A group of researchers from the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Research Institute) and from the INAD (Hospital del Mar Neuropsychiatry and Addictions Institute) has participated in an international study aiming to give a general overview at a chemical, pharmacological and behavioural level of a recently appeared new chemical compound, according to the Recreational Drugs European Network, as a new abused drug: methoxetamine (MXE).
This new drug, similar to ketamine, is a dissociative drug, meaning it distorts visual and auditory perceptions making one feel separated or “dissociated” from the environment and from oneself, without a loss of consciousness. As the researchers explain “It seems to increase the sense of humour and has strong hallucinogenic properties”.
The researchers add that “one of the dangers of these new compounds such as MXE is that most of them are not approved for human consumption and consuming them could be associated to an unknown number of side effects and adverse reactions that have not been described”. Information at a toxicological or pharmacological level as well as on users is nearly nonexistent.
In this sense, these new compounds are becoming more and more sophisticated, are usually synthesized in clandestine laboratories, simply by modifying the molecular structure of the substances that are already controlled, with the aim of maintaining a lack of regulation for the largest possible time, and are rapidly spread over the Internet.
In the specific case of MXE, it would seem that its toxicity and side effects would be similar to those of ketamine, a dissociative anaesthetic used in medicine and veterinary that, when used in sub-anaesthetic doses, leads to a range of effects going from a light drunkenness, perceptive stimulation or distortion to the appearance of death-like experiences or body splitting. The main difference when comparing MXE to ketamine, however, is that the duration and intensity of these effects are longer lasting.
In the study, researchers have detected that stores selling this drug over the internet, are advertising it and selling it as a legal alternative to ketamine, since it can be purchased legally without needing a veterinary licence and at a better price. This has meant that it has become extremely popular among consumers and has affected the risk perception associated to consumption, given that many consumers associate legality to safety.
The combination of new synthetic abusive drugs and the speed at which information is spread over the Internet have caused the experts’ concern for toxicological, pharmacological or public health issues increase. Experts consider it necessary to have a greater collaboration at an international level to tackle this phenomenon consisting of easily accessible psychoactive drugs over the internet, which is growing rapidly at present.
This study is part of two projects; the Psychonaut Web Mapping Project and the ReDNet Research Project, funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Public Health Program.
“Phenomenon of new drugs on the Internet: the case of ketamine derivative methoxetamine”. Ornella Corazza, Fabrizio Schifano, Pierluigi Simonato, Suzanne Fergus, Sulaf Assi, Jacqueline Stair, John Corkery, Giuseppina Trincas, Paolo Deluca, Zoe Davey, Ursula Blaszko, Zsolt Demetrovics, Jacek Moskalewicz, Magi Farre, Liv Flesland, Manuela Pasinetti, Cinzia Pezzolesi, Agnieszka Pisarska, Harry Shapiro, Holger Siemann, Arvid Skutle, Aurora Enea, Giuditta di Melchiorre, Elias Sferrazza, Marta Torrens, Peer van der Kreeft, Daniela Zummo and Norbert Scherbaum. Hum. Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2012; 27: 145–149.
Marta Calsina | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences