|Summary sheet: Amphetamine|
|Common names||Amphetamine, Speed, Adderall, Pep|
|Routes of Administration|
Amphetamine (also known as alpha-methylphenethylamine, amfetamine, and speed) is a stimulant substance of the phenethylamine class. Chemically, it is the parent compound of the substituted amphetamines, a group which includes a diverse range of substances like bupropion, phenmetrazine, MDMA, and DOx. Amphetamine acts by promoting the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887 but its psychostimulant effects were not discovered until 1929. In the 1930s, it began to be marketed and sold over-the-counter under the name Benzedrine. It was widely used to treat a wide range of ailments such as alcohol hangover, narcolepsy, depression, and weight reduction. Today, amphetamine is used clinically for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. Additionally, it sees widespread illicit use as a performance enhancing agent and recreational substance.
Amphetamine is considered to be the quintessential member of the stimulant class due to its extensively studied effects and long history of clinical use. Subjective effects include stimulation, focus enhancement, motivation enhancement, increased libido, appetite suppression, and euphoria. It is usually taken orally, but can also be insufflated, injected, or administered rectally. Lower doses are commonly reported to increase focus and productivity while higher doses tend to increase sociability, sexual desire, and euphoria.
Recreational use of amphetamine is associated with abuse and dependence. It is highly advised to use harm reduction practices if using this substance.
- 1 History and culture
- 2 Chemistry
- 3 Pharmacology
- 4 Subjective effects
- 5 Toxicity and harm potential
- 6 Legal status
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 Literature
- 10 References
History and culture
Amphetamine was first synthesized in Germany in 1887 by the Romanian chemist Lazăr Edeleanu, who named it phenylisopropylamine. However, its stimulant effects remained unknown until 1927, when it was independently re-synthesized by Gordon Alles and discovered to have sympathomimetic properties.
In late 1933, Smith, Kline and French began selling amphetamine in the form of a decongestant inhaler under the name Benzedrine. Benzedrine sulfate was introduced 3 years later and was used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including narcolepsy, obesity, low blood pressure, low libido, and chronic pain.
During World War II, amphetamine and methamphetamine were used extensively by both the Allied and Axis forces for their stimulant and performance-enhancing effects. As its addictive properties became known, governments began to place strict controls on its sale.
Amphetamine is still illegally synthesized and sold on the black market, primarily in European countries. Among European Union (EU) member states, 1.2 million young adults used illicit amphetamine or methamphetamine in 2013. During 2012, approximately 5.9 metric tons of illicit amphetamine were seized within EU member states; the "street price" of illicit amphetamine within the EU ranged from €6–38 per gram during the same period. Outside Europe, the illicit market for amphetamine is much smaller than the market for methamphetamine and MDMA.
Amphetamine, also known as alpha-methylphenethylamine, is a synthetic substance of the phenethylamine family. The chemical structure of amphetamine consists of phenethylamine, a phenyl ring bound to an amino (NH2) group through an ethyl chain, with an additional methyl substitution at Rα. The name 'amphetamine' is a contraction from αlphamethylphenethylamine
Attention disorders are often treated using Adderall or a generic equivalent, a formulation of mixed amphetamine salts that contain both racemic-amphetamine, in the sulfate and aspartate monohydrate salt forms, and enantiopure dextroamphetamine, in the sulfate and saccharate salt forms, mixed to yield a final ratio of 3 parts dextroamphetamine to 1 part levoamphetamine.
At room temperature, the pure free base of amphetamine is a mobile, colorless, and volatile liquid with a characteristically strong amine odor, and acrid, burning taste.
Amphetamine is a chiral compound. Racemic amphetamine (dl-amphetamine) contains two optical isomers, or enantiomers:
- l-amphetamine (l-amph, l-AMP), levamfetamine (INN), levoamphetamine, levorotatory amphetamine, l-isomer amphetamine, (R)-(−)-amphetamine, (R)-amphetamine, (−)-amphetamine, or (2R)-1-Phenylpropan-2-amine (IUPAC name), is the 'left-handed' enantiomer form of amphetamine.
- d-amphetamine (d-amph, d-AMP), dexamphetamine (INN), dextroamphetamine, dextrorotatory amphetamine, d-isomer amphetamine, or (S)-(+)-amphetamine, (S)-amphetamine, (+)-amphetamine, or (2S)-1-phenylpropan-2-amine (IUPAC name), is the 'right-handed' enantiomer form of amphetamine.
Amphetamine exerts its behavioral effects by increasing the signaling activity of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in the reward and executive function pathways of the brain. The reinforcing and motivational effects of amphetamine are mostly due to enhanced dopaminergic activity in the mesolimbic pathway. The euphoric and locomotor-stimulating effects of amphetamine are dependent upon the magnitude and speed by which it increases synaptic dopamine and norepinephrine concentrations in the striatum.
