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What is wrong with the MDMA available today? - v2

Le Junk

Bluelighter
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
2,273
Location
IndiaNOplace, Indianer
Mod edit: The old thread has gone over 250 pages a while ago, which is about the length we use as a soft limit for threads, which lessens the impact on our database. As such, this is the new iteration of the "What is wrong with the MDMA available today?" thread. The previous iteration of this thread can be found here



NOTE: A handy draft summary (work-in-progress) of some of the key content covered in this thread can be accessed ⫸HERE⫷

See the second post by indigoaura in this thread for a thorough explanation of the same concepts and an overview of relevant research and theories




Let me first give you a little background. I'm 51 years old and started doing ecstasy the last year it was legal in 1985. Needless to say the legal ecstasy from the so called "Dallas Group" was nothing short of spectacular. In 1988 I made a connection with someone from the San Francisco area who was in the production field of making MDMA. I have maintained that friendship and connection ever since with only small periods of downtime. The MDMA I get from him is an extremely fine bleach white crystalline powder that is fluffy and lays just like snow. The high from this MDMA takes about 10-15 minutes to take effect and the high is always the same. An extremely smooth come up followed by excessive love and empathy. You will literally melt into the person you're with and sex is out of this world. Touch and feel is heavenly. All you want to do is touch and feel on the person youre with and tell them how beautiful they are and how much you love them etc. There are massive eye wiggles and conversation flows like new born buddas. The come down is just as smooth as the come up. It drops you off just like a feather and sleep comes like a baby. The next day is nothing short of spectacular. You wake up feeling anti-depressed and chatty. You'll want to talk on the phone, visit friends or just drive around and enjoy the day with the top down. It's all I've ever known as an MDMA experience.

Now that brings me to modern day MDMA. There was a period back in the early 2000's when my connection was down and I scored pills from a local guy. They were great and with some very small exceptions, nearly as good as my crystalline powder. But once again I've been forced to score something locally and the stuff is just plain crap. And I mean crap. I've done both the orange Tesla's and the red Supremes. Absolutely awful, but from reading the trip reports on Pillreports, you would have thought they were the best ever. They're actually anything but. I had both of these pills tested on ecstasydata and both came back as pure MDMA.

Both of them took about 30-40 minutes to kick in and when they did, there was a slight feeling of euphoria and empathy that quickly faded and from there on out it was just a fucked up buzz. There were eye wiggles, but I wasn't feeling good when they were happening. I became extremely tired and kind of gacked out. The high from these pills seemed to last forever, maybe just because they sucked so much. I felt like a crackhead on the comedown and the next day felt like a bad MDA hangover. There was no next day afterglow at all. Just a different kind of fucked up than the night before. And that lasted the entire next day. There is a HUGE giveaway that youre doing todays crappy MDMA. Your pupils will not dialate all the way to the very edge like old school ecstasy. With old school ecstasy your pupils consume literally all of the color in your eye with only a microscopic sliver of color left around the outer edge. With modern day ecstasy your pupils will only dialate to slightly beyond normal if at all. Thats a big giveaway youre doing new school MDMA junk.

Before you jump to the assumption that this Le Junk guy is just old, hes done way to much ecstasy over the course of his lifetime and this is just a matter of tolerance, please re-read my post stating that I still have access to old school MDMA that Ive had since the 1980s. So in one hand I have modern day lab tested MDMA crap and in the other hand, old school MDMA heaven. So tolerance is out the window. Moving forward...

My question is this. Is this the best there is out there today? And since both pills tested on ecstasydata as pure MDMA, what is wrong with MDMA production nowdays? Does anyone else feel what I'm talking about here? My setting is pretty much always the same so that's not it. I always hear people talk about the setting as if that's an issue. With the crystalline powder, it doesn't matter where I am, it's always great. But with these Supremes and Teslas, it's just a sub-par, little euphoria, no real love or empathy, fucked up kinda buzz. Let me put it this way, if this was all that was available to me, I'd quit taking MDMA altogether. Terrible!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

indigoaura

Bluelighter
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
1,544
Please read this first, before posting to the thread “What is Wrong with the MDMA Available Today?”

  • We are specifically discussing MDMA that has been sent to a lab (such as Energy Control or Drugs Data), tested with some form of GCMS or other lab testing, found to be MDMA, but presents with a different effects profile than typical MDMA. We are not discussing un-tested product that could be anything or contain any adulterant.
  • “Loss of magic” does not explain the issue, because the alternate effects profile has been experienced by users new to MDMA, including MDMA virgins and users with a short history of use. Also, many users who have experienced this sub-par MDMA go on to experience traditional MDMA from other batches of product with no loss of quality to the experience.
  • “Set and Setting” does not explain the issue because it has been experienced across multiple settings/environments/circumstances. Furthermore, multiple users report experiencing the sub-par effects from one batch, and then trying a different batch and easily rolling with a traditional effects profile.
  • Dosage does not explain the issue, because the questionable products have been tested in a wide range of doses from low to high with no improvement in effects.
  • Route of administration does not change the issue, as several users report alternate routes of administration with no change in effects.
  • No, we do not mean to imply that ALL modern MDMA is of poor quality. Obviously, there is plenty of high-quality MDMA out there. However, there is a large amount of poor-quality product available, and it has been reported across multiple continents and regions.
  • Although we have not currently identified the specific nature of this problem, we have discussed a variety of possibilities based on published research articles. Some of the possible explanations are: undetected contaminants, structurally similar compounds that present as MDMA to GCMS, metabolic/liver processing issues, drug polymorphism, and isomer ratios.
  • Please review the below chart for a simplified visual of what has been noted by many contributors to this thread over the last several years. These are generalizations based on observations and may not be true in every circumstance.
Traditional (magic) MDMASub-par (meh) MDMA
Mydriasis (eye dilation)YesNo
Enhanced tactile sensesYesNo
Enhanced auditory sensesYesNo
Enhanced aesthetic appreciation of musicYesNo
Feelings of euphoriaYesNo/reduced
Feelings of empathyYesNo/reduced
Pro-social behaviorsYesNo
EnergyYesNo
Feeling sleepyNoYes
Active desire to disengage from social interaction.NoYes
Enhanced erotic activity/making outYesNo
Feelings of loveYesNo
Desire to be stillNoYes
Jaw movementYesYes
Profuse Sweating/Feeling HotYesNo
Feeling cold in warm environmentsNoYes
Duration4-6 hours1-3 hours
ComedownTypically, gradualTypically, abrupt
Flipping (mixing with LSD/2CB etc.)Enhanced, synergistic effects of both substancesReduced psychedelic effects when MDMA is taken first

