Beta-ketones for sale
Beta-ketones are derivatives of cathinone, a psychoactive substance found in the khat plant Catha edulis. They are marketed as legal substitutes to stimulants like methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and sold as plant food, bath salts, or jewelry cleaner. They are also sold as ecstasy or “molly” to unsuspecting users. Beta-ketones are related to amphetamine, and subtle structural variations distinguish them from methamphetamine and MDMA. Structurally, beta-ketones are beta-ketoamphetamines, that is, a ketone group is present two carbons away from the amino group in the alkyl chain. Beta-ketones are more hydrophilic than their amphetamine counterparts and are less able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Methcathinone, the first popular beta-ketone, was developed in 1928 and gained popularity only in the 1990s.
Mephedrone was introduced in 2009 in United Kingdom and Holland, with its popularity increasing in the nightlife scene reportedly because of the poor quality or difficulty in finding cocaine and MDMA. Beta-ketones enjoyed similar popularity in the United States until 2011 when a temporary ban was placed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Calls to PCCs initially increased from 304 in 2010 to a peak of 6137 in 2011, followed by a decrease to 2691 in 2012,996 in 2013,18 587 in 2014, and 522 in 2015.There were 22,904 ED visits involving “bath salts” in the United States in 2011 during its peak popularity. Annual self-reported use by US adolescents has remained fairly constant since 2012 at around 1 % of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.13 One caveat of self- reported prevalence use is it does not capture the unintended use of cathinones that are found as adulterants or misleadingly sold as MDMA to unaware users.
Pharmacology and routes of administration
Typical mephedrone and methylone oral doses range from 100 to 200 mg, with the onset of psychostimulant effects starting 30 to 45 minutes later, and the duration of action being 2 to 5 hours. When insufflated, a dose of mephedrone ranging from 20 to 75 mg has a quick onset and lasts less than 2 hours, whereas an intravenous dose has a quicker onset, with a “high” lasting 10 to 15 minutes, and psychoactive effects lasting less than 30 minutes. On the other hand, the MDPV oral dose is about 10 to 15 mg, has a quicker onset at 15 to 30 minutes, and a duration of 2 to 7 hours. MDPV is more lipophilic than other beta-ketones and efficiently crosses the blood-brain barrier. Jolliff and colleagues have also suggested MDPV crosses the placenta because it was found in the blood, urine, and cord blood of a newborn.
Beta-ketones are thought to undergo hepatic phase I and II metabolism, where they could be affected by drug interactions. For mephedrone, cytochrome CYP2D6 is mainly involved in its phase I metabolism, whereas for methylone, it is CYP2C19, 2D6, and 1A2. Methylone, butylone, and ethylone were found to be metabolized by catechol O-methyltransferase.