A recent report by Michael Paulzen and Gerhard Gründer (“Toxic Psychosis After Intake of the Hallucinogen Salvinorin A” J Clin Psychiatry 69(9): 1501-1502, 2008) describes a sad case of an 18-year-old woman who developed psychosis within a week of unwittingly ingesting Salvia divinorum. Unsurprisingly (and rightfully so, I think), this case has received some media attention, such as in this SF Chronicle article.
One aspect that is unclear in the media reports is that, in the words of the authors, “[i]n this special case, several somatic consequences are reported, which are likely attributable to the medical treatment of a severe psychotic state rather than to the psychosis itself.”
I am not a physician and do not imagine I could draw reliable conclusions about what happened in this specific case. But no matter what did happen, I think this is a sobering reminder of the real risks of psychoactives and the ironclad ethical obligation to respect the rights of others. The clinical details of the case are:
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