The market situation for Para-Methoxy-N-methylamphetamine (PMMA) is complex and driven mainly by the illicit trade of designer drugs and research chemicals. PMMA is not a controlled substance in some regions, making it accessible to sellers and buyers alike, mainly through online platforms.
Online vendors are significant in making PMMA available for sale to interested buyers. These sellers often market PMMA as a research chemical, exploiting legal loopholes and grey areas in drug regulations. The term “research chemical” is used to imply that the substance is intended for scientific purposes, but it is often purchased and used for recreational purposes.
PMMA’s presence in the market is concerning due to its potential dangers. It has been associated with severe health risks and fatalities, making it a substance of high concern for authorities. Despite these risks, it continues to be offered for sale by various online vendors.
The market situation highlights the need for stricter regulations and better enforcement to control the availability of such substances. PMMA’s status as a designer drug blurs the lines between legal and illegal, posing a challenge for authorities attempting to address its distribution and use.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Recreational use
- 3 Legal status
- 4 FAQ
- 4.1 1. What is PMMA?
- 4.2 2. How is PMMA different from MDMA?
- 4.3 3. What are the street names for PMMA?
- 4.4 4. What are the effects of PMMA?
- 4.5 5. Is PMMA legal?
- 4.6 6. What are the dangers of PMMA?
- 4.7 7. How can I stay safe when it comes to PMMA?
- 4.8 8. Can PMMA be detected in drug tests?
- 4.9 9. Is PMMA used for any legitimate purposes?
- 5 References
Para-Methoxy-N-methylamphetamine (PMMA), or Red Mitsubishi, is a stimulant and psychedelic drug closely related to para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA), an amphetamine-class serotonergic drug. Chemically, PMMA is referred to as methyl-MA, 4-methoxy-N-methylamphetamine, 4-MMA, or 4-PMDA, as originally named. It is considered the 4-methoxy analogue of methamphetamine. However, the pharmacological properties, metabolism, and toxicity of PMMA remain largely unknown. Due to its structural resemblance to PMA, which is known to be toxic to humans, PMMA is believed to have the potential for severe side effects and even fatal overdose.
In the early 2010s, several deaths among MDMA users were attributed to mislabeled tablets and capsules containing PMMA.
The effects of PMMA in humans are said to be similar to those of PMA, with a slightly more empathogenic nature. At lower doses, it is less likely to induce severe hyperthermia. However, at higher doses, PMMA’s side effects and fatality risk become comparable to those associated with PMA.
American experimental chemist Alexander Shulgin documented PMMA’s synthesis and effects in his book PiHKAL, called “methyl-MA,” representing the N-methylated form of 4-MA (PMA). Shulgin’s research noted that PMMA can increase blood pressure and heart rate at doses exceeding 100 mg, but it does not produce psychoactive effects at these levels.
|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)||DTXSID30874251|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||179.263 g·mol−1|
PMMA has been identified in tablets and capsules falsely sold as “ecstasy,” leading to a concerning number of fatalities. These tragic deaths occur when individuals believe they are consuming recreational doses of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, but unwittingly ingest a lethal dose of another substance with similar effects. Of particular concern is PMMA’s structural analogue, PMA, which not only prompts serotonin release but also functions as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Combined with MDMA or similar substances, it can result in serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition.
The presence of PMMA in recreational drugs underscores the importance of using reagent testing kits to detect its presence and protect user safety.
Regrettably, there have been numerous deaths associated with PMMA:
- In Norway, 12 deaths linked to PMMA occurred within six months, as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation reported in January 2011.
- Dutch media reported four deaths in the Limburg province of the Netherlands between November 2010 and March 2011.
- In 2011, Scotland recorded four deaths due to ecstasy tablets containing PMMA.
- Canada experienced significant PMMA-related deaths in January 2012, with approximately 45 exposures and 21 fatalities, mainly in Calgary and Vancouver.
- In September 2012, two men in County Cork, Ireland, lost their lives to PMMA overdoses, and a similar case occurred in Queensland, Australia.
- June 2013 witnessed a PMMA-related death in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, followed by another possible PMMA-related fatality in Sliedrecht in August 2013.
- In January 2015, the UK reported four suspected PMMA-related deaths among ecstasy users.
- Sweden recorded a death in the same month attributed to ecstasy laced with PMMA.
- In May 2015, a young woman died in Dublin, Ireland, after consuming a substance suspected to be PMMA.
- Tragedy struck in April 2016 during the “Time Warp” rave in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where four young Argentines and one Uruguayan died, and five more were hospitalized due to PMMA’s presence in the substances they ingested.
As of June 25, 2021, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially implemented a rule designating PMMA as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification came into effect on July 26, 2021.
PMMA is regulated as a Schedule 1 drug in the United Kingdom, categorized under Class A.
1. What is PMMA?
- Para-Methoxy-N-methylamphetamine (PMMA) is a synthetic psychoactive drug. It belongs to the amphetamine class of substances and is closely related to para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA).
