Chemistry and Recreational Drugs the Objective of Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Chemistry and Recreational Drugs

The objective of this study is to examine chemistry as it relates to recreational drugs. Toward this end, this study will review literature in this area of inquiry and report on the same.

Recreational drugs refer to drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and other such drugs. The chemistry of each of these recreational drugs is unique and each cause specific effects to the individual taking these drugs. The top five recreational drug chemists include: (1) Raphael Mechoulam known as the king of cannaboid research and to have identified delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as an active ingredient of Cannabis Sativa in 1964; (2) Albert Hofmann -- famous for LSD research; (3) Charles Romley Alder Wright -- lecturer on chemistry at St. Mary's hospital Medical School in London who synthesized heroin in 1875 in his search for a non-addictive alternative to morphine; (4) Anton Kollisch who synthesized MDMA in 1912 for Merck; and (5) Nagai Nagayoshi who discovered ephedrine and synthesized methamphetamine from it in 1893. (A Synthetic Environment, 2007)

I. Clinical Toxicology of Recreational Drugs

The work of Hill and Thomas (2011) entitled "Clinical Toxicology of Newer Recreational Drugs" reports that novel synthetic designer drugs "with stimulant, ecstasy-like (entactogenic) and/or hallucinogenic properties have become increasingly popular among recreational drug users in recent years. The substances used change frequently in response to market trends and legislative controls and it is an important challenge for poisons centers and clinical toxicologists to remain updated on the pharmacological and toxicological effects of these emerging agents." Hill and Thomas report a comprehensive review of literature and report that the new novel synthetic stimulant, entactogenic or hallucinogenic designer drugs "are increasingly available to users as demonstrated by user surveys, poisons centre calls, activity on internet drug forums, hospital attendance data and mortality data. Some population sub-groups such as younger adults who attend dance music clubs are more likely to use these substances. The internet plays an important role in determining the awareness of and availability of these newer drugs of abuse." (2011) Hill and Thomas report that the majority of novel synthetic stimulant, entactogenic or hallucinogenic drugs of abuse "can be classified according to chemical structure as piperazines (e.g. benzylpiperazine (BZP), trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine), phenethylamines (e.g. 2C or D-series of ring-substituted amfetamines, benzodifurans, cathinones, aminoindans), tryptamines (e.g. dimethyltryptamine, alpha-methyltryptamine, ethyltryptamine, 5-methoxy-alphamethyltryptamine) or piperidines and related substances (e.g. desoxypipradrol, diphenylprolinol). Alternatively classification may be based on clinical effects as either primarily stimulant, entactogenic or hallucinogenic, although most drugs have a combination of such effects." (2011)

The clinical toxicology of these drugs is stated as follows: "Piperazines, phenethylamines, tryptamines and piperidines have actions at multiple central nervous system (CNS) receptor sites, with patterns of effects varying between agents. Predominantly stimulant drugs (e.g. benzylpiperazine, mephedrone, naphyrone, diphenylprolinol) inhibit monoamine (especially dopamine) reuptake and are characteristically associated with a sympathomimetic toxidrome. Entactogenic drugs (e.g. phenylpiperazines, methylone) provoke central serotonin release, while newer hallucinogens (e.g. 5-methoxy-N, N-diisopropyltryptamine (5-MeO-DiPT), 2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamfetamine (DOB)) are serotonin receptor agonists. As a result, serotoninergic effects predominate in toxicity." (Hill and Thomas, 2011) Hill and Thomas conclude that reliable data to guide clinicians in management of patients with toxicity due to these substances is limited in nature and as well the harms of the use of emerging recreational drugs is not well documented. (Hill and Thomas, 2011, paraphrased)

II. Synthetic Recreational Drugs

It is reported in the work of Klein (2012) that…

Sources Used in Documents:


Hill, SL and Thomas SH (2011) Clinical toxicology of newer recreational drugs. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2011 Oct;49(8):705-19. Retrieved from:

Klein, B. (2011) Lawmakers Can't Keep Up with Chemists Developing Recreational Drugs. 31 May 2012. Wired Science. Retrieved from:

Methamphetamine (nd) Shelbyville Police Department. Retrieved from:

Top 5 Recreational Drug Chemists (2007) A Synthetic Environment. Retrieved from:

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