Example of Meh-DMA Report: https://www.bluelight.org/xf/thread...the-mdma-available-today.791073/post-14220371


RESEARCH SUMMARY

Introduction


In April of 2016, user Le Junk posed a question to the Bluelight harm reduction message board. Since then, his thread, “What is wrong with the MDMA available today?” has garnered over 6,300 responses and spanned over 320 pages. The thread, which has attracted worldwide contributions, seeks to understand why some 3,4-MDMA users experience an alternate effects profile even though the product is identified as 3,4-MDMA by GCMS testing.

Throughout this discussion, two primary lines of thinking have emerged – either something is wrong with the 3,4-MDMA or something is wrong with the user. “Loss of magic” is a frequently accepted phenomenon amongst 3,4-MDMA users, where those who engaged in frequent 3,4-MDMA use/abuse lose the ability to feel the primary effects of the drug. However, both experienced and new 3,4-MDMA users have complained of experiencing an alternate effects profile from the drug, and some users claim to have access to two types of product with distinctly different effects profiles. This seems to indicate that “loss of magic” is not the reason behind the phenomenon.

Classic, or “magic,” racemic 3,4-MDMA HCl produces empathy, elation, euphoria, music enhancement, and tactile enhancement. Some users also experience enhanced sensuality or sexuality. Mydriasis is a commonly observed physical sign of use that is easily witnessed by outside observers. Subpar 3,4-MDMA, or “meh-DMA” as defined by the forum, fails to produce these effects. Instead, users report a cold and sedate experience that decreases sociability and encourages introspection. Mydriasis is reduced, and the overall effects of the drug feel muted in comparison to typical 3,4-MDMA effects.

While discussing this phenomenon, users have developed multiple theories in association with published research articles. Although many theories have been discussed, the leading hypotheses involve 3,4-MDMA contaminants, and/or GCMS inability to accurately differentiate coeluting isobaric derivatives. Contaminant profiles have changed as the result of changing synthesis methods, and these changes may have resulted in the alternate effects profile that users experience. The following research articles establish the basis of these theories.

Presence of Synthesis Byproducts

Although many labs such as Drugs Data in the USA report results of 3,4-MDMA only, synthesis byproducts are present in 3,4-MDMA samples. Law enforcement agencies use synthesis byproduct profiles to assist them with identifying the source of 3,4-MDMA. Complex extraction techniques are sometimes used prior to analysis to separate the byproducts from the 3,4-MDMA samples. These articles establish that synthesis byproducts are present in 3,4-MDMA, and that byproducts/impurities vary depending on which synthesis method was used.

  • “Synthesis and impurity profiling of 3,4-MDMA prepared from commonly available starting materials” by Ryan Gallagher, Ronald Shimmon, Andrew M. McDonagh (Gallagher)
  • “Impurity profiling of ecstasy tablets seized in Hong Kong by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry” by Jack Yuk Ki Cheng, Man Fai Chan, Tai Wai Chan, Mei Yuen Hung (Yuk Ki Cheng)
  • “Basic and neutral route specific impurities in 3,4-MDMA prepared by different synthesis methods Comparison of impurity profiles” by M. S´wist, J. Wilamowski, A. Parczewski (S'wist)
  • “A review of impurity profiling and synthetic route of manufacture of methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, amphetamine, dimethylamphetamine and p-methoxyamphetamine” by Natasha Stojanovska, Shanlin Fu, Mark Tahtouh, Tamsin Kelly, Alison Beavis, K. Paul Kirkbride (Stojanovska)
  • “Optimization of HS-SPME/GC–MS analysis and its use in the profiling of illicit ecstasy tablets” by Federica Bonadio, Pierre Margot, Olivier Dele´mont, Pierre Esseiva (Bonadio)
  • “Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities” by M. S´wist, J. Wilamowski, A. Parczewski (S'wist, Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities)
Interference with Monoamine Transporters

“Pharmacological Characterization of Ecstasy Synthesis Byproducts with Recombinant Human Monoamine Transporters” by Christian Pifl, Gabor Nagy, Sa´ ndor Bere´ nyi, Alexandra Kattinger, Harald Reither, and Sa´ ndor Antus (Pifl)

In the first article, researcher Christian Pifl establishes that some “byproducts of illegal ecstasy synthesis can interact with the primary sites of action of 3,4-MDMA, the monoamine transporters, and were active with similar potency as 3,4-MDMA.” In other words, some byproducts can block the action of 3,4-MDMA.

