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06/23/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Study Uses YouTube To Examine Effect Of 'Salvia' Drug (VIDEO)

It's tough to secure funding to study the effects of salvia divinorum, the intense, quick-acting and legal hallucinogenic plant growing in popularity among U.S. teenagers. But, as some scientists realized, there are plenty of test subjects publicly recording their experiences for free.

Via DoseNation, a new study published in the scientific journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence analyzed the reactions of salvia users who posted their trips on YouTube.

The use of free, loosely verified research data may well be a growing trend. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the salvia study's authors conclude that their work "demonstrates the feasibility and shortcomings of using YouTube videos to assess emerging drugs and drug effects."

The study's authors used fairly rigorous criteria to select the videos included in their research. By contrast, here is a small, random, and frankly unscreened sampling:

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BEFORE YOU GO
Study Uses YouTube To Examine Effect Of 'Salvia' Drug
PHOTO GALLERY
Study Uses YouTube To Examine Effect Of 'Salvia' Drug