Research chemicals, also known as designer drugs, synthetics, or RCs, are synthetic or semi-synthetic molecules that are explicitly designed to circumvent drug laws.  They are created to mimic the effects of the “parent drug” or otherwise prohibited substance. Most of these are functional analogs of the banned drug they are made to mimic, meaning they have similar physical, chemical, or pharmacological properties. These research chemicals can range from synthetic marijuana, hallucinogens, designer steroids, opiates, and amphetamines. Due to their constantly evolving nature, their potential dangers are unknown compared to the substances they intend to mimic.

Are Research Chemicals legal?

The primary purpose of creating these synthetic versions of prohibited drugs is to avoid breaking the law. In the United States, the DEA passed the Federal Analogue Act in 1986. This law treats any controlled substance analog, with the intention of human consumption, the same as a controlled substance classified as a Schedule I. By labeling their products as “Not for Human Consumption,” synthetic drug manufacturers can bypass this law, sell their research chemicals legally, and avoid legal liability. Most countries have similar loopholes creating space for the creation of new research chemicals. A well-known example of this is synthetic cathinones, or artificial stimulants, marketed as “bath salts” in convenience stores to be sold legally.

The United Kingdom attempted to ban research chemicals with the Psychoactive Substances Act in 2016, which prohibits the sale or production of any psychoactive substances or “legal highs.” Canada has a similar drug regulation law called the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

As soon as a synthetic drug is made illegal, another can be altered chemically to take its place. This circumstance creates a rapidly changing market with little time, or care, for efficacy or safety testing to take place. Unfortunately, unlike their parent drugs which have had years to be studied, these synthetic versions, although chemically similar, can vary widely in the drug’s effects. Even small chemical variations of known drugs can change how the body processes them. Due to the unpredictability of these substances, it can be hard to determine the dosage, side effects, and drug duration, making these substances potentially dangerous. In many instances, although they might be illegal, the parent drugs are safer to consume than the synthetic version.

Synthetic cannabinoids, such as Spice or K2, are a prime example of this. Many individuals that have used synthetic cannabinoids experience them to be much more potent than THC. They also had considerably more adverse effects such as anxiety, seizures, paranoia, heart palpitations, and aggression.

Many popular research chemicals are substances that mimic classic psychedelics like LSD and MDMA. Here, we’ll run through some well-known research chemicals, and we’ll tell you everything we know about their legality.

Disclaimer: Research chemicals are potentially illegal substances, and we do not encourage or condone the use of these substances where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substances. We do not encourage using these drugs outside of a legal or traditional context.

1P-LSD

1-propionyl-lysergic acid diethylamide, or 1P-LSD, is a popular alternative to LSD and is a common choice for microdosers who don’t want to break the law.

Its chemical structure is similar to that of LSD, with a small propionyl group added to the indole ring. According to various threads and forums online, the psychological effects of 1P-LSD are almost indistinguishable from LSD. There is not much scientific literature available on the actual pharmacological properties.

Evidence shows that 1P-LSD acts as a prodrug to LSD, and metabolizes as LSD in the body.

LEGALITY

Several countries have specifically banned 1P-LSD, including Sweden and Switzerland.

Other countries have banned analogs of LSD, which 1P-LSD falls under if marketed for human consumption. Examples are the United States Federal Analogue Act and Latvia’s amendment on tryptamine derivatives. However, we have heard of no cases of people prosecuted for 1P-LSD possession under these laws.

The United Kingdom’s Psychoactive Substances Act means that 1P-LSD is illegal to sell, although you can still possess it. There have been no cases of people charged for anything related to 1P-LSD.

1P-LSD is legal to purchase and possess in Germany and Canada. If your country doesn’t have a specific regulation against 1P-LSD or LSD analogs, then it is probably legal to buy and possess – but always check your local laws. We don’t recommend illegal activities.

2C-B

2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine, or 2C-B, was designed by an American chemist named Alexander Shulgin in his research of phenethylamines. 2C-B shares structural similarities to mescaline (peyote) but possesses slightly different effects. It is the most popular of the 2C-x group.

Its effects include a body high and ’empathogenic’ properties similar to that of MDMA, combined with the psychedelic visuals of LSD.

2C-B is considered a milder psychedelic and is relatively short-lasting.

LEGALITY

Due to its inclusion in the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2001, 2C-B is prohibited in most countries. It is considered a schedule I substance in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it is a Class A, meaning it is punishable under the most severe drug crime penalties.

AL-LAD

6-allyl-6-nor-lysergic acid diethylamide, or AL-LAD (also known as Aladdin), is an analog of LSD, with the difference being the use of allyl bromide as a reactant in synthesis.

Reports suggest that this chemical has similar psychological effects to LSD, although with a shorter duration. It’s reportedly less likely to provoke anxiety and people describe it as a less intense version of LSD; the ideal ‘starter psychedelic.’

LEGALITY

In the US, AL-LAD falls into the same legal grey area as 1P-LSD, where possession and supply are prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act if marketed for human consumption.

