Although categorised as legal highs, there are many misconceptions linked to herbal and hallucinogenic substances. To many individuals, the legal branding causes individuals to believe that connected dangers are limited, especially when comparing to illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and magic mushrooms.

Prior to May 2016, legal highs were sold under the same category as alcohol and tobacco. However, with their highly damaging effects, health risks and ‘not suitable for human consumption’ label, availability across the UK through legal establishments has decreased, with a ban in place. Although this step has been taken, illegal access through the streets to psychoactive and sedative influenced substances is rising, causing many long-term effects and addictions.

There are many dangers linked to legal high abuse. Although perceived as less hazardous to illegal substances, misuse of drugs can cause many negative side effects. If you are addicted to legal highs, seeking rehabilitation and treatment should be your next step, prior to causing greater damage, or the likelihood of greater dependencies.

Legal highs are favoured by many for imitating the effects of illegal substances, such as cocaine. Although many users perceive the drugs to be innocent, legal high abuse can cause many effects if consumed long term. As legal highs are cheaper to purchase when comparing to the likes of crystal meth and ketamine, likelihood of addiction is high.

An addiction to legal highs can be detrimental to an individual’s health. More than likely, an individual will have little knowledge of ingredients used. Legal highs can be made by using anything from bath salts and plant fertiliser, all dangerous if consumed. Alongside their hazardous ingredients, some legal highs will also contain illegal substances. If mixed, significant dangers can be present.

Additionally, the effects of legal highs can cause individuals to hallucinate, causing confusion and paranoia. If abused long-term, many mental health issues, addictions and in some unfortunate cases, death can be caused.

If you are contemplating using any form of legal high, or already have an addiction, see the high risks linked to long-term consumption below. Every individual will experience differing side effects, however, from our experience here at Ocean Recovery Centre, significant damage is possible.

Could legalising drugs be the answer? Check out the pros and cons of legalising drugs here »


To help individuals contemplating legal high consumption understand the dangers, we’ve broken down all risks below. Consumption can start off innocently, leading to an uncontrollable addiction. To avoid any potential threats, working through desires or cravings is a must. If you are experiencing any of the below, seek support today before greater damage is caused.

Dangers of legal high abuse can include…

Lack Of Understanding

As the ingredients of legal highs vary, there is a lack of understanding regarding their effect. Many are created on the spot or have little history, providing users with greater risk. Ingredients can be dangerous, presenting highly hazardous if consumed by humans. Additionally, with the lack of knowledge, understanding whether alcohol or further substances can be consumed, and if so, the effect is lacking. This can be difficult for experts to treat if the ingredients of a legal high are unknown. This can influence probability of long-term recovery when comparing to the knowledge presented with substances such as cocaine.

Influences On life

Like any drug, legal substances can and will influence areas of a user’s life including health and relationships. The greatest concern is linked to a user’s deterioration when focusing on physical and mental wellbeing. Like any toxic substance, many side effects and withdrawal symptoms are possible, reducing quality of life.

Probability Of Addiction

As legal highs are highly addictive, the probability of developing a dependency is high. As doses are increased to subsidise any withdrawal symptoms, individuals are likely to develop a behavioural habit, causing consistent cravings. An addiction can be very difficult to live with and also work through. Therefore, this is a significant factor to consider if you’re thinking of consuming legal highs or currently have a short-term dependency. Additionally, it is important to consider how individuals with behavioural habits have a greater probability of developing further addictions. Whether that be to alcohol or an illegal substance, life-threatening effects could develop.

Long-Term Mental Health Issues

Synthetic cannabinoid legal substances are commonly known to cause long-term psychosis, depression and mental health issues. If consumed consistently, it is highly likely that great damage will be caused to a user’s brain, reducing functionality and health. This factor will prolong recovery if addiction treatment has been requested.

Seek Expert Support Today

Legal High Addiction Support

If you are considering trying legal highs or currently have an addiction, seeking expert support as soon as possible is highly recommended. As stated above, consumption and long-term legal high abuse carry many dangers. Although consumption may begin innocently, life-threatening influences are highly likely if a dependency develops, and is left untreated.

Here at Ocean Recovery Centre, we have experience helping individuals with both legal and illegal drug addictions. We offer industry leading addiction treatment, along with our expert support to aid those working through withdrawal symptoms. Our rehab programmes are in place to promote long-term recovery, while educating users on the effects of drugs.

We understand how difficult any form of drug addiction can be. With many influencing factors and connected mental health issues, we acknowledge the difficulty of avoiding cravings. However, we further understand how dangerous long-term legal high use is, and the effects it can have. Therefore, we are here to support you through a time of change, to disconnect any fixations you may have.

Whether you or a loved one require further information on the effects of legal highs, or you’re suffering through an addiction alone, our team are here to help you. Significant dangers are linked to legal high abuse. There are many life-changing events which can occur if untreated. To avoid any further dangers, take the first step by acknowledging your addiction, and reach out for support. Full support, treatment and aftercare services are available.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 27, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.