“Duloxetine Inhibits Effects of 3,4-MDMA (‘‘Ecstasy’’) In Vitro and in Humans in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Laboratory Study” by Ce´dric M. Hysek et al. (Hysek)

To better understand what it may look like for monoamine transporters to be blocked in humans, consider this article on how pre-treatment with Duloxetine impacts the 3,4-MDMA experience in virgin users. “The findings confirm the important role of 3,4-MDMA-induced 5-HT and NE release in the psychotropic effects of 3,4-MDMA” (Hysek).

Regioisomers and Isobaric Derivatives

In addition to the presence of potentially active synthesis byproducts, the presence of isobaric derivatives could explain why GCMS testing is inadequate at identifying certain contaminants. 3,4-MDMA Isobaries are compounds that have the same molecular mass as 3,4-MDMA and they may appear as 3,4-MDMA in Mass Spectrometry analysis. 3,4-MDMA Regioisomers are compounds that are composed of the same atoms as 3,4-MDMA molecules and thus having the same molecular mass but are structurally rearranged which may make them appear to be 3,4-MDMA in underivatized GC/MS analysis. 3,4-MDMA Enantiomers are compounds that are stereoscopically mirrored/flipped 3,4-MDMA molecules which have the same molecular mass and always appear the same to the Mass Spectrometry analysis; they usually elute at the same time in GC separations, unless a special chiral column is used to separate the enantiomer. These articles discuss these compounds, the advanced testing methodologies needed to successfully separate and identify them, and their presence in samples seized by law enforcement.

  • “MASS SPECTRAL AND CHROMATOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON A SERIES OF REGIOISOMERS AND ISOBARIC DERIVATIVES RELATED TO METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINES” by Tamer Awad (Awad)
  • “Regioisomers of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine in clandestine ecstasy pills” by Inmaculada Fierro et al. (Fierro)
  • “Synthesis and Analytical Profiles for Regioisomeric and Isobaric Amines Related to 3,4-MDMA, MDEA and MBDB: Differentiation of Drug and non-Drug Substances of Mass Spectral Equivalence” by C. Randall Clark (Clark)
  • “Mass-Spectrometry-Based Identification of Synthetic Drug Isomers Using Infrared Ion Spectroscopy” by Kranenburg, Ruben F. et al. (Kranenburg)
  • “Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Isobaric and Isomeric Substances Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine” by Laura Aalberg et al. (Aalberg)
  • “GC–MS studies on acylated derivatives of 3-methoxy-4-methyl- and 4-methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines: Regioisomers related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA” by Tarek Belal, Tamer Awad, Jack DeRuiter, and Randall Clark (Belal)
  • “Distinguishing drug isomers in the forensic laboratory: GC–VUV in addition to GC–MS for orthogonal selectivity and the use of library match scores as a new source of information” by Ruben F. Kranenburg (R. e. Kranenburg)
  • “Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Methoxy Methyl Methamphetamines Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine” by Tamer Awad et al. (T. e. Awad)
  • “GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA” by Tamer Awad et al. (T. e. Awad, GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-MDMA)
  • “The Identification of 3,4-3,4-MDMA from Its Mass Equivalent Isomers and Isobaric Substances Using Fast LC–ESI-MS–MS” by Katja Pihlainen et al. (Pihlainen)
New Psychoactive Compounds

Also, of interest are the presence of new psychoactive compounds and analogues that GCMS testing may be incapable of identifying due to the novel nature of the compound.

“Identification of a new M-ALPHA analog and 3,4-MDMA in an illegal health product” by Ji Hyun Lee et al. (Lee)

Conclusion

Although user tolerance is the most commonly accepted explanation for loss of effects in experienced 3,4-MDMA users, product quality may also contribute to wide variation in user experience. The presence of undetected synthesis byproducts, inhibition of monoamine transporters, or substitution of an isobaric derivative may explain what is wrong with some 3,4-MDMA today. In order to fully investigate the question and associated hypotheses, user samples would need to be analyzed with advanced lab techniques beyond simple GCMS imaging, and the results compared to subjective user reports. If you know of a researcher, university, or laboratory willing to assist with this research, please reach out to user indigoaura via the Bluelight harm reduction forum.




Works Cited​

Aalberg, Laura et al. "Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Isobaric and Isomeric Substances Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine." Journal of Chromatographic Science (2004): 464-469. Web.

Awad, Tamer et al. "Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Methoxy Methyl Methamphetamines Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2007): 467-476. Web.

—. "GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2011): 345-352. Web.

Awad, Tamer. "MASS SPECTRAL AND CHROMATOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON A SERIES OF REGIOISOMERS AND ISOBARIC DERIVATIVES RELATED TO METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINES ." 15 December 2006. Auburn University. Web. 4 January 2021.

Belal, Tarek et al. "GC–MS studies on acylated derivatives of 3-methoxy-4-methyl- and 4-methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines: Regioisomers related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA." Forensic Science International (2008): 61-82. Web.

Bonadio, Federica et al. "Optimization of HS-SPME/GC–MS analysis and its use in the profiling of illicit ecstasy tablets." Forensic Science International (2009): 73–80. Web.

