Methylone

What is methylone?

Methylone is chemically very similar to ecstasy (MDMA). The only difference is that 1 extra oxygen (O) atom has been added to the alkyl group (the tail of the molecule) at the expense of 2 hydrogen (H) atoms. This shifts the molecule from the amphetamine family to that of the cathinones. The chemical name is 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone. It is also known as explosion, APK or bk-MDMA. Cathinones also occur naturally in for example the plant khat.

Methylone is a so-called new psychoactive substance (NPS) or research chemical. These NPS are rarely well researched. This means that very little or nothing is known about the long-term consequences, the consequences of frequent use, the risk of addiction, which dose is needed for an optimal effect or which dose poses a danger. Always be careful with new drugs. If you don’t want to take a risk, don’t use drugs.


Effects

The effect of a drug depends on the characteristics of the drug itself, but also on the set and setting of the user. Here we describe the general effects of MDMA.

The stimulant effects are stronger than the euphoric effects and this is where methylone differs from MDMA. The uplifting effects can last for hours.

Positive effects (negative) Side effects

Euphoria, feelings of love

This substance can make you feel euphoric, like you are in love. You feel comfortable in your own skin and can experience things as pleasant more quickly.

Decreased ability to concentrate

Decreased ability to concentrate.

Increased empathy

You feel more connected to others. It is easier to connect to others and to empathize with the feelings that someone else experiences.

Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness. Short term, failure to remember events shortly after ingestion.

Entactogenic

Strong sense of connectedness to others or your environment. You can connect more easily with others and notice less inhibitions than you might normally experience in social contact. For example, it may be easier to speak openly about the things that are bothering you.

Need for contact, conversation and intimacy

Having a good conversation with someone, or cuddling, can be very pleasant and interesting.

Paranoia and delusions

Anxiety, paranoia and delusions (e.g. the idea that people are talking about you).

Energetic feeling

You have feelings of being energized. Sitting still is sometimes more difficult and this energetic feeling is often expressed through the urge to dance or move.

Tingling

Tingling sensation in the body or parts of the body.

Alertness

This drug can make you more active than usual. You are feeling sharp, awkae and it is easy to focus your attention on the things that are happening around you.

Decreased appetite

Stimulation of the fight-or-flight response in the body can suppress appetite.

More intense music experiences

Music can be experienced louder or more intense. For example, it can feel as if you are completely ‘absorbed’ in the music or that you feel the low tones from the music go through your body more intensely.

Increase in blood pressure and heart rate

Due to increased cardiac stimulation, heart rate and blood pressure rise.

Increased body temperature

Stimulants cause increased activity in muscles, and increase the “base temperature” of the body. This causes the body temperature to increase.

Difficulty urinating

Your body releases a lot of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) causing you to retain more fluids. There is also more tension in the muscles in your urinary tract, which makes relaxing (and therefore urinating) more difficult.

Dry mouth

Stimulation of sympathetic pathways decrease saliva production, this causes the mouth to feel dry.

Dilated pupils

Due to an increased noradrenaline level in the body after taking certain drugs, the pupils become larger. The pupil size is influenced by many different processes. Increase in noradrenaline plays a role in some of those processes.

Increased muscle tension

Tense muscles and jaws (biting your tongue or cheek)

Jaw clenching

Increased muscle tension can cause the jaws to clench together. As a result, the teeth are firmly pressed together and it is possible to bite your tongue and/or cheeks.

Difficulty sleeping

After using stimulants or psychedelics it can be difficult to sleep. For more information on sleeping check here.

Nystagmus

Fast back and forth moving eyes. This often makes it difficult for you to read.

Nausea/vomiting

An uneasy and tense feeling in the abdomen, which may cause discomfort. Nausea often precedes vomiting.

Increased sweating

In response to the increased stimulation and changes in body temperature, the skin will start to secrete sweat to cool the body temperature back to normal levels.

Hallucinations

In hallucinations you perceive things that are not there. It really is an observation that seems to be real. For example, you may hear sounds (auditory hallucinations) or see something or someone (visual hallucination). This is in contrast to a change in sensory perception where normal perception is distorted. Think of a person’s voice that sounds higher or lower or a face that seems to have a big nose.

