4-MMC / mephedrone
Mephedrone or 4-MMC (4-methylmethcathinone) belongs to the class of synthetic cathinones, a subgroup of amphetamines. Mephedrone is also called meow meow (meow meow), MCAT or bubble. It mainly occurs as a white crystal or powder, but is also available in capsules. It is very similar to its brother 3-MMC, but is often experienced as more euphoric by users.
Mephedrone is a so-called New Psychoactive Substance (NPS) or research chemical. NPS are rarely well researched. Very little or nothing is known about the short and long-term risks, consequences of frequent use and the risk of addiction. Little is also known about the optimal dose and which dose poses a risk.
Always be extra careful with new drugs. This applies even more to resources that fall into the category NPS: You are your own guinea pig. If you don’t want to take a risk, don’t use drugs.
Mephedrone is a stimulant.
The effect of a substance is determined by the properties of the substance itself, but also by the set and setting of the user. Here we describe what effects mephedrone generally has.
Mephedrone puts the user in a state of euphoria, which is somewhat comparable to ecstasy/MDMA, but is milder in terms of empathogenic (being able to empathize with the other person) and entactogenic (feeling of belonging) effects. The effect of mephedrone is often described as a combination of MDMA and cocaine. The user feels energized, stimulated and tends to talk a lot.
Particularly with high doses and long-term use, negative effects can occur. User reports range from palpitations to paranoia and purple discoloration of limbs. Other reported side effects include nausea, headache, dizziness, excessive sweating, heart pain, nosebleeds (when snorting), and feelings of anxiety.
|Positive effecten||(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.
Increase in blood pressure and heart rate
Due to increased cardiac stimulation, heart rate and blood pressure rise.
Need for contact, conversation and intimacy
Having a good conversation with someone, or cuddling, can be very pleasant and interesting.
Increased body temperature
Stimulants cause increased activity in muscles, and increase the “base temperature” of the body. This causes the body temperature to increase.
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.
Enhanced sensory perception
All sensory experiences that you normally have such as feeling, smelling and tasting become stronger. For example, a nice drink can taste much tastier. Music seems to have gained an extra dimension. It is also possible that some senses become a bit oversensitive and that you find things too intense, such as the lights on the dance floor. So this can be positive or negative.
Feeling a (strong) need to take more when the effect wears off.
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.
This substance leads to an increase in impulsive behaviour and can make you less aware of the possible consequences that certain actions have. This can be nice because, for example, it is easier to approach someone and have a chat. However, it can also lead to negative situations as you can get into an argument or physical altercation more quickly.
More intense experience of touch
Physical/physical contact with other people feels different or more intense than usual. Giving a hug to someone else can be very pleasant. It can also happen that you prefer not to touch others because this can be too intense. This effect can therefore be both positive and negative.
Confusion and restlessness
Confusion and restlessness
Increased sexual desires. You feel more attracted to others and feel a stronger need for sexual intimacy.
Paranoia and delusions
Anxiety, paranoia and delusions (e.g. the idea that people are talking about you).
Changes in perception of time
The passage of time could feel altered during ketamine use. Some parts of the evening fly by, while some parts feel a lot slower. When you are feeling comfortable, it can be nice that the feeling does not seem to stop. But if you feel uncomfortable, this can be a bothersome experience. So this effect can work both ways.
Quickly annoying or irritated.
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 ability to concentrate
Decreased ability to concentrate.
Thinking seems to go faster. It’s also easier to think clearly. You can go through certain steps in your head faster and make choices faster.
Impaired short-term memory
Short-term memory does not work properly after taking some drugs. This makes you remember things less well. For example, it often happens that during a conversation you forget what you were talking about, or that you forget the reason you walked somewhere. The next day you often don’t know very well what happened the night before.
An uneasy and tense feeling in the abdomen, which may cause discomfort. Nausea often precedes vomiting.
Some drugs keep you from falling asleep. Stimulants often have this effect, but even after using psychedelics or downers, sleep is disrupted and it is possible that you can’t sleep.
Stimulation of the fight-or-flight response in the body can suppress appetite.
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.
Stimulation of sympathetic pathways decrease saliva production, this causes the mouth to feel dry.
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.
Not being able to focus your eyes properly.
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.
The discoloration is due to the narrowing of the blood vessels.
