Research Chemicals: Types and Effects

You often hear the term “research chemicals” (RCs) used in reference to substances that aren’t technically prohibited but may fall under a legal grey area (the Federal Analogue Act in America).  But what exactly ARE these chemicals and why do people use them?   To answer these questions, it’s important to understand that each individual RC has unique effects and cannot accurately be grouped with RCs from other classes when discussing its dangers and benefits.  Not all RCs are created equal, as you are about to find out.

STIMULANTS/ENTACTOGENS:  Stimulants speed bodily functions and produce feelings of increased energy and alertness. Cocaine, amphetamine and methylphenidate are examples of black market stimulants, while 4-FA, ethylphenidate and pentedrone are common research chemical stimulants.  Entactogens produce feelings of empathy and emotional openness and often have stimulant effects to some degree.  Common RC entactogens include 4-MEC, ethylone and 4-EMC.

HALLUCINOGENS:  Hallucinogens alter the user’s reality by producing auditory and visual hallucinations as well as emotional/spiritual effects.  LSD, mescaline and psilocybin mushrooms are popular black market hallucinogens, while 4-AcO-DMT, 2C-P and DOC are common on the research chemical market.  Dissociatives like MXE and 4-MeO-PCP are often lumped in with true hallucinogens, but have a different set of effects.

DEPRESSANTS/OPIATES:  Depressants slow bodily functions and produce feelings of relaxation and sedation.  Alcohol, benzodiazepines and Ambien are well-known depressant drugs, while Etizolam and phenazepam are popular on the RC market.  Opiates also have a depressant effect on the central nervous system as well as unique painkilling and euphoric effects.  RC opiates are rare due to the likelihood of overdose and addiction, but they do exist.  AH-7921 and 0-desmethyltramadol are a couple of examples.

CANNABINOIDS:  Cannabinoids are synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of THC in marijuana.  They act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain to produce effects like time distortion, physical relaxation and increased appetite.  Examples of RC cannabinoids include JWH-122, UR-144 and AM-2201.


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