Legal Highs: Are They Really Safe?

Legal highs, also known as “designer drugs” or “research chemicals”, are substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs but are not technically illegal. These substances are often marketed as “safe” alternatives to illegal drugs, but are they really safe? In this article, we’ll explore the world of legal highs and the potential risks associated with them.

What Are Legal Highs?

Legal highs are substances that are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD. They are often sold as powders, pills, or herbal mixtures and are marketed as “legal” and “safe” alternatives to illegal drugs.

These substances are not regulated by the government and are often sold in “head shops” or online. They are also known as “research chemicals” because they are often created in a laboratory and have not been tested for safety or effectiveness.

Common Types of Legal Highs

Legal highs

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There are many different types of legal highs, but some of the most common include:

  • Synthetic cannabinoids: These are substances that mimic the effects of marijuana. They are often sold as herbal mixtures and are marketed as “herbal incense” or “potpourri”.
  • Synthetic cathinones: These are substances that mimic the effects of amphetamines and cocaine. They are often sold as bath salts or plant food.
  • Synthetic hallucinogens: These are substances that mimic the effects of LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. They are often sold as pills or powders.
  • Synthetic opioids: These are substances that mimic the effects of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. They are often sold as pills or powders.

Are Legal Highs Really Safe?

The short answer is no. While legal highs may be marketed as “safe” alternatives to illegal drugs, they can be just as dangerous, if not more so.

Lack of Regulation

One of the biggest risks associated with legal highs is the lack of regulation. These substances are not regulated by the government, which means that there are no standards for their production, packaging, or labeling.

This lack of regulation means that you can never be sure of what you are getting when you purchase a legal high. The substance may contain harmful chemicals or unknown ingredients that can have serious health consequences.

Unknown Long-Term Effects

Legal high packaging

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Since legal highs are relatively new on the market, there is very little research on their long-term effects. This means that we don’t know what the potential risks are for using these substances over an extended period of time.

Some legal highs may have similar effects to illegal drugs, which can lead to addiction, overdose, and other serious health problems. Others may have completely unknown long-term effects that could be even more dangerous.

Dangerous Side Effects

Legal highs can have a range of side effects, some of which can be extremely dangerous. These side effects can vary depending on the type of legal high and the individual using it, but some common side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Risk of Addiction

Addiction

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Many legal highs have addictive properties, which means that they can lead to dependence and addiction. This is especially true for substances that mimic the effects of illegal drugs, as they can create a similar high and withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction to legal highs can have serious consequences, including financial problems, relationship issues, and health complications. It can also lead to a higher risk of using other drugs, as individuals may seek out stronger substances to achieve the same high.

Legal Highs and High School Wrestling

One common question that arises when discussing legal highs is whether or not they are allowed in high school wrestling. The answer is no.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has strict rules regarding the use of any substance that can alter an athlete’s performance. This includes legal highs, which are considered performance-enhancing drugs.

If a high school wrestler is found to be using a legal high, they can face serious consequences, including suspension or expulsion from the team.

Legal Highs and High Flow Cats in California

Another common question is whether or not high flow cats are legal in California. High flow cats, or high flow catalytic converters, are aftermarket parts that are designed to increase the flow of exhaust gases, resulting in more power and better performance.

While high flow cats are legal in some states, they are not legal in California. The state has strict emissions standards, and any modifications to a vehicle’s emissions system are illegal.

How to Stay Safe

Stay safe

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If you or someone you know is considering using legal highs, it’s important to take steps to stay safe. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Educate yourself: Before using any substance, do your research. Learn about the potential risks and side effects, and make an informed decision.
  • Avoid unknown substances: Stick to substances that are well-known and have been tested for safety and effectiveness.
  • Don’t use alone: Always use with a trusted friend or family member who can help in case of an emergency.
  • Start with a small dose: If you do decide to use a legal high, start with a small dose to see how your body reacts.
  • Seek help if needed: If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to legal highs or any other substance, seek help from a medical professional or addiction treatment center.

In Conclusion

While legal highs may be marketed as “safe” alternatives to illegal drugs, they can be just as dangerous, if not more so. The lack of regulation, unknown long-term effects, and potential for addiction make these substances a serious risk to your health.

If you or someone you know is considering using legal highs, it’s important to educate yourself, avoid unknown substances, and seek help if needed. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure your safety and well-being.

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