Clark, C. Randall. Synthesis and Analytical Profiles for Regioisomeric and Isobaric Amines Related to 3,4-MDMA, MDEA and MBDB: Differentiation of Drug and non-Drug Substances of Mass Spectral Equivalence. Electronic. Auburn, Alabama: Department of Justice, 2011. Web.

Fierro, Inmaculada et al. "Regioisomers of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine in clandestine ecstasy pills." ICADTS 2007. Seattle, 2007. Web.

Gallagher, Ryan et al. "Synthesis and impurity profiling of 3,4-MDMA prepared from commonly available starting materials." Forensic Science International (2012): 306-313. Web.

Hysek, Ce'dric et al. "Duloxetine Inhibits Effects of 3,4-MDMA (‘‘Ecstasy’’) In Vitro and in Humans in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Laboratory Study." PLoS ONE (2012). Web.

Kranenburg, Ruben et al. "Distinguishing drug isomers in the forensic laboratory: GC–VUV in addition to GC–MS for orthogonal selectivity and the use of library match scores as a new source of information." Forensic Science International (2019): 1-13. Web.

Kranenburg, Ruben F. et al. "Mass-Spectrometry-Based Identification of Synthetic Drug Isomers Using Infrared Ion Spectroscopy." Analytical Chemistry (2020): 7282-7288. Web.

Lee, Ji Hyun et al. "Identification of a new M-ALPHA analog and 3,4-MDMA in an illegal health product." Forensic Science International (2020). Web.

Pifl, Christian et al. "Pharmacological Characterization of Ecstasy Synthesis Byproducts with Recombinant Human Monoamine Transporters." THE JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS 314.1 (2005): 346-354. Web.

Pihlainen, Katja et al. "The Identification of 3,4-3,4-MDMA from Its Mass Equivalent Isomers and Isobaric Substances Using Fast LC–ESI-MS–MS." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2005): 94-97. Web.

Stojanovska, Natasha et al. "A review of impurity profiling and synthetic route of manufacture of methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, amphetamine, dimethylamphetamine and p-methoxyamphetamine." Forensic Science International 224 (2013): 8-26. Web.

S'wist, M. et al. "Basic and neutral route specific impurities in 3,4-MDMA." Forensic Science International (2005): 100-111. Web.

—. "Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities." Forensic Science International (2005): 175-184. Web.

Yuk Ki Cheng, Jack et al. "Impurity profiling of ecstasy tablets seized in Hong Kong." Forensic Science International (2006): 87-94. Web.
 
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HighGayGuy

Greenlighter
Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
4
Location
UK
I'm an oldkool raver and took Ecstasy and speed in the early 90s and into 2000, and there is no comparison with the 90s and the 2000>
No recreational drugs today are the same as they were 20-30 years ago. Particularly Ecstasy and amphetamines.
I always suspected that the one thing that changed it all was the birth of the "Legal High/Research Chemical industry.
The use and application of the many hundreds of research chemicals has destroyed the oldskool illegal drugs market. Most if not all illegal oldskool classic type drugs today are mixed with the legal high/research chemicals. Amphetamine is the classic example. It simply does not exist anymore. It is simply research chemicals mixed with tiny amounts of real amphetamine to give it the smell of amphetamine. Utter garbage.
I'm now middle aged and no longer participate in such activities, but I strongly believe that the research chemical boom changed everything permanently, even after the governments banned the sale of them. They are all now just incorporated into all the other drugs.
Drug abuse has always been dangerous and risky, but so much more risky today. Todays drug takers will never realise because they don't know any different.
Stay safe guys.
 

F.U.B.A.R.

☠Rattus norvegicus☠ Moderator: BDD, OD, EADD, LAVA
Staff member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
19,416
Location
UK
I'm an oldkool raver and took Ecstasy and speed in the early 90s and into 2000, and there is no comparison with the 90s and the 2000>
No recreational drugs today are the same as they were 20-30 years ago. Particularly Ecstasy and amphetamines.
I always suspected that the one thing that changed it all was the birth of the "Legal High/Research Chemical industry.
The use and application of the many hundreds of research chemicals has destroyed the oldskool illegal drugs market. Most if not all illegal oldskool classic type drugs today are mixed with the legal high/research chemicals. Amphetamine is the classic example. It simply does not exist anymore. It is simply research chemicals mixed with tiny amounts of real amphetamine to give it the smell of amphetamine. Utter garbage.
I'm now middle aged and no longer participate in such activities, but I strongly believe that the research chemical boom changed everything permanently, even after the governments banned the sale of them. They are all now just incorporated into all the other drugs.
Drug abuse has always been dangerous and risky, but so much more risky today. Todays drug takers will never realise because they don't know any different.
Stay safe guys.

I agree with everything you say. Have you experienced modern MDMA yourself?
 

Negi

Bluelighter
Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Messages
302
Amphetamine is the classic example. It simply does not exist anymore. It is simply research chemicals mixed with tiny amounts of real amphetamine to give it the smell of amphetamine. Utter garbage.
None of the the published lab results show this. Most amphetamine sold in the UK is probably trash, but that's because it's majority caffeine, not because of research chemicals.
 

