Bath Salts more addictive than Methamphetamine: True or False?

Bath salts are powerful stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines but can they be even more addictive than these well-known dangerously addicting drugs; recent research seems to suggest exactly that!! Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute conducted a study on a chemical compound called “MDPV” which is an illicit drug sold as a bath salt. The findings indicated that this drug is such a powerful stimulant that it can actually have a higher addictive potential than Meth, which is well known as having one of the most addicting chemicals. The study was conducted on rats and is to be published in the journal Neuropharmacology in August of this year. Like other bath salts, MDPV is a derivative of Cathinone, which is the active component in “Khat”, plant leaves that are used by chewing for stimulating effects in many parts of Africa and Arabia.

These chemicals were originally produced by drug companies to see if they have any medicinal properties but were not found to have any such use. They interfere with the normal processing of important brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, affecting important brain functions and causing a heightened sense of pleasure and well-being, decreased sleep and appetite and hyperactivity; adverse effects can include paranoia, hallucinations and dangerous and violent behaviors as well as adverse effects on rhythm of the heart leading to cardiac arrest and death. In addition, these drugs have very high addictive potential and can cause cravings in those who have used them even a few times.  Typically, the addictive potential of stimulating drugs is measured in laboratory animals by giving them a free reign to self-administer a dose of these drugs by pressing a lever multiple times. In this particular study, it was found that whereas lab rats would press the lever, on an average, 6o times to get a dose of methamphetamine, they’d do so up to 600 times to receive a dose of MDPV. In other words, these rats were willing to work 10 times more to get a single dose of this chemical as compared to what they’d do for Meth!!  In many states, these chemicals have been banned as illegal but the illicit drug pushers are busy at manufacturing newer versions of these compounds which are not yet declared illegal. This calls for extreme caution on the part of users to be very wary of these highly addicting and dangerous chemicals being touted as bath salts or plant derived supplements.