Hallucinations can be both desirable effects (with psychedelics) and unwanted side effects (with high doses of MDMA, or with being awake for too long).


Dose and route of administration

Not much is known about the dosage of methylone, as no research has been done on this drug yet. We can therefore only rely on what users report. Based on user experiences, we know that there are individual differences in dose to achieve the desired effect.

Doses for swallowing
Light 75-150 mg
Medium 150-225 mg
High from 225 mg

Methylone is available in powder or crystal form. The powder or crystals are often put in a drink and drunk. The powder can also be snorted.
In addition, methylone is sometimes still available as Explosion, but no longer at the smartshop. Explosion is a liquid and is sold in 5 cm long tubes with screw caps. A sticker is wrapped around the tube with the word Explosion on it. Because you do not know exactly what is in it, it is important to have it tested.


Duration

The first effects of methylone appear after 15 to 20 minutes. It is comparable to ‘being hit’ by an ecstasy pill. The total effect lasts for 3-5 hours.


Risks

Very little is known about the long-term consequences, the consequences of frequent use, the risk of addiction, which dose is needed for an optimal effect or which dose poses a danger. Always be careful with new drugs. If you don’t want to take a risk, don’t use drugs.

Because methylone is chemically similar to MDMA, but relatively little is known about methylone itself, we refer you to the page about the risks of MDMA.

Short term risks

Overheating

Overheating (hyperthermia) can occur when your body temperature rises too high. Using drugs in a hot, humid, crowded environment (such as a club or indoor party, or in the sun at an outdoor festival) will raise your body temperature even further. Combined with intense, long, uninterrupted dancing, overheating can occur.

Early symptoms of overheating;

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Stiff muscles
  • Dizziness

These are all symptoms that can also fall under the “normal” side effects of a drug. If the body temperature does not drop, the following symptoms may also occur:

  • Shivering
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Pale appearance
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If the body temperature rises to 40-41 degrees Celsius, the situation is life-threatening:

  • Breakdown of muscle tissue
  • Blood clotting throughout the body
  • Impaired functioning of kidneys and liver
  • Epileptic seizure

 

Depending on circumstances, overheating may also occur with “normal” doses of a drug.

Overheating is very dangerous and difficult to treat. Attempting to cool down, resting, and drinking enough water (no more than one glass per hour) is necessary to prevent overheating. Sweating is also an important way to cool down: by evaporating the sweat on your skin, it cools down slightly. But if the ambient humidity is very high (when condensate drops fall from the ceiling), sweat can’t evaporate well enough and therefore your body can’t cool down properly.

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is caused by heightened serotonin levels in the central nervous system. Serotonin is a messenger protein (neurotransmitter) that acts in the brain to affect emotions, sexual functioning, hunger and thirst.

Ecstasy, amphetamine (speed), cocaine, LSD, a number of pharmaceutical drugs (such as antidepressants) and some naturally occurring food supplements can influence serotonin levels and are linked to serotonin syndrome.

The effect that serotonin syndrome will have on users is dependant on the dosage and which specific drug they have taken.  Not all users will experience dangerous symptoms, but the effects may be unpredictable and even life-threatening.

What increases the chances of developing serotonin syndrome?

  • Using large amounts of ecstasy, or combining ecstasy with amphetamine (speed), cocaine, or other drugs.
  • Combining ecstasy with AD(H)D medication (dexamphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)) or L-tryptophan.
  • Combining ecstasy with antidepressants, MAO-inhibitors or SSRI’s may increase the chances of developing serotonin syndrome, and could cause life-threatening harm!

Early, mild signs of serotonin syndrome are similar to some reactions of ecstasy users or that of those who’ve spent hours non-stop dancing. These are symptoms like sweating, overexcitement, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate and elevated respiratory rate. Most users don’t experience these symptoms being too serious.

The following symptoms are an indication to find medical help immediately, as these are signs of severe serotonin syndrome:

  • Fever
  • Restlessness/Agitation
  • Paranoia/Confusion
  • Unusual, spastic contractions of the arms and/or legs.
  • Stiff muscles

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke.

