|Summary sheet: ETH-CAT|
|Common names||ETH-CAT, Ethcathinone, Ethylpropion|
|Routes of Administration|
Ethylcathinone (also known as Ethylpropion, Ethcathinone, and commonly as ETH-CAT) is a stimulant substance of the cathinone chemical class that produces stimulating and focus enhancing effects when administered. It is structurally related to cathinone and methcathinone (MCAT), which broadly shares the effects profile of amphetamine or methylphenidate.
Of the substituted cathinones, ETH-CAT reportedly produces the most moderate and residually long-lasting stimulation, with subtle effects that persist well after the initial rush. It has been described as having a more functional than recreational character due to the limited euphoria it produces for a stimulant, although its short active duration can promote compulsive redosing.
Very little data exists about the pharmacological properties, metabolism, and toxicity of ETH-CAT, and it has little history of human usage. It is primarily distributed as a research chemical on the online grey market. In 2008 it was identified as an ingredient in both quasi-legal "party pills". It has also been reported as having been sold as "ecstasy" along with another substituted cathinone, mephedrone. It is highly advised to use harm reduction practices if using this substance.
Ethylcathinone, or ETH-CAT, is a synthetic alkaloid of the substituted cathinone class. Substituted cathinones are all derivatives of cathinone, a stimulant substance which is structurally and functionally related to amphetamine and the principal active psychoactive component present in the khat plant (Catha edulis). The cathinone molecule is comprised of a phenethylamine core featuring a phenyl ring bound to an amino (NH2) group at the end of an ethyl side-chain that contains ketone group in the beta position.
In distinction to its N-methylated lower homolog, methcathinone (M-CAT), ETH-CAT possesses an additional ethyl substitution at Rα. ETH-CAT can be thought of as the cathinone analog of ethylamphetamine given it has the same general formula, differing only by the addition of a single double-bonded oxygen (i.e. the ketone group).
Although the effects of ETH-CAT have not been formally studied on the same level as traditional amphetamines or other substituted cathinones like methcathinone, it is possible to speculate that like other simple substituted cathinone, it most likely acts principally as a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
The result of this is an effective increase in the levels of catecholamine neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain by binding to and partially blocking the transporter proteins that normally clear these neurotransmitters from the synaptic cleft. This enables dopamine and norepinephrine to accumulate between the synaptic clefts of key regions of the brain associated with reward, motivation, satisfaction and pleasure to extra-endogenous levels. This mechanism is thought to account for the stimulating, motivation enhancing and euphoric effects that this substance produces.
At low to moderate doses, ETH-CAT has been reported as being a relatively functional and effective amphetamine-like stimulant for performing general productivity tasks. It has a noticeably short duration of activity combined with a tendency to produce long-lasting residual stimulation well after the main effects have worn off, which can promote patterns of compulsive redosing in order to maintain a steady level of the desired amount of physical and cognitive stimulation.
However, at higher doses, it becomes less of a productivity-oriented stimulant and takes on a recreational character, perhaps owing to the inherently distracting nature of the type of thought acceleration and cognitive euphoria it can induce. However, even at high doses, it is reported as falling short of many other, far more hedonic and recreational substituted cathinones such as mephedrone, methylone, and methcathinone (M-CAT).
The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. These effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances of inducing a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death.
- The effects which occur during the offset of a stimulant experience generally feel negative and uncomfortable in comparison to the effects which occurred during its peak. This is often referred to as a "comedown" and occurs because of neurotransmitter depletion. Its effects commonly include:
The cognitive effects of ETH-CAT can be broken down into several components which intensify proportional to dosage. The general head space of ETH-CAT is described by many as one of mental stimulation, focus enhancement and thought acceleration coupled with a mild sense of euphoria that is less pronounced than the head space of amphetamine, even at strong to heavy doses.
- Analysis enhancement
- Focus enhancement
- Motivation enhancement
- Anxiety - This compound produces little to no anxiety unless it is taken in large doses or redosed repeatedly.
- Thought acceleration
- Thought organization
- Cognitive euphoria - The cognitive euphoria that this substance produces is often reported to be extremely mild compared to other stimulants in its class.
