Methylone: Wikis


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1 : 1 mixture (racemate)
Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 186028-79-5 (racemic)
191916-41-3 (+)
ATC code none
PubChem 27281606
ChemSpider 21106350
Chemical data
Formula C11H13NO3 
Mol. mass 207.23 g/mol
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status Unscheduled (AU) ? (CA) ? (UK) ? (US)
Routes Oral, IV* & Inhalation(possibly)

Methylone, also known as 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (MDMCat, bk-MDMA), commonly known as Arlone, is an entactogen, psychedelic, and stimulant of the phenethylamine, amphetamine, and cathinone chemical classes. The more intuitive abbreviation MDMC unfortunately can not be used for this chemical, since it had already been given to another earlier Shulgin creation, 3,4-ethylenedioxymethmphetamine (PIHKAL #110). It is a very close structural analogue of MDMA ("Ecstasy"), differing only by the addition of a β-ketone group.[1]


Recreational use


At the end of 2004, a new designer drug called "Explosion" appeared in the Netherlands. This drug is sold as a liquid via the internet and in Dutch "smartshops" (known as "headshops" in the United States and some other countries), stores selling non-scheduled psychoactive substances such as Salvia divinorum, Psilocybin mushrooms and other MDMA substitutes like BZP and TFMPP. The product is advertised as a "room odorizer" and is sold in plastic tubes containing 5 mL of liquid. The tubes cost between €10 and €15 ($13–$20) and do not present any information about the composition of Explosion; they contain only a label saying "Room odorizer Vanilla. Do not ingest" and "Keep away from children. Never use more than one bottle". Users have mentioned ingesting the liquid to reach euphorically-stimulating effects similar to those of other phenethylamines such as diethylpropion, bupropion and methcathinone.[2] The label circumvents Dutch regulations for illicit drugs and psychoactive substances when intentionally used for intoxication. Analysis of "Explosion" has confirmed that the active ingredient is methylone.[citation needed]


Reported dosages in clinical assays range from 100 to 500 mg orally and from 50–150 mg intravenously (though it's extremely unsafe to use "Explosion" or any "cut" powdered methylone intravenously).

The effects of methylone may include the following:


Most of these effects are similar to those of other psychostimulants.

Resemblance to MDMA

Structural similarities between some amphetamine-like stimulants and their 3,4-methylenedioxy- derivatives.
Left: amphetamine, methamphetamine and methcathinone.
Right: MDA, MDMA, and methylone.

Methylone resembles MDMA in its behavioural profile, as it substitutes for MDMA in rats trained to discriminate MDMA from saline. Methylone does not substitute for amphetamine or for the hallucinogenic DOM in animals trained to discriminate between these drugs and saline.[3] Further, also in common with MDMA, methylone acts on monoaminergic systems. In vitro, methylone has one third the potency of MDMA at inhibiting platelet serotonin accumulation and about the same in its inhibiting effects on the dopamine and noradrenaline transporters.[4][5][1]

In spite of these behavioural and pharmacological similarities between methylone and MDMA, the observed subjective effects of both drugs are not completely identical. Alexander Shulgin wrote of the former:[6]

"[Methylone] has almost the same potency of MDMA, but it does not produce the same effects. It has an almost antidepressant action, pleasant and positive, but not the unique magic of MDMA."



Methylone acts as a mixed reuptake inhibitor/releasing agent of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.[1][7] In comparison to MDMA, it has approximately 3x lower affinity for the serotonin transporter, while its affinity for the norepinephrine and dopamine transporters is similar.[1][7] Notably, methylone's affinity for the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) is about 13x lower than that of MDMA.[1] The results of these differences in pharmacology relative to MDMA are that methylone is less potent in terms of dose, has more balanced catecholaminergic effects relative to serotonergic, and behaves more like a reuptake inhibitor like methylphenidate than a releaser like amphetamine; though, it should be noted that methylone still has relatively robust releasing capabilities.[7]


Little is currently known about the pharmacokinetics of methylone, aside from metabolism.


