A guide to NBOMEs and what you need to know By a.grey for DDW
An Introduction into the world of RCs
Research chemicals. Whether you’ve heard about them on your local news channel, national newspaper, here on DDW or by a friend who favours them; research chemicals are all over.
But what are they? And why are they so readily available? Let’s find out together.
Before we learn about NBOMes its advisable to backtrack slightly to learn about what a NBOMe actually refers to in terms to the group of drugs of which they belong to, This article has been crafted for those with little to no knowledge of research chemicals who want to learn the basics of research chemicals.
What is a research chemical? A research chemical is a substance which has not yet been scientifically and/or medically researched. The word research in the combination ‘research’ and ‘chemical’ is used to suggest it’s use for research purposes; a drug with no proven benefits in medicine, a drug with no recorded interaction with humans and a drug that has not been approved by any means for human consumption.
The word research in this scenario, is a catch-all term for a drug which science knows very little about. And what science doesn’t know, we shouldn’t know. Or at least that’s how drug laws work today anyway. However, selling drugs as research chemicals is one clever way of evading the law as research chemicals are up until being prohibited, perfectly legal to buy and sell for ‘research purposes’ which by the way, doesn’t include human consumption.
The truth is, little research is ever done on these new chemicals and the only research ever done is often by the general public.
Contrary to the knowledge of the people, trip reports and experiences are hardly scientific or medically sound in academic reference and nature and because of this, research chemicals are often mislabeled and discredited. Many drugs we know today have extensive scientific research behind their prevalence both in illegal drug use and in medicine. Drugs are tested to learn about their properties and their pharmacological actions on the human body. Much of the results come from lab testing and animal trials before they the drugs are administered to humans.
However, research chemicals are rarely tested on humans in a scientific or medical setting before their subsequent release into the public domain and this is where the crossroads between empirical science, medical enquiry and the pursuit of getting high begin to veer off into their own long winding roads and off into the sunset.
Research chemicals are not always considered drugs which are often created with the intention to sell to black markets and on the street, this is a common misconception. Many RCs are synthesised for the sole purpose of medical and scientific research. Many research chemicals are in fact developed by very well known and respected members of the scientific community who in their day to day life are credible chemists, pharmacologists and professors and hold prestigious positions at some of the worlds most favoured education establishments.
This research is then gathered by people and companies looking to profit from the properties of the drug (if psychoactive in this case) and so begins the process of manufacturing research chemicals and selling them as alternatives to the drugs they seem to imitate or even worse to be fraudulently sold as a well known drug on black markets and out on the street to save money and to make massive profits.
Did you Know? Part One
In 2015 according to Global Drug Survey, Poland has the highest rate of use for research chemicals with 31% of respondents to the survey reporting using research chemicals. Switzerland has the lowest rate of research chemical use with only 1.1% of respondents taking research chemicals (100,000 people participated/responded in the survey from Nov-Dec 2014)
Where do they come from?
The birthplace of research chemicals are usually in academic or scientific settings, purely for the purpose of science and research. In this particular article as we are discussing NBOMEs specifically, NBOMEs were effectively released into the wild when the chemist who synthesised them released his Ph.D. thesis.
Another scientist then re-evaluated the drugs in another scientific setting where he then released research paperwork which was then picked up by those seeking to make an investment from the psychoactive properties of the research chemicals and the rest is history.
Today, research chemicals are churned out in the kilos in mass production operations mainly by chemical companies and clandestine manufacturers to cater to the large research chemical market.
Designer drugs are created to find alternating yet similar characteristics from already existing drugs where the properties of one drug (ie. the psychoactive properties) can be amplified by modifying the chemical structure and creating an analogue (a derivative). This article focuses on NBOMEs but the same consideration and premise applies to all research chemicals.
For example take LSD; this is by scientific definition the original chemical structure (lysergic dethaylmide) by which millions around the world identify as LSD (quite simply because it is LSD by nature). Let’s go into the lab and cook up a designer drug similar to LSD and now we have 1P-ETH-LAD or maybe AL-LAD, ETH-LAD or 1P-LSD. The drug retains much of it’s original parent structure yet will now come attached with ‘add-ons’ of which now massively interfere with the original potency, duration and intensity of the parent drug. Let’s take ketamine now…. and mess around a little; now we have 2-Flurodeschloroketamine.
