Cathinone is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the khat plant and cathinones are a group of drugs related to amphetamine compounds like ecstasy. Cathinone derivatives are currently being sold online and in headshops as ‘legal highs’.
Slang: Mieow, Meow, Meph, Mephedrone, MCAT, 4MMC
4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and also known as:
Mephedrone/MCAT. A stimulant drug with effects similar to MDMA producing euphoria, alertness, talkativeness and feelings of empathy. It can also cause anxiety and paranoid states and risk overstimulating the heart and nervous system to cause fits. Severe nosebleeds have been reported after snorting. Mephedrone has been linked to the death of a young woman in Sweden in 2008. A white or off-white powder usually sold on the internet as a legal high and described as a plant food or a research chemical not for human consumption. Sometimes mixed with other cathinones and caffeine.
It is usually snorted or swallowed.
Reports say that it can be compulsive to use and creates a state of psychological dependence
Methylone Very similar to mephedrone.
Methedrone Similar effects to mephedrone
LEGAL HIGHS - What you need to know
- Currently it is illegal under medicines legislation to sell, supply or advertise these cathinone compounds for human consumption.
- Cathinone is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but substituted cathinones which include: 4-methylmethcathinone (mephedrone, 4-MMC); 4-methoxymethcathinone (methedrone) and the cathinone analogue of MDMA, methylone are currently not controlled.
LEGAL HIGHS - The risks
- You can’t know exactly what you’re taking if you take a ‘legal high’, so the effects can be very unpredictable.
- Just because they are legal to possess doesn’t mean they are safe.
- Most of these substances are illegal to sell, supply, or advertise for human consumption, under medicines legislation, because of their effects on the body.
- Legal highs can contain a range of potentially dangerous chemicals, and their chemical makeup changes all the time - so you can never be 100% certain what you have bought, and what the effects might be.
- The chemicals in legal highs have, in most cases, never before been used as drugs, so have had no tests performed on them to show that they are safe. Nor do they have a long history of use, so that health problems would have become apparent.
- Legal highs can carry serious health risks.
- You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with any substance that causes a ‘high’, including the risk of death.
- Other risks of legal highs include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures, and death.
- Because legal highs are often new and, in many cases, their chemical make-up is constantly changing, the risks are unpredictable and are often still being assessed.