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Monday, September 9, 2013

What are Research Chemicals?

Research Chems & LSD The terminology of research chemicals is often misunderstood; many people have designer drugs in mind when they think of research chemicals. But designer drugs are specially designed chemicals by underground labs to avoid laws and have a completely unknown chemical in their stock. This is also happening from time to time, but the available legal highs contain less than 1% of designer drugs.

A common research chemical was always developed for research; this could be the pharmaceutical research, where companies look for new medications and substances they can use within their meds or to investigate specific reactions in the human body to gain more knowledge on how the human body works.

The best example for this would be LSD; Albert Hofmann was researching the alkaloids present in ergot. The primary goal was to find new substances that might help on problems with the circulatory system and also to be used as aid during the birth. LSD did not show the wanted effects in animal trials and so would have been nearly passed without noting its psychedelic effects. It was just an accident that Albert Hofmann found these effects and tested the substance on him to proof them. Even if LSD is not really rated as research chemical today, many of the modern research chemicals show strong similarities to the early history of LSD.

2C-C research chemical
Another part where research chemicals come from, are chemists who are looking for several ways what and how they could change a molecule, therefore they change as many parts as they can and each single change, no matter how minimal it is, is a new research chemical. A good example for doing this is Alexander Shulgin, he developed hundred of substances and noted all his findings in the books “Thikal and Phikal”. The interesting fact is that his research begun with Mescaline, he found the effects of mescaline so amazing, that he wanted to see if he could enhance its effects through small changes on the molecule. These research chemicals can be found in the book Phikal, most people have already heard about at least one of his findings; most popular are substances like 2C-B, 2C-C, 2C-E, 2C-T-7 and much more. All of them are similar in their chemical structure, often there is just one atom that had been changed.

The third part of research chemicals comes from a more closely related field of research, where scientific teams are looking to extract specific effects from an already existing and psychoactive substance. A good example for this is cocaine, which has strong local anesthetic effects, but through its strong stimulating, euphoric and addictive potential, it was not the best choice for the medical usage. Today we have many substances which are directly based upon the cocaine structure, but don't share any effects with cocaine except the anesthetic ones. One well known of these substances is Lidocaine, commonly used by the dentists.

But to find these desired chemicals, the research teams produced a large amount of different research chemicals. Of course some of them brought them closer to their goal, but still had psychoactive effects, an example is Dimethocaine. Dimethocaine has around 10-30% of the potency of cocaine, but around the same potency in numbing effects. But because there was no medicinal use for it, since Lidocaine and other substances worked better, Dimethocaine remained a research chemical in the research papers for decades.

Since Cocaine is illegal in almost every part of the world and still has a large amount of consumers, there was a market for the research chemical Dimethocaine as well. So Dimethocaine occurred again during the 2000s and the 2010s with many other research chems.

But research chemicals also cover all kinds of drugs and substance groups, so we want to give you a little insight in the 5 most important classes and what they are all about:

Cannabinoids are in general research chemicals which mimic the effects of natural cannabis or better said natural THC. But if you search around you might be confused, because the usage of the word cannabinoids for research chemicals isn't very accurate. This means if you read about cannabinoids in scientific papers you could come across cannabinoids and cannabimimetica in one sentence. The correct usage of the word cannabinoids only counts for the natural occurring substances within cannabis, such as THC, CBD and similar. But the research chemicals that are called cannabinoids are just substances which mimic the effects of these cannabinoids, it doesn't mean they have similar structure compared with THC and alike. The correct terminology for these research drugs would be cannabimimetica, as they are only acting at the same receptors as natural cannabinoids and thus creating the same or similar effects.

Since scientific papers need to be as accurate as possible, it is most likely you come across both words, cannabinoids and cannabimimetica for the research chemicals you want to learn about. Since you know now what is behind cannabinoids, you will be able to understand what they are talking about. Most of the legal herbal incenses on the market have Cannabinoids on it.


Stimulants is a small word that has a large meaning, research chemicals with stimulating effects can come from a lot of different chemical groups and can work in many different ways. Some of the most important groups of stimulants within this group of research chems are the amphetamines and cathinones, but even these two are very closely related to each other. Most if not all amphetamines can be also made as cathinones and vise versa. Both groups of research chemicals are based upon the structure of ß-Phenethylamines, but this structure is also the base for many psychedelic drugs which have no or little stimulating effects. But before things are getting too complicated, we try to explain it step by step.

Cathinone is a naturally occurring substance from the plant Khat, amphetamine is only available as chemical and cannot be found naturally. Still the difference is just a single oxygen atom at a specific part of the structure, without that oxygen atom the substance is an amphetamine, with the oxygen atom it is a cathinone. Cathinones are commonly a bit weaker than their amphetamine cousins, but while some amphetamines are toxic, the somewhat lower potency of the cathinone version can make it a less toxic and pleasurable drug. One of the most remarkable and popular research chemical from the cathinone class in the past few years was Mephedrone also known as 4-MMC and Methylone the cathinone version of MDMA.