G_Chem

Bluelighter
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
3,188
I'm an oldkool raver and took Ecstasy and speed in the early 90s and into 2000, and there is no comparison with the 90s and the 2000>
No recreational drugs today are the same as they were 20-30 years ago. Particularly Ecstasy and amphetamines.
I always suspected that the one thing that changed it all was the birth of the "Legal High/Research Chemical industry.
The use and application of the many hundreds of research chemicals has destroyed the oldskool illegal drugs market. Most if not all illegal oldskool classic type drugs today are mixed with the legal high/research chemicals. Amphetamine is the classic example. It simply does not exist anymore. It is simply research chemicals mixed with tiny amounts of real amphetamine to give it the smell of amphetamine. Utter garbage.
I'm now middle aged and no longer participate in such activities, but I strongly believe that the research chemical boom changed everything permanently, even after the governments banned the sale of them. They are all now just incorporated into all the other drugs.
Drug abuse has always been dangerous and risky, but so much more risky today. Todays drug takers will never realise because they don't know any different.
Stay safe guys.

Come on now, I’m willing to believe maybe the MDMA was a little better but EVERY drug? That sounds like a you problem to me.

-GC
 

finitelifeform

Bluelighter
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Messages
103
I'm with him on MDMA, speed, heroin and cocaine. But I think the weed is loads better these days...
Interesting point about the weed. Define better though?
If you mean way stronger then yeah. That's what I believe people mean by better. Is it better though? I'm not sure in my own opinion. Weed doesn't need to be strong to provide benefits.
With increased potency you have more potential for side effects and with the genetics of cannabis being manipulated to create higher THC levels, the risks are higher too.

My worry is for the kids growing up where THC in weed is above 20% and where increased trends in shatter get the concentration levels even higher.
 

G_Chem

Bluelighter
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
3,188
I'm with him on MDMA, speed, heroin and cocaine. But I think the weed is loads better these days...

I’m assuming he’s from the UK too. For MDMA here it’s stayed the same, speed has never really been around here either way, Heroin definitely shittier/nonexistent and cocaine about the same.

We also never really had an RC scene, so that may effect things. People would scoff at the occasional meph or MDPV use in my circle.

-GC
 

Negi

Bluelighter
Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Messages
302
We also never really had an RC scene, so that may effect things. People would scoff at the occasional meph or MDPV use in my circle.
I think this really shows something that came up a few times in the old thread, which is that especially with things like drugs people's exposure and experiences with them can be vastly different depending on what their social circle and generation is. The UK probably had the largest RC scene in the world for a few years, with widespread mephedrone usage and artificial cannabinoids (along with various pill and powder RC stimulants) being sold at head shops in most towns and cities.
 

BlueBull

Moderator: M&ED
Staff member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
2,943
I made some changes according to feedback. @BlueBull, any way we can link this as post 2? Anyone else want changes made?

Introduction

In April of 2016, user Le Junk posed a question to the Bluelight harm reduction message board. Since then, his thread, “What is wrong with the MDMA available today?” has garnered over 6,300 responses and spanned over 320 pages. The thread, which has attracted worldwide contributions, seeks to understand why some 3,4-MDMA users experience an alternate effects profile even though the product is identified as 3,4-MDMA by GCMS testing.

Throughout this discussion, two primary lines of thinking have emerged – either something is wrong with the 3,4-MDMA or something is wrong with the user. “Loss of magic” is a frequently accepted phenomenon amongst 3,4-MDMA users, where those who engaged in frequent 3,4-MDMA use/abuse lose the ability to feel the primary effects of the drug. However, both experienced and new 3,4-MDMA users have complained of experiencing an alternate effects profile from the drug, and some users claim to have access to two types of product with distinctly different effects profiles. This seems to indicate that “loss of magic” is not the reason behind the phenomenon.

Classic or “magic” 3,4-MDMA produces empathy, elation, euphoria, music enhancement, and tactile enhancement. Some users also experience enhanced sensuality or sexuality. Mydriasis is a commonly observed physical sign of use that is easily witnessed by outside observers. Subpar 3,4-MDMA, or “meh-DMA” as defined by the forum, fails to produce these effects. Instead, users report a cold and sedate experience that decreases sociability and encourages introspection. Mydriasis is reduced, and the overall effects of the drug feel muted in comparison to typical 3,4-MDMA effects.

While discussing this phenomenon, users have developed multiple theories in association with published research articles. Although many theories have been discussed, the leading hypotheses involve 3,4-MDMA contaminants, and/or GCMS inability to accurately differentiate coeluting isobaric derivatives. Contaminant profiles have changed as the result of changing synthesis methods, and these changes may have resulted in the alternate effects profile that users experience. The following research articles establish the basis of these theories.

Presence of Synthesis Byproducts

Although many labs such as Drugs Data in the USA report results of 3,4-MDMA only, synthesis byproducts are present in 3,4-MDMA samples. Law enforcement agencies use synthesis byproduct profiles to assist them with identifying the source of 3,4-MDMA. Complex extraction techniques are sometimes used prior to analysis to separate the byproducts from the 3,4-MDMA samples. These articles establish that synthesis byproducts are present in 3,4-MDMA, and that byproducts/impurities vary depending on which synthesis method was used.

