They have exotic names like Funk Pills, Algerian Blend, Druids Fantasy and Ayahuasca Sacrament. These are pills that promise a spectrum of effects such as those of ayahuasca, “magic mushrooms', cannabis or opium. And they are completely legal.
Ironically, the trade has been stimulated by the British government's decision last year to ban so-called 'magic mushrooms', containing the hallucinogenic psilocin. The ban left a gap in the market and a search for new products.
These legal highs are derived from herbs, plants and cacti from South America and Asia offer an alternative to the substances that have been banned by the government. They are available in flashy packings at low prices from internet-based companies and high street smart- or headshops.
Mark Evans, of everyonedoesit.com, one of the leading internet mail order operations, said the increase in trade had been massive. 'There is a huge gap in the market. These consumers are not going to disappear; they are just looking for alternatives.'
Evans said there had been a change in the recreational drug culture.
At first these ‘ancient’ herbal mixtures were not taken that seriously:
'Herbal substitutes were always a bit of a joke […]' said Evans. But: 'We do a lot of festivals and speak to people who say they are fed up with dealers and taking drugs - like ecstasy - where they cannot always be confident that they know what is in the pill. People want something which will not poison them and they know what they are buying.'
Although many of the ingredients are, it is claimed, ones used from ancient times, most of these gel-capped herbal mixtures have been in existence only for a few years.
Despite all the exotic experiences attributed to the various substances instances of addiction, abuse or harmful affects are almost non-existent.
The Home Office said there was no present reason for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to examine the legal status of any of the substances on the market.
From: The Independent
Curious? Give it a try with, for example, Myster E, Space E, Druids Fantasy or Algerian Blend.
Image by Micha Klein.