The two major metabolic pathways in mammals for methylone are N-demethylation to methylenedioxycathinone (MDC), and demethylation followed by O-methylation of the 3- or 4-hydroxy group to 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethcathinone (HMMC) or 3-hydroxy-4-methoxymethcathinone (3-OH-4-MeO-MC). When 5 mg/kg of methylone was administered to rats, it was found that around 26% was excreted as HMMC within the first 48 hours (less than 3% excreted unchanged).[8]

Legal status

In the Netherlands, methylone is not yet scheduled as a drug of abuse, but is considered to be a psychoactive medicine. Because methylone is not registered officially, as such, it is forbidden to trade in methylone. The Minister of Health has asked the Coordination point Assessment and Monitoring new drugs group (CAM) to gather information about this substance, resulting possibly in an official risk assessment (van Amsterdam et al., 2004). Until now, no research has been conducted on the toxicity of methylone, so nothing is known about the harmfulness of this new drug.

Methylone is not a scheduled substance in the United States.

In New Zealand, although methylone is not explicitly scheduled and falls outside the strict definitions of an "amphetamine analogue" in the Misuse of Drugs Act, it is considered to be "substantially similar" to methcathinone and is thus considered by law enforcement authorities to be a Class C illegal drug.

Methylone is currently not specifically mentioned in United Kingdom (U.K.) law as the β-ketone is not covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Methylone was sold in New Zealand for around 6 months from November 2005 to April 2006 as an MDMA substitute, under the name "Ease". The product was withdrawn after legal disputes with the government.[9][10]

In Sweden, methylone has been classed as a Harmful Substance since 2007, and with that sale and handling is restricted. The Harmful Substance Act (Förordning (1999:58) om förbud mot vissa hälsofarliga varor) is put in place as a step towards classing something as a Narcotic, or as a substitute for that classification if it is deemed adequate enough. In Sweden the name in the books for the substance classified is 3,4-metylendioximetkatinon (Metylon).[11]


"Methylone" is also a trademarked brand name for an injectable form of methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid hormone used to treat arthritis and severe allergic reactions; hence, methylone may be confused with it. Aside from context, they can be distinguished by the fact that the name will always be capitalized when referring to the prescription drug.

A proposed alternate name is bk-MDMA, or beta-keto-MDMA. While this nomenclature has not caught on because the name "methylone" became widely used before the conflicting Methylone trademark was noticed, the analogous names for related chemicals bk-MDEA and bk-MBDB have become the established names for those substances.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Cozzi NV, Sievert MK, Shulgin AT, Jacob P, Ruoho AE (September 1999). "Inhibition of plasma membrane monoamine transporters by beta-ketoamphetamines". European Journal of Pharmacology 381 (1): 63–9. PMID 10528135. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ TA Dal Cason, R Young, RA Glennon. Cathinone: an investigation of several N-alkyl and methylenedioxy-substituted analogs. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 58, 1109–1116 (1997)
  4. ^ NV Cozzi, MK Sievert, AT Shulgin, P Jacob III, AE Ruoho. Methcathinone and 2 methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)propan-1-one (methylone) selectively inhibit plasma membrane catecholamine reuptake transporters. Soc. Neurosci. Abs., 24, 341.8 (1998)
  5. ^ NV Cozzi, AT Shulgin, AE Ruoho. Methcathinone (MCAT) and 2-methylamino-1-(3,4 methylenedioxyphenyl)propan-1-one (MDMCAT) inhibit [3H]serotonin uptake into human platelets. Amer. Chem. Soc. Div. Med. Chem. Abs., 215, 152 (1998)
  6. ^ "Cathinone | Ask Dr. Shulgin Online". 
  7. ^ a b c Nagai F, Nonaka R, Satoh Hisashi Kamimura K (March 2007). "The effects of non-medically used psychoactive drugs on monoamine neurotransmission in rat brain". European Journal of Pharmacology 559 (2–3): 132–7. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.075. PMID 17223101. 
  8. ^ Xenobioica. HT Kamata, N Shima, K Zaitsu, T Kamata, A Miki, M Nishikawa, M Katagi, H Tsuchihashi. (2006). Metabolism of methylone in humans and rats. Volume 36, Number 8 / August 2006.
  9. ^ Party pill sparks official concern. One News. April 7, 2006
  10. ^ EASE trial terminated after conflicting advice. April 9, 2006
  11. ^ " – Förordning (1999:58) om förbud mot vissa hälsofarliga varor". 

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