Learn about the chemical composition of bath salts. Additional facts are provided about the class of drugs called bath salts.
Active Chemical in Bath SaltsThe designer drug called bath salts contains a synthetic cathinone. Usually this drug is 3, 4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) although sometimes a related drug called mephedrone is used. Less commonly, bath salts contain a synthetic stimulant called methylone. Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a psychoactive stimulant that acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).
Properties and AppearanceThe chemical formula of pure MDPV is C16H21NO3. The pure hydrochloride salt is a very fine, hydroscopic crystalline powder ranging in color from pure white to yellow-tan. The powder somewhat resembles powdered sugar. It has a tendency to stick to itself and form small clumps. There is a slight odor, which is stronger with colored varieties.
Bath Salts MarketingBath Salts have been marketed as bath salts and labelled "not for human consumption", although the packaging often indicates the product is not really intended for use in the bath. Plus, the products tend to be carried by head shops, gas stations and convenience stores rather than bath and body shops. Increasing public awareness of the product has led to Bath Salts being sold under the guise of jewelry cleaner or iPod screen cleaner.
Forms of the DrugBath Salts typically are sold as tablets or as a powder. The drug may be swallowed, snorted or injected.
Bath Salts EffectsMDPV is a stimulant that produces similar effects to those produced by amphetamines, cocaine and methylphenidate. However, Bath Salts tend not to be a pharmaceutical-grade drug, so other effects and side effects may be observed.
Psychological EffectsBath salts are popular because of their desired psychological effects, which are associated with related stimulants, too:
- increased mental alertness
- increased wakefulness
- increased energy and motivation
- mental stimulation
- increased concentration
- increased sociability
- sexual stimulation
- empathogenic effects
- diminished perception of the need for sleep and food
Acute Physiological EffectsEffects are dependent on the dose. Overdose may result in rhabdomyolysis, kidney failure, seizures, metabolic acidosis, respiratory failure, liver failure and death. Typical dose effects may include:
- rapid heartbeat
- elevated blood pressure
- vasoconstriction (narrowing blood vessels)
- stomach cramping
- grinding teeth
- elevated body temperature (up to 107°F - 108°F, which may be life-threatening)
- dilated pupils
- kidney pain
- difficulty breathing
- psychotic delusions
- extreme anxiety
- suicidal thoughts/actions
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