TL neuro

April 10, 2016

Caffeine and Cathinones

Filed under: Cathinones, MDPV — mtaffe @ 3:06 pm

An interesting presentation at the recent 2016 annual meeting of ASPET (part of Experimental Biology) from Gregory Collins reported on the interactive effects of caffeine with other stimulant drugs, including MDPV. It appears that Dr. Collins has recently been funded by the NIH to work on just such interactions of caffeine with MDPV and methylone.

I was interested about the premise here, due to to a longstanding interest in MDMA and its effects on people. In a short summary, the street “Ecstasy” supply has been notoriously contaminated with all sorts of psychoactive compounds other than MDMA. The testing site was set up in part as a warning/surveillance system. At present, if you go to advanced search and identify materials they have tested that return MDMA and nothing else you find 1281 (105 in 2016 to date) entries. If you search for items they have found positive for MDMA and at least one other psychoactive constituent you find 659 (17 in 2016 to date) items. This is 34% of the total number of MDMA-positive samples. Undoubtedly this has ebbed and flowed over the years but my recollection in doing similar searches now and again is that it has generally been the case that at least half of the tested items have been pure MDMA. [As always, do note that there is a selection factor for who bothers to send samples in to ecstasydata for testing. Likely to be non-random in terms of users (I would expect repeat submissions from afficionados or other highly interested and aware parties) and in terms of chances of non-MDMA constituents (I am making an assumption here that items of suspicious subjective effects/experiences are more likely to be submitted.).]

Returning to the caffeine story, I note that ecstasydata returns 347 items containing both MDMA and caffeine, representing 18% of the total MDMA-positive population or 53% of the contaminated subset.

Moving on, we can searched for MDPV only (9 items), MDPV plus some other psychoactive (28 items, 76% of MDPV -containing) and MDPV plus caffeine (17 items, 46% of all MDPV -containing, 61% of MDPV +other). Wondering if this was a function of MDPV really not being very Ecstasy-like and therefore being unlikely to turn up by itself in the population who are sending samples to ecstasydata, I looked at alpha-PVP (14 pure, 3 alpha-PVP+other and 0 with caffeine). Hmmm.

I also searched for methylone only (64 items), methylone plus some other psychoactive (30 items, 32% of methylone-containing) and methylone plus caffeine (7 items, 7.4% of all methylone-containing, 23% of methylone+other).

So the rationale for looking at caffeine interactions for methylone (and MDMA for that matter) is pretty good, even if we must recognize that the majority (going by this particular measure of epidemiology) of the street Ecstasy / Molly / methylone is probably pure MDMA or pure methylone.

The MDPV supply looks highly contaminated with caffeine (46%) but there is, to my view, a slightly bigger problem with assuming submissions reflect the drug that is available on the street. Going by media reports, MDPV (and alpha-PVP) seem to be very common in people that fit the profile of (or are reported to be) those who use prototypical stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine. They seem less similar to the clubbing/raving Ecstasy using consumer. On average. This would, potentially, mean that is getting submissions from a much less representative part of those people exposed to MDPV versus methylone.

This is, of course, barely better than speculation and it will require information from other sources, such as DEA legal seizure activities, to further explore this issue.

Still, I think we can conclude that caffeine interaction with cathiones are of interest, even if they are not perhaps the first order of business (i.e., the effects of each drug by itself).

It was in the session in the afternoon of Mon the 4th of April. It was organized by Li and Gerak and titled “Division for Behavioral Pharmacology Symposium: Quantitative Pharmacological Analysis of In Vivo Data and Its Implications in CNS Drug Discovery”.

Predicting Additivity: Abuse—Related Effects of “Bath-Salt” Mixtures
Gregory Collins—South Texas Veterans Hlth. Care Syst.—Audie L. Murphy VA Hosp.


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