The Government’s official drug advisers are to consider whether “legal high” drugs marketed as an alternative to cannabis should be banned.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is investigating products such as Spice, which contain synthetic chemicals similar to those found in cannabis.
Professor David Nutt, the council’s chair, described the products as an “increasing threat” and warned that young people should be protected from them.
Spice and similar products such as Tribal Warrior are available over the internet and in some “head shops” for around £25 for three grams.
Some websites selling the products describe them as herbs which have been used by ancient cultures around the world, while others simply describe them as a legal alternative to cannabis.
Studies have found it contains components including JWH-018, a synthetic cannabinoid which has a similar effect to THC, the substance naturally found in the cannabis plant.
In its annual report published earlier this year, Prof Nutt warned: “the ACMD is concerned about the increasing use of the drug product ‘Spice’ a herbal preparation with added synthetic cannabinoids.”
The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, has now asked Prof Nutt to look into the issue of legal high products, and whether legislation is needed to end their sale.
Proff Nutt said: “It is important that we remain at the forefront of managing these emerging trends and the harms of substance misuse.
“We need to get across that some of these legal highs pose a real danger.
“By looking at the evidence to see the harms caused by the various chemical compounds that make up these legal highs we will be able to give advice to the government on a scientific basis, allowing them to legislate and remain ahead of the game.”
Written by Samuel Doxford
July 29, 2009
The London Echo