A big word to describe something that is similar to ketamine yet structurally different. See the connection? Designer drugs are new takes on old drugs. This is primarily the intention; to create a new drug from an already existing one. Reasoning behind the science varies depending on who is cooking the new recipe. Many RC manufacturers develop new research chemicals to avoid being controlled by law enforcement and new research chemicals are cooked up and available week after week for the purpose of supplying a ‘bigger’ ‘better’ substance.
Budding scientists and chemists may develop new lines of mind altering substances for the continuation of scientific study or the love of chemistry and the potential for medicinal and psychological benefits (see Dr. Sasha Shulgin and his research into mind altering substances and subsequently his books Tihkal and Pihkal detailing the many chemicals he synthesised)
Did you Know? Part Two
Due to the super potency of NBOMEs (sub milligram for total effect), they like LSD can fit onto standard blotter paper used for LSD. Many other substances are simply impossible to store on blotter paper as they require a much larger dose to reach the desired effects of the drug. Like 2CB for example which requires in excess of 10mg for a moderate dose. This is one of the reasons why NBOMEs are easily disguised and sold as LSD due to their ability to fit snug on blotter paper
Why are they dangerous?
We humans love to experiment, it’s just who we are and our place in nature and this experimentation stretches thousands of years back where valuable lessons have been learned and new patterns for decision making were made. We love to try new things. We love to mix things up and this is no different when we talk about our drug use. Unfortunately, there is never a safe way to take drugs and the same applies to research chemicals.
This section surfaces the possible reasons which make taking research chemicals may become dangerous. Research chemicals themselves in the right setting (i.e. a laboratory) are considered safe drugs. Of course, this veil of safety is removed when these drugs enter the public domain where they are potentially abused and taken with lack of knowledge or insight. Let’s look at what potentially makes research chemicals dangerous:
- False Advertisement
This is the biggest cause for concern when taking research chemicals. The same size blotter you may buy believing is LSD could actually be your worst nightmare waiting to happen; a research chemical such as 25I-NBOME for example.
At high doses, 25I-NBOME can kill and all it takes for example; is to ingest 3 blotters believing them to be 300ug of pure Swiss bliss at 100ug each blotter and the reality be 3000ug of 25I-NBOME; an extremely strong dose and potentially lethal dose of research chemical. Sounds unbelievable, right? 16 people have been confirmed dead from taking 25I-NBOME believing it was LSD.
- Potential for Overdose/Injury
Getting the dose right is absolutely pivotal to staying safe whilst using research chemicals, more-so than any other drug due to the lack of scientific data and the ease of which you can cause harm to yourself (i.e. overdose). The difference between a good trip and a hospital trip could be as simple as knowing how much to take.
Doing research on research chemicals is an absolute requirement. Many designer drugs are created to be five, ten and even twenty times more potent than their original counterparts. By adding an additional structure to an already potent drug can have huge increases in potency and duration along with the potential for harm (ALWAYS USE REPUTABLE HARM REDUCTION COMMUNITIES FOR ADVICE ON DOSAGE, SUCH AS: erowid, bluelight, tripsit, psychonautwiki )
- Lack of Knowledge
This is another potential disaster waiting to happen. Many people have heard about research chemicals either through the media or through drug harm reduction threads on popular drug community forums yet many people don’t know anything more than the street names and commonly accepted names for research chemicals. They know they exist but that’s about it; they don’t know anything else. There isn’t a plentiful bounty of information out there unless you rely on trip reports and bro science but you can learn about what science already knows about these chemicals and basic information about their actions and reactions in the body simply by visiting drug harm reduction sites (some listed above) and even searching research chemicals into your favourite search engine should bring back some scientific literature. It pays to know when you are using drugs that don’t have much data to learn on their use. Learn what you can, there should be enough out there for you to make a conscious decision if you look hard enough. (ALWAYS USE REPUTABLE HARM REDUCTION COMMUNITIES FOR ADVICE ON ALL DRUGS INCLUDING RESEARCH CHEMICALS, SUCH AS: erowid, bluelight, tripsit, psychonautwiki etc.)
- Vendor Responsibilities
It’s not just you the customer at risk when encountering research chemicals when you didn’t want to come across them. The same dilemma applies to dark market vendors too. This is another cause for concern when taking research chemicals whether intentionally or accidentally.
