Research chemicals


What are research chemicals? Wikipedia says

Research chemicals are chemical substances used by scientists for medical and scientific research purposes. One characteristic of a research chemical is that it is for laboratory research use only. A research chemical is not intended for human or veterinary use.

I first encountered the term on Erowid—the original go-to website for recreational drug users and “a trusted resource for drug information—both positive and negative”—and here’s what Erowid has to say about research chemicals.

Chemicals marked on Erowid by our Research Chemical Symbol should be considered experimental chemicals. Although some people are willing to ingest these chemicals for their effects, it is not reasonable to assume that these chemicals are in any way ‘safe’ to use recreationally. Although all psychoactive use involves risk, this class of chemicals has undergone virtually no human or animal toxicity studies and there is little to no data on possible long term problems, addiction potential, allergic reactions, or acute overdoses.

Publication of information by Erowid about human use of these chemicals is not intended to endorse their non-laboratory use.

Consider carefully before choosing to use these substances.

and from their Research Chemical FAQ

What are research chemicals?

When used to describe recreationally used psychoactive drugs, the term “research chemicals” generally refers to substances that haven’t yet been thoroughly studied. The term “research chemical” partially came from the fact that some substances on the recreational markets were drugs that had been discovered in labs and only examined in test-tube (in vitro) or low-level animal studies.

Some are very new, while others may have been around for years but haven’t had adequate enough medical investigation to quantify health risks, have not been consumed by many people over a long period, or had much data accumulated about their use. Little is known about them, and a good deal of what is known is based only on first-hand psychonautical reports. Scant to no research has been completed on the toxicology or human pharmacology of these drugs. Few, if any, formal human or animal studies have been done. Because of this, some have suggested that they would more appropriately be called “unresearched chemicals”. Another term for them is “experimental chemicals”, and this may better communicate the unknown risks associated with ingesting these drugs.

Unlike better-known drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA), which has been taken by millions of people over the last 30+ years, or marijuana which has been used by billions of people over millennia, in some cases the most novel of research chemicals may only have been used by several dozen people for a few months. The risks involved with research chemicals are greater than with many other drugs, since they’re unknowns. …

Are research chemicals safe to ingest?

No! While no drug use can categorically be characterized as “safe”, using research chemicals may be riskier than using older, better-studied drugs. This is not to say that the chemicals themselves are necessarily more dangerous… the risk lies in the fact that very little is known about them. There haven’t been enough people using them in high enough doses for long enough periods of time for us to have an idea what sort of damage the chemicals are capable of producing. When one takes a new and unstudied drug, one makes oneself a human guinea pig. The drug may be perfectly safe. It may even be beneficial. On the other hand, after three uses one might suddenly find one’s body frozen-up with symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease. If you think this is an exaggeration, do some research on MPTP, a neurotoxic by-product that was produced during underground synthesis of the opioid MPPP, which contributed to the 1984 change in law that allowed the DEA to have “emergency scheduling” powers.

When taking a research chemical, one is stepping into the unknown, and could be the unfortunate person to discover a new drug’s lethal dose. One could find oneself addicted. Or, if one overdoses and ends up at the hospital, the doctors may only be able to guess at the appropriate course of treatment. Some drugs, like Cannabis, LSD, and psilocybin, have a wide safety range over which there is little to no possibility of pharmacologically induced death (perhaps 1,000 times or more the active dose), while other substances become dangerous at much lower amounts such as mescaline (perhaps 24 times the active dose), MDMA (perhaps 16 times the active dose) alcohol (perhaps 10 times the active dose), GHB (perhaps 8 times the active dose) or iv heroin (perhaps 6 times the active dose). Accidental overdoses happen to most people who consume psychoactives for long enough, and overdoses of research chemicals have unknown consequences. One who is not prepared to accept these risks should avoid taking research chemicals.

Believe it or not, a variety of research chemicals, with little to no history of human use, is what the New Zealand government has just approved for sale to the general public. (See here.) I listed some of them in my previous post. Here they are again.

an analogue of ADB-FUBINACA

What do we know about PB-22 (also known as QUPIC)?

No information regarding the in vitro or in vivo activity of QUPIC has been published, and only anecdotal reports are known of its pharmacology in humans or other animals.

