Researchers from Sweden have attempted to create an understanding to the subjective effects from use of Methoxetamine (MXE), a drug belonging to a class known as "legal highs" or "research chemicals," and available for purchase on the Internet. Their study, "Methoxetamine (MXE) -- A Phenomenological Study of Experiences Induced by a "Legal High" from the Internet," has been published in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs -- a journal publication of Routledge, a Member of Taylor & Francis Group.
In spite of their recent rise in popularity, these "legal high" drugs are unknown among clinicians and healthcare providers, leaving potential users in the dark about content, interactions, side effects, etc. MXE is a derivative of ketamine, a popular anesthetic used in the "club drug" scene for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects, and in ketamine psychedelic psychotherapy (KPP) to treat dependence disorders and depression. While the induced effects of ketamine and MXE are similar, MXE is typically longer acting and more potent.
The researchers conducted a phenomenological review to obtain data, collected from anonymous contributors to online public forums on the topic of MXE use. The results showed a wide variety of drug effects: expected dissociative properties similar to ketamine were observed, as well as altered states of consciousness similar to classical hallucinogens (e.g. LSD, psilocybin). MXE can give the user a feeling of increased mood or euphoria, however, as Kjellen & Kristoffer point out, ." . . the present study also indicates perceived positive effects on daily life subsequent to the intoxication, including, for example, antidepressant effects, new interests, and inner personal growth."
The study's reliance on anonymous reports from internet forums is identified as a limitation, as no controlled clinical studies of MXE exist. The initial knowledge suggests that more systematic research into this substance could be useful in developing a better understanding of MXE, and the growing "legal high" trend in general.
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