"Bath salts" (also known as synthetic cathinones) are man-made designer drugs that produce both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.
While these drugs are often sold as white crystalline powders that resemble conventional bath salts sold for hygienic purposes, these two very different products should not be confused.
"Bath salts" packaging is often labelled "not for human consumption."
Also known as: bath powder, Meph, drone, 4-MMC, MCAT, MMCAT, bubbles, Magic, meow, meow-meow, miaow, miaow-miaow, plant food, plant feeder, insect repellent, vacuum freshener, natural stain remover, potpourri, research chemicals, sub-coca, crab, methylamino, rush, Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Vanilla Sky, White Lightening, Cloud Nine (9), Blizzard, Ocean Snow, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Fine China, Silverback, Blue Magic, and Heavenly Soak.
Health Canada does not recommend the use of "bath salts" because of the potential for serious or fatal adverse reactions and also because little is known about the long-term effects on the brain and/or body.
Get help if you or someone you know is using illegal drugs. Illegal drugs can be addictive and can damage your mind and body, sometimes permanently. Using illegal drugs can also result in a fine, prison sentence, and criminal record.
"Bath salts" are produced in illegal laboratories. "Bath salts" products seized in Canada have been found to contain one or more of the following substances: methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, methylone, flephedrone, ethylcathinone and others.
"Bath salts" are sold as capsules, tablets, or white crystalline powder. The powder can be snorted, wrapped in cigarette paper and swallowed ("bombing"), dissolved in liquid and swallowed, or dissolved in liquid and injected.
There is also a risk of adverse effects caused by other chemicals that may be added to "bath salts."
The way a person feels after taking "bath salts" may depend on many factors:
Short-term effects are usually felt within minutes to an hour after consuming "bath salts" and can last for several hours. They can include:
Long-term effects can result from long-term, regular use of "bath salts" and may persist long after drug use has stopped.
Some of these effects can also occur even after using the drug only once.
Long-term effects may include:
The effects of "bath salts" on a developing fetus are unknown. However, the use of cocaine and meth (which have effects similar to "bath salts") during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, and decreased birth weight. These newborns were also more likely to be irritable, malnourished, and suffer from sleep disturbances within the first few weeks after birth.
It is not known whether "bath salts" are addictive. But because they produce many of the same effects as other stimulants such as cocaine and meth, they are likely to be addictive.
There have been reports of users going on bath salt "binges" and consuming these substances for several days in a row before "crashing." Tolerance--when the user becomes used to the effects of a drug and needs to take more to get "high"--has also been reported.
Possible withdrawal symptoms include: