Synthetic Cathinones

Synthetic Cathinones

Synthetic Cathinones

Synthetic Cathinones. What are synthetic cathinones?

Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as bath salts, are human-made stimulants chemically related to cathinone, a substance found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, where some people chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. Human-made versions of cathinone can be much stronger than the natural product and, in some cases, very dangerous.

Synthetic cathinones usually take the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labelled “not for human consumption.” They can be labelled as bath salts, plant food, jewellery cleaner, or phone screen cleaner.

Synthetic cathinones are part of a group of drugs that concern public health officials called new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are unregulated psychoactive mind-altering substances with no legitimate medical use and are made to copy the effects of controlled substances.

They are introduced and reintroduced into the market in quick succession to dodge or hinder law enforcement efforts to address their manufacture and sale.

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Synthetic cathinones are marketed as cheap substitutes for other stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine. Products sold as Molly often contain synthetic cathinones instead of MDMA (see Synthetic Cathinones and Molly (Ecstasy).

Synthetic cathinones (Bath salts, eutylone, Flakka M-Cat, Monkey Dust) are a large group of manufactured chemicals which mimic the effects of other substances.

They usually come as a pill, capsule, powder or crystal. They are often mis-sold as MDMA or cocaine, but they require a lower dose which greatly increases the risk of overdose.

The effects vary a lot, and while they often have similar effects to MDMA or methamphetamine, paranoia and anxiety are more common. Synthetic cathinones found in New Zealand include N-ethylpentalone, mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone, mexedrone, and Alpha PVP.


Khat leaves are removed from the plant stalk and are kept in a ball in the cheek and chewed. Chewing releases juices from the leaves, which include the alkaloid cathinone. The absorption of cathinone has two phases: one in the buccal mucosa and one in the stomach and small intestine.

The stomach and small intestine are very important in the absorption of ingested alkaloids. At approximately 2.3 hours after chewing khat leaves, the maximum concentration of cathinone in blood plasma is reached.

The mean residence time is 5.2 ± 3.4 hours.[3] The elimination half-life of cathinone is 1.5 ± 0.8 hours. A two-compartment model for the absorption and elimination best describes this data.

However, at most, only 7% of the ingested cathinone is recovered in the urine. This indicates that the cathinone is being broken down in the body. Cathinone has been shown to selectively metabolize into R,S-(-)-norephedrine and cathine.

The reduction of the ketone group in cathinone will produce cathine. This reduction is catalyzed by enzymes in the liver. The spontaneous breakdown of cathinone is the reason it must be chewed fresh after cultivation

Synthetic Cathinones.

What are synthetic cathinones?
Synthetic cathinones is the name of a category of drugs related to the naturally occurring khat plant.1 They are stimulants, meaning that they speed up the messages between the brain and the body and have similar effects to amphetamines.

Synthetic cathinones are also part of a group of drugs known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). NPSs are a range of drugs that first appeared on the recreational drug market in the mid-2000s, that have been designed to mimic established illicit drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD. Between 2005 and 2014 more than 81 synthetic cathinone derivatives were reported to the EU Early Warning System.

Synthetic cathinones are mostly white or brown powders but also exist in the form of small, chunky crystals. They are sometimes found as capsules and less commonly as tablets.3

Types of cathinones commonly used
Mephedrone (4-MMC), M-CAT)
Alpha-Pyrrolidinovalerophenone (alpha-PVP)

Synthetic Cathinones.

How do synthetic cathinones affect the brain?
Much is still unknown about how synthetic cathinones affect the human brain. Researchers do know that synthetic cathinones are chemically similar to drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, and MDMA.

A study found that 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a common synthetic cathinone, affects the brain in a manner similar to cocaine, but is at least 10 times more powerful. MDPV is the most common synthetic cathinone found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments after taking bath salts.2

Synthetic cathinones can produce effects that include:

paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
hallucinations—experiencing sensations and images that seem real but are not
increased friendliness
increased sex drive
panic attacks
excited delirium—extreme agitation and violent behaviour.

Synthetic production

Cathinone can be synthetically produced from propiophenone through a Friedel-Crafts Acylation of propionic acid and benzene. The resulting propiophenone can be brominated, and the bromine can be substituted with ammonia to produce a racemic mixture of cathinone.

A different synthetic strategy must be employed to produce enantiomerically pure (S)-cathinone. This synthetic route starts out with the N-acetylation of the optically active amino acid, S-alanine.

Then, phosphorus pentachloride (PCl5) is used to chlorinate the carboxylic acid forming an acyl chloride. At the same time, a Friedel-Crafts acylation is performed on benzene with aluminum chloride catalyst. Finally, the acetyl protecting group is removed by heating with hydrochloric acid to form enantiomerically pure S-(-)-cathinone.