Mephedrone can be both swallowed and snorted. When used orally (swallowing), this can be done by means of a ‘bomb’ (a dose in a paper roll, after which it is swallowed), a capsule or pill. The chance of dependence and the strong urge to take more is smaller with oral use than with snorting the mephedrone. Mephedrone can also be injected, but this hardly happens in the Netherlands.
|Doses for swallowing
|Low||25 – 75 mg|
|Medium||75 – 150 mg|
|Doses for snorting
|Low||15 – 25 mg|
|Medium||25 – 75 mg|
To know whether your mephedrone actually contains what it is supposed to, you can have your drugs tested in the Netherlands.
The duration for oral use (swallowing) is between 1.5-3 hours. With nasal use (snorting) this is 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. This is followed by a period of a few hours in which it is difficult to go to sleep for many people, but the desired effects are no longer felt. Many people experience a dip and a strong urge to take more during this period, similar to cocaine.
Mephedrone is a so-called new psychoactive substance (NPS) or research chemical. NPS are rarely well researched. Very little or nothing is known about the short and long-term risks, consequences of frequent use and the risk of addiction. Little is also known about the optimal dose and which dose poses a risk. The risks are expected to be in line with those of other stimulants, such as speed, cocaine and MDMA.
Mephedrone speeds up the heart rate and raises blood pressure. People with high blood pressure and/or heart problems are advised not to experiment with stimulants. People who develop purple limbs after using mephedrone are also advised not to use it. There is some evidence that mephedrone may cause problems with the autoimmune (defense) system (vasculitis) in a small percentage of people.
Users report that taking mephedrone can lead to cravings (a strong need to take more). These cravings often occur earlier when snorting than when taking mephedrone.
Always be extra careful when trying out new drugs. This applies even more to resources that fall into the category NPS: You are your own guinea pig. If you don’t want to take a risk, don’t use drugs.
Short term risks
Triggering a drug-induced psychosis
Frequent and high-dosage ketamine use can increase susceptibility to developing psychosis. During a psychosis, you may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, losing your grip on reality, and you could become very anxious. It becomes difficult to differentiate between reality and your thoughts. Your behaviour and thought patterns are often erratic and chaotic.
It is still unclear whether this can only be triggered in people who are already predisposed to psychosis, or whether regular drug use and an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g. little sleep) by itself can induce psychosis.
Using ketamine consecutively for days without sleeping, resting and eating exhausts your body, and therefore increases the risks of psychosis. Does someone in your environment react erratic and anxious? You can help that person by removing distractions (music, TV off for a while) and finding another environment where that person can get some rest. Speak calmly, be understanding and, if necessary, go outside together. Do not deny or confirm any delusions and if it does not get better, call a general practice centre. Medical staff are there to help you and can, if necessary, arrange a consult, write a prescription or provide care in another way.
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.
Vasoconstriction (blood vessel contraction)
Stimulation of the sympathetic (fight-or-flight response) nervous system causes blood vessels supplying some organs to constrict, in order to increase relative blood flow to the muscles.
Taking this drug increases the risk of having an epileptic seizure if you are prone to it.
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;
- Stiff muscles
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:
- Elevated heart rate
- Pale appearance
- Impaired consciousness
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.
Exhaustion and trouble sleeping
Exhaustion and trouble sleeping
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.
Problems with the immune system
There is some evidence that this drug may cause problems with the autoimmune (defense) system in a small percentage of people. This is an inflammatory process of the blood vessels that often leads to closure of the vessels. This is called vasculitis.
Mental complaints can arise or already existing psychological complaints can worsen. Feeling gloomy or anxious, not feeling well and poor concentration.
When someone has a psychological dependency, they are convinced that they cannot function without using the substance.
However, there is no physical change in body chemistry that would produce bodily side effects from quitting the substance.
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.
4-MMC and alcohol
4-MMC give you energy and makes you less tired. As a result, you may feel the sedating effects of the alcohol less and you may tend to drink more alcohol. Be careful, because this can cause an extra large hangover. So do not drink alcohol while taking 4-MMC use or make an agreement in advance with yourself or your friends how many glasses of alcohol you want to drink. This prevents headaches the next day and is better for your health!
