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Bath salts are a collection of designer drug-infused liquids. The name comes from cases where the substances were disguised as ordinary bath salts. Today, bath salts are available in a wide variety of synthetic and natural forms and have expanded both their distribution and popularity in recent years. Many different brands, types, and purposes of bath salts are available, each with its own distinctive smell, color, and appearance.

Bath salts were invented in the 1970s by a group of American chemical manufacturers seeking an inexpensive way to improve the moods of their users. At that time, the use of synthetic drugs was largely taboo; public sentiment toward the idea of “chemically enhancing” human sexuality was extremely negative. The “plant medicine” idea, which held that certain naturally occurring chemicals could relieve symptoms of sexual dysfunction, was also highly distrusted. By synthesizing several of these substances, the chemical manufacturers hoped to produce an all-natural, cheap mood enhancer that would be much more widely accepted than the “plant medicines” of the past.

Among the substances they created was ephedrine, also known as ‘meow,’ or ‘bath salts.’ Mephedrone is usually sold as a powdery white substance, resembling coffee. In the United States, police seized large amounts of the substance on multiple occasions, due to its high appeal as a hidden drug. Like many other exotic ingredients that are now illicitly sold as substances for consumer use, ephedrine is highly addictive and can produce immediate, drastic, and long-lasting withdrawal symptoms when it is suddenly stopped.

Like many designer drugs, ephedrine has become increasingly popular as a street drug. Although it mimics the effects of cocaine and other mind-altering drugs, it is not illegal to sell or use, so it falls into a gray area of the law. Because it has never been officially recognized by the government, no current laws deal with the substance, making it essentially a loophole in current drug legislation. Because of this lack of regulation, users have free range to experiment with a wide variety of different doses, combinations, and routes of administration, sometimes mixing various drugs with other substances to create new “moods,” before they come down to the pure form of ephedrine.

As it is impossible to regulate the levels of the substance in the user’s system, ephedrine often acts as a stimulant or a mild marijuana. Because of the speed and lack of physical strain required to take the drug, ephedrine users frequently feel alert and hyper while taking it. The increased heart rate combined with the raised blood pressure produces a unique kind of high that can temporarily heighten alertness and stimulate activities of all kinds. Effects similar to those of caffeine and alcohol are common when taking it in high doses. Because of the risk of serious health problems resulting from its continued consumption, ephedrine is considered to be a highly dangerous drug.

Because of the similarity between ephedrine and cocaine use, a large portion of its users will develop addictions to the substance. The most common of these is called “bath salt.” Bath salts are often used to relax in hot tubs or to help people fall asleep. Because of the low concentration levels of the drug itself, it can quickly enter the bloodstream, causing a rapid increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness. It is possible to become addicted to using bath salts, although it is uncommon. Most users will only experience the strong effect of the drug and will typically go through cycles of high and low levels of effect, stopping only when the high wears off.

Some users take bath salts in order to overcome their feelings of withdrawal from certain prescribed medications. Certain antidepressants are commonly mixed with them to treat the symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy has also been shown to work well alongside bath salts. It allows the user to enjoy the experience without worrying about the effects on their mental health. Unfortunately, there are some serious consequences that may arise from overusing bath salt.

Bath salts include the stimulant substance ephedrine. When combined with alcohol, it can produce feelings of euphoria, increased heart rate, and alertness. Because it increases heart rate, the user may be at risk for a heart attack, stroke, or general heart failure. Because it contains ephedrine, which can be deadly, the use of bath salts may include involuntary twitching of the body, convulsions, and coma. People who abuse these drugs may also experience irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and extreme paranoia.