Methedrone is a chemical stimulant that produces a high similar to ecstasy and amphetamines but costs less and is commonly purchased over the Internet. It is made from the khat plant and is also known as catheinone, the main chemical in the drug. It is illegal in some countries to use, possess, or sell, and is considered a controlled substance. Other regions have not outlawed its use or studied long-term health effects on methedrone users. Methylone is chemically similar to methedrone, but reportedly produces milder effects.
The drug is often advertised as a "natural" high. It is sold as a yellowish-white powder that can be snorted, or in pill or capsule form, which is swallowed. On some Internet sites, methedrone is advertised as a plant fertilizer that is not for human use. This tactic is seen as an attempt to get around drug laws where the substance is illegal. The drug has not shown any benefit as a fertilizer or plant food, according to studies.
Users report an almost instant state of euphoria after snorting or ingesting methedrone. Some users become very talkative and energetic, and lose their appetites. Others experience paranoia, heart palpitations, and nosebleeds from repeatedly snorting the powdered chemical. Methedrone has been called a "club drug" because it is popular at rave parties and concerts.
The khat plant is a large shrub native to Ethiopia, but it can be grown in any high-altitude region. In some cultures, the leaves are chewed to promote social interaction or to increase work productivity. Literature in the 18th century mentions khat use to treat depression and increase energy levels. Methedrone is also used in some Muslim countries where alcohol is forbidden for religious reasons.
Users can become psychologically dependent on methedrone because of its similarity to amphetamines. This could lead to repeated use that might result in health problems from an increased heart rate. Its use also affects the nervous system in some people, and can provoke risky behavior since it lowers inhibitions. The effects of methedrone can be enhanced when it is combined with alcohol.
Other dangers exist when buying any chemical online. A purchaser cannot be sure what other drugs might be mixed with a substance and how they might affect the body. These substances generally are not tested to determine their composition, and could negatively affect some users.