  • “Synthesis and impurity profiling of 3,4-MDMA prepared from commonly available starting materials” by Ryan Gallagher, Ronald Shimmon, Andrew M. McDonagh (Gallagher)
  • “Impurity profiling of ecstasy tablets seized in Hong Kong by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry” by Jack Yuk Ki Cheng, Man Fai Chan, Tai Wai Chan, Mei Yuen Hung (Yuk Ki Cheng)
  • “Basic and neutral route specific impurities in 3,4-MDMA prepared by different synthesis methods Comparison of impurity profiles” by M. S´wist, J. Wilamowski, A. Parczewski (S'wist)
  • “A review of impurity profiling and synthetic route of manufacture of methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, amphetamine, dimethylamphetamine and p-methoxyamphetamine” by Natasha Stojanovska, Shanlin Fu, Mark Tahtouh, Tamsin Kelly, Alison Beavis, K. Paul Kirkbride (Stojanovska)
  • “Optimization of HS-SPME/GC–MS analysis and its use in the profiling of illicit ecstasy tablets” by Federica Bonadio, Pierre Margot, Olivier Dele´mont, Pierre Esseiva (Bonadio)
  • “Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities” by M. S´wist, J. Wilamowski, A. Parczewski (S'wist, Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities)
Interference with Monoamine Transporters

“Pharmacological Characterization of Ecstasy Synthesis Byproducts with Recombinant Human Monoamine Transporters” by Christian Pifl, Gabor Nagy, Sa´ ndor Bere´ nyi, Alexandra Kattinger, Harald Reither, and Sa´ ndor Antus (Pifl)

In the first article, researcher Christian Pifl establishes that some “byproducts of illegal ecstasy synthesis can interact with the primary sites of action of 3,4-MDMA, the monoamine transporters, and were active with similar potency as 3,4-MDMA.” In other words, some byproducts can block the action of 3,4-MDMA.

“Duloxetine Inhibits Effects of 3,4-MDMA (‘‘Ecstasy’’) In Vitro and in Humans in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Laboratory Study” by Ce´dric M. Hysek et al. (Hysek)

To better understand what it may look like for monoamine transporters to be blocked in humans, consider this article on how pre-treatment with Duloxetine impacts the 3,4-MDMA experience in virgin users. “The findings confirm the important role of 3,4-MDMA-induced 5-HT and NE release in the psychotropic effects of 3,4-MDMA” (Hysek).

Regioisomers and Isobaric Derivatives

In addition to the presence of potentially active synthesis byproducts, the presence of isobaric derivatives could explain why GCMS testing is inadequate at identifying certain contaminants. 3,4-MDMA Isobaries are compounds that have the same molecular mass as 3,4-MDMA and they may appear as 3,4-MDMA in Mass Spectrometry analysis. 3,4-MDMA Regioisomers are compounds that are composed of the same atoms as 3,4-MDMA molecules and thus having the same molecular mass but are structurally rearranged which may make them appear to be 3,4-MDMA in underivatized GC/MS analysis. 3,4-MDMA Enantiomers are compounds that are stereoscopically mirrored/flipped 3,4-MDMA molecules which have the same molecular mass and always appear the same to the Mass Spectrometry analysis; they usually elute at the same time in GC separations, unless a special chiral column is used to separate the enantiomer. These articles discuss these compounds, the advanced testing methodologies needed to successfully separate and identify them, and their presence in samples seized by law enforcement.

  • “MASS SPECTRAL AND CHROMATOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON A SERIES OF REGIOISOMERS AND ISOBARIC DERIVATIVES RELATED TO METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINES” by Tamer Awad (Awad)
  • “Regioisomers of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine in clandestine ecstasy pills” by Inmaculada Fierro et al. (Fierro)
  • “Synthesis and Analytical Profiles for Regioisomeric and Isobaric Amines Related to 3,4-MDMA, MDEA and MBDB: Differentiation of Drug and non-Drug Substances of Mass Spectral Equivalence” by C. Randall Clark (Clark)
  • “Mass-Spectrometry-Based Identification of Synthetic Drug Isomers Using Infrared Ion Spectroscopy” by Kranenburg, Ruben F. et al. (Kranenburg)
  • “Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Isobaric and Isomeric Substances Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine” by Laura Aalberg et al. (Aalberg)
  • “GC–MS studies on acylated derivatives of 3-methoxy-4-methyl- and 4-methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines: Regioisomers related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA” by Tarek Belal, Tamer Awad, Jack DeRuiter, and Randall Clark (Belal)
  • “Distinguishing drug isomers in the forensic laboratory: GC–VUV in addition to GC–MS for orthogonal selectivity and the use of library match scores as a new source of information” by Ruben F. Kranenburg (R. e. Kranenburg)
  • “Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Methoxy Methyl Methamphetamines Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine” by Tamer Awad et al. (T. e. Awad)
  • “GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA” by Tamer Awad et al. (T. e. Awad, GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-MDMA)
  • “The Identification of 3,4-3,4-MDMA from Its Mass Equivalent Isomers and Isobaric Substances Using Fast LC–ESI-MS–MS” by Katja Pihlainen et al. (Pihlainen)
New Psychoactive Compounds

Also, of interest are the presence of new psychoactive compounds and analogues that GCMS testing may be incapable of identifying due to the novel nature of the compound.

“Identification of a new M-ALPHA analog and 3,4-MDMA in an illegal health product” by Ji Hyun Lee et al. (Lee)

Conclusion

Although user tolerance is the most commonly accepted explanation for loss of effects in experienced 3,4-MDMA users, product quality may also contribute to wide variation in user experience. The presence of undetected synthesis byproducts, inhibition of monoamine transporters, or substitution of an isobaric derivative may explain what is wrong with some 3,4-MDMA today. In order to fully investigate the question and associated hypotheses, user samples would need to be analyzed with advanced lab techniques beyond simple GCMS imaging, and the results compared to subjective user reports. If you know of a researcher, university, or laboratory willing to assist with this research, please reach out to user indigoaura via the Bluelight harm reduction forum.




