A LEGAL drug available over the counter of a city centre shop is set to be banned after it was declared dangerous by a Government drug adviser.

An Oxford University professor has highlighted concern about Spice, which is a herbal smoking mixture stronger than some strains of cannabis.

Our reporter bought a three gram pouch of the Gold Spirit version of the product for £30 from Tiger Lily, in New Road.

The ‘legal high’ is already banned in Germany and France because of fears of psychological damage.

The US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) has described the smoking mix as “stealth marijuana”.

Professor Leslie Iversen, chairman of the technical committee at the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said he expected it to be outlawed.

He said: “We all view this as being particularly serious. It’s a very clever product, sold as a herbal smoking mixture from China, but containing chemicals which can be a lot more potent than cannabis.

“Users have no idea what they are taking. As a result they are running a considerable risk of overdosing, which is not only unpleasant, but potentially quite dangerous.”

The only ingredients listed on the packet are “dried flower, leaves and aroma extracts”, but analsyis has shown packages are laced with synthetic chemicals which mimic cannabis. Prof Iversen said these could trigger pyschosis and schizophrenia, while German scientists found former Spice users suffered withdrawal symptoms including nausea, depression and anxiety attacks.

The Home Office will next week publish advice from its Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which will call for the substance to be banned.

Legislation to outlaw it is expected to be passed by the end of the year.

Tiger Lily owner Mick Durham, who sells the products to over-18s, said people should be free to use Spice in private.

He said: “It is tremendously popular. We have had people saying they don’t like it, but no-one has ever said it is anything worse than drinking too much alcohol.

“The clever thing would be to tell people what’s in it and whether there are problems and let them make up their own minds.”

Harry Shapiro, of charity Drugscope, said other drugs would soon replace Spice if it were banned.

The Government has yet to classify Spice under the Misuse of Drugs Act, so its sale is still legal.

However, it has been banned in Guernsey.