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Observations placeholder

Bath salts analysis



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Some sold for 'recreation', some sold for weight loss, some sold to improve cognitive performance, some sold for improved libido [!], some sold to body builders, some sold to help runners ............

And all called 'bath salts'

A description of the experience

Psychoactive "bath salts": not so soothing.   Baumann MH, Partilla JS, Lehner KR.   Medicinal Chemistry Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, 333 Cassell Drive, Suite 4500, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA. mbaumann@mail.nih.gov

Recently there has been a dramatic rise in the abuse of so-called "bath salts" products that are purchased as legal alternatives to illicit drugs like cocaine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).

Baths salts contain one or more synthetic derivatives of the naturally-occurring stimulant cathinone. Low doses of bath salts produce euphoria and increase alertness, but high doses or chronic use can cause serious adverse effects such as hallucinations, delirium, hyperthermia and tachycardia. Owing to the risks posed by bath salts, the governments of many countries have made certain cathinones illegal, namely:

  • 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone),
  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone) and
  • 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

Similar to other psychomotor stimulants, synthetic cathinones target plasma membrane transporters for dopamine (i.e., DAT), norepinephrine (i.e., NET) and serotonin (i.e, SERT).

Mephedrone and methylone act as non-selective transporter substrates, thereby stimulating non-exocytotic release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. By contrast, MDPV acts as a potent blocker at DAT and NET, with little effect at SERT.

Administration of mephedrone or methylone to rats increases extracellular concentrations of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, analogous to the effects of MDMA. Not surprisingly, synthetic cathinones elicit locomotor activation in rodents. Stimulation of dopamine transmission by synthetic cathinones predicts a high potential for addiction and may underlie clinical adverse effects. As popular synthetic cathinones are rendered illegal, new replacement cathinones are appearing in the marketplace.

More research on the pharmacology and toxicology of abused cathinones is needed to inform public health policy and develop strategies for treating medical consequence of bath salts abuse.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

PMID: 23178799

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Bath salts

Activities and commonsteps