The facts about legal and illegal highs and Spice


It took just three clicks for reporter Gemma Sherlock to find so-called legal highs readily available to buy online.

Many of the websites warned products such as Spice, Blue Cheese and Exodus Damnation were not fit for human consumption.

Although branded a legal high FRANK, a national drug education service, warns these still have the potential to be fatal.

Since 2009 legal highs such as Synthetic Cannabinoids, commonly known as Spice have been banned in the UK because they contain class B drugs.

The chemicals in the drugs are made to act like the active part of cannabis, a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Synthetic cannabinoids 
are usually sold in ‘herbal’ smoking mixtures.

Sometimes these smoking mixtures have been found not to contain any synthetic cannibinoids at all which makes it harder for the customer to understand exactly what they are buying.

The colourful packaging on many of the branded packages online can be enough to disguise exactly what is in the herbal mixtures, making the easy access online all the more dangerous.

Whilst Synthetic Cannabinoids can elevate mood, relaxation and altered perception, often the side effects are more intense than real marijuana. These include: psychotic episodes, paranoia, increased anxiety and hallucinations, increased heart rate, agitation, vomiting, seizures, uncontrollable body movements, lack of emotional attachment, sweating and loss of control, red eyes and dry mouth. The illegal high can also be highly addictive as users can crave the intensity of the Spice high. When long-term Spice users attempt to quit, serious withdrawal symptoms often occur, including: loss of appetite, dehydration, kidney failure or damage, extreme sweating, inability to sleep, intense cravings, depression, loss of motivation, psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts and an inability to care about consequences. If you or someone you know who may need help with a drug problem visit or call 0300 123 6600 or email