In the UK, AL-LAD was added to the Misuse of Drugs Act and is considered a Schedule I drug.

AL-LAD is also illegal in Sweden, Switzerland and Latvia.

ALD-52

1-Acetyl-N, N-diethyllysergamide, or ALD-52, is a derivative of LSD, with the addition of an acetyl group to the indole ring.

The subjective psychological effects on humans are not well established, although they’ve been reported to be similar to those of LSD.

LEGALITY

In the US, ALD-52 falls into the same legal grey area as 1P-LSD, where possession and supply are regulated under the Federal Analogue Act.

In the UK, ALD-52 was added to the Misuse of Drugs Act and is considered a Schedule I drug.

ALD-52 is also illegal in Latvia.

ETH-LAD

6-Ethyl-6-nor-lysergic acid diethylamide, or ETH-LAD, is a derivative of LSD. The main difference between the compounds is an addition of an ethyl group in ETH-LAD.

The subjective effects of ETH-LAD are not well known, although user reports suggest that the effects are somewhat similar to those of LSD.

LEGALITY

In the US, ETH-LAD falls into the same legal grey area as 1P-LSD, where possession and supply are prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act if marketed for human consumption.

In the UK, ETH-LAD was added to the Misuse of Drugs Act and is considered a Schedule I drug.

ETH-LAD is also illegal in Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia.

LSZ

Lysergic acid 2,4-dimethylazetidide (also known as Lambda or LSZ) is an LSD derivative created by David Nichols and fellow researchers at Purdue University. It differs from LSD with the addition of an azetidine group.

Its psychological effects are reported to be similar to those of LSD. There is very little research or toxicity information available related to this research chemical, so it is recommended to start with small doses and use harm reduction practices with use.

LEGALITY

LSZ is illegal in Switzerland and Sweden.

It could fall under the US Federal Analogue Act, although there have been no prosecutions so far.

In the UK, LSZ was added to the Misuse of Drugs Act and is considered a Schedule I drug.

PRO-LAD

6-propyl-6-nor-lysergic acid diethylamide, or PRO-LAD, is an analog of LSD. Its main difference from LSD is the addition of a propyl group.

The psychological effects of PRO-LAD are relatively unknown, although users report a general similarity to the effects of LSD. It is described by Andrew Shulgin in his book TiHKAL, to be about as potent as LSD, with an adequate dose between 100 and 200 micrograms. As with other research chemical psychedelic lysergamides, very little data exists about the pharmacological properties and toxicity of PRO-LAD, as well as the history of human use.

LEGALITY

In the United States, PRO-LAD falls into the same legal grey area as 1P-LSD.

In the United Kingdom, PRO-LAD falls under the Misuse of Drugs Act and is considered a Class A drug.

PRO-LAD is also illegal in Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia.

4-ACO-DMT

4-AcO-DMT is a semi-synthetic tryptamine with a similar molecular structure to psilocybin. Like psilocybin, 4-AcO-DMT is  a prodrug of psilocin, and as such appears to be metabolized by the body into psilocin. Some claim the effects are similar to psilocybin mushrooms, while others state it is closer to DMT.

4-AcO-DMT is different from other synthetic drugs because it wasn’t originally created to bypass drug laws. Albert Hofman first synthesized it at Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland, where he patented it in 1963. It wasn’t until the ban of many psychedelic substances that it sold alongside other “legal” research chemicals in the 1990s. Due to its origin, of the many “grey-market” research chemicals available, 4-AcO-DMT is probably among the safest.

There is no known toxicity or addictive potential of 4-AcO-DMT.

LEGALITY

4-AcO-DMT is illegal in the UK, Brazil, Italy, and Sweden.

In the US, 4-AcO-DMT may fall under the Federal Analogue Act, which would make its sale illegal.

In most other countries, it is legal to possess 4-AcO-DMT for personal use.

4-HO-MIPT

4-HO-MiPT is a designer psychedelic with structural similarities to psilocin. As such, it produces psychedelic effects that are virtually indistinguishable from psilocybin mushrooms.

There is no known toxicity or addictive potential of 4-HO-MiPT.

LEGALITY

4-HO-MiPT is illegal in Sweden and the UK.

In the US, 4-HO-MiPT could fall under the Federal Analogue Act, which would make its sale illegal.

WHERE TO BUY RESEARCH CHEMICALS

Due to their ambiguous legality, many of these research chemicals are available for purchase online. These can be from online marketplaces, overseas pharmacies, or on the dark web. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have aided in the anonymity of these sales online. Depending on the type of synthetic drug, some sell in convenience stores and head shops, under the labeling of ‘Not for human consumption.’

The use of research chemicals ultimately comes down to a personal decision. Due to the lack of information available on these drugs, it can be harder to educate oneself on what to expect. As with any psychedelic, it is highly recommended to have a sitter present and to be mindful of set and setting.

Arguably, research chemicals exist to explore the psychedelic potential of different substances. The reason they are popular is that they circumvent drug laws and can be financially lucrative for illicit manufacturers. Prohibition is the primary source of fuel for these substances.