Using synthetic cathinones with other drugs
The effects of combining cathinones with other drugs – including over-the-counter or prescribed medications – can be unpredictable and dangerous. The following combinations could have the following effects:

Synthetic cathinones + ice, speed or ecstasy: increase the risk of cardiovascular (heart) problems and substance-induced psychosis.7
Synthetic cathinones + alcohol + cannabis: nausea and vomiting.

Health and Safety
If possible, find out the specific cathinone you are using so you know what to expect and what a common dose is. Synthetic cathinone harm reduction advice is partly based on what is known of related drugs like amphetamines and MDMA, as not enough research has been done on individual synthetic cathinones specifically.

The use of synthetic cathinone is likely to be more dangerous when

taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs, particularly stimulants such as crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) or ecstasy
driving or operating heavy machinery
judgment or motor coordination is required
alone (in case medical assistance is required)
the person has a mental health problem
the person has an existing heart problem.

In Australia, poisons information centres and clinical toxicology units around Australia are often contacted for advice on poisonings from synthetic cathinones. Features of these poisonings include agitation, tachycardia (increased heart rate), hypertension and in severe cases delirium, aggressive behaviour, hallucinations, hyperthermia, cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and seizures. Deaths have occurred due to alpha-PVP toxicity.4

Injecting synthetic cathinones can cause soft tissue and vascular damage.4

Sharing needles may also transmit:

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Dependence and tolerance
There is limited data regarding people seeking treatment for synthetic cathinone dependence, however, people who use synthetic cathinones have reported a strong compulsion to redose, as well dependence.

Synthetic Cathinones

Effects of synthetic cathinones
There is no safe level of drug use. The use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Synthetic cathinones affect everyone differently, based on:

the amount taken
a person’s size, weight and health
whether the person is used to taking it
whether other drugs are taken around the same time
the strength of the drug (which can vary from batch to batch).
The individual effects and toxicity of each cathinone are distinct and can vary greatly between each person using them.

Generally speaking, in small doses the following effects may be experienced and may last for approximately 2-4 hours:

the rush of intense pleasure
feeling happy, energetic and wanting to talk more
intense connection with music
restless sleep
muscle tension (face and jaw)
blurred vision
light-headedness, dizziness
distorted sense of time
enlarged (dilated) pupils, blurred vision
dry mouth, thirst
memory loss
reduced appetite.5
Higher doses may result in the following adverse effects:

nose bleeds from snorting the drug
stomach pains, nausea, vomiting
skin rashes
fast or irregular heartbeat
high blood pressure and hot flushes
strong urge to re-dose
chest pain
tremors, convulsions, death.

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New Cathinone

New Cathinone

New Cathinone

New Cathinone. Cathinone /ˈkæθɪnoʊn/ (also known as benzoylethanamine, or β-keto-amphetamine) is a monoamine alkaloid found in the shrub Catha edulis (khat) and is chemically similar to ephedrine, cathine, methcathinone and other amphetamines. It is probably the main contributor to the stimulant effect of Catha edulis, also known as khat.

Cathinone differs from many other amphetamines in that it has a ketone functional group. Other phenethylamines that share this structure include the stimulants methcathinone, MDPV, mephedrone and the antidepressant bupropion.

Khat is usually supplied as a bundle of leaves and fresh shoots wrapped in banana leaves. It is reported to have a sharp taste and an aromatic odour. Alcoholic extracts (tinctures) of khat have occasionally been reported, especially in ‘herbal high’ sales outlets and at music festivals.

Buy Cathinone Online

New Cathinone. Khat (also known as qat or chat) comprises the leaves and fresh shoots of Catha edulis Forsk, a flowering evergreen shrub cultivated in East Africa and the South-West Arabian Peninsula.

Khat leaves are typically wrapped as a bundle in banana leaves. The principal active components in khat are cathinone and cathine (norpseudoephedrine) (see also Drug profile on synthetic cathinones).

Chewing khat releases these substances into the saliva; they are rapidly absorbed and eliminated. Both cathinone and cathine are closely related to amphetamine, and the pharmacological effects of cathinone are qualitatively similar to those of amphetamine, although it is less potent.

Only fresh leaves are chewed because cathinone soon degrades into old or dry plant material. The analysis relies on the characteristic appearance of khat and the presence of cathinone and/or cathine. Khat is not under International control but is scheduled by some Member States. Cathinone and cathine are listed in the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances under Schedules I and III respectively.

The principal active component in khat is S-cathinone, otherwise known as (-)-2-aminopropiophenone or, more formally, S-(-)-2-amino-1-phenyl-1-propanone. Cathinone is labile and is transformed within a few days of harvesting to a dimer (3,6-dimethyl-2,5-diphenylpyrazine).

