Teen star Miley Cyrus made headlines again recently for her raucous behavior.
This time, a video posted on TMZ.com captured the singer smoking a bong and breaking out into a fit of giggling afterward. Cyrus reportedly wasn't smoking marijuana, but rather a legal herb called salvia divinorum that has hallucinogenic properties.
Avid readers of the Globe and Boston.com may remember news about salvia divinorum in the past. The state legislature has considered bills in recent years to ban the herb, but the legislation has never become law. Savlia has, however, been banned in several US states and other countries, including Australia and Italy.
Cultivated primarily in southern Mexico, the herb gives users a brief but potent hallucinogenic experience when inhaled. In a 2008 Globe story about the herb, reporter Irene Sege offered some first-hand descriptions from people who had used salvia:
Students interviewed by the Globe on several campuses - Northeastern University, Boston University, and Berklee College of Music - who have smoked salvia describe visual and auditory hallucinations. For one young man, the sound of raindrops hitting trees triggered a hallucination of sitting around a campfire during the Revolutionary War, wearing tri-cornered hats and wielding muskets. For another, Christmas lights became floating candles. Another had to stop his car because he forgot how to drive.