Miley Cyrus' father, still in the midst of a briefly scandalous divorce from wife Tish, has spoken out about the now widely-circulated video in which the 18-year-old is seen purportedly taking a bong hit of the (legal) herb salvia, then delving into what she herself describes as "a bad trip."
Here's what Billy Ray had to say:
"Sorry guys," he wrote to his fans on Twitter this afternoon, providing the first official comment on the incident. "I had no idea.
"Im so sad," he went on. "There is much beyond my control right now."
The last line is no doubt a not-so-subtle dig over the division of his parenting duties.
He's not the only one lamenting the situation.
"It's sad that someone she trusted let that video get out," a source inside Miley's camp told E! News. "The whole thing is sad, all the way around."
There still has been no official comment from Miley or her rep.
As for the drug itself, there seems to be differing viewpoints on just how damaging a hit of the herb can be (physically, that is. Not reputation-wise. The verdict's still out on that one.)
Matt Jenkins, the owner of Hollywood's Shaman Herbs and Spices, told E! News that the herb is not only legal, but a completely safe nonaddictive plant used primarily in spiritual rituals (unless you're a teen looking for a legal high).
"You may try it once and never try it again, which is actually what gives it its legal status," he said.
Jenkins noted that the average effect time is just a few seconds (if that's the case, Miley proved as ever to above average in her endeavor), and that it is a far cry from marijuana.
"They're not even in the same ballpark," he said. "There is no THC in it. With marijuana you get addicted, salvia is not addictive—you may try it once and never try it again."
When the herb is used ritualistically, its usual mode of ingestion is by boiling it into tea. Its usual mode of ingestion outside that limited shaman circle, however, is to smoke it.
Naturally, a spokesperson for the DEA was quick to counter the shopkeeper's claims that salvia is a natural, spiritual drug.
"Of course they're going to say that, they're not being objective," agency spokeswoman Barbara Carreno told E! News. "As far as spirituality goes, people say that because salvia is a powerful hallucinogen and it helps you have visions. People don't smoke salvia to have a church experience."
However, Carreno did agree with Jenkins on one point: salvia is nothing like marijuana.
"It's more similar to other known psychedelic drugs," she said of the plant. "People smoke it solely to get high and hallucinate. When someone smokes salvia, they are not in control of their psychology."
According to the DEA, psychic effects of the drug including perceiving bright lights, vivid colors and shapes, and body and object distortions. Like thinking you're seeing your ex-boyfriend, perhaps?
Dysphoria, uncontrolled laughter, a sense of loss of body, hallucinations, uncoordination, dizziness and slurred speech are also side effects of the drug. Sound familiar?
So, why is it legal? Well, for starters, it's not everywhere. Salvia is not regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, though some states have taken matters into their own hands and criminalized the herb. California, obviously, not being one of them.
(Originally published Dec. 10, 2010, at 2:02 p.m. PT)
—Reporting by Whitney English and Katie Rhames