Are people really snorting bath salts? I know, it sounds crazy, right? While I was making my rounds in the world of Facebook, I came across a status update that included a link to an article that said, “Several states may ban bath salts that contain the chemicals mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone because people are now snorting, injecting, and smoking them to get high”. What? Ban bath salts? I had to read it twice to make sure it wasn’t a joke.

So, in my quest for additional information, I found that the two chemicals mentioned are not approved for use in the United States and is not found in your typical bath salt. From the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration website, they report the following:

4-Methylmethcathinone (mephedrone) is a designer drug of the phenethylamine class and shares substantial structural similarities with methcathinone (Schedule I). Evidence of mephedrone use and associated toxicity has been increasing, in 2009 and 2010, particularly in the United Kingdom and other European countries. To date, one confirmed and several suspected deaths related to mephedrone have been reported by Europol-EMCDDA Joint report on mephedrone 2010. In recent years, law enforcement agencies have documented seizures (Oregon, Illinois and Alabama) associated with mephedrone in the United States.

Mephedrone is not approved for medical use in the United States. Mephedrone is sold over the internet and is promoted as a “research chemical”, “bath salts” or “plant food.”

Via the Europol-EMCDDA Joint Report, mephedrone is marketed as:

More local names for mephedrone marketed products are: ‘Rush’ (Belgium); ‘Miaou Miaou’ (France); ‘MMC Hammer’ and ‘Magic’ (Germany); ‘kapszula’, ‘kata’, ‘kati’, ‘mefi’, ‘mefó’, ‘mephisto’, ‘moonshine’, ‘piercing’, ‘zsuzsi’ (Hungary); ‘ronzio’ (Italy); ‘aka’(Malta); ‘Mef’, ‘Mefko’ (Slovenia); and ‘Mef’, ‘Meffe’, ‘Räka’, ‘Krabba’, ‘Kräfta’, ‘Fisk’, ‘Torsk’, ‘Lax’ and ‘Fiskrens’ (Sweden).

Irish head shop products sold as ‘legal highs’ that appear to contain mephedrone are ‘Blow’, ‘Snow blow xxx’; ‘bath salts’, ‘Hurricane Charlie’, ‘White Gold’, ‘White Aroma Crystals’, ‘Recharge’, ‘Volt’, ‘Star Dust’, ‘Flake’, ‘Wild Cat Oceanic Charge +’, etc; and ‘Ketones’, ‘Am Hi Co Doves’, ‘Doves’, ‘Rocket fuel’, ‘Xtacy’, ‘Speed Freak’, ‘Dynamite’and ‘Diablos XXX’.

In Romania, samples containing powder and crystals were identified in products sold as ‘bath salts’ under different names: ‘Flower Magic Powder’, ‘Flower Magic Powder+’, ‘Charge+’ (27), ‘Flower Power’, ‘Crush’, ‘Cristal bath’, ‘Dark+’, ‘Special Diamond’, ‘Special Gold’, and ‘Special Original’.

There are no indications that mephedrone may be used for other purposes. Furthermore, there is no evidence of mephedrone use as ‘plant growth regulator’, ‘plant feeder’, ‘herbal bath salt’ or ‘hoover freshener’, as widely advertised on the Internet.

So, as you can see from the above, ‘bath salts or herbal bath salt’ is a name given to this product and is in no way associated with bath salts that are marketed by personal care product manufacturers. K2 or “fake pot” is another form of this illegal substance that is marketed as “herbal incense” or “potpourri”. Again, it is no way associated with incense or potpourri you typically use in your home.

The reason I wrote this post is because I’ve already come across a search result that asked the question, “How do I know if my bath salt contains mephedrone?” The cosmetic industry has enough fear mongering and misinformation to deal with without adding a “bath salt” scare to the mix. The products marketed under the above names weigh 3 grams and can be found in convenience stores, head shops or party shops and are NOT like the typical bath salt that is poured into your tub.

Author

Robert Tisserand has been instrumental in bringing widespread professional and public recognition to aromatherapy. During his 15 years as a massage therapist, he wrote one of the first books on aromatherapy in 1977. The Art of Aromatherapy is now published in twelve languages. In 1974 he established The Aromatic Oil Company (a predecessor of Tisserand Aromatherapy) and in 1988 he founded The Tisserand Institute, setting new standards for vocational aromatherapy education. Also in 1988, he launched The International Journal of Aromatherapy, which he published and edited for 12 years. In the 1990s, Robert orchestrated three international AROMA conferences at British Universities, each attracting some 300 attendees. Robert tracks all the published research relevant to essential oils and collaborates with doctors, herbalists and pharmacologists, integrating scientific data with traditional medicine and holistic principles. He is familiar with the foundations of oriental medicine, and Western herbal and naturopathic traditions, with their emphasis on cleansing, protecting, strengthening immune function and aiding natural healing processes. Robert also has 40 years of experience in essential oil blending and aromatherapy product development, and has an expert knowledge of essential oil safety. Robert is on the International Advisory Board of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, and is a member of the Natural Perfumers Guild. In recognition of his pioneering work, he has been awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership of the International Federation of Aromatherapists, the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists, and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists. He was privileged to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the AIA in Denver in 2007, and is the current chair of the AIA Research Committee. Books: The Art of Aromatherapy (1977), Aromatherapy for Everyone (1987), Essential Oil Safety (1995) co-author. Books chapters: “Essential Oils as Psychotherapeutic Agents”. In: Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance (1988). Books edited: Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy (1993), The Practice of Aromatherapy, Dr Jean Valnet (1982)

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