MethCathinone is currently the largest family of new synthetic drugs in the narcotics market. It is a molecule derived from cathinone, which is itself one of the active ingredients of Khat (or Chat), a plant of African origin known for its psychotropic effects. Clearly, methcathinone is a synthetic cathinone, that is to say the purely synthetic version of the active principle of this plant. This drug is therefore entirely manufactured in "laboratory" using chemical compounds.
It is one of the drugs that has been sold in several countries under the misleading name bath salts, Research Chemicals (RC) or Fertilizers. Its effects are similar to those of amphetamines and methamphetamine. It is a powerful and very addictive psychostimulant.
A multitude of sub-molecules derived from this methcathinone were then developed to circumvent international bans. When one becomes illegal, producers slightly modify the molecular structure of the basic methcathinone, so that a new molecule can be offered on the market, which is not (yet) prohibited. They are called "Legal Highs". As a result, an impressive number of these sub molecules is on sale almost free on the internet.
The result is an extremely dangerous situation, because if certain common effects of these various derivatives of methcathinone are known, such as the high level of drug addiction, the scientific community has no retreat from their other effects and consequences for longer or shorter terms on health.
Until the beginning of 2016, there was no urine test for these drugs. Today, always at the forefront of prevention, NarcoCheck now offers this test that can detect most of these molecules derived from methcathinone.
4-MEC (4-methylethcathinone), bk-MBDB (butylone), bk-MDMA (methylone), 4-MMC (mephedrone) etc.
This test is very specific to methcathinones, and does not cross-react with other molecules, even very similar, such as methamphetamine or MDMA. It therefore confirms that the drug consumed is closely related to the new synthetic drugs, and not to an older molecule, for which we have equally specific tests.
This test shows virtually no cross-reaction with MDPV, which is another large class of synthetic cathinones, for which we have a specific test.