Mephedrone (4-MMC)

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  • Mephedrone (4-MMC) Detailed Guide

    Introduction

    Mephedrone, scientifically known as 4-MMC (4-Methylmethcathinone), stands as a prominent member of the cathinone class, a synthetic stimulant group. First introduced in the early 2000s, this compound swiftly garnered attention as a recreational substance and gained popularity in various social settings. Its appeal lies in its capacity to induce psychoactive effects, leading to altered states of consciousness. Often encountered in the form of a white crystalline powder or encapsulated, mephedrone shares structural similarities with amphetamines and cathinones, contributing to its unique pharmacological properties.

    Mephedrone salt crystalls

    As a derivative of cathinone, a natural alkaloid found in the Khat plant indigenous to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, mephedrone shares a lineage with substances traditionally known for their stimulant effects. The synthesis and subsequent rise of mephedrone in recreational circles have sparked interest and concern alike, prompting in-depth exploration into its chemical composition, physical attributes, synthesis processes, and the complex pharmacology that underlies its psychological and physiological effects.

    Mephedrone salt powder

    Chemical Properties of Mephedrone (4-MMC)

    Mephedrone (4-MMC) possesses distinct chemical and physical properties that contribute to its unique characteristics. Chemically, it is classified as a substituted cathinone and shares structural similarities with amphetamines. Its molecular formula is C11H15NO, and it has a systematic name of 2-(Methylamino)-1-(4-methylphenyl)-1-propanone. In its pure form, Mephedrone (4-MMC) hydrochloride or hydrobromide salts appears as a translucent whitish crystals, white powder (flour) or white, crystalline powder with a characteristic odor with range the smell of vanilla and bleach, stale urine, dill, or electric circuit boards. Mephedrone powder is a powdery substance in a white, flour-like form, containing a mixture of tiny crystals that have the tendency to aggregate or form clumps.

    Physical Properties of Mephedrone (4-MMC)

    The compound demonstrates solubility in water and other polar solvents, facilitating its dissolution for various applications. The melting points for hydrochloride and hydrobromide were determined by melting point experiment and gave sharp melting points at 251.18 °C and 205.25 °C, respectively.

    From a structural standpoint, Mephedrone (4-MMC) possesses a chiral center, which implies the potential existence of enantiomers. These enantiomers, known as optical isomers, exhibit different three-dimensional arrangements of atoms despite sharing the same molecular formula. However, it is essential to note that the specific properties and effects of each enantiomers of Mephedrone (4-MMC) have not been extensively studied.

    Mephedrone enantiomers

    Other names: Meow Meow; Cat; Drone; Bubbles; Drone, M-CAT, White Magic

    Mephedrone (4-MMC) Syntheses

    The synthesis of Mephedrone (4-MMC) involves several steps starting from readily available precursor chemicals like 4′-methylpropiophenone or diretly from 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone. The most common synthesis method involves the reaction between 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone and Methylamine, followed by acidification into hydrochloride or hydrobromide salt.

     

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    Pharmacology of Mephedrone (4-MMC)

    The mephedrone mechanism of action involves several characteristics: it inhibits the reuptake of monoamines by neurons, decreases the rate of synthesis of monoamine oxidase and catechol-O-methyltransferase. Consequently, the concentration of monoamines and catecholamines increases simultaneously within the synaptic cleft (a narrow gap of approximately 10-50 nm between membranes that are connected by intercellular contacts). Additionally, 4-mmc stimulates the receptors on the postsynaptic membrane (SSDRA).

    Peak concentration in the bloodstream is achieved around one hour after ingestion. For an average oral dose (150 mg), the half-life of mephedrone is approximately 2.2 hours. Individuals who misuse mephedrone typically limit their intake to no more than four times in a single session, with intervals of over two hours between each dose.

