Britain: Cannabis-Like ‘Legal Highs’ Could Face Ban
Written by Janet
Legal synthetic cannabis products such as Spice could be banned by the Government before the end of the year. What is Spice? These products are a cocktail of herbs and plants sprayed with a mind-altering, man-made chemical that mimics the effects of cannabis on the human body.
Spice, and other such brands are not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act and therefore they are entirely legal and available to buy in shops and online.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will publish later today the recommendations it has already made to the Government in private, which could include a ban on chemical cannabinoids. The Government is also expected to indicate whether it will accept the advice.
Nothing is really known about the toxicology and the safety of these synthetic compounds because many of them have never been tested in humans. This concept of ‘herbal’ has been completely corrupted because the herb has had a synthetic substance sprayed on to it.
The active ingredient in each product varies, but the most common compounds are JWH-018, which appears in some Spice mixtures, and CP-47,497. Both trigger receptors in the brain just like Marijuana. The side-effects of products like Spice are still not fully understood but they have been banned in many European countries including France, Germany and Austria. Even though we know Spice mimics very closely the effects of cannabis, any ban would be based on its potential harms rather than on the evidence of its actual harms. It would be a pre-emptive measure.
But a ban on JWH-018 and CP-47,497 is likely to have little effect on the industry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cannabinoids and within days any manufacturer could substitute the banned compound for a legal one, without any noticeable change to the product itself. The challenge will be to find an umbrella law that will bring all the related chemicals under control.