4-MMC and cannabis
Some users find it a pleasant combination. Cannabis can soften the rush, especially at the end. However, it can also make the experience a bit more vague, which is not always positive.
4-MMC and GHB
4-MMC is sometimes combined with GHB to take the edge off the 4-MMC or to make you hornier when used in a sexual setting. The risk of the combination is that you will not feel the anesthetic effect of GHB due to the stimulating effect of 4-MMC, which increases the chance of overdosing with GHB. If you then take too much GHB, your body is still stimulated, but you are no longer or not fully conscious. That can look very weird. Someone then moves very strangely but it is not possible to make (proper) contact.
Here you can read more about what to do when somebody passes out.
Very little is known about the risks of mephedrone, and there is no real safe use of drugs. 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 mephedrone use.
- Eat healthy before and after mephedrone use. Especially a lot of reserve substances (nuts, peanuts) and vitamins (oranges, kiwi, broccoli).
- It is difficult to eat during and after mephedrone use, but try to eat something salty (chips). Eating definitely reduces the hangover! If you don’t eat solid foods, think juices, breakfast drinks and smoothies.
- Drink a maximum of 1-2 glasses of water or a soft drink every hour to prevent dehydration and overheating, but prevent water intoxication.
- Make sure you don’t get too hot while using mephedrone: rest occasionally, don’t wear warm clothes, no headgear, and drink water or soft drinks every now and then.
- You can use extra vitamins and antioxidants before and after mephedrone use.
- Do not use if you have any of these conditions: 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 combine with alcohol, other drugs, or medicines
- Do not participate in traffic.
Unity tips for using stimulants
- Do not combine high stimulant doses with other stimulants
- Do not use stimulants if you suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy or psychological afflictions. Also, do not use stimulants if you are pregnant, or in combination with medications (especially MAO inhibitors and asthma medication).
- Make sure you don’t get too warm while using stimulants: rest every now and then, don’t wear (too) warm clothes or headgear and drink water/soft drinks occasionally.
- Get enough rest before using stimulants. If you are very tired or suffer from insomnia, do not use stimulants!
- Moderate use is key. Keep track of how much you take.
- Drink enough to keep yourself hydrated, but no more than 2 glasses of water per hour. Exceeding this increases the risk of water intoxication.
- Stimulants can give you a dry mouth, which, combined with teeth grinding, increases the risk of damage to your teeth. It is important to stimulate your saliva production. You can do this by chewing sugar-free gum. Saliva substitutes or artificial saliva (such as Saliva Orthana, Xialine and Oral Balance) can also be used and can be purchased without a prescription.
Unity tips for using drugs
- When using a drug for the first time, take only a small dose to see how your body reacts to the substance
- Only use drugs when you are feeling well
- Use drugs recreationally, not to combat psychological issues like fatigue
- Avoid using drugs if you have (had) psychological afflictions or if you have a family history of psychological diseases (such as depression) in your family
- Test your drugs before use at a drugs-testing service
- Make sure to prepare a good set and setting for drug use
- Only use drugs sparingly. Keep track of your use over time.
- Decide in advance how much you are planning to use over the evening, and stick to that.
- Do not combine drugs with other substances or medicines
- Do not participate in traffic after drug use
- Prevent infectious diseases; Use your own snorter/sniffer and do not share paraphernalia with others
- After insufflating, rinse your nose well with lukewarm saline water (for example, by using a nasal spray or nasal douche)
- Are you, or one of your friends not feeling well? Keep an eye out for one another, take care of each other and visit the first aid (if one is available)
- Call 112 in a life-threatening situation
- Eat healthy before and after drug use. In particular, foods with lots of antioxidants and vitamins (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, oranges, kiwi, broccoli). This is perhaps the most important tip! It can be difficult to eat during and after drug use, but make sure to try to eat something anyway. Eating well is a great way to reduce the hangover! If you can’t hold in solid foods, try juices, breakfast drinks, and smoothies.
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.
How do you dose powder or capsules?
To be able to weigh a certain dose properly, you need a good scale. Have a scale that can weigh milligrams, to 3 decimal places (0.001 mg). A scale that weighs 0.01 (2 decimal places) may be just accurate enough for MDMA, but not for many other substances.
Where can you find such a scale?
