|Summary sheet: 4-MEC|
|Common names||4-MEC, 4-Methylethcathinone|
|Routes of Administration|
It is chemically similar to the cathinone compounds found in the khat plant of eastern Africa. It comes in the form of a powder, which users can swallow, snort, inject or insert rectally producing effects which are somewhat similar to that MDMA, amphetamine, and cocaine.
4-MEC, or 4-methylethcathinone, is a synthetic molecule of the cathinone family. Cathinones are structurally similar to amphetamines, they contain a phenethylamine core featuring a phenyl ring bound to an amino (NH2) group through an ethyl chain with an additional methyl substitution at Rα. Amphetamines and cathinones are alpha-methylated phenethylamines, cathinones contain an additional carbonyl group at R1. 4-MEC contains an additional ethyl substitutions at RN and a methyl substitution at R4 of its phenyl ring.
Given its chemical structure, 4-MEC is likely to act as a releasing agent and a reuptake inhibitor for monoamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. 4-MEC is likely to have a similar pharmacological profile to mephedrone.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below are cited 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 - In terms of its effects on the user's physical energy levels, 4-MEC is commonly considered to be extremely stimulating and energetic. This encourages activities such as running, climbing and dancing in a way that makes 4-MEC a popular choice for musical events such as festivals and raves. The particular style of stimulation which mekhedrone presents can be described as forced. This means that at higher dosages it becomes difficult or impossible to keep still, as jaw clenching, involuntarily bodily shakes and vibrations become present, resulting in an extreme unsteadiness of the hands and a general lack of motor control.
- Spontaneous tactile sensations - The "body high" of 4-MEC can be described as a moderate to extreme euphoric tingling sensation that encompasses the entire body. It is capable of becoming overwhelmingly pleasurable at higher dosages. This sensation maintains a consistent presence that steadily rises with the onset and hits its limit once the peak has been reached.
- Vibrating vision - A person's eyeballs may begin to spontaneously wiggle back and forth in a rapid motion, causing vision to become blurry and temporarily out of focus-- a condition known as nystagmus.
- Dehydration - Dry mouth and dehydration are a universal experience with mekhedrone and are a product of an increased heart rate and extreme motivation to engage in strenuous physical activities. While it is important to avoid becoming dehydrated, especially when out dancing in a hot environment, there is a potential possibility of suffering from water intoxication through over-drinking so it is advised that users simply sip at water and never over drink.
- Difficulty urinating - Higher doses of mekhedrone result in an overall difficulty when it comes to urination, an effect that is completely temporary and harmless.
- Tactile enhancement
- Increased heart rate
- Increased perspiration
- Increased blood pressure
- Body odor alteration
- Teeth grinding - This component can be considered to be less intense when compared with that of MDMA.
The cognitive effects of 4-MEC can be broken down into several components which progressively intensify proportional to dosage. The general head space of mephedrone is described by many as one of extreme mental stimulation and powerful euphoria. It contains a large number of typical stimulant cognitive effects.
The most prominent of these cognitive effects generally include:
- Euphoria - Strong emotional euphoria and feelings of happiness are present within 4-MEC and are likely a direct result of serotonin and dopamine release.
- Thought acceleration
- Analysis enhancement
- Empathy, love, and sociability enhancement - This particular effect, although distinct, is far less prominent than the same effect found within traditional entactogens such as MDMA or 2C-B
- Time distortion - Strong feelings of time compression are common within 4-MEC and speed up the experience of time quite noticeable.
- Ego inflation
- Motivation enhancement
- Compulsive redosing
- Increased libido
- Increased music appreciation
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
Almost nothing is known about the long-term effects of 4-MEC due to its short history of its use. The exact toxic dosage is unknown.
It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this drug.
Tolerance and addiction potential
As with other stimulants, the chronic use of 4-MEC can be considered moderately addictive with a high potential for abuse and is capable of causing psychological dependence among certain users. When addiction has developed, cravings and withdrawal effects may occur if a person suddenly stops their usage.
Tolerance to many of the effects of 4-MEC 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 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). 4-MEC presents cross-tolerance with all dopaminergic stimulants, meaning that after the consumption of mephedrone all stimulants will have a reduced effect.
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.
- MDMA - The neurotoxic effects of MDMA may be increased when combined with other amphetamines.
- Cocaine - This combination may increase strain on the heart.
- Stimulants - 4-MEC 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.
Serotonin syndrome risk
Combinations with the following substances can cause dangerously high serotonin levels. Serotonin syndrome requires immediate medical attention and can be fatal if left untreated.
- MAOIs such as syrian rue, banisteriopsis caapi, 2C-T-7, αMT, phenelzine, selegiline, and moclobemide
- Serotonin releasers such as MDMA, 4-FA, methamphetamine, methylone and αMT
- Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as tramadol and DXM
- 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. 
- Talaie, H., Panahandeh, R., Fayaznouri, M. R., Asadi, Z., & Abdollahi, M. (2009). Dose-independent occurrence of seizure with tramadol. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 5(2), 63-67. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03161089
- Gillman, P. K. (2005). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, opioid analgesics and serotonin toxicity. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 95(4), 434-441. https://doi.org/10.1093/bja/aei210