Blog | Addiction Warning Signs

Synthetic Cathinones: The Dangers of Bath Salts

scaredThe most recent estimates approximate that 10 million people worldwide use the khat plant for its euphoric high.[i] Despite such large numbers using the drug internationally, most Americans have never heard of it. However, these chemicals known as cathinones, responsible for the stimulating euphoria, are not a new invention. People around the world have been using the drug for hundreds of years. Simply chewing the leaves and branches of the khat plant produces the high people desire, so it was easy for people living before the modern era to use it with little effort.

Synthetic Cathinones

Nowadays, however, a large number of synthetic cathinones have been produced in an attempt to mimic the natural cathinones found in khat plants.

These substances are sold on the Internet and in gas stations under a variety of names including the following:

  • Bath salts
  • Incense
  • Potpourri

Cathinones were declared a Schedule I drug in the US back in the early 1990s. However,since the 1990s, a number of new synthetic cathinones have been created which are not listed in that law.[ii] New laws and updates attempt to keep up with the new substances on the street, but companies that sell synthetic cathinones simply change the chemicals in their product as new laws are made in order to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.

Negative Physical and Emotional Side Effects of Synthetic Cathinones

The symptoms that may be present when someone has used a drug containing synthetic cathinones include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Hyperawareness
  • Increased energy
  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Heightened sex drive

Each of the synthetic cathinone combinations has their own unique effects on users. Some of these drugs have been compared to the intense effects of using PCP. Eyewitness reports claim the drug can induce the following situations:

  • Extreme aggression
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Superhuman feats of strength

Bath Salts Are Similar in Effect to Amphetamines

More research needs to be done to understand the clinical effects of synthetic cathinones. With new synthetic cathinones being created and released onto the black market all the time, it is difficult for the scientific community to keep up with the drug manufacturers. So far, researchers have seen many similarities between the effects of PCP and synthetic cathinones, including overstimulation of the central nervous system (CNS) and issues with the heart, such as rapid heartbeat, hypertension, chest pains and palpitations. Headaches, inability to sleep, paranoia, seizures and even death are all potential results of the excitatory properties of cathinones.

If bath salts or other synthetic substances are causing a problem for someone you love, contact us at Michael’s House at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline to learn more about how our addiction treatment programs can help. We want to help you live a life free from substance abuse. Please call us today.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2288828

[2] http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/765892_3