Substance Use

Salvia vs. DMT: Differences and Important Effects

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Salvia and DMT are both powerful psychedelic drugs, but they work differently. Salvia divinorum is a traditional Mexican drug that has been used for centuries by Mazatec shamans to induce an altered state of consciousness. It has also become popular in the United States as a recreational drug among young people who smoke it in cigarettes or pipes. The effects of salvia usually last less than 10 minutes and consist primarily of hallucinations, which can be mild or intense depending on how much you take.

DMT, short for dimethyltryptamine (and known as ayahuasca), is synthetically produced when plant leaves containing the substance are boiled down to extract the active ingredient. Its effects vary from person to person but generally include feelings of euphoria, enlightenment, and increased visual stimulus. DMT was traditionally used in religious ceremonies by indigenous Amazonian people.

Learn more about the similarities and differences between saliva and DMT and how to seek help for hallucinogenic drug abuse.

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Where Do Salvia and DMT Come From?

Salvia is a traditional Mexican drug that has been used for centuries by Mazatec shamans to induce an altered state of consciousness. Salvia divinorum (sage of the diviners) is a plant that belongs to the sage family. They have solid hallucinogenic properties that Native Americans have widely used for medical and religious purposes.

DMT is a psychedelic tryptamine found in both animal and plant species. Ancient cultures in South America initially used it, but it is now used worldwide. It can be produced synthetically, and its effects are powerful compared to other psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin mushrooms.

Effects of Salvia and DMT

While salvia and DMT have similar properties, they are used for vastly different purposes by people worldwide. According to sources, both substances produce an altered state of consciousness and are known for intense hallucinations, which can be mild or highly potent depending on the amount taken. While the effects of salvia and DMT are relatively similar, there are some key differences.

Salvia usually results in a brief but intense experience that is very different from other psychedelics. Salvia’s effects on the body:

  • Usually, last less than 10 minutes
  • Primarily consist of hallucinations
  • Produces hallucinations that are mild or intense depending on the amount consumed
  • Has hallucinations that can be “cartoonlike” with talkativeness and uncontrolled laughter

DMT produces a more vivid and colorful high and feelings of euphoria and warmth. That generally starts within 20–30 seconds after use and typically peaks within two minutes. The effects last much longer than salvia, typically around 20-30 minutes.

The DMT trip creates an enhanced sense of awareness, in which users may experience amplified senses. Synesthesia is another side effect of DMT. Individuals think they can see and taste sounds while hearing colors.

Both salvia and DMT are hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are a type of drug that can cause someone to feel and see things that aren’t there. They distort the user’s perceptions, causing them to see or hear things differently than they are in reality.

Hallucinogens are not physically addictive, but they are psychologically addicting. People who use hallucinogens can become dependent on the feelings or sensations it creates to escape reality and avoid life’s problems.

How Are Both Drugs Most Commonly Used?

You can use salvia in two ways. Users can smoke dried leaves or use water vapor to extract the active ingredient and inhale it through their mouths. Smoking salvia brings on effects almost immediately. Those who ingest it orally experience a less-intense onset of feelings that vary from mild relaxation to hallucinations within five minutes after ingestion.

DMT can be smoked, swallowed, and injected, but most users prefer smoking because they feel the effects take hold more quickly this way than any other method of administration. When taken orally, there is time for some psychoactive effect before eating anything, which might slow down its absorption into the body’s system.

Side Effects of Salvia and DMT

While Salvia and DMT primarily have short-term effects on the body and tend to produce minor side effects, the side effects will vary between individuals and depend on the amount consumed. Each person’s mental health, mood, and general physical state will be a significant predictor of side effects.


  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions


  • Rapid heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Chest pain or a feeling of tightness
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Dilated pupils

If you are concerned about some of the side effects, Zinnia Health can be an excellent resource for you. Zinnia Health wants all patients to feel confident when making their decisions regarding drug addiction recovery programs.

The legal status of salvia in the United States is highly variable. It has been banned for sale or possession in some states, while others have only regulated its availability by requiring age verification upon delivery to a buyer’s address.

In many countries, it remains unregulated like most hallucinogenic drugs, either because they are not considered dangerous enough to be controlled under law, or there is insufficient data on their usage rates among young people to merit such action.

The legality of DMT varies from country to country, but since it can also be created synthetically, manufacturing and distributing it without proper licensing may violate drug laws, depending on the location. Although DMT or ayahuasca is legal in other countries, the United States banned the drug in the 1970s. 