On the large international online webshops you can find scales for around 20 euros that can weigh 3 figures after the decimal point. You can buy empty capsules in different sizes at pharmacies, smart shops or drugstores. Some are also suitable for vegetarians. You can write the drug and dosage on the capsule with a waterproof marker or a CD marker.
Someone close to me uses this substance almost every weekend. Should I worry?
When someone close to you uses a substance often it is normal to worry. There are risks: to physical health; that he/she will gradually use more and more and become dependent. When only using it on weekends, there is the possibility that he/she is able anymore to go out without using. It can then be useful to have a conversation with each other in an open, non-judgmental way. Mention the impact the use has on you as a person, for example that you are worried. If you would like tips or advice for this, please contact the addiction care institution in your region.
What to do if someone has a bad trip?
Always make sure that you are and remain safe yourself. If you are in danger, you cannot help the person in need.
Find a quiet place with the one who is having a hard time. Don’t try to deny that he/she is having a bad trip. Try to reassure him/her: he/she has taken drugs and the effects and thus the bad trip always wear off. Ask the person about what they are experiencing and try to talk the trip on a positive side without downplaying it. For example, by giving a positive meaning to the things he/she sees. Try to do things that make him/her feel comfortable, such as moving or singing. See if it makes sense to talk about pleasant things. Distraction can also help, for example by drawing. Let your voice sound calm and reassuring.
Make sure that the user does not end up in dangerous situations such as traffic. Call emergency services if it becomes unsafe for the user or his environment or if the bad trip is too intense to solve it yourself.
What about the law regarding 4-MMC/mephedrone
Previously, mephedrone was sold by manufacturers and suppliers as plant food or bath salts to get out of the Medicine Act. Since 2012, mephedrone has been banned in the Netherlands and is on list 1 of the Opium Act. As a result, mephedrone is still very rare in the Netherlands.
What is the difference between 3-MMC and 4-MMC?
3-MMC and 4-MMC (meow meow/mephedrone) are both stimulants. Users feel energized by both drugs and tend to talk a lot. The euphoric effect of 3-MMC is less than that of mephedrone. The duration of 4-MMC is between 1.5-3 hours when used orally (swallowing). With nasal use (sniffing) this is 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. The effects of 3-MMC seem to last a little longer than those of 4-MMC.
Users report craving for both substances. That is the urge to take another line. The craving may be stronger with 3-MMC than with 4-MMC.
The names 3-MMC and 4-MMC are very similar. This is because the atoms that make up the molecules are the same, only the place where they bond is slightly different. In the case of 3-MMC it is at position 3, and for 4-MMC at position 4. So the molecules are very similar and therefore they also work in a very similar way in the brain.
Is it true that 4-MMC used to be sold as bath salts in order to get out of the Medicines Act?
That’s right! The Medicines Act contains all kinds of rules regarding the preparation, sale, etc. of medicines. A few years ago it was still assumed that NPS (new psychoactive substances) fell under the Medicines Act. This is no longer the case since a ruling by the European Court. To get out of the Medicines Act, 4-MMC was often sold as bath salts or plant food. Nowadays 4-MMC falls under list 1 of the Opium Act. Possession, trading and production of 4-MMC is now prohibited. Dealers sometimes say they trade 4-MMC. You never know for sure. Therefore, always test your drugs to know if you actually have 4-MMC.
In which way does mephedrone (4-MMC) resemble ecstasy/MDMA?
According to users, 4-MMC provides a euphoric feeling, it gives extra energy and enhances the experience of music. In that sense, it is very similar to MDMA. With 4-MMC, the ability to empathize with someone else is less strong. In this regard, MDMA differs from 4-MMC. Users also describe the effects of 4-MMC as a combination of cocaine and MDMA.
Particularly with high doses and long-term use, negative effects can occur. But little is known about 4-MMC to date. So you really are your own guinea pig! Therefore, make sure that you feel good mentally and physically. This reduces the chance that you will have an unpleasant experience from your use.
Why is it better not to take 4-MMC soon after ecstasy?
Both substances have an effect on the serotonin balance in your body. As a result, you quickly build up a tolerance if you use it within a few weeks. You will also experience more adverse long-term effects such as brain damage and depressive symptoms. Make sure that you always give your body time to let the serotonin balance recover and do not use substances that have an impact on your serotonine balance more often than once every 6-8 weeks.