Are there any new recreational drugs hitting the market

I’m not in the drug scene, so I have no idea.

There are things like synthetic THC, but that is just a derivative of marijuana, which is an old drug. Thats like saying oxycontin is a new drug, when it is just a derivative of an opioid.

Are the bath salts new drugs, or are they similar to old drugs?

When I say new drug, I mean a new class of drug or one that causes a subjective experience different from existing drugs.

Alexander Shulgin created a lot of drugs in the 80s, but aside from that and bath salts are any new recreational drugs out there?

It seems like it is still opioids, coke, alcohol, marijuana, etc. that people are taking. Drugs that were invented or discovered a long time ago.

As I understand it, you can draw out on paper the molecular structure for an existing, known to work recreational drug. You can check the literature and find out what portion of the molecule is thought to bind to the relevant receptors in the human body.

You can then slap on a few methyl groups or something to a different part of the molecule and then pay an organic chemist to synthesize the resulting structure.

Technically, the new molecule isn’t illegal as it is not the same chemical formula as the illegal product. You distribute the drug for a while until the authorities make it illegal, and you go back to step 1.

The ‘bath salts’ used this method to evade the prohibition on cannabinoids. There have been dozens of variations on testosterone such as superdrol and others over the years made using the same technique.

The huge problem here is that, ironically, the original illegal drugs are generally safer. Adding a methyl group can easily turn a safe molecule into a carcinogen or something that will kill your liver. In the case of heroin and cocaine, even methamphetamine, in all cases the illegal drugs were once commonly used and well tested medicines.

So this doesn’t answer your question, directly, but if you want to partake of some drugs, the end consumers will have better chances going to the black market and obtaining a dose of the well tested substance instead of going to a semi-legal shop and getting something untested.

As for inventing something entirely new : this fails the pencil test. Suppose you were an entrepreneur in a foreign country looking to make some bucks producing temporarily legal recreational drugs. Would you want to invest the millions of dollars and decades in order to find a new molecule to hit a new receptor, or just pay a Chinese chemist to cook up the same active site on a different molecule.

The only way new “fun” drugs will ever exist will be if they are discovered accidentally as part of pharmaceutical research.

It’s a shame, really. It’s very likely possible that a new drug could be found that gives a great high and an easily administered antidote exists. It wouldn’t cause death from an overdose, or liver or kidney damage or all that stuff. Some might point out that weed consumed via methods other than smoking meets all of these criterion except the antidote one.

Lots of designer drugs were sold as research chemicals throught the 00s. 2cb, mephedrone, ect. Many based on the work of Shuglin. The DeA would ban one, and another would come out. Seems to have slowed own. Not sure if because of regulations or Silk Road, or just a lack of new compounds.

But most Americans seem happy with beer, weed, meth, and prescriptions. I don’t think drugs really become popular until the government starts making commercials telling people not to do them.

There are still lots of “research chemicals” around if you know where to look. A lot of them have been scheduled, but a lot of those are still available. I suppose the darkweb has made it easier to get the illegal stuff, making a lot of RCs less desirable, but they’re still out there.

This is my impression. Most drugs were created 50, 100 years ago or even longer ago and all that comes out are new formulations. Crack instead of cocaine. Oxycontin instead of heroin. Synthetic THC instead of weed. etc.

Since drugs are an industry of about 400-500 billion a year, and alcohol is larger (although I’m guessing a big part of that is things like wine collection. A $20,000 bottle of wine is not the same thing as a $10 1.75L of hard liquor) there is a gigantic market for new drugs. Plus with the world getting more educated, you’d assume more people would be designing them. But it seems like its weed, alcohol, uppers and downers that people are happy with.

But all the current recreational drugs have side-effects–for example the hangover with alcohol. You would think there would be a strong market for drugs which don’t.

That’s how Viagra qas created – it started out as blpd pressure medication, until the test subjects reported some ‘side effects’ (and refused to end the test).

And Viagra could be considered as a new, legal ‘fun’ drug – sales of it are way higher than the count of patients with sexual disfunction. I know people whose doctor has offered to prescribe it for them.

A classic example of this phenomenon occurred with the synthesis of MPTP which had been ‘designed’ to mimic the effects of Demerol (pethidine, meperidine). Bummer, man.

Instant end stage Parkinson’s. Great fun. And I would call that a side effect.

Almost the same thing as the herbacide paraquat…

Be fair. Contaminants did the damage. You could as well end up lead- or mercury poisoned from street meth, or blind from som methanol-doused industrial alcohol.

Well, not really contaminants; the chemical that causes the brain damage*, MPTP, is still a potent opioid; it was originally created as an analgesic, just like heroin or Demerol. Unfortunately, small errors when synthesizing MPPP, another Demerol analog, can lead to formation of MPTP, and cause the “locked in” syndrome already mentioned.

*(Okay, technically, MPTP is metabolized into MPP+ in the brain by one of the monoamine oxidase enzymes, but I’d still call MPTP a dangerous chemical that causes brain damage.)

(My emphasis)

Hence the contamitants (OK, techncally maybe rather by-products, are we right?)

I think total fuck up is the technical term. Close…but not close enough :smack:.

And you are right about the street methamphetamine. God only knows what is in that stuff…
I think the contaminants are half the problem with tweakers. Straight up chemical induced brain damage.

Yes, there are new recreational drugs hitting the market. Here’s a UN agency warning about the growth in synthetic drugs.

As an illustration, in the UK, mephedrone became widely available from around 2008-2009. It swiftly became wildly popular and was made “classified” - i.e. made a controlled substance - in 2010. Despite its legal status, it remains a very common party drug, competing alongside MDMA and cocaine, but was practically unheard of 5-6 years ago.

I can get on board with that. :wink: But it doesn’t have to be by-products, is what I meant; you could whip up a batch of pure MPTP and use it just like MPPP or Demerol or morphine or whatever, but unless you took a MAO inhibitor along with it, you’d find yourself unable to move once you woke up.

Well, there is always Krokodil. DO NOT do a google image search on this one! :eek:

Though on review, it isn’t actually “new” - it was first patented in 1934!

The thing is drugs like mephedrone or krokodil are largely the same as existing drugs. Isn’t mephedrone more or less the same as amphetamines, working through the name neural pathways? And Krokodil is a opioid. Its basically just reformulations of older drugs, or drugs that affect the brain the same as existing drugs.

Maybe the issue is there are only so many neurotransmitters that are involved in emotional or cognitive changes, and we’ve more or less figured them out. I’m under the impression that is mostly how drugs work in that they mimic, block, increase or decrease the levels of various neurotransmitters.

Minor correction:

Spice, and other fake marijuana, were created to avoid cannabis laws. Synthetic cannabinoids - Wikipedia

Bath salts, on the other hand, are more like fake speed, part of the same group of compounds as mephedrone, methcathinone, and the active ingredient in khat.