It is for this reason that khat needs to be consumed while still fresh. Cathine (1S, 2S-norpseudoephedrine), a further psychoactive substance, arises from the metabolism of cathinone in the mature plant. Apart from common plant products such as tannins, terpenes, flavonoids and sterols, a number of other substances occur in khat including smaller amounts of 1R, 2S-norephedrine and a large number of cathedulins (polyhydroxylated sesquiterpenes).

Both cathinone and cathine are close chemical relatives of the phenethylamines. Thus cathinone is the β-keto analogue of amphetamine. A large number of synthetic cathinone derivatives have been produced, some of which have found use as active pharmaceutical agents.


Cathinone can be extracted from Catha edulis, or synthesized from α-bromopropiophenone (which is easily made from propiophenone). Because cathinone is both a primary amine and a ketone, it is very likely to dimerize, especially as a free base isolated from plant matter.

New Cathinone. The structure of cathinone is very similar to that of other molecules. By reducing the ketone, it becomes cathine if it retains its stereochemistry, or norephedrine if its stereochemistry is inverted. Cathine is a less potent version of cathinone and cathinone’s spontaneous reduction is the reason that older khat plants are not as stimulating as younger ones.

Cathinone and amphetamine are closely related in that amphetamine is only lacking the ketone C=O group. Cathinone is structurally related to methcathinone, in much the same way as amphetamine is related to methamphetamine. Cathinone differs from amphetamine by possessing a ketone oxygen atom (C=O) on the β (beta) position of the side chain.

The corresponding alcohol, cathine, is a less powerful stimulant. The biophysiological conversion from cathinone to cathine is to blame for the depotentiation of khat leaves over time. Fresh leaves have a greater ratio of cathinone to cathine than dried ones, therefore having more psychoactive effects.

There are many cathinone derivatives that include the addition of an R group to the amino end of the molecule. Some of these derivatives have medical uses as well. Bupropion is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and its structure is Cathinone with a tertiary butyl group attached to the nitrogen and chlorine attached to the benzene ring meta- to the main carbon chain.

Other cathinone derivatives are strong psychoactive drugs. One such drug is methylone, a drug structurally similar to MDMA.

Effects on health
The first documentation of the khat plant being used in medicine was in a book published by an Arabian physician in the 10th century. It was used as an antidepressant because it led to feelings of happiness and excitement. Chronic khat chewing can also create drug dependence, as shown by animal studies. In such studies, monkeys were trained to push a lever to receive the drug reward. As the monkeys’ dependence increased, they pressed the lever at an increasing frequency.

New Cathinone. Khat chewing and the effects of cathinone on the body differ from person to person, but there is a general pattern of behavior that emerges after ingesting fresh cathinone:

Feelings of euphoria that last for one to two hours
Discussion of serious issues and increased irritability
The chewer’s imagination is very active
Depressive stage
Irritability, loss of appetite and insomnia
There are other effects not related to the CNS. The chewer can develop constipation and heartburn after a khat session. Long-term effects of cathinone can include gum disease or oral cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression. The withdrawal symptoms of cathinone include hot flashes, lethargy and a great urge to use the drug for at least the first two days.


New Cathinone. The synthesis of cathinone in khat begins with L-phenylalanine and the first step is carried out by L-phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), which cleaves off an ammonia group and creates a carbon-carbon double bond, forming cinnamic acid.[15] After this, the molecule can either go through a beta-oxidative pathway or a non-beta-oxidative pathway.

The beta-oxidative pathway produces benzoyl-CoA while the non-beta-oxidative pathway produces benzoic acid. Both of these molecules can be converted to 1-phenylpropane-1,2-dione by a condensation reaction catalyzed by a ThDP-dependent enzyme (Thiamine diphosphate-dependent enzyme) with pyruvate and producing CO2.[15] 1-phenylpropane-1,2-dione goes through a transaminase reaction to replace a ketone with an ammonia group to form (S)-cathinone. (S)-Cathinone can then undergo a reduction reaction to produce the less potent but structurally similar cathine or norephedrine, which are also found in the plant.[15]

Aside from the beta- and non-beta-oxidative pathways, the biosynthesis of cathinone can proceed through a CoA-dependent pathway. The CoA-dependent pathway is actually a mix between the two main pathways as it starts like the beta-oxidative pathway and then when it loses CoA, it finishes the synthesis in the non-beta-oxidative pathway. In this pathway, the trans-cinnamic acid produced from L-phenylalanine is ligated to Coenzyme A (CoA), just like the beginning of the beta-oxidative pathway. It then undergoes hydration at the double bond.

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This product then loses the CoA to produce benzaldehyde, an intermediate of the non-beta-oxidative pathway. Benzaldehyde is converted into benzoic acid and proceeds through the rest of the synthesis. New Cathinone

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