Works Cited​

Aalberg, Laura et al. "Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Isobaric and Isomeric Substances Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine." Journal of Chromatographic Science (2004): 464-469. Web.

Awad, Tamer et al. "Chromatographic and Mass Spectral Studies on Methoxy Methyl Methamphetamines Related to 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2007): 467-476. Web.

—. "GC–MS and GC–IRD Studies on the Ring Isomers of N-Methyl-2-Methoxyphenyl-3-Butanamines (MPBA) Related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2011): 345-352. Web.

Awad, Tamer. "MASS SPECTRAL AND CHROMATOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON A SERIES OF REGIOISOMERS AND ISOBARIC DERIVATIVES RELATED TO METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINES ." 15 December 2006. Auburn University. Web. 4 January 2021.

Belal, Tarek et al. "GC–MS studies on acylated derivatives of 3-methoxy-4-methyl- and 4-methoxy-3-methyl-phenethylamines: Regioisomers related to 3,4-3,4-MDMA." Forensic Science International (2008): 61-82. Web.

Bonadio, Federica et al. "Optimization of HS-SPME/GC–MS analysis and its use in the profiling of illicit ecstasy tablets." Forensic Science International (2009): 73–80. Web.

Clark, C. Randall. Synthesis and Analytical Profiles for Regioisomeric and Isobaric Amines Related to 3,4-MDMA, MDEA and MBDB: Differentiation of Drug and non-Drug Substances of Mass Spectral Equivalence. Electronic. Auburn, Alabama: Department of Justice, 2011. Web.

Fierro, Inmaculada et al. "Regioisomers of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine in clandestine ecstasy pills." ICADTS 2007. Seattle, 2007. Web.

Gallagher, Ryan et al. "Synthesis and impurity profiling of 3,4-MDMA prepared from commonly available starting materials." Forensic Science International (2012): 306-313. Web.

Hysek, Ce'dric et al. "Duloxetine Inhibits Effects of 3,4-MDMA (‘‘Ecstasy’’) In Vitro and in Humans in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Laboratory Study." PLoS ONE (2012). Web.

Kranenburg, Ruben et al. "Distinguishing drug isomers in the forensic laboratory: GC–VUV in addition to GC–MS for orthogonal selectivity and the use of library match scores as a new source of information." Forensic Science International (2019): 1-13. Web.

Kranenburg, Ruben F. et al. "Mass-Spectrometry-Based Identification of Synthetic Drug Isomers Using Infrared Ion Spectroscopy." Analytical Chemistry (2020): 7282-7288. Web.

Lee, Ji Hyun et al. "Identification of a new M-ALPHA analog and 3,4-MDMA in an illegal health product." Forensic Science International (2020). Web.

Pifl, Christian et al. "Pharmacological Characterization of Ecstasy Synthesis Byproducts with Recombinant Human Monoamine Transporters." THE JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS 314.1 (2005): 346-354. Web.

Pihlainen, Katja et al. "The Identification of 3,4-3,4-MDMA from Its Mass Equivalent Isomers and Isobaric Substances Using Fast LC–ESI-MS–MS." Journal of Chromatographic Science, (2005): 94-97. Web.

Stojanovska, Natasha et al. "A review of impurity profiling and synthetic route of manufacture of methylamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, amphetamine, dimethylamphetamine and p-methoxyamphetamine." Forensic Science International 224 (2013): 8-26. Web.

S'wist, M. et al. "Basic and neutral route specific impurities in 3,4-MDMA." Forensic Science International (2005): 100-111. Web.

—. "Determination of synthesis method of ecstasy based on the basic impurities." Forensic Science International (2005): 175-184. Web.

Yuk Ki Cheng, Jack et al. "Impurity profiling of ecstasy tablets seized in Hong Kong." Forensic Science International (2006): 87-94. Web.
I can't change the post order I'm afraid, except if I hide all posts that precede yours. There are however a few things I can do to get something comparable. I think the cleanest way, that would also preserve all other replies in this thread, would be to edit in your post as a quote to the first or second post of the thread. That way your name would also be mentioned on the quote, which is a plus. I can also replace the entire contents of the first or second post but then your name would not be on it, though I could of course open with a mention crediting you for it. On my cellphone now but I'll take a look tomorrow and we'll discuss what the preferred course is

*edit*
Another possibility is to move all posts preceding yours to the previous thread, that way those posts will be appended to that thread for reference and your post would be the first or second one of this thread, under your own name
 
Last edited:

indigoaura

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I can't change the post order I'm afraid, except if I hide all posts that precede yours. There are however a few things I can do to get something comparable. I think the cleanest way, that would also preserve all other replies in this thread, would be to edit in your post as a quote to the first or second post of the thread. That way your name would also be mentioned on the quote, which is a plus. I can also replace the entire contents of the first or second post but then your name would not be on it, though I could of course open with a mention crediting you for it. On my cellphone now but I'll take a look tomorrow and we'll discuss what the preferred course is

*edit*
Another possibility is to move all posts preceding yours to the previous thread, that way those posts will be appended to that thread for reference and your post would be the first or second one of this thread, under your own name

I like the idea of moving the posts in this thread to the original thread and then having the research summary as post 2 under my name. It is not that I need the credit, but as this conversation develops and we share more research, if the post is mine then I can edit it. I can add additional research articles to the summary and add addendums or new sections.

At least, that way, when new contributors come to the thread they can see the most pertinent information in the first few posts. We won't have to redirect them to read 300+ pages, and we can just suggest they read the first two posts before commenting.

