|Molecular structure of Ethcathinone|
|Common names||ETH-CAT, Ethcathinone|
|Substitutive name||Ethylcathinone, Ethylpropion|
|Routes of Administration|
|Summary sheet: ETH-CAT|
Ethylcathinone (also known as Ethylpropion, Ethcathinone, and commonly as ETH-CAT) is a synthetic stimulant of the cathinone chemical class that produces an array of moderate stimulating and focus enhancing effects when administered. It is an active metabolite of the prodrug diethylcathinone and is thought to be responsible for its psychoactive effects.
Of the substituted cathinones, ETH-CAT has been reported to be one of the most moderate, subtle and residually enduring in terms of the stimulation it produces. Although it has no pronounced, compulsive "rush" component like mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone), ETH-CAT is often reported to exhibit a tendency to induce compulsive redosing, albeit in a manner that is intended to just extend the effects of the plateau rather than reproduce the effects of the initial onset.
ETH-CAT has a relatively short period of human use but is generally thought to be well-tolerated and relatively safe, based on its molecular structure as well as reports of it possessing a so-called "ceiling effect" that generally limits the amount of potentially-distracting euphoria it can produce compared to many other stimulants in its class.
Historically, ETH-CAT has rarely been available on the streets, and has instead been primarily distributed as a research chemical on the online grey market. However, 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.
Due to its short history of human use, moderately compulsive nature, and unknown toxicity profile, it is strongly advised to use harm reduction techniques if choosing to use 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. The listed 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 and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include injury or death.
- Physical euphoria
- Appetite suppression
- Increased heart rate
- Teeth grinding - This component can be considered to be less intense when compared with that of MDMA.
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
- Addiction suppression - In comparison to amphetamines, ethylcathinone lacks pronounced euphoria, yet retains a similar effect profile, potentially offering reduced propensity to abuse. This does not, however, mean that ethylcathinone is free of any habit-forming effects when taken on its own.
- Visual haze
- Peripheral information misinterpretation - As with most other stimulants, this component primarily occurs at higher doses or after a sustained period of redosing.
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:
- Cognitive fatigue
- Motivation suppression
- Thought deceleration
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 on their own, they can become dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with other substances. The list below contains some common potentially dangerous combinations, but may not include all of them. Certain combinations may be safe in low doses of each but still increase the potential risk of death. Independent research should always be done to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe before consumption.
- 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 - Both the NBOMe series and this compound induce powerful stimulation and their interaction may cause severe side effects. These can include thought loops, seizures, increased blood pressure, vasoconstriction, increased heart rate, and heart failure (in extreme cases).
- Alcohol - It is dangerous to combine alcohol, a depressant, with stimulants due to the risk of excessive intoxication. Stimulants decrease the sedative effect of alcohol which is the main factor most people consider when determining their level of intoxication. Once the stimulant wears off, the effects of alcohol will be significantly increased, leading to intensified disinhibition as well as respiratory depression. If combined, one should strictly limit themselves to only drinking a certain amount of alcohol per hour.
- DXM - This combination may cause increased heart rate and panic attacks.
- MXE - Increased heart rate and blood pressure may occur.
- Tramadol - This combination can increase the risk of seizures.
- 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 - It is illegal to produce, supply, or import this drug under the Psychoactive Substance Act, which came into effect on May 26th, 2016.
- United States - Ethylcathinone may be considered to be an analog of amphetamine, thus falling under the Federal Analog Act.The Federal Analog 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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