Theresa May Exempts Homeopathy from Farcical Psychoactive Substances Bill

It's almost as if no-one has thought this through.

Theresa_May_-_Home_Secretary_and_minister_for_women_and_equalityThe Home Secretary, Theresa May, is to introduce new legislation banning any substance that might be considered a ‘legal high’. In her Psychoactive Substances Bill, any substance that can “affect[s] the person’s mental functioning or emotional state” will be banned unless it is on a very short list of allowed substances. So, after this Bill is passed, you will only be allowed to drink tea because Theresa May has specifically allowed you to do so. Bless her.

The Bill has been called “idiotic, ill thought out and pointless”. And one the silliest parts appears to be that it will give exemptions to “Homoeopathic medicinal products.” That must be a great relief to homeopaths. But I am not so sure it should do.

We all know that homeopathic remedies are just plain sugar pills. They are incapable of inducing any specific effects. But the way the Bill is worded, there does not need to be specific effects that produce the ‘legal high’. As has been pointed out, flowers may be banned as smelling them could induce pleasurable brain responses. And banning substances capable of giving pleasure appears to be the aim of the Bill. Air fresheners might be on the banned list. As well as vape inhalers, perfume and helium balloons.

Homeopathic remedies are just placebos. But aren’t placebos by definition capable of mind altering effects? Indeed, the very notion of a placebo is that is is given ‘to please’. Placebos alter expectations, beliefs and can change the way we experience pain and other symptoms. Offering a placebo is done for the very purpose of ‘affecting the person’s mental functioning and emotional state’ thus to alleviate their perception of their illness.

Luckily then, homeopathic preparations are exempt.

But what would happen if a police raid on a homeopathic clinic discovered a homeopath with ‘intent to supply’ their sugary remedies? A defense would be that these sugar pills were not placebos but were homeopathic remedies. Off to forensics they go and the results come back that the pills were simple sugar pills. Bang to rights. How could the homeopath ever prove that the pills were indeed homeopathic remedies and not banned mind-altering sugar pills? Of course, they could not. The pills have nothing in them. They are placebos. Homeopathic remedies are produced by magic ritual that results in no actual medicinal substance ending up in the pill.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill appears to have created an illiberal absurdity, wrapped in a nonsense and tangled up in a contradiction of delusional thinking. Legislating magic medicine is always going to do this. You cannot put rational laws (even if May was capable of such a thing) around irrational, magical thinking.

This is going to be a fun one to watch.

On this theme…

11 Comments on Theresa May Exempts Homeopathy from Farcical Psychoactive Substances Bill

  1. Has that ninny Tredinnick had a word in her shell like in order to misguidedly protect his homeopathetic mates? Or maybe Jeremy Hunt?

  2. Didn’t the proving for homeopathic Light of Saturn prominently feature “feeling high?” Of course, the same participants may’ve been toking just before…
    Hmmph. Silly to carve out exemptions for fairy dust. Makes it seem that fairy dust does something.

  3. What about, say, 30c Arsenicum Album; prescribed by many homeopaths as an anti-depressant? Surely this is marketed as a psychoactive substance, intended to induce a feeling of psychological well-being in people struggling with low mood?

  4. If homeopathy could produce a psychoactive response, I would retire tomorrow and set up a shop to supply them……Quids in !

  5. I think our prisons and “sink estates” have more to worry about with the wholesale abuse of prescription drugs like pregabalin and tramadol.

    As usual, missing the point and the bigger picture Mr Lewis.You and your friends keep worrying about those little sugar pills but fail to see the elephant in the room that’s Pharmageddon.

  6. Homeopathy is outdated and often dangerous ‘medicine’. When it’s peddled by quacks claiming it can cure cancer (it’s illegal to claim ANYTHING can cure cancer until it is proven by scientists that it can), it becomes more than a placebo and some people even stop their cancer treatment and quickly fall under the spell of the quack, use all their life savings on his snake oil and die, leaving nothing behind for the family. I bet this medical quackery has killed more than any ‘legal high’ or illegal drug. More research is needed into cannabis and cancer asap, and it can relieve pain and nausea in patients on chemotherapy, it is prescribed for this in many US states. It has a myriad of medical uses yet the government refuses to grant licenses to scientists to research them even though it’s never claimed one life on the face of the entire planet, can the same be said about prescription drugs and even over the counter ones? NO. Paracetamol is lethal in overdose and a popular choice for suicidal people. It causes a long, lingering death from liver failure and has killed many more than any legal high or illegal drug. You can buy this lethal poison in most shops. This stupid backwards law is going to hinder scientific progress. It should be where a substance has to pass a safety check before being declared safe and put on sale.

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