Posts Tagged ‘ 5-IAI

The Secret Life of Legal Highs

The research chemical market has exploded in recent years primarily due to the emergence of cheap euphoric stimulants produced in volume. The wide appeal and behavioral reinforcement of these compounds relative to the more niche appeal of previous psychedelic research chemicals resulted in a flood of cash from a less discerning clientele. If it made you feel good, it sold – and governments across the world quickly attempted to fill in the blanks in their legislation.

The market has now fragmented, with apparently new compounds popping up based on novel and not explicitly illegal backbones such as the aminoindanes. The effects are touted as nearly identical to older, now illegal alternatives however, and many retail user reports bear this out. This is in contrast to reports from experienced researchers with verified compound, who describe the new aminoindanes such as 5-IAI as effectively worthless.

So why the difference? How can there be such a distinction between reported effects, where a compound that has been found to produce weak threshold effects at best in a controlled setting sell like hotcakes in the retail market? A new research paper provides a rather convincing answer – the “new” retail products simply contain outlawed compounds, and are rebranded with an arbitrarily selected compound name that has some association as a possible replacement.

Seven samples of “new” legal highs were purchased online from multiple sources, sold as MDAI, “benzo fury”, 5-IAI, NRG-3, and E2. They were analyzed using GC-MS, and the results are shocking.

Sold As Active Compounds Identified
MDAI BZP, 3-TFMPP, caffeine.
MDAI MDAI
MDAI BZP, 3-TFMPP, caffeine.

Three samples of “MDAI” were tested. Only one actually contained MDAI, while the other two contained a mixture of caffeine and the illegal piperazines BZP and 3-TFMPP.

Sold As Active Compounds Identified
Benzo Fury BZP, 3-TFMPP, caffeine.
5-IAI BZP, 3-TFMPP, caffeine.
NRG-3 BZP, 3-TFMPP, caffeine.
E2 Caffeine

The results for the other products are equally depressing, none of which match the label. Three samples once again contained a mixture of BZP, 3-TFMPP, and caffeine, while one (E2) only contained large amounts of caffeine. Most interesting was the fact that correlation between various samples was extremely high – the same mixture of compounds was simply sold in differently labelled (and priced) bags!

These products were sold as legal (when they weren’t) and as new and novel different compounds (which they didn’t contain). This practice appears to be far more widespread than many would like to admit.

Baron, Mark and Elie, Mathieu and Elie, Leonie. (2011) Analysis of legal highs – do they contain what it says on the tin? Drug Testing and Analysis. ISSN 1942-7603 (Submitted)