Move to Ban Hallucinogenic Herb Questioned

An addictions expert in Alberta says the federal government needs to do more homework before it bans salvia, a potent hallucinogenic herb that’s currently classified as a natural health product.

Smoking salvia —also known as magic mint and diviner’s sage — can produce a short but intense high similar to the effects of LSD.

Health Canada announced last month that it wants to add salvia — and its active ingredient, salvinorin A — to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The change would make it illegal to produce, possess, traffic, import or export the substances.

But a psychiatry professor at the University of Alberta says the government needs to gather more evidence first.

“At this stage it is highly under-researched and it’s basically a guess shot at this point as to what the consequences are,” said Dr. Sharl Els.

“Frankly, we don’t even really know how many people in Canada are using salvia and let alone, how many people are presenting to emergency rooms or how many people are having side effects because of salvia.”

American medical journals have reported on salvia-related health problems, Health Canada officials said.

And the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey in 2009 found 7.3 per cent of youths aged 15-24 reported having used salvia at least once.

But Els said there’s still not enough Canadian data to justify banning the substances.

“Certainly we need evidence to suggest, or evidence to demonstrate that there is indeed a tangible risk to the health of Canadians before we shape policy.”

Widely available
Because salvia is currently classified as a natural health product, it must be authorized by Health Canada before it can be sold.

No such authorizations have been granted, but the agency appears to have done little to enforce its regulations. Salvia is widely available at head shops across the country and through the internet, touted as an alternative to illicit drugs.

Health Canada filed its notice of intent to ban the herb in the Canada Gazette on Feb. 4. Stakeholders were given 30 days to comment on the proposal.

Other countries, including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, have already controlled or banned salvia. It’s also illegal in about a dozen U.S. states.

– Article from CBC News.



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  6. Anonymous on

    I got the exact same reply

  7. David762 on

    It’s not too difficult to see where the vast over-reach of the fascistic police state is heading, both in Canada and the USA.

    (1) If your foodstuffs are not GMO-originated from a factory farm, then it’s illegal.
    (2) If your medicines are not Big Pharma-derived and available only by prescription, then it’s illegal.
    (3) If your health care is not obtained through government approved venues, then it’s illegal.
    (4) If your sources of news is not through government approved sources, then it is illegal.
    (5) If your sources of income are not vetted, regulated, and taxed by the government, then it’s illegal.
    (6) If your education is not through government approved education camps, then it’s illegal.
    (7) If your sexual liaisons are not government approved, then they are illegal.
    (8) If the offspring you create are not licensed, taxed, and government approved, then they are illegal.
    (9) If your speech, writings, and reading materials are not government approved, then they are illegal.
    (10) If your thoughts are not politically correct and government approved, then they are illegal.
    (11) If your water isn’t from government approved bottled sources, then it’s illegal.
    (12) If your air is not pre-filtered and metered through a government approved snorkel, then it’s illegal.

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

    George Orwell’s “1984” was not so much a work of social fiction as the blueprint for the world in which we are living. Welcome to the Corporate State, your government owned and operated by the Corporation, and sole rights and profits accrued to the Corporation. We are not so very far from that reality right now.

    Sic semper tyrannis.

  8. urnrg on

    Here’s the response to my email to Health Canada:

    I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your email with regards to the publication of the Notice to Interested Parties outlining Health Canada’s proposal to add Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A to Schedule III to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).

    I thank you for your comments regarding this proposal and can assure you they will be taken into consideration as the federal regulatory process progresses. There will also be additional opportunities for comment should a complete regulatory proposal be pre-published in Canada Gazette, Part I.

    For your information, Health Canada has developed an It’s Your Health article about Salvia divinorum that aims to inform the general public about the risks associated with the use of this plant. The article can be found on the Health Canada website at:

    Thank you for writing.


    Office of Controlled Substances/Bureau des substances contrôlées
    Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
    Health Canada/Santé Environnementale et Sécurité des Consommateurs/Santé Canada

    Formal Protest of adding S. divinorum and salvinorin to Controlled Drugs and Substances Act scheduling

    ***** ******* to: OCS.Policy.and.Regulatory.Affairs
    2011-02-23 08:27 AM

    – quoted text –

    It has come to my attention that the plant known as Salvia Divinorum
    (Salvia) is being considered to be added to the Controlled Drugs and
    Substance Act scheduling.

    I am lodging a protest against Salvia being added to the Controlled
    Drugs and Substance Act scheduling.

    As mistakenly portrayed in the Canada Gazette, salvinorin A is not a
    substance that is like those found in Schedule III of the CDSA because
    salvinorin A is not an alkaloid.

    Being an adult of sound mind and body, I recognize that Salvia can be
    potent. The statistics portrayed in Canada Gazette is not
    scientifically principled because use in of itself does not constitute
    a threat. The Canada Gazette statistics does not illustrate the
    potency of the Salvia consumed, nor does it statistically correlate it
    to any theoretical toxic effects such as organ damage.

    Finally, a legal adult substance cannot be banned simply because it is
    used in a disrespectful manner by troubled youth.

  9. Daniel Tourigny on

    For those wishing to sign a petition to support sanity in the realm of salvia, I’ve started one here:

    Note, too, that the Feb. 4 notice mentioned in the article was published in the Feb. 19 Gazette, so you have till the 19th to submit your comment to Health Canada.

  10. Anonymous on

    What a waste again!!! Too bad the government thinks they are GOD……
    Reefer Madness for a century…. YOU COPS and DEA agents are running out of work,… go screw yourself, you won’t have a job if MARIJAUNA is legalized,… Good Bye JOB,… another attempt to waste money on ignorant goofs who like to raid homes, home invasion addicts!!!!!!! WORSE THAN PLANT OR DRUG ADDICT!