Medicine for Mania
Researchers have found that the plant evokes an apathetic state in rats -- they no longer want sugar rewards, for which they'll usually do anything. The reason for this is that Salvia activates biological receptors called k-opioid receptors that induce a depressed-like state in parts of the brain; when these same receptors are blocked, it is as if rats have taken antidepressants. The article states,
The idea, says McLean Hospital's Bruce Cohen, is that if people who are manic are at the opposite end of the mood spectrum from people with depression, pushing them closer to depression with salvinorin A might deliver them to a healthy medium.
The article points out that there are a lot of issues that would need to be ironed out before Salvia might appear on a list of mania medications -- for instance, the plant acts too rapidly, and is incredibly potent -- but nevertheless, the research provides yet more evidence that some the psychoactive compounds that have long been scoffed at do, in fact, have powerful, potentially beneficial, qualities. Now that these plants are being studied under the guise of "science," people are finally taking notice of them and realizing what others have believed for a long time.