Amphetamine is a potent full agonist of the trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) and interacts with vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2). Combined action on TAAR1 and VMAT2 results in increased concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine in the synapses, which stimulates neuronal activity.
Dextroamphetamine is a more potent agonist of TAAR1 than levoamphetamine. Consequently, dextroamphetamine produces greater CNS stimulation than levoamphetamine, roughly three to four times more, but levoamphetamine has slightly stronger cardiovascular and peripheral effects.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below are taken from the subjective effect index, which is based on anecdotal reports and the personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be treated with a healthy degree of skepticism. It is worth noting that these effects will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, although higher 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.
- Stimulation - Amphetamine is reported to be very energetic and stimulating. It can encourage physical activities such as dancing, socializing, running, or cleaning. The particular style of stimulation which amphetamine produces can be described as forced. This means that, at higher dosages, it becomes difficult or impossible to keep still as jaw clenching, involuntary bodily shakes and vibrations become present, resulting in extreme shaking of the entire body, unsteadiness of the hands, and a general loss of fine motor control. This effect is replaced with mild fatigue and general exhaustion during the offset of the experience.
- Spontaneous bodily sensations - The "body high" of amphetamine can be described as a moderate euphoric tingling sensation that encompasses the entire body. This sensation maintains a consistent presence that steadily rises with the onset and hits its limit once the peak has been reached.
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Appetite suppression
- Bronchodilation
- Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty urinating
- Increased bodily temperature
- Increased perspiration
- Mania - Amphetamine can produce mania in genetically predisposed individuals, such as those on the spectrum of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Higher doses and sleep deprivation appears to increase the risk.
- Pupil dilation - This effect is experienced only at common to high dosages and is more prominent on the comedown.
- Reflex syncope
- Stamina enhancement
- Teeth grinding - Teeth grinding may be present at higher doses. However, it is less intense than that of MDMA.
- Temporary erectile dysfunction
- Vasoconstriction
The visual effects of amphetamine are inconsistent and occur only mildly noticeable at higher doses. They are somewhat comparable to deliriant visuals and occur more readily in darker areas.
- Drifting - This effect is usually subtle and barely noticeable and only occurs at higher dosages or when combined with cannabis. Commonly this consists of level 1-2 drifting.
- Brightness alteration - Amphetamine can make spaces seem brighter as a result of its pupil dilating effects.
- Transformations - This effect occurs very rarely, and typically only when the user has taken high doses, is coming down, or has been awake for unusually long periods. They are usually very mild when they do occur.
- Analysis enhancement
- Cognitive euphoria
- Compulsive redosing
- Ego inflation
- Emotion suppression - This effect is typically most intense at light and common doses, and is more commonly reported from medical usage rather than recreational.
- Focus enhancement - This effect is most effective at low to moderate doses as anything higher will usually impair concentration.
- Increased libido
- Increased music appreciation
- Memory enhancement
- Motivation enhancement
- Psychosis - This effect only occurs in either predisposed individuals, or after chronic, high frequency use, or due to sleep deprivation.
- Thought acceleration
- Thought organization
- Time distortion - This can be described as the experience of time speeding up and passing much quicker than it usually would when sober.
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:
- Anxiety - Anxiety can reach severe levels during the comedown in some users.
- Appetite suppression
- Cognitive fatigue
- Motivation suppression
- Sleep paralysis - Some users note sleep paralysis after consuming amphetamine.
- Dream suppression
- Thought deceleration
- Wakefulness - The insomnia following a repeated series of amphetamine doses can last for longer than a day in some users.
There are currently no anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index. Additional experience reports can be found here:
Toxicity and harm potential
As of March 2014, there is no evidence that amphetamine is directly neurotoxic in humans. However, high-dose amphetamine can cause indirect neurotoxicity as a result of increased oxidative stress from reactive oxygen species and autoxidation of dopamine.
In rodents and primates, sufficiently high doses of amphetamine causes damage to dopamine neurons, characterized as reduced transporter and receptor function. Animal models of neurotoxicity from high-dose amphetamine exposure indicate that the occurrence of hyperpyrexia (i.e., core body temperature ≥ 40 °C) is necessary for the development of amphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. 
It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.
The LD50 (the dosage required to kill 50% of the test subjects) of amphetamine in rats has been found to be between roughly 15 mg and 180 mg per kilogram, depending on the study. No formal studies in humans have been carried out and the exact toxic dosage is unknown.
