET scanning to study kinetics of salvia divinorum

At the Brookhaven Nat'l Labs, scientists are using PET scanning on adult baboons to study the increasingly popular recreational drug salvia divinorum. The lead author of the study to be published in the journal NeuroImage, Jacob Hooker, says that "This is probably one of the most potent hallucinogens known."

Videos on YouTube are showing that when this drug is smoked, it produces a hallucinogenic high lasting a few minutes.

From their Web site:

Within 40 seconds of administration, the researchers found a peak concentration of salvinorin A in the brain - nearly 10 times faster than the rate at which cocaine enters the brain. About 16 minutes later, the drug was essentially gone. This pattern parallels the effects described by human users, who experience an almost immediate high that starts fading away within 5 to 10 minutes.

This drug is currently legal in most states, but "[n]umerous states have placed controls on salvia or salvinorin A - the plant's active component - and others, including New York, are considering restrictions."

The article "Pharmacokinetics of the potent hallucinogen, salvinorin A in primates parallels the rapid onset and short duration of effects in humans" is currently in press at the NeuroImage Web site.

The abstract mentions that the psychoactive component of this drug, salvinorum A,  is a "uniquely potent agonist at κ-opioid receptors," and has the potential for therapeutic uses.


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