Legal high myths

Lizzo got it right, the rumours are true. Or are they? When it comes to legal highs, you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. Since a lot of people tend to opt for the hard stuff instead of a natural alternative, there’s not a lot of clarity around what legal highs actually do to you. You’ll probably hear a million different things from different sources and it can get pretty confusing. Lucky for you, we’re here to set the records straight.

A group of students is sitting on sofas. They are discussing legal high myths. This is a full-body image.

Time to bust some Legal high myths

Legal high myths #1: Legal highs aren’t as strong as illegal drugs 

True or false? FALSE

Nope. In fact, they’re potentially more potent than illegal drugs – hence their new found popularity. Illegal drugs such as cocaine or MDMA are usually mixed with all sorts of rubbish like caffeine pills and baking soda as they travel along the manufacturing line. Especially if you’re buying them on the dark web (which we do not recommend, at all). One the other hand, reports suggest that legal synthetic drugs can be purer and more potent because they’re not cut with anything else. Even herbal highs pack a powerful punch. Salvia is so strong users have reported they actually believe they are a sofa or trapped inside Facebook after taking it.

Myth two: Legal highs are safer 

True or false? FALSE

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about legal highs. Just because they are technically legal, doesn’t mean they’re safe. It just means that the powers-that-be haven’t got round to legislating against the particular concoction hat you’ve managed to bag. New batches of legal highs are mixed up quickly to dodge new laws and haven’t been tested for human consumption. Oftentimes, the people mixing won’t even research chemicals to get an idea of what the high will be like.

If you want to find out more about the safety of legal highs, click here. 

Myth three: Legal highs are legal. Duh! 

True and false? FALSE

“But they are called LEGAL highs,” we hear your confused mind scream. Surely legal is the key word here? But even the best legal highs have hidden properties. Think. Have you done extensive lab tests on it? For all you know you’ve got an illegal substance there. Keep in mind, even if you think you’re on the right side of the law, ignorance isn’t an excuse for possession if you’re caught.

Not to mention that the new Psychoactive Substances Act means that you can now get a lot of years in prison for producing or supplying legal highs. Basically, the government is starting to crack down, which means that you need to stay on top of the law if you want to avoid living out a British version of Orange Is The New Black.

Myth four: Legal highs can kill you 

True or false? TRUE

The short answer is yes. Since there’s no way of telling how your body will respond to a substance, it’s fairly easy for something to go wrong. Plus mixing substances with medication, drugs or alcohol can be fatal. 

To be honest, there hasn’t been any recent research into the topic. But a study in 2016 found that deaths from legal highs had almost tripled over a two-year period. So, it’s definitely safe to say that a psychoactive drug, along with other side effects, can exponentially increase your chances of dying.

Legal high myths #5: You can mix legal highs with alcohol 

True or false? FALSE

No. Don’t try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter. Please. If you need a reason why, here’s the science.

Alcohol is a depressant. This means it slows down the nervous system which controls the heart and breathing rate. Mixing alcohol with any drug can seriously upset your body; Mixing alcohol with another legal depressant could shut you down altogether. And combining alcohol with a legal stimulant isn’t a terrific idea either. It can confuse your inner drunk-o-meter and lead you to consume an unhealthy and potentially lethal amount of alcohol. To find out more about mixing drugs, you can read our article here. 

Myth six: Legal drugs come from a less dodgy source  

True or false? TRUE

Most synthetic legal highs are made in China and sent legally into this country. In any case, legal high manufacturers aren’t exactly candidates for outstanding citizen awards. They’re still pretty shady business people with an interest in profit, not well-being. After all, they’re purposely tweaking chemical formulas to avoid a prison sentence. Honestly, it’s probably just good practice to NEVER assume that anything with drugs involved is a clean business. 

Myth seven: Legal highs are cheaper than illegal drugs 

True or false? TRUE

The pricing of drugs works just like any other business. It’s all to do with supply and demand. Supplying illegal drugs can be tricky and involves risky manoeuvres. All this pushes the price up. But with legal highs the process is much simpler. This means that the supply is easier and the cost is lower. So, even the best legal highs will only cost you a fraction of the price of Molly. 

If you’re interested in the pricing of drugs, you should definitely read our article. 

Myth eight: Legal highs are purer

True or false? TRUE

With legal highs, there’s less of a need to mix in so much crap than with the generic stuff. But don’t assume this makes them safer. It makes them stronger. With that in mind, it’s important to mention that, if you’re snorting a ‘legal line’ you might not need to take as much. Taking the stuff by the handful is risking overloading your body and overstimulating your mind.

Myth nine: It’s easier to get the dosage right with legal highs 

True or false? FALSE

Unfortunately, they’re not aspirin which means they don’t come with a recommended dosage. Plus, they’re largely unregulated and untested. What worked for Graham-from-the-pub might not work for you. There’s just no real way of telling how a legal high will affect you and how much to take. Not to mention, with the chemicals constantly changing, even re-trying a legal high is like trying it for the first time. 

The moral of the story? legal high myths are often just that, myths. Try to do your research rather than just going off what your mate said, it’ll save you a lot of trouble.

Next Steps

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legal highs

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 07-Sep-2021