Dependence and abuse potential
Amphetamine has a high abuse potential and can cause dependence with chronic use. When dependence has developed, cravings and withdrawal effects may occur if use is suddenly discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms include paranoia, depression, dream potentiation, anxiety, itching, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, an intense craving for more amphetamine or other stimulants. Addiction is a serious risk with heavy recreational amphetamine use, but is unlikely to arise from typical medical use.
Tolerance to many of the effects of amphetamine develops with prolonged and repeated use. This results in users having to administer increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects. Upon single administration, it takes about 3 - 7 days for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 1 - 2 weeks to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption). Amphetamine presents cross-tolerance with all dopaminergic stimulants, meaning that after the consumption of amphetamine all stimulants will have a reduced effect.
Severe amphetamine overdose can result in a stimulant psychosis that may present with a variety of symptoms (e.g., paranoia, hallucinations, delusions). A review on treatment for amphetamine abuse-induced psychosis states that about 5–15% of users fail to recover completely. The same review asserts that antipsychotic medications effectively resolve the symptoms of acute amphetamine psychosis. Psychosis very rarely arises from therapeutic use.
Although many psychoactive substances are reasonably safe to use on their own, they can quickly become dangerous or even life-threatening when taken with other substances. The following lists some known dangerous combinations, but cannot be guaranteed to include all of them. Independent research should always be conducted to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some interactions listed have been sourced from TripSit.
- Alcohol - Drinking alcohol on stimulants is considered risky because it reduces the sedative effects of the alcohol that the body uses to gauge drunkenness. This often leads to excessive drinking with greatly reduced inhibitions, increasing the risk of liver damage and increased dehydration. The effects of stimulants will also allow one to drink past a point where they might normally pass out, increasing the risk. If you do decide to do this then you should set a limit of how much you will drink each hour and stick to it, bearing in mind that you will feel the alcohol and the stimulant less.
- GHB/GBL - Stimulants increase respiration rate allowing a higher dose of sedatives. If the stimulant wears off first then the opiate may overcome the user and cause respiratory arrest.
- Opioids - Stimulants increase respiration rate allowing a higher dose of opiates. If the stimulant wears off first then the opiate may overcome the patient and cause respiratory arrest.
- Cocaine - This combination of stimulants will increase strain on the heart. It is not favored as cocaine has a mild blocking effect on dopamine releasers like amphetamine.
- Caffeine - This combination of stimulants is generally considered unnecessary and may increase strain on the heart, as well as potentially causing anxiety and physical discomfort.
- Tramadol - Tramadol and stimulants both increase the risk of seizures.
- DXM - Both substances raise heart rate, in extreme cases, panic attacks caused by these substances have led to more serious heart issues.
- Ketamine - No unexpected interactions. Likely to increase blood pressure but not an issue with sensible doses. Moving around on high doses of this combination may be ill advised due to risk of physical injury.
- PCP - Increases risk of tachycardia, hypertension, and manic states.
- Methoxetamine - Increases risk of tachycardia, hypertension, and manic states.
- Psychedelics - Increases risk of anxiety, paranoia, and thought loops.
- 25x-NBOMe - Amphetamines and NBOMes both provide considerable stimulation that when combined they can result in tachycardia, hypertension, vasoconstriction and, in extreme cases, heart failure. The anxiogenic and focusing effects of stimulants are also not good in combination with psychedelics as they can lead to unpleasant thought loops. NBOMes are known to cause seizures and stimulants can increase this risk.
- Cannabis - Stimulants increase anxiety levels and the risk of thought loops and paranoia which can lead to negative experiences.
- Psilocybin mushrooms
- MAOIs - MAO-B inhibitors can increase the potency and duration of phenethylamines unpredictably. MAO-A inhibitors with amphetamine can lead to hypertensive crises.
Internationally, amphetamine is a schedule II controlled substance under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It is therefore illegal to sell and possess without a prescription.
- Austria: Amphetamine is illegal to possess, produce and sell under the SMG (Suchtmittelgesetz Österreich).
- Canada: Amphetamine is a Schedule I drug in Canada.
- Germany: Amphetamine is a controlled substance under Anlage III of the BtMG. It can only be prescribed on a narcotic prescription form.
- Japan: Amphetamine is prohibited even for medical use in Japan.
- South Korea: Amphetamine is prohibited even for medical use in South Korea.
- Thailand: Amphetamine is classified as a category 1 narcotic under the Thai Narcotic Act of 2012.
- United Kingdom: Amphetamine is a Class B drug in the United Kingdom.
- United States: Amphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States.
- Amphetamine (Wikipedia)
- Amphetamine (Erowid Vault)
- Amphetamine (Isomer Design)
- Amphetamine (DrugBank)
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