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
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.
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.
Other names: Meow Meow; Cat; Drone; Bubbles; Drone, M-CAT, White Magic
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.
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.
“Desirable” positive effects of mephedrone:
“Undesirable” negative effects of mephedrone:
LD 50 for humans is equivalent to ≈ 120 mg/kg.
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.
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.
Approximately 20% of mephedrone users inject it intravenously.
Mephedrone Trip Duration:
Strongest: 00:05 – 00:50.
In December 2010, the European Council decided that mephedrone shall be subjected by the Member States to control measures and criminal penalties.
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.
Our team brings together the best specialists from different fields.
We are ready to share our experience, discuss difficult issues and find new solutions.