The physiological and toxicological properties of this compound are not known.

What do we know about AB-FUBINACA?

It was originally developed by Pfizer in 2009 as an analgesic medication, but was never pursued for human use.

(BTW, it looks like Pfizer has a 2009 international patent on AB-FUBINACA and related indazole derivatives with cannabinoid (CB)1 receptor binding activity. Pfizer and the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority—working together for a healthier world.)

What do we know about 5F-PB-22?

No information regarding the in vitro or in vivo activity of 5F-PB-22 has been published, and only anecdotal reports are known of its pharmacology in humans or other animals.

What do we know about CP-55,244?

It has analgesic effects and is used in scientific research.

What do we know about ADB-FUBINACA (or its analogue (S)-N-(1-amino-3, 3dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl)-1-(5-fluoropentyl-1H-indole-3-carboxamide)?

Nothing is known of the pharmacological activity of ADB-FUBINACA in humans or other animals.

What do we know about AB-005?

No information regarding the in vivo activity of AB-005 has been published, and only anecdotal reports are known of its psychoactivity in humans.

What do we know about 4F-AM-2201? We know its chemical structure. It’s a fluoro analogue of AM-2201.

The toxicity of AM-2201 is still a matter of debate and there may be long term side effects.

What do we know about CL-2201, LDD-3, or any of the chemicals in the SGT series? Nothing whatsoever. In fact, the SGT series might as well be named the SFA series.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.

I’m a psychoactive substances enthusiast and I’ve tested a few research chemicals myself in the past. But I did so fully cognizant of the risks. I exercised due caution. (Mostly.) And I’m unscathed. (Pretty much.)

I’m a libertarian and I think that ALL drugs should be legal. And that what drugs are made widely available to the general public should be decided by a responsible, self-regulating legal highs industry. But what responsible, self-regulating legal highs industry would even dream of peddling untested research chemicals to the general public?

Sadly, what we have now is the polar opposite of my envisaged libertopia. Everything government touches turns to crap. Untested research chemicals are the only psychoactive substances the legal highs industry is allowed to offer for sale. All the safe recreational drugs have been banned. So the legal highs industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. Thanks to the prohibitionist tendencies of the New Zealand government, which is demonstrably unfit to have any involvement whatsoever in regulating the sale and use of psychoactive substances.

The Psychoactive Substances Act is a sick joke. On you.

27 thoughts on “Research chemicals”

  1. Richard – What an absolutely brilliant post. This is very informative, and something people REALLY need to know for an informed drug education.
    Thank you very much.

  2. Thanks for sharing the info. As a recreational drug user I believe they should return to some of the older, more human tested and banned research chemicals. Good education is lacking, but surely they worked out which JWH’s were safer than others. It is the governments control that causes the industry to constantly provide us with untested substances.

    I wonder how many “anti-synthetics” National voters know they are even giving such wide interim approvals. Just give me the stuff I personally tested for three years before they became involved!!

  3. Just give me the stuff I personally tested for three years before they became involved!!

    So, Rhys, what are your preferred synthetic cannabinoids?!

    Back in the day, I was mightily impressed with a product called FTP (“for the professionals”). I think the active ingredient was JWH-122, but due to the law at the time Guru Gardener had a “perverse incentive” not to state ingredients so I can’t be sure.

    You might like to try 4F-AM-2201. It’s the active ingredient in this. It’s quite good.

    In the interim I think I might have missed the parent compound AM-2201 and also UR-144. Both have an Internet fan base.

    It is the governments control that causes the industry to constantly provide us with untested substances.

    Sad but true. I think it’s likely that most of the synthetic cannabinoids are mostly harmless. But sooner or later there’s going to be a rogue cannabinoid. This already happened. XLR-11 has been linked to acute kidney injury in some users. (UR-144 is XLR-11’s parent compound. You should know that. Also, AM-2201’s safety is suspect.)

    XLR-11 is one of the 33 different synthetic cannabinoids banned prior to the enactment of the PSA. Now products containing 15 different synthetic cannabinoids have been given interim approval by the Ministry of Health. What are the odds that at least one of these synthetic cannabinoids is causing users serious injury as we speak? You do the math.

