Methylone (also known as "3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone",
"MDMC", "βk-MDMA" and by the slang term "M1") is an empathogen and
stimulant psychoactive drug. It is a member of the substituted
amphetamine,substituted cathinone and substituted
Methylone is the substituted cathinone analog of MDMA and the
3,4-methylenedioxy analog of methcathinone. The only structural
difference of methylone with respect to MDMA is the substitution of
2 hydrogen atoms by 1 oxygen atom in the β position of the
phenethylamine core, forming a ketone group.
Methylone was first synthesized by the chemists Peyton Jacob III
and Alexander Shulgin in 1996 for potential use as an
antidepressant. Starting around 2004, methylone has been sold
for recreational use, taking advantage of the absence of legal
prohibition of this compound in many countries.
Methylone substitutes for MDMA in rats trained to discriminate MDMA
from saline. Methylone does not substitute for amphetamine or for
the hallucinogenic DOM in animals trained to discriminate between
these drugs and saline. Further, also in common with MDMA,
methylone acts on monoaminergic systems. In vitro, methylone has
one third the potency of MDMA at inhibiting platelet serotonin
accumulation and about the same in its inhibiting effects on the
dopamine and noradrenaline transporters.
In spite of these behavioral and pharmacological similarities
between methylone and MDMA, the observed subjective effects of both
drugs are not completely identical. Alexander Shulgin wrote of the
"[Methylone] has almost the same potency of MDMA, but it does not
produce the same effects. It has an almost antidepressant action,
pleasant and positive, but not the unique magic of MDMA.