Super drug on open sale in Brighton

By chillinwill · Feb 21, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    A drug banned from four European countries is freely available at shops across Brighton.

    Spice, which has been outlawed in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and even Holland, remains legal in the UK, although Home Office is reviewing its status.

    Its potent ingredient is the chemical JWH-018 - a relative of THC - the substance which provides “the high” in cannabis.

    But the manufactured equivalent is known to be four or five times stronger.

    A Home Office spokeswoman told The Argus its Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs will be briefed on Spice at its very next meeting.

    She said: “The Home Office is monitoring the use of Spice both in this country and elsewhere in the EU.

    “The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has been monitoring its use since the end of 2007 and intends to hold a briefing session on it for experts during the spring, in which the UK will participate.”

    Marketed as incense and clearly labelled as not for human consumption, it is displayed alongside smoking papers and other “legal highs”.

    Its popularity as a recreational drug has spread widely through internet forums, and hundreds of slickly marketed sachets – branded as Spice Gold, Diamond and Silver - are sold in Brighton each week.

    While most on-line commentators rave about its cannabis-like effect, others claim to have suffered panic attacks.

    The Argus has established that at least four shops in the city sell the product - Marketplace, Meeting House Lane; The Guarana Bar, Sydney Street; Taylors Tobacconists, Bond Street; and Smokers Heaven, Queens Road.

    The owner of one Brighton shop selling Spice, who asked not to be named, complained the Government had allowed alcohol consumption to grow almost unabated while cracking down on products like Magic Mushrooms, which were briefly legal in the UK, before being banned in 2005.

    When asked about Spice, he said: “It is very popular. It is the one effective smoking product to have come on the market and customers have been waiting a long time for a viable, legal alternative.

    “People do not want to break the law and they do not want cannabis to show up in medicals.

    “If you are an adult, you should have the right to choose how you want to relax.”

    But he expressed concern that publicity could lead to a Government ban.

    Like the Home Office, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said it was also investigating whether Spice should be classed as a medicinal product.

    The owner of Marketplace, an Aladdin’s cave of legal highs and smoking paraphernalia, called on the Government to clarify the drug’s status.

    He said: “It would be handy if we had some guidance from the Government.”

    Among the fine cigars and pipe tobacco, Bob Caulfield also sells Spice from his shop, Taylors tobacconists, Bond Street.

    He has been stocking it for more than a year and sells around 30 packets a week.

    He said: “It is mainly regular customers who come in to buy it.

    “It means people do not need to go to a back street and hand over a £20 note.

    “One of my customers says he goes and buys a coffee and has a smoke in the park legally.”

    While only four European countries have banned JWH-018, some Spice sellers refuse to export the products to Norway, Sweden and United States, where its status is unclear. It has also been banned from Jersey from November.

    Sussex Police said it had come across its radar but only on a handful of occasions.

    By Lawrence Marzouk
    February 20, 2009
    The Argus

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  1. Don't fear the Reaper
    SWIM is curious, have there been any tests to discover wether or not Spice has harmful side effects... ? or is this just being banned because it gets you high and people are ignorant?

    And are there any links to studies carried out?
  2. Sven99
    It may have missed the Brighton reporters attention, but there's a number of much more common drugs sold in alot more venues in Brighton. One of the more common ones is alcohol.
  3. nibble
    No there has been no such studies, but this is irrelavant to government officials. Cannabis has been proven time and time again to have very few negative side effects, less than alcohol for example but is still illegal throughout the vast majority of the world. Harm doesn't really factor into it, if it isn't alcohol or tobacco it will be made illegal once it gains some popularity.
  4. Rightnow289
    Actually Marijuana can cause psychosis in 10% of the population. Also Paranoia and anxiety are felt by many users while on it. I don't know why people have this notion that Marijuana is completely safe. Although it will not kill you it does do things to your mental health.
  5. nibble
    That is at this point not very well proven, I'm not denying it can have mental health reprecussions but those that it may affect tend to be peope that are predisposed to mental illness through genetics or otherwise, you can't say it causes psychosis, actually psychosis wouldn't even be the correct term for what you're describing..
    Anxiety is certainly not psychosis, cannabinoids do indeed act as anxiogenics, this is directly due to agonism of CB receptors - it dissapears on cessation of the drugs effects, it has nothing to do with the user becoming psychotic.
    That said, daily smoking certainly is not a good idea for most people, but I'd take the negative effect of a few years of daily smoking over those of a few years of daily drinking..
  6. cannabis-sam
    Yeah there is no concrete evidence of it causing mental illness, but there also no evidence to show it definatly doesn't. to say cannabis causes psychosis in 10 percent of the population is misleading. As damage to body go apart from the lungs (and thats inhaling combusting plant material in itself not cannabis) cannabis is harmless, if someone were to drink, or take cocaine everyday for a few years there is a very high chance of damage to vital orgrans, this doesn't seem to happen with cannabis. If using everyday though it's hard to believe something could not be harmful and have some negative effects on some aspect of the body or the mind.

    Theres nothing completely safe, but on relative harms cannabis is pretty benign, these synthetic cannabinoids however we don't have a clue, if long term use causes damage, to any organs or to mental health.
  7. RadioHead
    It's hard to say that Marijuana causes mental problems in those that were going to develop them anyway, how are you going to know if people were going to develop it or not before they (probably) did from smoking pot?
  8. Niteflights
    Alcohol causes psychosis in a great number of individuals, as well as lack of sex and television violence.
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