Bath salts have caused a number of news stories recently, and these drugs are very powerful. Bath salts are stimulants and recent studies and research have shown that these drugs cause some of the same effects that cocaine does on the brain. These synthetic drugs also carry a very high risk for abuse and a large rate of addiction. Recent studies have been conducted using mice at the University of North Carolina, and the results are surprising. Mephedrone, which is the synthetic ingredient used in bath salts, affected the brains of the adult mice in the same way that an equivalent dose of cocaine would. The research study used a technique which has been used for many decades, intracranial self stimulation. Electrodes which stimulate the brain were implanted in the mice subjects, and then the rodents were trained in using the exercise wheel in order to earn a reward. In the experiment the reward that the mice gained involved brain stimulation.
After the training the mice were given specific doses of methedrone, and the wheel activity and pace were monitored before, during, and after the drug was provided. The results were similar to what is seen in cocaine use. When the mephedrone was supplied the mice felt more satisfaction when intracranial self stimulation was achieved. The research study results have been released on the Internet, and they will also be published in the next edition of the Behavioural Brain Research. According to Dr. C.J. Malanga, who is the leader of the study and an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in neurology, pediatrics, and psychology, the results confirm the addictive level of bath salts. “The effects of mephedrone on the brain’s reward circuits are comparable to similar doses of cocaine. As expected our research shows that mephedrone likely has significant abuse liability.”