    Various studies conducted towards the end of 2011 investigated the impact of mephedrone on the brains of rats, as well as its potential for inducing obsessive behavior. Using microdialysis, researchers collected and measured dopamine and serotonin levels. The administration of mephedrone resulted in a significant increase of approximately 500% in dopamine and 950% in serotonin levels. Peak concentrations were reached at 40 minutes for dopamine and 20 minutes for serotonin, returning to baseline levels 120 minutes after administration. Analysis of the dopamine and serotonin ratio revealed that mephedrone predominantly influenced (released) serotonin at a ratio of 1.22:1 (serotonin vs. dopamine). Furthermore, the half-lives of dopamine and serotonin decay were calculated to be 24.5 minutes and 25.5 minutes, respectively.

    Mephedrone has been found to affect various receptor types in descending order: D2, 5-HT1A, TAAR1, D1/D3, 5-HT2C, 5-HT2B, 5-HT2A/B, a1/2A. The primary metabolic pathway for mephedrone is through cytochrome CYP2D6, producing metabolites such as nor-mephedrone, nor-dihydromephedrone, 4-carboxy-dihydromephedrone, hydroxytolyl-mephedrone, and succinyl-normephedrone. The maximum concentration time of mephedrone is approximately 52.5 minutes, with a half-life of 2.21 hours. The LC50 (lethal concentration) is 4500 ng/ml, and the LD50 (lethal dose) ranges between 120-150 mg/kg. The permeability coefficient of the blood-brain barrier is 14.0 Pe, and the DAT (dopamine transporter)/SERT (serotonin transporter) ratio is 2.41.

    Mephedrone has been proven to affect the following types of receptors in descending order: D2, 5-HT1A, TAAR1, D1/D3, 5-HT2C, 5HT2B, 5-HT2A/B, a1/2A. Mephedrone is mainly metabolized by cytochrome CYP2D6, and its main metabolites are: nor-mephedrone, nor-dihydromephedrone, 4-carboxy-dihydromephedrone, hydroxytolyl-mephedrone, succinyl-normephedrone. The maximum concentration time of mephedrone is about 52.5 minutes, the half-life is 2.21 hours, LC50-4500 ng / ml, LD50-120-150 mg/kg, the permeability coefficient of the blood-brain barrier is 14.0 Pe, the DAT/SERT ratio is 2.41.

    Mephedrone (4-MMC) Effects and Dosage

    “Desirable” positive effects of mephedrone:

    • enhanced physical and mental stimulation, notable euphoria, empathy, heightened sociability, improved productivity, the “disinhibiting” effect, increased sense of connection and empathy, heightened motivation.
    • “Undesirable” neutral or positive effects of mephedrone:
    • reduced pain sensitivity, decreased alcohol craving and mitigation of its depressive effects, erectile dysfunction, heightened libido, intensified respiratory stimulation during opiate intoxication, diminished gag reflex, reduced aggression, memory and appetite suppression, eccentric behavior, impaired short-term memory, compromised critical thinking, sleep disturbances, dizziness, teeth grinding, tremors and muscle cramps, impaired vision and urination, peculiar bodily sensations, temporary distortion of taste and smell, compulsive urge to redose mephedrone, dilated pupils.

    “Undesirable” negative effects of mephedrone:

    • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, hyperthermia, decreased synthesis of bile and hydrochloric acid, increased glucose levels, elevated ALT and CRP, imbalanced gut bacteria, menstrual cycle irregularities, heightened gastrointestinal motility, increased thrombosis risk, elevated likelihood of developing schizoaffective disorder, heightened anxiety and panic attack risk, increased levels of cortisol, ACTH, oxytocin, prolactin, β-endorphin, growth hormone, adrenaline, norepinephrine, histamine, limb numbness, discomfort in the chest area, paranoid delusions, immunosuppressive effects.
    • Typically, mephedrone overdose occurs during prolonged sessions with escalating doses or during “mephedrone marathons.” Occasionally, an overdose may happen with a single high dose. The following are signs of a mephedrone overdose:
    • Loss of consciousness.
    • Persistent vomiting.
    • Severe, localized or widespread headaches.
    • Sudden and lasting visual impairment for more than 10 minutes.
    • Profound anxiety, psychosis, or panic attacks.
    • Delirium, incoherent speech, or paranoid delusions.
    • Respiratory distress leading to breathing difficulties.
    • Hallucinations or prolonged visual and auditory illusions lasting over 20 minutes.
    • Body temperature increase above 37.5°C with persistent hyperthermia lasting more than 6 hours, or body temperature rise above 38.5°C with persistent hyperthermia lasting more than 30 minutes without a tendency to decrease.

