Pregnancy Category None
Uses. The substance is derived from cathinone (the most potent drug ingredient in khat) and is related to methamphetamine. A U.S. patent was granted for methcathinone in 1957, but because of adverse actions described below the drug never went into commercial medical production.
Despite methcathinone's many drawbacks noted below, some drug abusers have found appealing aspects in the compound. These users experience euphoria accompanied by strong and prolonged feelings of sexual pleasure, along with an ability to use more alcohol than normal. Such characteristics can transform an otherwise unappealing substance into a party drug. Apparently these characteristics were discovered in the Soviet Union; at least that is where the drug first surfaced as a popular item, accounting for perhaps one fifth of illicit drug use in that territory during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the 1990s the drug took hold in Michigan and spread elsewhere in America.
Drawbacks. At high doses the drug exhibits classic amphetamine effects: appetite loss, insomnia, hallucinations, paranoia, restlessness, and impaired ability to focus attention and to get along with people. Users have said meth-cathinone is more prone to produce paranoia than methamphetamine. In animal experiments methcathinone interferes with breathing, promotes trembling and epilepticlike seizures, and impedes limb control. In humans a dose may increase body temperature, cause irregular heart rate, excessively reduce blood pressure, bring on nosebleeds, produce red and blue spots in extremities accompanied by cold sweating, promote tics and cramps along with nausea and headaches, generate evidence of liver and kidney damage, and cause in fected facial cysts that can leave scars. Heart impairment has been discovered among current users. Examination of former users reveals brain damage that may lead to Parkinson's disease. Autopsies find widespread blood vessel damage throughout the body, from skin to vital organs.
Abuse factors. When effects from a dose ebb, the drug's initial elevation of mood converts into the opposite, and abusers lacking in self-confidence may rely more and more on additional doses of the drug to restore a positive mood instead of seeking to build and rely upon inner resources. As mental spirits level off or decline, abusers respond with binge behavior—rather than gradually increasing their dosage, they alternate between heavy use and no use. They may take the drug every hour or so for days even though users report that effects of a dose can last for almost a week.
A group of 19 users compared methcathinone with other drugs. Those persons described methcathinone's stimulation as more of a physical jolt and cocaine's as more of a mental jolt. None of cocaine's physical numbing was noticed with methcathinone. The latter drug was described as stronger, cheaper (at least in the 1990s), and having better duration than cocaine. The 19 persons all misused methcathinone in ways that added turmoil to their lives and said their need for the drug was psychological, not physical. The users mostly said the drug had ruined their lives. Those lives seemed troubled before methcathinone entered, however. Only 4 of the persons were employed when they started using the substance. Relationships with family and friends declined, but that decline was accelerated by explosive anger and by deliberately avoiding friends and relatives. The employed persons got into conflicts with coworkers or stayed away from the workplace. All lost their jobs. No doubt the drug made things worse, but abusers seemed to be struggling with sad lives before adding methcathinone to other drugs they abused.
Drug interactions. Users claim that eating sugar can worsen methcathi-none's undesirable psychological effects.
Cancer. Not enough scientific information to report.
Pregnancy. Not enough scientific information to report.
Additional information. "Qat" and "Somali tea" are nicknames for both methcathinone and khat, but those are different substances.
Additional scientific information may be found in:
Calkins, R.F., G.B. Aktan, and K.L. Hussain. "Methcathinone: The Next Illicit Stimulant
Epidemic?" Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 27 (1995): 277-85. Emerson, T.S., and J.E. Cisek. "Methcathinone: A Russian Designer Amphetamine Infiltrates the Rural Midwest." Annals of Emergency Medicine 22 (1993): 1897-903. Goldstone, M.S. " 'Cat': Methcathinone—A New Drug of Abuse." Journal of the American Medical Association 269 (1993): 2508. Zhingel, K.Y., et al. "Ephedrone: 2-Methylamino-1-Phenylpropan-1-One (Jeff)." Journal of Forensic Sciences 36 (1991): 915-20.
Continue reading here: Methylphenidate
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