Mephedrone, a highly stimulating synthetic drug

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David Holt
Mephedrone, a highly stimulating synthetic drug

Mephedrone, 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) or Meow meow, among many other names, is a psychoactive drug and a powerful stimulant that temporarily improves mental function, physical function, or both. It is a synthetic stimulant.

It is known to produce a mixture of effects similar to those of other drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy or MDMA, in addition to having entactogenic effects (with an increase in empathy and feelings of affiliation and closeness towards others).

Contents

  • What is mephedrone?
  • Main effects of mephedrone
    • Physical effects of mephedrone
    • Cognitive effects of mephedrone
  • Side Effects and Risks of Mephedrone
    • References

What is mephedrone?

Mephedrone is part of a group of medications closely related to amphetamines, such as methamphetamine (speed) and ecstasy. There are not many studies on mephedrone and its long-term effects, as it is a fairly new drug, but since it is similar to methamphetamine and ecstasy, the long-term effects can be very similar..

Mephedrone is considered a recreational drug. This means that people use it from time to time for fun, and there is no medical justification for its psychoactive effects..

It is chemically similar to compounds that can be synthesized from cathinone, a substance found in the East African khat plant (cathulla edullis)..

It comes in the form of tablets or powder, which users can swallow, snort, inject or insert rectally, producing effects that are similar to those of MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine.

Mephedrone was first synthesized in 1929 and given the name toluyl-alpha-monomethylaminoethylketone, but it was not widely known until 2003, when it was "rediscovered." In 2007, its sale over the Internet was detected for the first time, in 2008 security agencies were already aware of the compound, and by 2010 it had already become popular in most of Europe, becoming particularly well-known in the United Kingdom..

Other popular names for mephedrone are MCAT, bubbles, drone, meow-meow, white magic, and M-smack.

Main effects of mephedrone

Physical effects of mephedrone

  • Euphoria and stimulating effect: Mephedrone is an extremely stimulating and energetic compound. This means that it promotes the realization of activities that involve a lot of movement such as running or dancing, for this reason it is a very popular drug in musical events such as parties, concerts, discos, etc. But there is the danger that, at high doses, it is difficult or impossible to stay still, bruxism (clenching and grinding the teeth strongly), body shaking and involuntary movements, resulting in extreme instability of the hands and a general lack of motor control.
  • Physical sensations: at the time of greatest effect of mephedrone, a moderate to high tingling sensation may appear that covers the entire body. This usually feels like something pleasant to the consumer. This sensation begins with the onset of the effects of the drug and increases progressively until reaching its maximum limit at the time of greatest effect of mephedrone..
  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency
  • Vasoconstriction - Some mephedrone users experience cold or even bluish lips and fingers, indicating vasoconstriction.
  • Elevation of blood presure
  • Dehydration: dry mouth and dehydration is a side effect of mephedrone. All this is the result of an increase in heart rate, in addition to the fact that its consumption generates an increase in perspiration and an uncontrolled impulse to participate in strenuous physical activities. It is therefore important to avoid dehydration, especially when dancing in a hot environment, but there is also the possibility of poisoning from drinking too much alcohol, so it is recommended that consumers simply drink water and nothing else.
  • Difficulty urinating: at high doses, mephedrone causes difficulty urinating, an effect that is temporary.
  • Altered body odor: Mephedrone can leave a very distinctive and unpleasant odor in urine, sweat and general body secretions, which is often described as an odor similar to cat urine.
  • Tactile enhancement sensation
  • Blurred vision: The eyeballs of a person who has taken mephedrone may spontaneously start to move from side to side in a rapid motion, causing vision to become blurry and temporarily out of focus, a condition known as nystagmus..

Cognitive effects of mephedrone

The psychological effects of this substance are progressively intensified in proportion to the dose. But the main effect is described by many as one of extreme mental stimulation and powerful euphoria. It has a large number of cognitive effects, the most prominent of which are:

  • Cognitive euphoria - Mephedrone generates intense emotional euphoria and feelings of happiness, and is likely a direct result of the release of serotonin and dopamine.
  • Thought acceleration
  • Feeling of security
  • Disinhibition
  • Empathy, feelings of love and improved sociability: this particular effect, although perceived somewhat differently, is also much less potent than the same effect caused by traditional entactogenic drugs such as MDMA or 2C-B.
  • Increased libido
  • Time distortion: an intense sensation of time compression is generated, which causes the experience of the passage of time to be significantly accelerated.
  • Improved motivation
  • Increased musical appreciation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Side Effects and Risks of Mephedrone

Mephedrone is a recreational drug that carries a number of health risks.

Some studies show that long-term use of mephedrone can cause paranoia, depression, hallucinations, and severe panic attacks, as well as adverse effects on the heart, arteries, and kidneys..

Excessive stimulation of the central nervous system can also lead to headaches, insomnia, and a rapid heartbeat..

People who inhale the drug may have nosebleeds and damage to the tissues and structures within the nose. The medicine can cause teeth grinding, nausea, vomiting, and a suppressed appetite..

It has also been linked to impotence.

Several deaths have been linked to drug use.

More and more people are taking mephedrone by injecting it. This implies a risk of infection, for example, with hepatitis C or HIV, as well as damage to the veins, such as abscesses, blood clots and even gangrene..

Unlike many other recreational drugs, such as amphetamines and ecstasy, mephedrone was not developed as a drug in the first place, but in clandestine laboratories. For this reason it has not been previously tested in humans and it is not known what the medium or long-term effects might be, in addition to many of the short-term effects. Most countries have already banned or restricted its use since 2014.

References

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bph.12628
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/mephedrone
https://www.talkingdrugs.org/author-of-new-mephedrone-study-discusses-his-findings


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