What does everyone else think?
 

PsychedelicSummer

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I like the idea of moving the posts in this thread to the original thread and then having the research summary as post 2 under my name. It is not that I need the credit, but as this conversation develops and we share more research, if the post is mine then I can edit it. I can add additional research articles to the summary and add addendums or new sections.

At least, that way, when new contributors come to the thread they can see the most pertinent information in the first few posts. We won't have to redirect them to read 300+ pages, and we can just suggest they read the first two posts before commenting.

What does everyone else think?
Sounds like an excellent idea to me.
 

BlueBull

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I like the idea of moving the posts in this thread to the original thread and then having the research summary as post 2 under my name. It is not that I need the credit, but as this conversation develops and we share more research, if the post is mine then I can edit it. I can add additional research articles to the summary and add addendums or new sections.

At least, that way, when new contributors come to the thread they can see the most pertinent information in the first few posts. We won't have to redirect them to read 300+ pages, and we can just suggest they read the first two posts before commenting.

What does everyone else think?
Sounds like an excellent idea to me.
Alright, understood. I will wait a day to give people the chance to object. If there are no objections I will proceed as discussed. I will move all posts preceding indigoaura's summary to the old thread while posts that are made after it will remain in this thread. First post will still be the original one, second post will be your summary. If anyone wants to add information to that second summary post let me know, I can edit that in as well, either as a quote or simply appended to the original text

Cheers
 

G_Chem

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I think this really shows something that came up a few times in the old thread, which is that especially with things like drugs people's exposure and experiences with them can be vastly different depending on what their social circle and generation is. The UK probably had the largest RC scene in the world for a few years, with widespread mephedrone usage and artificial cannabinoids (along with various pill and powder RC stimulants) being sold at head shops in most towns and cities.

Yea it came up more than a few times, I could probably pull up 10 plus posts of my own stressing the point. If this weren’t the case I wouldn’t believe in this at all since I don’t personally get “meh” product. But I’m willing to believe others stories when they say they do..

-GC
 

foolsgold25

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It would be great to talk to a chemist or scientist who works for MAPS or somewhere that they are doing trials/therapy with pharmaceutical grade mdma.
We could then find out the pre curser that they are using or if what they may have access to which the illicit drugs gangs don’t?

I assume the drug gang chemists are pretty well in the know in Holland and other places where they make these drugs.
I’ve never heard anyone being treated for PTSD with mdma to come out complaining that the product was underwhelming or didn’t do shit for them ha ha.

Is that strong aniseed smell still present on current batches of mdma aswell?
 

Negi

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Here's a hint from the MAPS GMP MDMA post: https://maps.org/news/bulletin/articles/410-bulletin-winter-2016/6461-in-pursuit-of-gmp-mdma

I was personally excited, too, since SPS’ final proposal had selected as a precursor a compound used in flavoring and perfumery, and I have a personal interest in fragrance chemistry.

I’ve never heard anyone being treated for PTSD with mdma to come out complaining that the product was underwhelming or didn’t do shit for them ha ha.

I brought this up in the last thread, but that's not just just the case in the clinical trials. Nobody taking blackmarket sourced MDMA for underground therapy is unhappy with it. To quote my post then:

I'm involved with the /r/MDMAtherapy subreddit, which has over 10,000 users now. The vast majority of the users posting experiences are using underground therapists or friends, so they aren't getting the MAPS produced GMP MDMA. Now one could certainly argue that some of the therapists would have access to high quality supplies of MDMA, but people who are using street sourced product with a friend sitting for them are having very therapeutic and healing experiences. There are almost no posts where people say "I tried it and didn't get any therapeutic effects". The few that have occurred can usually be tied to uncertain dosages (we always try and discourage people from using pills for this reason) and on one occasion someone took it solo and became distracted by some of the effects (they got very horny so it didn't sound like mehDMA).

There's another subreddit /r/MDMASolo, that was created after it's founder had his ideas rejected by the main MDMAtherapy subreddit (he feels that ADHD and schizophrenia can be cured using MDMA therapy). Their focus is on the solo MDMA experience, so no therapist supplied MDMA involved. A glance at the posts there shows again that the only real "It didn't work" post has someone taking pills of an unknown dosage.

I think a key thing to note is that it seems like the majority of the therapeutic users are MDMA naive, they've never taken it before and have only sought it out to trying and cure their traumas. This means they usually don't have a well known source and have to obtain it from friends of friends, or ordering it from a DNM.
 

TripSitterNZ

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indigoaura

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MAPS used pmk as the starting material. PMK has huge uses legally in perfume fragrance industry
I don't think that is correct. I recall reading that MAPS is using a proprietary recipe. I also read that they plan to release their process eventually, so that should be revealing. I will try to find the quotes that discuss their process. Safrole can also be used in fragrance, so that information by itself does not really reveal anything.

I have sent several emails to MAPS and have never gotten a reply.

@Negi
I do not necessarily think MehDMA is devoid of therapeutic potential. Yes, it is sedating and provokes introspection. In a therapeutic setting, that could be beneficial. One of the things that is so frustrating about it is that it makes me want to stop talking to people. If I was just alone and on a personal journey of discovery, I think there could be some value there. I mentioned before that it really seems to enhance hypnagogic dream-like visuals if you lay down and meditate. So, I don't know that MDMA-naivete reddit posters who are seeking therapeutic potential would really understand that they don't want to cuddle with the therapist and that may be a sign of subpar product.
 
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