3-MMC, synthetic cannabinoids, 2C-B … these new drugs that are flooding France

They are called “new designer drugs”, but they are not so new anymore. They were developed to resemble the most famous drugs (MDMA, LSD), but their effects are sometimes much more treacherous. Overview.

LDrugs work like almost any product in the capitalist world. First there is the novelty effect, then the prices go down, they find an audience (or if you prefer, a market), until they get bored and new products arrive, finding a new audience, creating a new market.

However, for a long time the possibilities were limited. The number of “general public” drugs was limited (cocaine, ecstasy, for example) and natural molecules (hallucinogenic mushrooms, cannabis, etc.) were not suitable for everyone. But that has changed: today, production methods have evolved and it is quite easy to invent new molecules. These are called “new synthetic products” (NPS) or “new synthetic drugs” (NDS) (“new psychoactive substances”, NSP, originally meant new substances that were not yet classified as drugs, but the terms are sometimes confused in the present). . These drugs correspond, according to the definition of the Interministerial Mission to Fight Drugs and Addictive Behaviors, to new “synthetic substances, infinitely modifiable and potentially innumerable”, developed to resemble known drugs with a similar molecular structure. In fact, its effects are usually much more powerful and its addiction level higher than its predecessors. But since they can be declined almost to infinity, as soon as one of them is prohibited, another appears and circumvents the legislation.

At the same time, new distribution methods have also been implemented (delivery drivers, direct sales over the Internet, dark web). The combination of the two made possible the arrival of these new drugs, which reached a much larger audience.

Today there are hundreds of different new synthetic products, grouped into 8 families (cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic opioids (including fentanyloids), phenethylamines (psychedelic or not), tryptamines, piperazines, synthetic benzodiazepines and arylcyclohexylamines / arylakylamines), but cannabinoids. Cathinones (see below) account for the majority of seizures. These are the main products that can be found on the market today.


Family: cathinones

Mephedrone, invented in the 1930s, is part of the cathinone family, that is, drugs similar to khat, a psychotropic plant that grows in East Africa. It made a comeback in the late 2000s and developed in the West before being banned in France in 2010. It was particularly consumed in gay and clubbing circles. It is known to lead to a rather difficult descent and, like most cathinones, has highly addictive potential.

Other names: 4-MMC, M-cat, méphe, meow meow, bath salts

Effects: Mephedrone is both empathic (makes contact easier) and euphoric. As such, its effects are described as oscillating between those of MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) and amphetamines (also found in ecstasy), which are more exciting.

The 3-MMC

Family: cathinones

Derived from mephedrone, 3-MMC (and its older sister 4-MEC) is a new designer drug (NDS), and all three (3-MMC, 4-MMC or mephedrone and 4-MEC) have fairly close effects. It first appeared in 2011, a year after 4-MMC was banned in France, and it is highly addictive.

Other names: mofedrone

Effects: 3-MMC is psychostimulant and entactogenic (or empatogenic, that is, it favors contact and empathy).

Peculiarities: 3-MMC is known to induce a state of intense sexual arousal and is decorated with all the stimulation (the drug itself turns you on, regardless of the partner in front of you). As such, 3-MMC is widely used, often in combination with GBL (which once ingested becomes GHB) in chemsex practices (the use of certain psychoactive products in a sexual setting).

On the same topic ⋙ Research: Chemsex, the coming epidemic
⋙ “I tell my boyfriend that I would like us to try it together” – Chemsex, the day it all started
⋙ Report: How to get out of chemsex: psycho, addict, sex … the difficult patient care

PVP, MDPV, methylone, and other “substituted cathinones”

Family: cathinones

If 3-MMC and 4-MMC are the main representatives of its family (cathinones, or khat derivatives), there are dozens of other products developed on the same basis and in the mephedrone lineage, such as Alpha-PHP, Alpha-PVP , methylone or even MDPV.

Other names: NRG1, 2 or 3, Top Cat, M Cat, subcoca-1. They are sometimes sold under the term “fertilizers or” research chemicals.

Effects: The effects are quite similar to those of other cathinones, but can vary greatly from one product to another. Thus, they increase the effects of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine and can cause euphoria, increased sensations, mental stimulation, improved empathy and sociability. They also have a powerful sexual arousal effect.

