Daniel Oberhaus, writing for Motherboard:
In 2008, a report by the New York Times pointed to an abundance of online videos of people experimenting with salvia as “exhibit A” in the push to make the substance illegal throughout the United States. But it wasn't just the videos. The stigma around salvia is also due to the nature of the trip itself, which is characterized by its vivid hallucinations and intense dissociative effects. Almost everyone I know has either tried salvia or knows someone who has, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoyed the experience.
Although I’ve had several unpleasant salvia experiences myself, I recently volunteered to be a participant in the first-ever brain imaging study on salvinorin A, the main psychoactive compound in the salvia plant. Only a handful of salvia studies have ever been conducted on human subjects and this study was the first time that researchers were able to watch the brain as it was tripping on salvinorin.
Tripping in an MRI machine is intimidating enough as it is, but tripping on the hardcore psychedelic dissociative salvia divinorum in an MRI machine really takes the cake. Kudos to Daniel and all the other brave participants in this study. His account is well-worth reading and the experiment went better than you might think.