Driven insane by Salvia divinorum?
Jared Loughner was a very disturbed young man driven into depression by a breakup with his girlfriend, possible anger at his parents, and the general feeling that he had become a loser.
He is the type of guy who fell into the self-made rut of never seeming to get things quite right. Because of that he looked beyond himself for the root cause of his troubles and gravitated into the sometimes nightmarish--usually paranoiac--world of conspiracy theories.
To forget himself and his depressed feelings over an increasingly dim future, he turned to alcohol and an array of drugs, according to his friend Zach Osler.
During a lengthy interview on FOX News, Osler mentioned Loughner's addiction to marijuana and to Salvia.
FOX, and other media outlets ignored or failed to pick up on the reference to Salvia.
Besides smoking pot, Loughner used Salvia. That fact is significant, possibly crucial, in understanding how a young man became increasing unstable and transformed from a deep emotional depression into a raving maniac that decided it was the right thing to stalk a sitting United States Congresswoman and then purposefully wound 19 strangers, killing six of them--including a highly respected federal judge and a sweet little 9-year old girl.
What is Salvia?
Salvia divinorum (also known as "Diviner's Sage," "Mexican Mint," and several other street names), is a plant indigenous to Central and Northwestern Mexico. It has psychotropic properties and has been used by spiritual healers known as shamans for several hundred years.
Although legal in most countries--and most of the U.S.--15 states have banned Salvia and some are planning to regulate it.
The plant is a powerful hallucinogenic and, according to those that have experimented with it, identity is totally lost when under its influence. In that sense, the plant--the strongest natural hallucinogenic known--is more powerful than the synthetically produced LSD.
Although not all of Salvia's properties have been scientifically documented, the known active chemical of Salvia is a trans-neoclerodane diterpenoid known as "Salvinorin A."
The drug is a true mind bender and users' anecdotal testimony relates episodes of experiencing different realities, seeing strange entities, developing loss of spatial cognition, perceived energy and pressure changes on the body, flashbacks to childhood or artificial memories, visions of bizarre cartoon-like characters, and sometimes deep-seated feelings of unease, loss of control and rabid paranoia.
Although to date undocumented in scientific literature, thousands of users in the United states have stated that continued use of the drug creates a feeling of isolation and depression. Some have had suicidal thoughts, others felt strong urges to strike out against enemies real or imagined.
Dr. Bryan Roth of Case Western Reserve University conducted a study on Salvia and found some very disturbing qualities about the drug.
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