Among the negative effects, we highlight among others anxiety, prolonged insomnia, aggressive behavior, suicidal ideation, confusion, panic attacks … Cases of death have already been reported. Again, they are a very addictive molecule.

Methoxetamine (and ketamine)

Family: arylcyclohexylamines

Released in 2011, methoxetamine (MXE) is a very popular drug on the party scene. Dissociative and hallucinogenic drug (arylcyclohexylamine family, yes, it is difficult to say), creates a feeling of cocoon and calm, can cause visual hallucinations and a feeling of disproportion. It is used to find relaxation, euphoria and a good mood. Ketamine is basically an anesthetic. Some produce hallucinogenic effects, others do not.

Other names: MXE, 3-MeO-2-Oxo-PCE, Mesket,

Effects: Methoxetamine has similar effects to ketamine and is often sold under this name as well. However, it is not the same: its effects are much more powerful, but also longer lasting, which can cause overdoses and therefore complications. It is very important not to consume it with other narcotics that act on serotonin (such as MDMA), under penalty of risk of serotonin syndrome (confusion, delirium, agitation, tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, neuromuscular problems …)

Synthetic cannabinoids

Family: cannabinoids

Do you find this joint particularly strong, compared to what you used to smoke in the past? This is normal – it may not be a natural substance. Synthetic cannabinoids are chemical molecules that mimic the effects of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis that gives it its high). In some countries, some of these products are legal and can be easily found on the Internet as “euphoric herbal smoking blends.” They do not contain cannabis but produce the same effects when smoked. The vagueness surrounding their production method makes it impossible to know how they are dosed, and it is not uncommon for the effects to be much more powerful than intended (which in some cases can lead to poisoning).

Autres noms: Spice Gold, Spice Silver, Spice Diamond, Yucatan Fire, Encens, K2, Sence, Chill X, Smoke, Genie

Effects: The effects are felt for 4 to 6 hours, but can last a whole day. They are similar to cannabis, but in a much stronger way. Side effects can lead to depression, anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, and certain psychiatric complications. Some rare cases of death have been reported.

THC concentrates

Strictly speaking, THC concentrates are not new synthetic drugs. In fact, this is a true THC … extremely concentrated (yes, that was easy). Therefore, there are leaves or oil concentrated at 70%, 80 or even 95%. One could also say that the effect can be extremely strong, not to say violent, and the side effects can be exacerbated (paranoid attacks, palpitations, addiction, severe respiratory problems, etc.). If you see such concentrations then it is modified cannabis, you should avoid it!

Other names: BHO, shatter, wax, dabs, honey

Mescaline derivatives

Mescaline derivatives

Family: psychedelic phenethylamines

Mescaline is extracted from the American cacti, of which peyote is the best known representative. It is used in shamanic rituals or for recreational purposes. In recent years, many chemical derivatives have been developed such as thiomescaline, scalin or proscaline, as well as the 2C-x family (see below).

Other names: mezcalin, mescalito, peyote, tmpea, mess, wizz,

Effects: Beware, the trip can be long and last up to 10 and 12 hours with psychedelic hallucinations, time distortion, mystical visions, euphoria and empathy.

The 2C-x (2C-B, 2C-I, 2C-T, etc.)

Family: psychedelic phenethylamines

The term 2C-x is used to refer to “psychedelic phenethylamines containing methoxy (O-CH3) groups at the 2 and 5 positions of the benzene ring.” Saying like this may sound a bit confusing, but tell yourself that every time a drug begins with “2C”, it is part of it (like 2C-B, the most famous), and they are also drugs that seek to reproduce. the effects of mescaline, discovered mainly in the years 1970-1980.

Other names: Fly (or 2C-B-Fly, be careful, this is a different molecule than 2C-B), Nexus, Eve or Venus (for 2C-B), 7h Heaven, Beautiful, Blue Mystic, Lucky 7, Tripstasy

Effects: The 2C-x have effects that last 4 to 6 hours (sometimes longer) and cause visual hallucinations, euphoria, distortion of shapes, heightened senses, feeling of well-being. It is also a stimulating product, which sometimes causes sexual arousal. But they can also be responsible for delusional states, paranoia, depersonalization, disturbing hallucinations or even confusion.

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