Designer Drugs: Chemical | Organic composition
Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 2:42 pm
The composition of the six controlled substance analogs listed above often stimulate the same areas of the brain, but are chemically quite distinct from one another. MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethampheta-mine) is a complex drug that makes simple classification difficult. Its chemical structure is related both to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Methamphetamine bears a close resemblance to two powerful chemicals in the body, dopamine and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, memory, and movement.
2C-B (sometimes called bromomescaline) is a hallucinogenic phenethylamine, related structurally to mescaline and the lesser known phenethylamine analogs DOB (2, 5-dimethoxy-4 bromoamphetamine) and DOM (2, 5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine). DOM, also known as STP, gained a considerable following in the 1960s, despite its association with violent behavior. 2-CB is distantly related to MDMA (ecstasy).
GHB is readily manufactured from its precursor, gamma-butyrolactone (also known as 2(3h)-furanone dihydro, or GBL). GHB is relatively easy to synthesize in household laboratories, mixing ingredients such as floor cleaning products, nail polish, and super glue removers with sodium hydroxide in the form of lye. Unintentional poisonings from bad homemade batches are not uncommon.
Phencyclidine (PCP) is a synthetic chemical that can be derived from an essential oil of the sassafras tree and is the best-known representative of the class of drugs collectively known as arylcyclohexylamines. As a chemical, PCP was first synthesized in 1926 and was briefly used in the 1950s as a dissociative anaesthetic. The chemicals needed to manufacture PCP are also readily available and inexpensive, and the production process requires little formal chemical knowledge or laboratory equipment.
Other precursor analogs chemically related to PCP include N-ethyl-1 phenylcyclohexylamine (PCE), 1-(1-phenyl-cyclohexyl)-pyrrolidine (PCP or PHP), and 1-(1-(2 thienyl-cyclohexyl)-piperdine (TPCP or TCP). PCC (1-iperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile) is particularly common and particularly dangerous. It appears as a chemical by-product in poorly synthesized batches of PCP, and its ingestion may have serious health consequences.
Another member of the arylcyclohexylamine structural class is ketamine, which is a noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, meaning it disables certain higher-function signaling mechanisms in the brain (consciousness, memory, perception, and motor activity) from lower functions (breathing and heart rate). Ketamine is manufactured commercially for use as a surgical anesthetic for both humans and animals.
Ketamine is chemically related to other dissociative anesthetics, including dextromethorphan (DXM), found in some over-the-counter cough syrups, and nitrous oxide (often called “whippets”). Ketamine also shares a close chemical kinship to the prescriptives tiletamine and memantine. Tiletamine is used in combination with zolazepam as a veterinary anesthetic under the brand names Zoletic and Telazol.