Maybe your vendor doesn’t know what’s laid on those blotters? Has he tested them? Could he be bothered to test them? After all, it’s an extra wad of cash needed to send off drugs for testing – why waste the money? It’s amazing how many people will prefer profit over protocol and sometimes vendors are left in dark when it comes to what drugs they are selling which is why you have to be the smart guy and test all your drugs!
A vendor may sell you research chemicals by accident or he may sell them to you with complete disregard for your health. Find out what’s in your drugs yourself to save yourself any hospital trips or worse. (ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE CHOOSING TO COMMIT TO A SALE FROM ANY VENDOR ON ANY DARK NET MARKET)
- Bad Ethics/Disregard for Human Safety
The number one goal in business is profit. The number one goal in selling research chemicals? Profit. This being said, thanks to the psychoactive properties of existing and new research chemicals which also are similar to their not so distant parents, it is often the case that these research chemicals are sold on as the original drug and not the analogue it actually is.This applies to 25x-NBOMe being sold as LSD and methylone being sold as MDMA to name just two examples of RCs being sold as common drugs. This says a lot about the disregard many vendors and distributors of these chemicals have for the relative safety of their customers and all for a quick sale. Research chemicals are often widely sold on dark net markets begging to be sold on for profit as authentic substances.
What should I look out for and why?
- Cheap acid
If it’s cheap then question the authenticity. No-one sells the world’s most famous psychedelic with all it’s worth and value for cheaper than the competition. Many vendors sell ‘introductory’ offers on LSD, some of which could very easily be anything but LSD. Price doesn’t always mean proven product but it’s a good place to start. Check the vendors ratings and ask around marketplace forums, Reddit can also be a great place to find out about good/bad products. If you are going to buy cheap, make sure you test your stash!
- Bitter taste
In the drug harm reduction community, this method used to be a foolproof way to test your acid. If it tastes like shit then give it a miss! LSD should not have a strong bitter taste to it unlike NBOMEs which do. NBOMEs are active buccally (absorbed through tissue) and LSD is active orally meaning you can swallow a whole tab and it still absorb into your body, even so, shoving an unknown blotter into your mouth isn’t the brightest idea but it pays to know what you should be looking out for!
- No reaction to drug test
So you’ve tested your stash and there appears to be no color reaction to the blotter. If you’ve just used the ehrlich test – you’ve got all the answers you need. It’s not LSD. In fact, it’s not any recognised indole (DMT, mescaline, magic mushrooms etc.). And it’s not a great idea to throw it into your mouth at this point!
Did you Know? Part Three
LSD has such a high overdose threshold that there has been no confirmed fatalities regarding people who have died as a result from ingesting LSD. However, there have been numerous reports of overdoses whereby people have been hospitalized due to high levels of LSD in their system but these incidents have not been fatal. One report indicated up to 7000ug of LSD in the human body!
Perhaps the most talked about research chemical of the past few years is the 25x-NBOME family. And talk has not been cheap. This series of research chemical has caused a stir in the media world and throughout for it’s potential dangers when ingested incorrectly and without due care and attention.
NBOMes are a set of research chemicals that are analogues of the psychoactive group called phenethylamines, drugs which were originally synthesised by Sasha Shulgin in his pursuit for new psychoactive substances. NBOMes are N-benyzl derivatives of the 2C family, the additional structure (benzyl-methoxy group) at the end of the 2C chemical structure increases the potency with drastic effect. This is done by an increase in affinity and activity at the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor site.
These research chemicals were originally synthesised for scientific research by Ralf Heim in 2003. It was later when David Nichols of Purdue University and his lab studied the NBOME analogues further and it was here onwards and from around 2010 that the black market brought these research chemicals into public demand and into the public eye for the first time where surges of research chemical could be witnessed.
Since then, this particular type of research chemical have remained and become as popular as LSD for their LSD like effects. The first few waves of NBOME sold onto the public market were freebase powders but later were switched to fit onto blotters much like LSD.
The NBOMe series of research chemicals are extremely potent alternatives to classic psychedelics such as LSD and over the last few years have been brought up on several occasions as being the underlying factor of cause for fatality in numerous reported deaths, most of which were deemed accidental where the user had bought what he thought was LSD but later turned out to be something completely different; tests revealed after their death that a particular NBOMe was present in their system. For this reason, great care must be taken when deciding to take any NBOMe research chemical.