- Compulsive redosing
Toxicity and harm potential
The toxicity and long-term health effects of recreational ETH-CAT use do not seem to have been studied in any scientific context and the exact toxic dosage is unknown. This is because ETH-CAT has very little history of human usage. Anecdotal reports from people within the community who have tried ETH-CAT suggest that there do not seem to be any negative health effects attributed to simply trying this substance at low to moderate doses by itself and using it sparingly (although nothing can be completely guaranteed). Others have commented that its d-isomer form is virtually similar to the effects of d-isomer amphetamine, and has thus far shown little reason to suspect that its toxicity is radically different (though this has yet to be scientifically validated).
It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.
Tolerance and addiction potential
As with other stimulants, ETH-CAT may also possess habit-forming or reinforcing properties. Compared with other stimulants, however, chronic use of ETH-CAT is more likely to be considered to be only mildly addictive with a comparatively low potential for abuse. Early studies demonstrate ETH-CAT suppresses cocaine self-administration in rhesus monkeys, without the adverse effects associated with older dopamine releasing agent (e.g., amphetamine). Despite this, ethcathinone may still be capable of causing psychological dependence among certain users.
Tolerance to many of the effects of ETH-CAT develops with prolonged and repeated use. This results in users having to administer increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects. After that, it takes about 2 - 3 days for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 3-5 days to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption). ETH-CAT presents cross-tolerance with all dopaminergic stimulants, meaning that after the consumption of ETH-CAT all stimulants will have a reduced effect.
Abuse of compounds within the amphetamine chemical class at high dosages for prolonged periods of time can potentially result in a stimulant psychosis that may present with a variety of symptoms (e.g., paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions). A review on treatment for amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse-induced psychosis states that about 5–15% of users fail to recover completely. The same review asserts that, based upon at least one trial, antipsychotic medications effectively resolve the symptoms of acute amphetamine psychosis. Psychosis is known to arises only very rarely from therapeutic use.
Although many psychoactive substances are safe to use on their own, they can quickly become dangerous or even life-threatening when combined with other substances. The following lists some known dangerous combinations, but may not include all of them. A combination that appears to be safe in low doses can still increase the risk of injury or death. Independent research should always be conducted to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume.
- MAOIs - This combination may increase the amount of neurotransmitters such as dopamine to dangerous or even fatal levels. Examples include syrian rue, banisteriopsis caapi, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, αMT, and some antidepressants.
- Stimulants - Ethylcathinone can be potentially dangerous in combination with other stimulants as it can increase one's heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels.
- 25x-NBOMe & 25x-NBOH - Members of the 25x family are highly stimulating and physically straining. Combinations with stimulants should be avoided due to the risk of excessive stimulation. This can result in panic attacks, thought loops, seizures, increased blood pressure, vasoconstriction, and heart failure in extreme cases.
- Alcohol - Alcohol can be dangerous to combine with stimulants due to the risk of accidental over-intoxication. Stimulants mask the sedative effects of alcohol, which is the main factor people use to assess their degree of intoxication. Once the stimulant wears off, the depressant effects of alcohol are left unopposed, which can result in blackouts and respiratory depression. If combined, one should strictly limit themselves to only drinking a certain amount of alcohol per hour.
- DXM - Combinations with DXM should be strictly avoided due to DXM's effects on serotonin and dopamine reuptake. This can lead to panic attacks, hypertensive crisis, or serotonin syndrome.
- MXE - Combinations with MXE may dangerously elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of psychosis.
- Tramadol - Tramadol lowers the seizure threshold. Combinations with stimulants may further increase this risk.
- MDMA - The neurotoxic effects of MDMA may be increased when combined with amphetamines.
- Cocaine - This combination may increase strain on the heart to dangerous levels.
ETH-CAT is currently an unscheduled compound within all parts of the world, meaning its regulation lies in a legal grey area and is not explicitly prohibited within any country. However, people may still be charged for its possession under certain circumstances such as under analogue laws due to its similarity to methcathinone, a widely prohibited substance, provided there is intent to sell or consume.
- China - As of October 2015 Ethylcathinone is a controlled substance in China.
- Denmark - Ethcathinone, along with mephedrone and flephedrone, was banned in Denmark on December 18, 2008.
- United Kingdom - Ethylcathinone is a Class B drug in the United Kingdom as a result of the cathinone catch-all clause.
- United States - Ethylcathinone may be considered to be an analogue of amphetamine under the Federal Analogue Act.The Federal Analogue Act, 21 U.S.C. § 813, is a section of the United States Controlled Substances Act, allowing any chemical "substantially similar" to an illegal drug (in Schedule I or II) to be treated as if it were also in Schedule I or II, but only if it is intended for human consumption.
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