2. How is PMMA different from MDMA?
- PMMA and MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) are chemically distinct substances with different effects. While MDMA is known for its empathogenic and stimulant properties, PMMA is associated with more dangerous side effects, including potential toxicity.
3. What are the street names for PMMA?
- PMMA is sometimes sold under street names like “Red Mitsubishi” due to the appearance of the pills it’s found in. However, it’s essential to note that street names can vary by region.
4. What are the effects of PMMA?
- PMMA’s effects on individuals include stimulation, increased heart rate, and mild euphoria. It may also have hallucinogenic properties. However, PMMA is infamous for its potential to cause severe health issues and fatalities, including hyperthermia.
5. Is PMMA legal?
- The legal status of PMMA varies by country and region. In some places, it may be classified as a controlled substance, while in others, it may not be explicitly regulated. Always check your local drug laws for the most accurate information.
6. What are the dangers of PMMA?
- PMMA is considered dangerous due to its potential for severe side effects, such as hyperthermia, serotonin syndrome, and even death. It is often sold fraudulently as ecstasy, leading to unintentional consumption of a dangerous substance.
7. How can I stay safe when it comes to PMMA?
- The best way to stay safe is to avoid using PMMA or any substances of unknown origin. Always use harm reduction practices, such as testing your drugs with reagent kits, seeking medical attention if you experience adverse effects, and staying informed about local drug laws.
8. Can PMMA be detected in drug tests?
- PMMA can appear on drug tests that screen for amphetamines or related compounds. However, standard drug tests typically focus on more common substances like THC, opioids, and cocaine.
9. Is PMMA used for any legitimate purposes?
- PMMA has limited legitimate applications, primarily in scientific research. However, due to its potential risks, it is not commonly used or prescribed for medical or therapeutic purposes.
- Anvisa’s Collegiate Board Resolution No. 804, issued on July 24, 2023, categorizes certain substances, including PMMA, under special control regulations in Brazil. The resolution was published in the Diário Oficial da União on July 25, 2023, and is effective as of that date, with an archive date of August 27, 2023.
- In a study conducted in March 2003, a fatal case of paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA) intoxication was reported, shedding light on the potential dangers associated with this substance. The study, titled “A Fatal Paramethoxymethamphetamine Intoxication,” is published in the journal Legal Medicine.
- PMMA’s effects were studied in a 1997 research article, where it was characterized as a discriminative stimulus. This research aimed to understand how PMMA interacts with the body and its potential psychoactive effects. It was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior.
- Another study from 2001 investigated PMMA’s effects, particularly its stimulus generalization to the optical isomers of MBDB and 3,4-DMA. The research explored the similarities and differences between PMMA and related compounds. This study is also published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior.
- Denmark witnessed three fatal cases of PMA and PMMA poisoning, as reported in a 2003 study. The deaths were attributed to the use of these substances, highlighting the health risks associated with their consumption. The study was published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology.
- In November 2003, a report on “Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) Poisoning” emphasized the lethal effects of this “party drug.” The article, published in Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, discusses the risks associated with PMA use.
- The Australian Capital Territory experienced a case of fatal paramethoxy-amphetamine (PMA) poisoning in April 2008, as documented in The Medical Journal of Australia. This case underscored the dangers of PMA use.
- In April 1980, research revealed that PMMA is a potent reversible inhibitor of type-A monoamine oxidase (MAO) in vitro and in vivo. This discovery, published in The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, shed light on how PMMA interacts with neurotransmitters.
- Tragedy struck in Holland, where PMMA-related deaths were reported in June 2011. The dangerous nature of substances like PMMA was highlighted in this incident.
- The risk of overdose from ecstasy pills containing PMMA was raised as a concern in December 2011, with authorities warning the public about the potential dangers.
- Several deaths in British Columbia, Canada, were linked to PMMA overdoses in January 2012, raising alarm about the presence of this substance in recreational drugs.
- A series of incidents in different locations, including Calgary and Vancouver, Canada, led to numerous exposures and fatalities associated with PMMA overdoses in early 2012.
- In September 2012, two men’s deaths in County Cork, Ireland, were attributed to PMMA overdoses, underscoring its global presence.
- Queensland, Australia, saw a death linked to PMMA in September 2012, indicating the international reach of this harmful substance.
- Dutch cities experienced PMMA-related deaths in 2013, further emphasizing the need for public awareness about the dangers of this substance.
- In January 2015, the UK reported four deaths suspected to be linked to ecstasy pills containing PMMA.
- Sweden witnessed a fatality due to ecstasy laced with PMMA in January 2015.
- A young woman lost her life in Dublin, Ireland, in May 2015, raising concerns about the presence of PMMA in nightclub drugs.
- A massive rave called “Time Warp” in Buenos Aires in April 2016 resulted in the deaths of four young Argentines and one Uruguayan, with PMMA found in their bodies.
- In June 2021, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) finalized a rule classifying PMMA as a Schedule I substance, effective from July 26, 2021.
- In the United Kingdom, PMMA is controlled as a Schedule 1, Class A drug, signifying its high level of legal restriction and potential for harm.