Monday, February 13, 2017

“Bath Salts” and the Brain

Epsom salts that people use during bathing have no mind-altering ingredients. Synthetic cathinone products marketed as "bath salts" do have mind-altering ingredients and can be downright dangerous. These human-made drugs are chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in Khat, a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia. People sometimes chew leaves for their mild stimulant effects. One 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.( Molly—slang for "molecular," refers to the pure crystal powder form of MDMA). Usually purchased in capsules, Molly has become more popular in the past few years. MDPV is the most common synthetic cathinone found in the blood and urine of patients admitted to emergency departments. These “bath salts” often take the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled "not for human consumption" or as "plant food," "jewelry cleaner," or "phone screen cleaner." They may be purchased via the internet and in some drug paraphernalia stores under a variety of brand names, including: Flakka, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, and Scarface. Typically “bath salts” are swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. So what’s the effect of these synthetic cathinones on the brain? More tomorrow.

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