Are Salvia and DMT Safe To Take?

While salvia usually has minimal long-term health risks, there have been cases of people suffering from long-term psychosis and depression after using salvia for a prolonged time. Salvia use has been linked to a type of mental discomfort known as dysphoria, marked by sadness, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. Smoking any substance for lengthy periods, including salvia, may cause breathing issues and other health concerns.

The primary issue with salvia is that it has strong psychological consequences. Users under the influence of salvia can be at a severe risk since the drug may hinder their coordination and reality. Salvia users have a significant danger of personal injury or death.

DMT has been described as the most potent psychedelic drug known to man, which is why it’s not considered safe by any means. It can produce adverse side effects such as anxiety, headache, or increased blood pressure that may lead to heart attacks in some.

DMT is considered relatively safe for healthy patients when taken orally at low doses under appropriate supervision. There have been no known cases of death resulting from taking DMT alone.

In conclusion, the risks of taking salvia and DMT may outweigh the positives in most cases. However, if you decide to try the drug, it is recommended you talk to your doctor before consumption.

Special Precautions

While minor consumption rarely has significant long-term health risks, there are some cases where salvia and DMT should be avoided.

Salvia: There is insufficient evidence to determine if salvia divinorum is hazardous during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Avoid using it based on the current evidence. Some individuals have experienced hallucinations and distorted ideas while using salvia divinorum.

It is unknown whether this risk is greater in those with schizophrenia or a family history of the disease. If you have schizophrenia or are susceptible to the illness, avoid using salvia.

DMT: DMT can exacerbate the condition for those with a history of psychological problems and addiction, so it’s best to avoid using this drug. People with high blood pressure or heart conditions should not take ayahuasca because of its effects on these health issues.

Salvia and DMT Abuse and Treatment

When salvia is abused, it can lead to violent behavior and psychotic episodes. There have even been a few cases where people under the influence have acted out their hallucinations or delusions with no memory of what they did afterward.

DMT has not been known as an addictive drug because users do not continue taking it over long periods like those who abuse other drugs such as cocaine or heroin. However, in very rare circumstances, DMT use may become a dependency.

Recreational abuse is not common, although it does happen, and using DMT might lead to cross-tolerance with other psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and LSD.

Pleasurable hallucinations can motivate a person to want more of the substance, resulting in physical and mental illness. It is critical to address substance use issues quickly, especially when dealing with powerful and hazardous substances like DMT. If someone feels they are addicted to salvia or DMT, there are many ways to get help. One of the first things would be to call your doctor for assistance.

If you are uncomfortable speaking with your family doctor, reach out to a reputable treatment center. Zinnia Health has a team of highly trained experts who can help you become addiction-free.

What Does Treatment Look Like?

If looking to end an addiction to salvia or DMT, there are many processes that Zinnia Health can assist with. Treatment can include inpatient and outpatient programs for those entirely free from addiction or who want to continue their recovery within a more supportive environment.

Treatment centers look to each person’s physical well-being as much as possible by encouraging healthy eating habits, ensuring proper exercise routines, and providing alternative activities that promote positive thinking. If cravings become present again, having a support team trained to help you become addiction-free may be just what you need.

Some strategies can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) 
  • Mindfulness training 
  • Learning new coping skills such as relaxation techniques
  • Relapse prevention therapy 
  • Family support groups 

If you want more information on the kinds of treatment that Zinnia Health can provide, contact our team today at (855) 430-9439.


There is often confusion about the differences between salvia and DMT because of their similarities. Both produce short, intense hallucinations, but how they affect the user is very different.

Salvia users typically experience a dreamy state where images flow through visual fields with kaleidoscopic colors accompanied by music or voices, which can be pleasant if not overwhelming. The effects of salvia tend to be more sedating than stimulating, similar to opiate drugs like Vicodin or oxycodone. It has been compared to having brain activity consisting primarily of thoughts about one’s childhood memories even though current events may still occur around them.

On the other hand, DMT creates a state of intense euphoria and visual hallucinations with geometric patterns or moving lights. The effects can be frightening if the person is unprepared for what they see, hear, and feel during this psychedelic experience.

Anyone considering taking either substance must know their limits before using them because these drugs are potent hallucinogens that could lead to dangerous accidents or injuries if taken in excess without guidance from an experienced user. If you are or know someone who may be addicted to salvia or DMT, contact Zinnia Health so we can assist you on your journey to recovery.

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