Parent Drug Group: 2C (Psychoactive/psychedelic drugs synthesised by Dr. Alexander [Sasha] Shulgin)
Commonly used NBOMes:
25I-NBOMe – 19 reported deaths (from 2012 to 2016) + (1,2,3 reports)
25C-NBOMe – 3 reported deaths (from 2013 to 2016)
25B-NBOMe – 2 reported deaths (from 2013 to 2016)
Confirmed yet unlinked to a specific NBOMe – 6 reported deaths
It is worth noting there are more than likely more fatalities from NBOME overdose which have not filtered through into the internet, all the above were confirmed deaths caused by NBOMe. It estimated that at least one person dies every month from NBOMe related intoxication.
Psychedelic with reported intense visuals. Less pronounced LSD like head space with heavier bodyload, vasoconstriction. In high doses, potential for significant behavioural changes (delusions, paranoia, aggression, heavily increased anxiety).
Compared to LSD, NBOMe usually give a heavier trip with more visuals and trippy auditory and hallucinatory experiences and feels typically different to LSD in regards to the ‘clean’ and ‘crisp’ high you get from low-moderate doses of LSD as NBOMe are usually sold in high doses to mimic the effects of LSD Click here to read trip reports and click here for bluelight’s thread on NBOMEs.
NBOMe research chemicals are often primarily sold as LSD due to comparable psychedelic effects. They also can fit onto the same preferred LSD standard blotters.
No reaction (using Ehrlich reagent test) Find out more about reagent test colors, here.
LSD will show as purple with the Ehrlich reagent test, as will other indoles such as DMT and magic mushrooms
There are very few resources available in the world where you can actively test your drugs way past the near simplicity of a home drug testing kit. Unless you have access to complex laboratory kit like chromatography equipment then you are out of luck. Well, that’s not exactly true. There are only a few services out there that offer legitimate drug testing services and Energy Control are at the top of the chain.
EC have been around since the nineties and they have allowed the public indirect access to their equipment since 1999. You may not be a scientist but that’s where EC can help. They will test your drugs (including LSD and all over psychedelics) for active substances and for purity. No quibble. No bullshit. A truly worthy service. Check them out here.
The Bottom Line
No drug is safe to use whether it is paracetamol, prozac or . Every drug has a line between life and death with some drugs requiring further distance for a human to travel before that line is crossed. Research chemicals especially the NBOMe series as this article has been based around have burst onto the drug scene in quick succession and in the wake of the rapid entrance, there has been both happiness and heartache of which both should be discussed fairly and in an unbiased manner. We are not here to hurt ourselves, to take a certain drug and cause permanent damage so that our friends, family and other loved ones cannot communicate with us or even be around us for that matter when death comes knocking.
There is a shade of grey surrounding the subject of research chemicals and even though you may glance upon many people mentioning them as the greatest gifts given to us since the birth of LSD, mescaline or DMT; the reality is, these research chemicals come burdened with more severe consequences if taking them than any other psychedelic drug has ever had attached to it’s name. The media scolded LSD, calling it a drug for idiots, for people that want to lose their mind and the bullshit of which they said could continue into the early hours if we were sit here and discuss the frivolities of their biased words fired by corrupt regimes.
However, this isn’t LSD and we are not playing with drugs that we know are safe in the context of normal use. We are playing with drugs that have killed more people combined than any other classic psychedelic has ever done in relation to pharmacological fatalities (where a specific drug was the main cause of death in a human). Where one blotter could be the difference between waking up tomorrow or never waking up again. Just ask yourself this; whenever has death been an option when taking psychedelics? Whenever does a man/woman of stable mind flirt with death whenever tearing off a blotter ready for a wild psychedelic experience?
We can have fun out there. We can take whatever we want. But if this is true, we must be prepared to take whatever we want knowing the consequences of our actions and the fate of our desires and decisions. Don’t let your thirst for cheap products lure you in. Don’t be sold by rich words and clever advertising. If you can buy LSD for cheaper than the usual rate, question it with every fibre of your being. Test your stash. Scrutinize every last strand of your blotters. This is your life we are talking about here, this precious finite presence that shouldn’t be extinguished prematurely.
Take care out there.
Love and peace.
-a.grey for DDW
Erowid Article on NBOMes
DEA Microgram Analysis of NBOME derivatives
Field Test Differences between LSD and NBOME
Journal Study on NBOME (funded by GDS/Global Drug Survey)
Tripsit.me NBOMe Wiki