The same rule applies for methamphetamines, where the cousins are the methcathinones. But any change on the structure of both research chemical groups can have a strong influence on the intensity, potency and duration, but also on the overall effects. Depending on the position of the attachment on the molecule, the stimulants might become more intoxicating, euphoric or similar. A good comparison is MDMA to Methamphetamine, one is a strong euphoric intoxicant with medium stimulant effects, while the other one is a very potent stimulant.

Through the large amount of options to change the structure of amphetamines and cathinones, there are hundreds of possible research chemicals with psychoactive effects. Only a few of them are banned by laws, this makes them a perfect choice to continue fighting against the war on drugs.

There are also several more substance groups of the stimulants; one of them is the one where the substance Methylphenidate comes from, which is commonly used in the medicine Ritalin. Through the addition of a further carbon atom, you get the research chemical Ethylphenidate, it has similar effects as Methylphenidate but is slightly more euphoric and has a little shorter duration.

Another group of stimulants from the research chemicals are the so called pyrovalerones, these are also structurally related to amphetamines and cathinones, but often only share a part of the effects. The most popular research chemical of the pyrovalerones is for sure MDPV, it is the pyrovalerone version of MDMA, but it doesn't produce the same music appreciation of MDMA and also the feeling of being intoxicated is less pronounced. This means the pyrovalerones regular are not in the same line as the amphetamines and cathinones.


Like the research chemicals group of stimulants, the psychedelics also cover a wide range of different chemical groups and classes. The two most important groups of psychedelics are the ß-Phenethylamines and Tryptamines. Some of the most popular representatives of the ß-Phenethylamines are Mescaline, 2C-B, 2C-D, DOM and 2C-T-7, while some of the most important substances from the Tryptamines are LSD, DMT and Psilocin/Psilocybin.

Many popular drugs and also research chemicals from both groups are banned already, but since Alexander Shulgin is developing more and more research chemicals from both groups, there is an endless number of research chemicals to quickly replace the banned ones. Similar to the situation with the stimulants, nearly every psychedelic from the group of ß-Phenethylamines can be made in two different versions, the phenethylamine research chemicals and the amphetamine cousin of it. Usually the amphetamine versions of the phenethylamine psychedelics are more potent, create longer lasting effects and are more intense. Often they share similar effects, but in some cases the research chemicals from the amphetamine class are distinct in effects from their phenethylamine cousins.

Research drug 2C-I-NBOMe
During the year 2003 there was a further addition to the research chemicals of the ß-Phenethylamine group, the so called NBOMe substances. This made it also possible to make nearly any psychedelic research chemical available as phenethylamine, amphetamine and also as NBOMe. An example for this is the phenethylamine 2C-I, where the amphetamine version is known as DOI and the NBOMe version is known as 25I-NBOMe. Each step made the substance more potent, the research chemical 2C-I requires tenth of milligrams to develop its effects, while DOI only needs a few milligrams and 25I-NBOMe is in the sub milligram area.

The Tryptamines do not offer the same large amount of possible analogues, so the amount of research chemicals and especially psychedelics are lower. But that doesn't make them less interesting, did you know you can legally consume LSD as long as you do not live in a country with analogue laws?

Yes you read right, there are research chemicals which are based on LSD and are just different in a few atoms, the effects are very similar, experience reports claim the same effects, duration and intensity of the experiences. The only difference between LSD and the research chemicals AL-LAD and ETH-LAD is the dosage, the two newer analogues are said to be more potent than LSD.

AL-LAD analogue of LSD
But most laws only list LSD as illegal drug and not its direct analogues AL-LAD and ETH-LAD, thus they are both legal in most countries.

But there are more interesting psychedelics in the area of Tryptamines, one further example is 4-AcO-DMT, it is directly converted into Psilocin in the human body. Therefore it is exactly like using magic mushrooms, but since the structure of this research chemical is slightly different, it is also legal in most countries. But even if 4-AcO-DMT is banned, there is also 4-HO-MET and many other which are also known to produce very similar if not the same effects as magic mushrooms.


The dissociatives also cover several chemical classes, but the amount of research chemicals from the group of dissociatives are not as big as the other ones. One reason for this is the kind of effects they produce, not as much people are looking for research drugs that produce dissociative effects.

Some of the most popular drugs from the group of dissociatives are PCP also known as Angle Dust and Ketamine. Like with any research chemicals mentioned before, these chemicals can also be changed with single atoms and thus creating a new substance. Currently the most important one is Methoxetamine, an analogue of the popular drug Ketamine, it is often just called MXE.


The most benzodiazepines are no research chemicals, they are commonly prescribed medicine against spasm, for muscle relaxation, to promote or enhance sleep and also to treat fear and panic attacks. But still there are a few substances which never hit the market and therefore remain as research chemicals or they had not been used in every part of the world and are therefore not listed in the law.

Popular research chemicals of this group are Phenazepam and Etizolam. Phenazepam is currently available especially in Europe and the USA as research chemical, but the truth is, it is a common pharmaceutical from Russia. It was developed during the cold war and was made to avoid a dependency from the western civilizations, it is still often used in Russia and the countries at the Russian border. Etizolam shares a similar history and how it found its way into the market of research chemicals.


  1. Thanks for this interesting read!

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