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What are legal drugs? Avoid becoming addicted to them 

Legal drugs are substances whose use and commercialization are authorized by the legislation of a country. In Spain, these drugs can be acquired and consumed within the established legal framework, contrasting with illegal substances, which are prohibited by law due to their harmful effects and potential for addiction.

Definition of legal drugs

When referring to legal drugs, it pertains to substances whose sale and consumption are regulated by the State, such as alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine, as well as other substances like CBD. In contrast to other types of illegal substances, where both manufacturing and distribution are penalized. Among them are cocaine or MDMA.

Classification of legal drugs

Legal drugs in Spain are classified based on their impact on the central nervous system:

  • Stimulants: like caffeine, elevating energy levels and alertness.
  • Depressants: alcohol is a classic example, as it decreases brain activity.
  • Mood Modifiers: some prescribed drugs that alter mood or alleviate pain or Smart Drugs.

Everything you need to know about legal drugs

Among some of the substances currently permitted in Spain are the following:


Alcohol is one of the most widely accepted and available legal drugs in Spain, being one of the most used in Spanish culture, especially at parties and social events. However, there are some key regulations regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Legal Drugs Alcohol

Some key regulations regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol to consider are as follows:

  • Legal drinking age: in Spain, the minimum age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 18 years old.
    • Sales hours: there are restrictions on the hours during which alcohol can be sold, and this varies by region.
  • Driving under the influence: strict blood alcohol limits apply to drivers, with lower limits for experienced drivers than for new ones.

Effects of alcohol

The short-term and long-term effects of alcohol on the body and mind are as follows:

  • Short-term: alcohol consumption can cause euphoria, disinhibition, and, in extreme cases, nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.
  • Long-term: continued abuse can lead to liver disease, heart problems, alcohol addiction, and changes in the brain.


Among the so-called legal drugs in Spain is tobacco consumption, although subject to significant restrictions. Nicotine, the main addictive component of tobacco, is a legal drug of concern due to its effects on the nervous system and high addictive potential. Legal restrictions on tobacco include:

  • The sale of tobacco products and vaping devices to minors is prohibited.
  • Tobacco advertising and promotion are limited.
  • Designated smoking areas restrict consumption in enclosed public places and outdoor spaces such as playgrounds and hospitals.

Nicotine’s impact on the brain

  • Nicotine stimulates dopamine release, creating a sense of pleasure.
  • It causes physical and psychological dependence by altering the brain’s chemical balance.
  • Withdrawal can cause withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to quit the habit.


Caffeine as a legal substance and its presence in coffee, tea, and other beverages. Coffee is one of the socially accepted and consumed beverages daily. Unlike other substances like alcohol or nicotine, there are no severe restrictions on its sale or consumption.

Effects of caffeine

Caffeine is appreciated for its ability to increase alertness and temporarily improve cognitive performance. However, abuse can lead to problems such as insomnia, nervousness, and even heart arrhythmias. The key is moderate consumption.

      • Positive effects: improved concentration, reduced fatigue.

      • Negative consequences: anxiety, sleep disturbances, increased heart rate.

    Caffeine Legal Drugs

    Opioids and Smart Drugs

    Medications that are considered legal drugs are those that have been approved by regulatory agencies and in most cases require a doctor’s prescription. These drugs are used to treat, prevent or diagnose diseases and medical conditions under the supervision of health care professionals.Some of them are:

    • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs: these are drugs that can be purchased without a prescription. They are generally considered safe and effective for public use when used as directed. Examples include ibuprofen, acetaminophen or antihistamines.
    • Prescription drugs: these require a doctor’s prescription to be purchased, as they tend to have stronger effects or a higher potential for causing dependence or side effects. Included here are antibiotics, benzodiazepines (for anxiety disorders), opioids or antidepressants.
    • Medications that are restricted or controlled because of their potential for abuse or dependence. These medications also require a prescription and their prescription and dispensing are strictly regulated, such as those used for stimulants or barbiturates.  

    All of these drugs must be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and in accordance with local laws, as misuse of legal drugs can lead to serious adverse effects or dependent

    Cannabis: a complex legal status

    The classification of cannabis as a drug can also vary depending on local laws and regulations. In some countries and states, cannabis is legal for medicinal and/or recreational use, while in others it remains illegal. The World Health Organization and other international health authorities also recognize cannabis as a drug, mainly because of its psychoactive effects.

    Cannabis contains compounds such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), which can affect the brain and central nervous system, producing changes in perception, mood and behavior.

    Within the spectrum of legal substances in Spain, lies cannabidiol and cannabis, a unique case reflecting a constant evolution in its perception and regulation. Cannabis has been recognized for its medicinal and recreational uses, although its legality can vary considerably depending on various factors.

    On one hand, CBD or cannabidiol, one of the main components of cannabis, is attracting growing attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. It has been used to treat conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, and even some forms of epilepsy. However, despite its non-psychoactive profile, there is still some controversy regarding its legality in Spain.

    It should be noted that legislation and legal frameworks surrounding these cannabinoids continue to be subject to debate and review. For those interested in exploring the benefits of CBD or cannabis in general, it is recommended to stay updated with the latest regulations to ensure safe and responsible use.

    Risks and prevention associated with legal drugs in Spain

    The effects and risks of legal drugs can be as devastating as those of illegal substances. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can have serious health consequences if consumed in excess.

    Excessive consumption of any of these legal drugs can have numerous negative effects, so it is advisable to use them with caution.

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    Erik Collado

    Con más de 10 años de experiencia en la industria del cannabis, sus experiencias y aprendizaje son la base del éxito de GB The Green Brand.

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