A Guide to Bath Salts

By The Fix staff 07/21/14

Bath Salts are the most popular name for a group of synthetic "party" drugs containing one or more chemicals similar to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant. Synthetic cathinones is an umbrella term for several chemicals such as mephedrone, MDVP (3,4 - methylenedioxypyrovalerone), N-methylcathinone (also known as methcathinone or cat), 4-fluoromethcathinone (also known as flephedrone or 4-FMC). They are known under a variety of street names such as synthetic cocaine, white horse, white lightning, k4 rage, blue magic, bliss, white rush and others.

How bath salts are abused

Bath salts are typically ingested, inhaled, injected, smoked, or snorted. They have been known to be sold by independent dealers as ecstasy in a powdered form, tablet or in a capsule containing cathinones combined with MDMA or other illicit controlled substances. 

How bath salts affect the brain

Bath salts or synthetic cathinones act as central nervous stimulants and affect the brain much like amphetamines but cause symptoms lasting up to four hours, including euphoria and hallucinations.

Signs of abuse

The drug has been reported as highly addictive and causative of intense cravings in its users. Heavy intake has been known to lead to high blood pressure, chest pain, delusions, nausea, vomiting, paranoia, panic attacks, seizures, and suicidal thoughts.

Long term effects of abuse

Because the drug is highly addictive, frequent use may induce tolerance and dependence, along with potential cardiac problems and psychological stress.

Bath Salts overdose

An overdose on bath salts would be very similar to an overdose on amphetamines and may include the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, violent or aggressive behavior, hallucinations, convulsions, unconsciousness and death.

Mixing with other drugs

Because bath salts are similar to amphetamines the sedation of an opiate would counteract the overall effects of the drug. Stimulants can also mask the depressive effects of alcohol and cloud judgment about when to stop drinking.


Withdrawal from extended binges has been known to cause withdrawal symptoms such as depression, lethargy, weakness, bruxism (teeth grinding, jaw clenching), kidney pain, abdominal pain, and bloodshot eyes. Withdrawals can last up to eight hours.

Drug Tests

The presence of synthetic cathinones cannot be detected by current standard drug tests. Currently only one toxicology laboratory offers tests for designer stimulant drugs.

Legal Status

Cathinones are not yet scheduled under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. However, possession and distribution can still be prosecuted under the Federal Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act.







Informative Videos


Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

The Fix staff consists of the editor-in-chief and publisher, a senior editor, an associate editor, an editorial coordinator, and several contributing editors and writers. Articles in Professional Voices, Ask an Expert, and similar sections are written by doctors, psychologists, clinicians, professors and other experts from universities, hospitals, government agencies and elsewhere. For contact and other info, please visit our About Us page.