From what I've read it seems to affect the speech center of the brain, perceptual areas, and motor cortex. This article says that It affects the kappa opiate receptor
a cite in the brain connected to human perception http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/salvia.asp
and is still being studied for possible medicinal uses such as pain relief and possibly to treat brain diseases that alter one's perception such as schizophrenia and alzheimers, but alot more study needs to be done before people assume it's helpful for those conditions, as it might also have devastating effects on those already brain-impaired populations.
A study of mentally and physically healthy subjects with prior experience using other hallucinogens at Johns Hopkins University was done on humans;
in which some interesting data suggest that if scientists were to alter a few molecules the drug could possibly by made into non-addictive pain medication
This article http://www.livestrong.com/article/25064-dangers-smoking-salvia/
states that Salvia has been known to trigger a relapse of mental illness when used by some of those individuals, so it is really like playing Russian Roulette with the brain. Nobody knows exactly what will happen to any one person's brain as a result.
The drug is too new to know whether there are long-term damaging effects or addictive effects. Preliminary studies suggest it may be non-addictive, but is as of yet not conclusive.
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