    Mephedrone Dosage and Methods of Use

    LD 50 for humans is equivalent to ≈ 120 mg/kg.

    Oral Dose:

    • Light: 50 – 100 mg.
    • Common: 100 – 200 mg.
    • Strong: 200 – 300 mg.

    When mephedrone is taken orally, there can be certain challenges, often linked to the quality of the product. The primary drawback of this administration method is the requirement for a larger quantity of the substance. This is attributed to the involvement of cytochromes P450, which play a crucial role in the metabolism of mephedrone. Achieving the desired threshold effect may necessitate a slightly higher dose compared to the intranasal route. However, there are instances where oral mephedrone is combined with methylone, known as the “cousin” of MDMA. Such a combination can substantially decrease the consumption of mephedrone, thereby minimizing gastrointestinal side effects while extending the euphoric phase of the experience.

    Intranasal Dose:

    • Light: 30-75 mg.
    • Common: 75-180 mg.
    • Strong: 180-270 mg.
    • Overdose: 270+ mg.

    The predominant method of mephedrone consumption is through intranasal administration. Users with an average tolerance to the substance typically require high doses, ranging from 250 to 400 mg. However, this approach inflicts damage to the nasal mucosa and elicits considerable discomfort upon consumption. The effects of the substance are transient, with the overall duration of its influence lasting no more than 30 minutes.

    Intravenous Dose:

    • Light: 25-50 mg.
    • Common: 50-125 mg.
    • Strong: 125-180 mg.
    • Overdose: 180+ mg.

    Approximately 20% of mephedrone users inject it intravenously.

    Mephedrone Trip Duration:

    Oral:

    • Total: 2 – 5 hours.
    • Onset: 00:15 – 00:45.
    • Strongest: 01:00 – 02:00.

    Intranasal:

    • Total: 1 – 3 hours.
    • Onset: ~00:05.
    • Strongest: 00:10 – 00:45.

    Intravenous:

    • Total: 2 hours.
    • Onset: 30 seconds.
    • Strongest: 00:05 – 00:50.

    Mephedrone (4-MMC) Legal Status

    In December 2010, the European Council decided that mephedrone shall be subjected by the Member States to control measures and criminal penalties.