Epileptic seizure

Taking this drug increases the risk of having an epileptic seizure if you are prone to it.

Acute confusion / excited delerium syndrome

An acute arousal state is also called an excited delerium syndrome. It is a state of being that is usually caused by excessive drinking or drug use. Often stimulants are involved, like cocaine. The excited delerium syndrome is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate intervention by professional care providers. You can recognize it by very restless and aggressive motorically behaviour. The victim flails around and is unable to calm down. The aggression is not directed, but at random. You can’t make contact with the victim. The victim keeps fighting even when he/she is overpowered by police or security.

Because someone behaves like this, it is easy to imagine that security or police want to overpower someone by pressing him or her down or holding him/her (fixation). However, this is dangerous and can lead to death. The moment you stop someone with excited delirium syndrome, the person will only resist harder, causing the heart rate/blood pressure to continue to rise dangerously.

Liver damage

Amphetamines (MDMA, speed, meth) can affect liver function in a multitude of ways. These include cell damage because of overheating, toxic metabolites, and increased blood clotting.

Depression (hangover)

A hangover may occur after using this drug. You feel tired, depressed, sad, listless, hypersensitive and empty. How bad the Tuesday blues is differes a lot from person to person. However, users often report experiencing fatigue and low mood for the days following use. It is unclear what exactly causes the hangover. But a high dose, combination use, dancing in combination with little food and little or no sleep certainly play a major role.

Long term risks

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke.

Exhaustion and trouble sleeping

Exhaustion and trouble sleeping

Weakened immune system

Weakened immune system

Weakened physical condition

Taking this drug causes blood cortisol (stress hormone) levels to rise. Cortisol affects all kinds of processes in the body, including muscle growth/breakdown and mental status.

Weight loss

When using stimulants, you usually don’t eat very well (or at all), and you are often moving around a lot on the dancefloor. Combined with higher energy requirements from your body during stimulant use, this causes you to use more energy than you take in, which leads to weight loss.

Mental problems

Mental complaints can arise or already existing psychological complaints can worsen. Feeling gloomy or anxious, not feeling well and poor concentration.

Deterioration of teeth and gums

Using this drug has a negative influence on your teeth. Your teeth can discolour, but the risk of inflammation or cavities also increases.

The hangover

Quite a few people who use methylone during the weekend have a dip comparable to ecstasy the week after. They feel depressed, hypersensitive or in a bad mood, touchy and empty. This dip is usually worst on Tuesdays.

Read the Unity Tips at the bottom of this page to reduce the hangover as much as possible.


Interactions

Combining different types of drugs can be risky and unpredictable. When you combine drugs you can have a higher risk of health problems. In the following paragraphs you can read about the effects and the risks of a number of combinations that occur frequently and also a about few that are extra hazardous. Also check our theme combining drugs.

The same information applies to methylone as to MDMA, so read methylone below instead of MDMA.

Ecstasy/MDMA and alcohol

Alcohol lessens the effects of MDMA. Also the desired effects. So you feel less of the MDMA. There is a chance that you will then take more MDMA to get a bit more effect.
You may also be less aware that you have had too much to drink. When your MDMA wears off, you are suddenly very drunk. The hangover will also be much bigger the next day.

Ecstasy/MDMA and cannabis

Some users find it a pleasant combination. Cannabis can soften the ecstasy rush, especially at the end of the experience. However, it can also make the experience a bit more vague, which is not always positive.

GHB and MDMA

Some people say that GHB would prolong the action of MDMA. The combination can make you push your limits even more than the individual drugs. GHB and MDMA alone often cause someone to go further than they would do sober. The combination can enhance this effect. So keep that in mind. Don’t do things that you later regret.

Some people think that the combination of MDMA and/or amphetamine (speed) with GHB can prevent you from passing out. It is true that your mind may feel clearer than if you were taking GHB alone. But you can still pass out. There is some evidence that if you lose consciousness from a GHB overdose, your coma may be deeper and longer if you have also taken speed or MDMA. Therefore, never use uppers to avoid passing out.

