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.



  1. Hansel

    I for the life of me don’t understand how anyone would want to ingest, smoke, or sniff anything that would cause bodily harm, yet alone take a drug without knowing the side effects….

  2. newsdeskinternational

    we have an update:

    ‘Legal highs’ set to be banned

    Two so-called (party) drugs and a man-made cannabis substitute will be banned by the end of the year, the Home Office has announced.

    At the moment, these (legal highs) are sold openly across the UK and on the internet, but ministers say they are an (emerging threat).

    The two drugs, known as BZP and GBL, have been linked to a number of deaths.

    Charity DrugScope said law alone was (a blunt instrument) and greater education was needed about the drugs’ effects.

    To that end, the Home Office said it would begin an awareness campaign in university freshers’ weeks in September to highlight the dangers.

  3. Mixed Up Crazy

    Which is the easiest to obtain in Britain, marijuana or this Spice thing?

  4. newsdeskinternational

    Cannabis evidence ‘was devalued’

    The row over the reclassification of cannabis has been reignited after the government’s chief drug adviser accused ministers of “devaluing” the evidence.

    Professor David Nutt, of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, says it does not cause major health issues.

    He accused ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of “devaluing” scientific research. The Home Office said his view did not reflect that of the government.

    In 2004 cannabis went from class B to C. In 2008, Ms Smith returned it to B.

    A Home Office spokesman said: “Prof Nutt’s views are his own.”

    He added: “The government is clear: we are determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole.”

    It comes after Prof Nutt used a lecture at King’s College in London and briefing paper to attack what he called the “artificial” separation of alcohol and tobacco from illegal drugs.

    Precautionary measure

    A spokesman for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said Prof Nutt spoke as an academic, and not for the council.

    The professor said smoking cannabis created only a “relatively small risk” of psychotic illness, and claimed those who advocated moving ecstasy into Class B from Class A had “won the intellectual argument”.

    Public concern over the links between high-strength cannabis, known as skunk, and mental illness led the government to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C last year.

    In 2004, then Home Secretary David Blunkett had approved the reclassification of cannabis from Class B – which it had been since 1971 – to Class C.

    But in 2008, Jacqui Smith announced that she would reverse the 2004 decision and put cannabis back into category B.

    The decision was taken despite official advisers recommending against the change.

    Ministers said they wanted to make the move as a precautionary measure.

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) review of cannabis classification, which was ordered in 2007, was the result of a “skunk scare”, according to the professor.

    In his lecture and briefing paper, entitled Estimating Drug Harms: A Risky Business?, he repeated his claim that the risks of taking ecstasy are no worse than riding a horse.

    Prof Nutt also warned that the reclassification decision may lead to more people taking the drug.

    “It may be that if you move a drug up a class it has a greater cachet,” he said, adding the government’s approach “starts to distort the value of evidence”.


  5. newsdeskinternational

    Drug expert quits panel over sacking of David Nutt

    A prominent member of the government’s drugs advisory panel has resigned in protest over the treatment of the committee’s chairman Professor David Nutt.

  6. newsdeskinternational

    ‘Cannabis cafe’ pair found guilty

    Two men have been found guilty of drugs offences linked to a “cannabis cafe” at Lancing in West Sussex.

    Lee Russell, of Worthing, and Michael Alday, of Horsham, were convicted of conspiracy to supply cannabis, at Kingston Crown Court.

    A third man, Paul Bradley, of Worthing, was found not guilty of the charge.

    Two other people, Wendy Edwards, of Lancing, and Sebastian Flynn, of Worthing, admitted conspiring to supply cannabis before the trial started.

    Russell and Alday had denied the charges. Sentencing of all four was adjourned to 15 January.

    Barbed wire

    During the trial, the court heard that police “bashed” their way into the so-called “hole-in-the-wall cafe” in Freshbrook Road.

    Electrified barbed wire had been put on the building, jurors heard.

    The prosecution said the cafe’s security measures, which also included a reinforced “air lock-style” system of double doors, gave those inside the building time to incinerate drugs.

    The court heard the cafe’s customers nicknamed the business the “hole-in-the-wall cafe” because of the means of entry employed by police during repeated raids.

    Russell, of Ethelwood Road, was cleared of offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act at a previous hearing.

  7. Politicians are 10 years behind the times, when it comes to hemp use. People have been fighting for along time against pot prohibition with some movement going on now. Still too slow for those caught up in the jail system. Our freedoms have been trampled on by folks who know nothing about how beautiful cannabis can be for someones life. Keep up the good work.

  8. newsdeskinternational

    £14m cannabis factory men jailed in Gwynedd

    Three men have been jailed for a total of seven-and-a-half years for their part in running a cannabis factory, involving drugs worth £14m.


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