What are bath salts?

Many have heard that bath salts can be addictive and used like drugs. Most of us don’t really understand how. Bath salts are synthetic cathinones — synthetic drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, and people sometimes chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. However, when variants of cathinones are synthetic, the effects can be much stronger and more dangerous.

Bath salts are typically swallowed, smoked, injected, or snorted and their effect on the brain is still largely unknown. However, it has been shown that the effect of bath salts on the brain is similar to cocaine but is at least 10 times more powerful. Bath salts can produce effects such as: paranoia, nosebleeds, increased sex drive, hallucinations, increased sociability, and panic attacks. In some cases, use of bath salts as drug has resulted in death.

Behavioral therapy has been used to treat addiction to bath salts but there is currently no medication available to treat this addiction.

Source: Baumann et al., 2013

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