Ketamine and ecstasy/MDMA

It changes the XTC/MDMA experience. After using MDMA, many people indicate that they already have some hallucinations (crash barriers, bar tables, sunglasses, etc.). Ketamine increases the risk of hallucinations. This can be fun, but also scary. The experience becomes much more vague. Some take ketamine after the MDMA to take the sharp edges off the end.

With both drugs, people often suffer from memory problems when they are under the influence. You can no longer come up with names, for example. Or you don’t remember what you just did. The combination enhances that effect. Writing down when you took something can prevent you from accidentally overdosing.

There is a chance that the combination will make you more impulsive. Something stupid or dangerous seems like a good idea. A sober tripsitter can keep you from doing risky things.

If you choose to combine, take less of both drugs. Or wait until one of the two has significantly decreased in strength. If you have no experience with MDMA or ketamine, make sure you have experience with both drugs separately.

Both ketamine and MDMA increase heart rate. This can put an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. If you have heart problems, the combination is not recommended.

Ecstasy/MDMA and laughing gas

Under the influence of XTC/MDMA, laughing gas can intensify the trip. This can be fun, but also scary, if it’s too intense.

It can be tempting to just keep taking balloons. It is best to enjoy this in moderation. See also the risks of nitrous oxide.

Ecstasy/MDMA and other stimulants like speed and cocaine

Combining MDMA with uppers mainly ensures that you notice less of the MDMA. The desired effects, such as euphoria, are smoothed out. So you feel less of the MDMA. There is a chance that you will then take more MDMA to get a bit more effect. The uppers also remove the vagueness of the MDMA. You feel a little brighter.
The more MDMA you take and if you combine it with other uppers, the bigger the hangover. You feel empty and exhausted.
The combination also causes more brain damage. And a greater load on the heart and blood vessels.

Ecstasy/MDMA and antidepressive medication

If you’re depressed, it’s definitely not a good idea to take MDMA. If you’re on modern antidepressants, known as SSRIs, you will probably feel little to nothing from the MDMA. The effect of MDMA on the messenger substance serotonin is blocked in your brain. However, you can experience side effects of the MDMA that works on other messenger substances, such as noradrenaline and dopamine. These are mainly the effects that people do not want to have.

If you take an old type of antidepressant, called MAO inhibitors, it is very dangerous to use various drugs, including MDMA. Your blood pressure can rise to dangerous levels and you have a higher risk of serotonin syndrome.

MDMA also disrupts the balance in your brain. You may feel good for a while, but then you feel worse. This just makes it harder to feel better overall.


Unity tips

There is no real safe use of methylone. The risks can be limited, read the Unity tips for this:

  • Only use if you feel good mentally and physically.
  • Rest well before and after methylone use.
  • Eat healthy before and after methylone use. Especially lots of antioxidants and vitamins (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, oranges, kiwi, broccoli). This is perhaps the most important tip! It is difficult to eat during and after methylone use, but try anyway. Eating right definitely reduces the hangover! If you’re not getting solid foods, think juices, breakfast drinks, smoothies.
  • You can use extra vitamins and antioxidants before and after methylone use.
  • Drink a glass of water or soda every hour to prevent overheating.
  • Do not drink more than 2 glasses of water per hour, otherwise the risk of water intoxication increases.
  • Do not use in: diabetes, weak heart, high blood pressure, pregnancy, epilepsy and psychological complaints or in combination with medicines (especially not with MAO inhibitors and asthma medicines).
  • Do not use more than once every 6-8 weeks.
  • Have your powder tested, then you know exactly what and how much is in it.
  • Make sure you don’t get too hot while taking methylone: ​​rest every now and then, don’t wear warm clothes, no headgear, and drink water or soft drinks every now and then.
  • Do not combine with alcohol and other drugs.
  • Do not participate in traffic.
  • Methylone evokes feelings of intimacy. In combination with a carefree mood, safe sex can sometimes be missed. Be prepared and have a condom with you.

FAQ

What if I have medical complaints after the use of partydrugs?

Some complaints after using drugs can last longer, A medical explanation or even treatment may then be necessary. The Brijder has set up a national consultancy for party drugs related medical complaints. If you have medical complaints after the use of party drugs, you can call the consultancy: 088 – 358 29 40. This service is only available in the Netherlands.

 


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