What are synthetic cathinones?
Synthetic cathinones are often referred to as bath salts. They are artificial stimulants related to the chemistry of cathinone, which is a compound found in the khat leaf plant (1). Khat leaf plants grow in eastern Africa and southern Arabia. In these areas, many people chew the leaves of the khat plant because they can experience mild excitement and stimulant effects. Artificial cathinones may be more strong than natural products, and in some cases are considered dangerous, especially when abused. They are stimulants, which means they can accelerate the transmission of information between the brain and the body and have a similar effect to amphetamines (2).
Synthetic cathinones are also known to be part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are a series of drugs that first appeared on the recreational drug market in the mid-2000s, aiming to imitate established illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD. Between 2005 and 2014, the EU Early Warning System reported more than 81 synthetic cathinone derivatives (3).
Usage Of Synthetic Cathinones
Many people take synthetic cathinones to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other disorders. Often people find that using these drugs provides temporary relief from the symptoms, but the drugs soon lead to a tolerance for the drug and increased dependence on the drug. Withdrawal can lead to paranoia, depression, insomnia, and other serious health problems. The biggest dangers of taking synthetic cathinones is the possibility of an addiction and overdose.
How do synthetic cathinones affect the body?
They can cause serious health effects in just as many ways as they do when taken by mouth. To understand how they work, it helps to understand how they work when taken in pill form. When synthetic cathinones are ingested they act in the body as a synthetic version of estrogen. By increasing the production of estrogen in the body, they can increase moodiness, irritability, muscle tension, nausea, and hot flashes. Some users also report that they start having thoughts of suicide.
When synthetic cathinones are taken by mouth, the drug acts just like the hormone estrogen does when taken in pill form. In fact, when the drug encounters the liver, it converts into a compound that mimics the effect of estrogen. This means that synthetic cathinones can interfere with the production of other hormones and vitamins in the body. Some common side effects reported by users of these drugs include dizziness, headaches, restlessness, slow heart rate, sweating, chest pain, diarrhea, and tingling sensations.
Some Risks of Synthetic Cathinones
It’s not entirely clear how synthetic cathinones can work on the body, although research is ongoing. One of the possible risks is that the drug use could affect brain development. If this is the case, there may be a link between drug use and autistic disorder, attention deficit disorder, and possibly other learning disabilities. If you believe that your drug use is causing a negative reaction in your body, contact your doctor to discuss further.
The new psychoactive substances that have been found to have an effect on the brain include atypical antipsychotics like Clonidine and Nuprin. These drugs act in the brain much like street drugs like cocaine, crack, and meth. Although they are usually used to treat people with serious mental illness, atypical antipsychotics are often used without a prescription by unknowing public health officials. This leads to an outbreak of unneeded diseases, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When this happens, the public health officials who did not investigate the use of these unscheduled drugs were also guilty of negligence, and they can be held legally responsible for any death or disability caused by their actions.
The side effects caused by taking synthetic cathinones are no laughing matter. They include nervousness, difficulty breathing, insomnia, hot flashes, nausea, seizures, agitation, depression, sexual problems, paranoia, impulsivity, anxiety, and mania. People with problems sleeping, especially those who take Nuprin, can also suffer from severe sleep deprivation and brain damage.
Because many people who have taken methamphetamine (also known as speed) another synthetic cathinone abuse these new psychoactive substances, the American Medical Association has warned against the use of these drugs. In their statement issued last week, the doctors wrote that the dangers of using methamphetamine, whether it is taken legally or illicitly, are very real and should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know has taken methamphetamine and suffered from any of the above symptoms, it is highly recommended that you seek medical help immediately. An overdose of any drug can kill very quickly, especially one as volatile and unpredictable as methamphetamine. If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the above conditions, contact a professional drug rehab center immediately.