Effects of Being High on Mephedrone

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Mephedrone is a recent designer drug, commonly referred to as bath salts, and is one of the most popular recreationally used new psychoactive substances. Like MDMA, it shares similarities with stimulants and with hallucinogens, and psychopharmacological research indicates that it is similar to stimulant drugs, such as amphetamines. Although it has been popularized as a safer alternative, there are medical risks associated with this drug, and the risks are similar to those of amphetamines.

Although new on the drug scene, there has been some limited research documenting the effects of mephedrone. This is what users say it feels like to get high on mephedrone.

Dosage and Duration of Intoxication

A study of 100 mephedrone users indicated that an average dose, of 97mg, with 500mg typically being consumed over the course of a drug-using session. The typical first session lasted for 6 hours, and other drugs were used in conjunction with mephedrone. On this first occasion of use, participants reported drinking alcohol, using cocaine, taking MDMA, smoking cannabis, and/or taking ketamine.

In subsequent sessions, most took 125mg intranasally by snorting, or orally. The injection is much less common but has been documented, sometimes with severe negative consequences. These later experiences typically lasted 10 hours, during which 1000mg, with 60 minute breaks between dosages. Use of other substances continued to be the norm, and use took place in groups of ten or so.

Stimulant Effects

The initial sensations associated with getting high on mephedrone are similar to those of other stimulant drugs, and include ‘self-confidence’, ‘buzzing’, ‘dizziness’ and ‘impaired concentration and memory’. In another study, mephedrone users described a pleasant mood, euphoria, ease, suppressed appetite, dry mouth, sharpened perception, insomnia and increased energy occurring most of the time when on mephedrone.

The stimulant and energizing effects of mephedrone, as with other stimulants, are often a motivator for users to take the drug. However, lack of sleep that accompanies the use of stimulants, including mephedrone, is well known, and include mental and physical problems, particularly after longer-term use.

Entactogen Effects

Entactogen effects add to the more straightforward feelings of stimulation and being wide-awake and energetic, with feelings of connection to self and others. This is described by users as feeling
oneself close to others, enhanced empathy, and is most frequently attributed to the drug, ecstasy or MDMA. A reduction in feelings of hostility towards others and an increased sense of personal insight are also reported.

When these feelings of being comfortable with others, and with oneself, are combined with increased feelings of sexual desire and stimulation, enhanced mood, talkativeness, intensification of sensory experience, increased self-confidence and increased urge to move, it is easy to see how mephedrone could become a party and play drug. Indeed, as with ecstasy, the use of mephedrone can easily transfer from the nightclub scene to sex parties. Unfortunately, this also increases the risks to users.


Even shortly after taking mephedrone users to report a strong feeling of ‘wanting’ more of the drug. This mephedrone craving was the most frequently reported acute effect of the drug in one study. 

Further, ‘wanting mephedrone’ was also intensified when users were actually sober but were thinking about their next mephedrone. 

Withdrawal Related Effects

Tiredness, insomnia, nasal congestion, and impaired concentration were the most prevalent withdrawal-related effects (with nasal congestion the most intense effect).

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4 Sources
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  1. Papaseit E, Pérez-Mañá C, Mateus J. et al. Human Pharmacology of Mephedrone in Comparison with MDMANeuropsychopharmacol. 2016;41:2704–2713. doi:10.1038/npp.2016.75

  2. Winstock A, Mitcheson L, Ramsey J, Davies S, Puchnarewicz M, Marsden J. Mephedrone: use, subjective effects and health risksAddiction. 2011;106(11):1991–1996. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03502.x

  3. Dargan PI, Albert S, Wood DM, Mephedrone use and associated adverse effects in school and college/university students before the UK legislation changeQJM-Int J Med. 2010;103(11):875-879. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcq134

  4. Weaver MF, Hopper JA, Gunderson EW. Designer drugs 2015: assessment and managementAddict Sci Clin Pract. 2015;10(8). doi:10.1186/s13722-015-0024-7

Additional Reading
  • Freeman TP, Morgan CJA, Vaughn-Jones J, Hussain N, Karimi K, Curran HV. Cognitive and Subjective Effects of Mephedrone and Factors Influencing Use of a 'New Legal High'. Addiction, 107 (4): 792-800. 2012.

  • Kapitány-Fövény M, Kertész M, Winstock A, Deluca P, Corazza O, Farkas J, Zacher G, Urbán R, Demetrovics Z, Substitutional Potential of Mephedrone: An Analysis of the Subjective Effects. Hum. Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 28: 308–316. 2013.

  • Luethi D, Kolaczynska K, Docci L, Krähenbühl S, Hoener M, Liechti M. Pharmacological Profile of Mephedrone Analogs and Related New Psychoactive Substances. Neuropharmacology 2017

  • Measham F, Wood, DM, Dargan PI, Moore K. The Rise in Legal Highs: Prevalence and Patterns in the Use of Illegal Drugs and First- and Second-Generation ''Legal Highs'' in South London Gay Dance Clubs. Journal of Substance Use 16 (4): 263-72. 2011.