Now, let’s take one research chemical as an example, and learn more about it – MDMAMay 7, 2020
MDMA is known by many names, including 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, Methylone, Molly and many others. Its IUPAC designation is (RS)-1-(Benzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl)-N-methylpropan-2-amine.
Whether you call it Methylone, Molly, X or Ecstasy, the material has an interesting history. It has many uses as a research chemical, both in chemical testing and as a precursor for many other useful substances. It is perhaps best known, though, as one of the first ‘designer drugs’.
Designer drugs are really a way of misusing research chemicals. They are substances which were never intended for human consumption that, nonetheless, have powerful effects on humans who consume them. Most act on the same chemical receptors (part of the human neural system) that natural drugs do, but are chemically different enough that they are, at least for a time, not illegal. For example, MDMA is structurally very similar to an older drug called Bk-MDMA, and has similar effects. Both agonise certain chemical receptors and inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical linked to pleasure and mood.
For a time, consumption of MDMA was not technically illegal in many countries. It did not take long for some people to take advantage of this fact, and though there are no uncriticised studies of the actual toxicity of MDMA, poor production quality of what had become an unlicensed and unregulated drug had many serious health effects.
Of course, governments soon acknowledged the danger of chemicals like methylone/molly, and made them officially controlled substances as well. MDMA is now itself illegal in most countries because if its history of abuse.