    Like I said. The Psychoactive Substances Act is a sick joke. On you.

  4. DISCLAIMER: There’s a fine line between righteous recreation and sinful self-indulgence.

    Take heed. This is a Christian blog we’re running here. The Bible doesn’t condemn recreational drug use. But Jesus did say this.

    So please don’t stumble. I have enough woes already. Also, every $1 you spend on getting wasted is $1 you might otherwise have given to a charitable cause. Just sayin’.

  5. Were to start. Most shit will harm you or cause death in one way or another if you have to much even if its not drugs/alcohol ,use this not pot with respect that it can kill you as it has happened to other people all ready, moderation is the key for all drugs/alcohol and to be used responsibly.

    Any way I am really really not liking this shit im addicted as ,I’ve been smoken it for the past 5 months some days smoken a bag to myself ,wtf am I doing to myself, Really people, we are paying these guys to be there genie pigs ,this is all a massive revenue scam you think?

    I never did like this stuff but sum one said don’t judge till u try, just gutting I have a addictive personality.,I’ve been smoken it for the past 5 months with me bro’s some days smoken a bag to myself, this early morning we are sitting here smoking our last bag of not pot called Jungle Juice herbal incense, ingredients CL-2201 (50mg per gram), Damiana 2.5g and Flavouring. And under neath that is all the warnings on taking it, we have abused this stuff and now we have all agreed to help each other stop by doing something else like getting back in to smoking the real stuff after all of us having our sleeping pattern broken waking up to go have billys all at the same time early as, having hot and cold sweats during sleep, this didn’t happen all the time because we smoked a different packet a day ranging through all tho’s chemical names that unless you are a chemical guy that has studied it you DON’T know what this stuff is at all.

    Any way cheers for reading, please people try not to smoke it, smoke the real stuff that god made 🙂

  6. Tony
    It’s good that you and your friends are trying to help each other.

    … just gutting I have a addictive personality…

    This isn’t true – being “addicted” isn’t who you are it’s just something you are doing.

    What you are saying is that you lack self control. Self control is something you grow! (You know how you grow stuff ay? 😉 ) A bit of work over time – and God gives the increase.

  7. Any way cheers for reading, please people try not to smoke it, smoke the real stuff that god made 🙂

    Tony, thanks for posting. 🙂

    And thanks for the good advice. I know it’s good advice because it’s the same as my advice. 🙂

  8. A bit of work over time – and God gives the increase.

    Reed, I need to pull you up about this. Because you make overcoming addiction sound easy. It is NOT easy to overcome addiction. Quite often it is nearly next to impossible to overcome addiction without OUTSIDE help.

    It’s great that Tony and friends have decided to help each other climb out of the hole they’re in. That’s outside help, i.e., they’re not each going it alone.

    I agree with everything you say about addiction. Addiction isn’t a disease as such. (Although the medical profession would like you to think so.) As you say, it is a lack of self-control. But that oversimplifies.

    Addiction is like the Devil. It doesn’t play fair. It kicks you when you’re down. It’s an opportunist. As you say, addiction is “just something you are doing.” But the wish to do those things and how easy it is to stop doing those things if you wish to depend a whole great deal on your situation.

    In the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” But there’s another version of the Lord’s Prayer. In it we pray, “Save us from the time of trial.” It’s a two sides of the same coin type of deal. It is in “times of trial” that temptations are at their most appealing.

    What I’m suggesting is that an addict is going to have a much greater chance of breaking his addiction in “times of no trial”.

    Another way addiction is like the Devil is that it *hates* God. Divine intervention sends it scurrying. There’s a very good reason why the first 3 steps of the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous make reference to God (“a power greater than ourselves”).

    I’ll say no more in case you start to think I have some sort of intimate acquaintance with this particular nasty little demon. 🙂

  9. I’d like to take a second to condone you on an amazing article richard, there’s just not enough in depth and useful information on the internet to turn people away from abusing these research chemicals and ultimately getting companies like mine in trouble. Bravo!

  10. Now at the beginning stage individuals are confronting different sorts of health issue and they starts utilizing different sorts of research chemicals.but not constantly chemical are having awful impact just frequently it is bravo.

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