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Salvia Divinorum vs LSD

There is quite a great level of misconceptions regarding the possible applications of Salvia divinorum and LSD aka acid. Although these are derived from different sources, they play an almost similar role in the provision of recreational benefits to the body and mind. In this article, we shall try to discuss the common differences between the two recreational drugs.

What is Salvia divinorum?

Salvia is a plant with a high concentration of salvinorin. It is one of the poorly researched psychedelics that produce alterations in the perception of reality. Its activity promotes the production of visual hallucinogenic effects, which are similar to those experienced with narcotics. There are also reports of encountering some spiritual experiences after taking salvia. It can produce some therapeutic benefits to users even though they are yet to be approved by the FDA since the safety and toxicology of the substance is still unknown.

What is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)?

LSD, just like any other narcotic, is a psychedelic drug capable of altering perceptions of reality. It produces a mild euphoric effect on users and produces effects lasting from 30 minutes to 8 hours. Just like Salvia, it possesses some excellent therapeutic potentials even though it is yet to be approved for medical usage.

Common differences between Salvia and LSD?

  • Origin:

Salvia divinorum or salvia is an herbal mint plant native to Mexico. It comes in handy in the production of naturally occurring hallucinogens, while LSD (mainly referred to as acid by many users) is made from lysergic acid found in the ergot fungus growing on rye and other grains.

  • Content

Although Salvia and LSD tend to provide hallucinogenic effects on the body, they differ in their chemical makeup. While LSD is made of lysergic acid, Salvia contains salvinorin A, a kappa opioid receptor (KOR) agonist.

  • Duration of effects:

LSD has effects that last from 12-24 hours depending on the rate of metabolism and purity of the substance, while Salvia produces a short term effect lasting from 3-10 minutes when smoked or chewed.

  • Receptors activated

Depending on the type of compound present in each, both LSD and salvia tend to activate different receptors. While LSD produces its effect on the serotonergic neurons, salvinorin A tends to affect the dopaminergic ones.

  • Route and mode of administration

In most cases, people tend to chew fresh Salvia leaves, drink the extracted juices, or smoke ground up salvia leaves to experience their effects. The dried leaves of the plant can be smoked or rolled in pipes, vaporized and inhaled.

LSD, on the other hand, is administered by mouth, under the tongue (sublingual), or via intravenous injections.


Although Salvia and LSD are known to produce hallucinogenic effects on users, they differ in their origin, route of administration, shape, color, receptors activated, and compounds. Their range of activity also varies greatly. While LSD produces a long-lasting effect.

Let us know if you have questions about Salvia or LSD. We will love to hear from you soon.


A comparison of historical and current use of Salvia divinorum in the United States and Mexico. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Liechti M. E. (2017). Modern Clinical Research on LSD. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology42(11), 2114–2127.

Dawn N. Albertson & Laura E. Grubbs (2009) Subjective Effects of Salvia Divinorum: LSD- or Marijuana-like?,Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 41:3, 213-217, DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2009.10400531