    • Australia: Mephedrone has been added to the Australian federal drug watch list and is now considered illegal if intended for human consumption. Mephedrone is considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance in Australia under the Poisons Standard. A Schedule 9 substance is a substance which may be abused or misused and the manufacture, possession, sale or use of is prohibited by law except when required for medical or scientific research, or for analytical, teaching or training purposes with approval of Commonwealth and/or State or Territory Health Authorities.
    • Austria: Mephedrone is illegal to possess, produce and sell under the SMG (Suchtmittelgesetz Österreich) as of August 21, 2010.
    • Belgium: Mephedrone was banned on April 29, 2010, by making it a regulated drug requiring the approval of the Ministry of Human Health to import, sell, or possess.[citation needed]
    • Brazil: Mephedrone was added to the list of Scheduled drugs (class F2), making it illegal to possess, sell, or manufacture without a license as of August 2011.
    • China: Mephedrone is a Category I psychotropic substance as of September 1, 2010. It is illegal to sell, buy, import, export, and manufacture it.
    • Croatia: Mephedrone is a controlled substance as of January 12, 2010.
    • Denmark: Denmark’s Minister for Health and Prevention Jakob Axel Nielsen banned mephedrone, flephedrone and ethylcathinone on December 18, 2008. As of July 1, 2012, Denmark also created a type of analogue law that would include cathinones like mephedrone
    • Estonia: Mephedrone is a controlled substance as of November 2009.
    • Finland: Through the Medicines Act, mephedrone is classified as a “medicinal product”, making it illegal to manufacture, import, possess, sell, or transfer it without a prescription.
    • France: French Ministry of Health decided in early June 2010 to add mephedrone to the list of illicit substances in the “Journal Officiel du 11 juin 2010”.
    • Germany: Mephedrone is controlled under Anlage I BtMG (Narcotics Act, Schedule I) as of January 22, 2010. It is illegal to manufacture, possess, import, export, buy, sell, procure or dispense it without a license.
    • Guernsey: Mephedrone is a Class B controlled substance as of April 16, 2010.
    • Hungary: Mephedrone is a List 1 controlled substance as of January 1, 2011.
    • Isle of Man: It is illegal to import or sell mephedrone since February 2010.
    • Ireland: Mephedrone is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 as of May 11, 2010.
    • Israel: In December 2007, mephedrone was added to Israel’s list of controlled substances, making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess.
    • Italy: Mephedrone is a Tabella I controlled substance.
    • Jersey: Mephedrone is a Class C controlled substance since December 2010.
    • Lithuania: Mephedrone is a controlled substance as of June 20, 2010.
    • Mexico: Mephedrone is a Schedule I controlled substance as of January 7, 2014.
    • The Netherlands: In March, 2010, the Dutch Ministry of Health and the Medicines Authority IGZ informed the Ministry of Justice that they now consider mephedrone an unregulated medicine; sales and distribution of it are now prohibited.
    • Norway: The “Derivatbestemmelsen” is an Analog Act-type law in Norway that controls mephedrone, Bk-MBDB, Bromo-DragonFLY, 1,4-Butanediol, GBL, and MBDB.
    • Poland: On August 25, 2010, mephedrone was added to the list of controlled “psychotropic drugs” in the I-P group.
    • Romania: Mephedrone was added to Romania’s list of controlled substances in February 2010.
    • Russia: Mephedrone is classified as List 1 in Russian Federation as of August 2010. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute.
    • Slovak Republic: Starting March 1, 2011 mephedrone is controlled in the Slovak Republic.
    • Singapore: Mephedrone is a banned substance as of November 15, 2010.
    • Spain: Mephedrone is a Schedule I controlled substance as of February 10, 2011.
    • Sweden: In Sweden, the drug is classified as a health hazard. A ban on mephedrone went into effect on December 15, 2008, making its sale illegal. Use of 4-methylmethcathinone is not explicitly illegal under this regulation.
    • Switzerland: Mephedrone is a controlled substance specifically named under Verzeichnis D.
    • Turkey: Mephedrone is a classed as drug and is illegal to possess, produce, supply, or import.
    • United Kingdom: Mephedrone is a Class B drug in the United Kingdom as a result of the cathinone catch-all clause.
    • United States: Mephedrone is currently a Schedule I drug in the United States. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Mephedrone (4-MMC) is a synthetic cathinone that gained popularity as a recreational drug between 2007 and 2009. It is known for its ability to induce hallucinations and stimulate the mind, making it susceptible to misuse. The chemical and physical properties of Mephedrone (4-MMC) contribute to its unique characteristics, including its crystalline form and solubility in water. The effects of Mephedrone (4-MMC) on the mind and body can be both desirable and undesirable, ranging from enhanced stimulation and euphoria to negative outcomes such as increased blood pressure and hyperthermia. It is important to note that the long-term effects of Mephedrone (4-MMC) are still largely unknown, and caution should be exercised when consuming this substance.

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