What are Synthetic Cathinones?

Synthetic Cathinones is the collective name for a growing group of drugs that are related to cathinone, a stimulant drug that occurs naturally in the khat plant and that has similar amphetamine-like effects.

What are Synthetic Cathinones?

Synthetic Cathinones are often called by the group name “Bath Salts”. The three most often found synthetic cathinones in bath salts are:

  • Mephedrone (also known as MCat, Drone, Meph or Meow Meow)
  • 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV)
  • Methylone

Bath salts most often are sold in the form of a crystalline powder that is either brown or white in colour. The packaging is normally a small foil or plastic packet and may be marked as “plant food”, “jewellery cleaner” or “phone screen cleaner”. Various brand names are used to market synthetic cathinones , including Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave, Legal X. Ocean, Snow and White Lightning.

How are Synthetic Cathinones taken?

Synthetic Cathinones are normally taken orally. They can also be inhaled, or injected. They are stimulant drugs that are close to amphetamines and ecstasy (MDMA) in their chemical make up. Users take the drugs in order to experience euphoria, increased sociability and a heightened sex drive

There are various health risks associated with taking synthetic cathinones. Paranoia, agitation, and hallucinatory delirium are known side effects when using synthetic cathinones, sometimes with violent and psychotic behaviour. A number of deaths after using the drug have also been reported.

Synthetic Cathinones and the Law

More and more countries are outlawing the use and possession of Synthetic Cathinones, however new variants of these trypes of drugs are constantly appearing in order to try and keep one step ahead of the law.

In 2010. Mephedrone was banned in the UK. However, as soon as Mephedrone was outlawed, another drug started to appear called naphyrone. This drug was marketed as “jewellery cleaner and sold in packets calling the product “Cosmic Blast.”

Photo Credit: Mind from nl [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons