Legal Highs in London: The Glittering Dangers of Modern Psychedelics
Mindset2 Minutes Read

Legal Highs in London: The Glittering Dangers of Modern Psychedelics

June 23, 2024 Share



Explore London’s underground world of ‘legal highs’ – from Salvia to Kratom and MXE. Uncover the allure, risks, and realities of these trendy yet potentially dangerous substances.

You might jet to the Amazon for a spiritual ayahuasca journey, but here in London, the avant-garde are chasing their consciousness-expanding thrills in grimy warehouses and nondescript flats. Welcome to the world of “legal highs” – a term as deceptive as it is alluring.

Image courtesy of Dominik Kempf

Gone are the days when altered states were the exclusive domain of shamans and hippies. Now, the cutting edge of chemical exploration has gone mainstream, with substances promising transcendence available at the click of a button or a quiet word in the right ear.

The allure is undeniable. The promise of consequence-free ecstasy, of pushing the boundaries of perception without pushing the boundaries of the law. It’s the ultimate 21st-century indulgence – instant enlightenment with next-day delivery. But as with all things too good to be true, there’s a catch.

In this exposé, we’re pulling back the velvet curtain on three of the scene’s most talked-about stars: Salvia, the green goddess of intense hallucinations; Kratom, the Jekyll and Hyde of the botanical world; and Methoxetamine, the designer dissociative that’s anything but chic.

So whether you’re a curious novice, a concerned friend, or simply addicted to being in the know, strap in. We’re about to take a trip through London’s psychedelic underbelly, where the highs might be legal, but the risks are all too real.


Salvia, a hallucinogenic herb, is known for inducing intense, reality-altering experiences. Users often report feelings of detachment from their bodies, distorted perceptions of time and space, and vivid hallucinations. While not currently classified as a controlled substance in the UK, its sale for consumption is restricted under the Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016. Typically smoked or chewed in dried leaf form, Salvia use can lead to severe side effects. These include intense anxiety, paranoia, and even psychosis. Physical symptoms may involve increased heart rate, dizziness, and loss of coordination. The powerful hallucinations associated with Salvia use also present a risk of accidents or self-harm.


Kratom, derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree, produces varying effects depending on the dosage. At low doses, it acts as a stimulant, increasing energy and focus. Higher doses, however, mimic opioid-like effects, providing pain relief and relaxation. Currently unregulated in the UK, Kratom leaves can be chewed, brewed as tea, or taken in capsule form. Despite its legal status, Kratom use is not without risks. Common side effects include constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced with opioids. Moreover, Kratom can interact dangerously with other medications, potentially causing serious health complications.


Methoxetamine, commonly known as MXE, is a dissociative anesthetic that produces a sense of detachment from one’s body and surroundings. Users may experience hallucinations, distorted perceptions, and altered senses. In high doses, MXE can cause amnesia and complete loss of consciousness. Unlike Salvia and Kratom, MXE is classified as a Class B controlled substance in the UK, making its possession and supply illegal. Typically consumed by snorting or injection, MXE carries a high risk of addiction and dependence. Its use can result in severe bladder problems, confusion, psychosis, and respiratory depression, which in extreme cases can be fatal.

Safety Concerns

It’s crucial to understand that the term “legal high” does not equate to safety. The legal status of these substances can be complex and subject to change. Moreover, the lack of regulation in production and distribution means that users often cannot be certain of the purity or actual contents of what they’re consuming. This uncertainty further compounds the risks associated with their use.

The effects and risks of these substances can vary greatly between individuals. Factors such as body weight, overall health, and potential interactions with other substances or medications can all influence how a person responds to these drugs. Additionally, the psychological state of the user and the environment in which these substances are consumed can significantly impact the experience and potential risks.

In conclusion, the world of “legal highs” is fraught with dangers, both legal and health-related. The allure of new experiences or altered states of consciousness must be weighed against the very real risks of addiction, physical harm, and potential legal consequences. Education and awareness are key in making informed decisions about one’s health and well-being.

It’s important to note that this article is purely for informational purposes and should not be interpreted as an endorsement or encouragement to use any of these substances. All three carry significant health risks, and their legal status can change. Before considering the use of any psychoactive substance, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and consult with a medical professional.

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Author: Avery Echo
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