Historically, prohibition pushes people to find more dangerous ways of exercising their cognitive freedom. With the legalization of psychedelics, these drugs could be thoroughly tested, creating access to safer substances.

 

Important Note: This is a constantly evolving document. If you believe we’re missing something important, please let us know.

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Comments

  1. You guys are doing the right thing!! these should be accessible to people who want to use them in scientific manners.

  2. I wish that we could end America’s absurd and enormously destructive “war on drugs” which benefits only drug lords and corrupt, thieving enforcement agencies. we could then devote resources to serious study of entheogens. Instead of discovering safe and effective uses for these substances we are throwing away lives and treasure and missing out on potentially life changing therapies in the fields of mental health and addiction. Now we have an Attorney General who is hostile even to marijuana (only “bad people” use it!). As a person suffering from long term clinical depression and anxiety I am Very interested in microdosing as well as shamanic Journeying. I am extremely frustrated at the legal idiocy that makes it so difficult to obtain and control dosages of entheogens while pushing pharmaceuticals of questionable effectiveness. Also, there is not a lot of info on how the prescription drugs I’m taking interact with these other substances.
    Thanks for the space to rant!

      • Im 51 and recently lost my son to an accidental heroin overdose he was 23 and at this point im severly deppresed ! I dont no what to do other than therapy and hasn’t helped! My shrink said to try psycedelics not sure !
        I did alot of acid in high school! Any suggestions?

        • Hi Jeff,

          I am not a professional therapist, but I have had tremendously healing experiences with mushrooms at a dose range of 3-3.5 grams. I recommend consuming them either at home (especially if you are comfortable there and have positive memories associated there) or in nature – somewhere beautiful where you don’t have to worry about other people interrupting you. Make sure you have everything you need to stay warm and hydrated, and that you have a safe space to be in case you experience any anxiety. Ideally, you would have someone there who knows you well and has experience with psychedelics. If you have someone who is close and would watch over you, but they have no psychedelic experience, they could familiarize themselves with strategies for “trip-sitting” online. I know you said you did acid as a kid, so some of this advice may seem unnecessary, but tripping as an adult with therapeutic or spiritual intentions is very different from adolescent recreational use, and will likely produce an entirely different form of experience. There is an underground network of therapists who use mushrooms, mdma (also possibly a very good option for you), and lsd in conjunction with psychotherapy, but it can be tough to find these people. Good luck my friend. Sorry for your loss.

        • Go slow, start small just remember it’s not high school anymore, there’s a bigger picture to your dosing now too much can be detrimental to your depression as well. Always makes me feel low n depressed after a 15 plus hour trip.

        • So, so Sorry for the loss of your son. You will always miss him- of this i am sure! I lost my son as well.
          I too am researching into micro-dosing, or some alternative to the numbing, put a bandage on it- way of addressing mental illness (of-which I suffer terribly) to address my “deep-seated” perfectionism depression and anxiety that underlays it. The need to base who I am on my performance. It is a terrible prison! It suffocates one’s life! If there is a a medicine, be it plant or pharmaceutical that will help me, or anyone who suffers, to dive deeper into the root causes of our suffering- then I want the freedom, and the right to heal!!!
          I’m hearing the fear mongering to continue justifying the hopeless, senseless, and painful war on drugs that brought so much real pain and suffering to the masses. Funny! I has only made it worst! And- more dangerous! Legalize it! Regulate it! Keep it Safe! If every time something came alone, a tool with the potential to heal or harm, instead of harnessing its potential, we flinched as with a camera thought to steal ones soul; or the truck that transports valued goods, instead runs over my son, doesn’t mean- in itself, it is evil; but a tragic misuse… an accident. Life! I know Pain! I know fearmongering!

      • sir i would not suggest going straight into hardcore psychedelics,i would first recommend you look into ketamine infusion therapy.

    • we are a nation of sheep. happy if we have a chicken in the pot. until the sheep rise to take what is theirs nothing happens. sacrifice freedom for security and guess what happens. I wonder who benefits from the drug wars. the opiate scare has created MORE BUSINESS FOR THE HEROIN DEALERS.

      john rayburn
      Williamsburg nm

  3. I’m thankful for people like you interested in objective information and harm reduction. If it weren’t for groups like you, while researching different analogs for molecules like psilocin or DMT, I never would have known that taking them while on an SSRI can kill you from serotonin syndrome. Keep up the good work. You’re saving lives of most types of people who are too afraid to thank you. I’m an idiot, so I couldn’t care less. LOL.
    Thank you.

    • Order 1p lsd from lysergi I’ve taken it from lysergi before it is the exact same thing as really good acid, but it’s lab made and measured…so basically you can trust what you get

    • Do you live in the US? Just wondering because I live in the US and that Federal drug act he was talking about has me a bit worried.

  4. I don’t get why Rogan and other celebrities such as Bed Greenfield have such easy access to these drugs. That talk about doing it as if they have a chemist making it for them. The above information is informative but either I am reading it wrong or it is not telling me how to obtain it. I know how to get blotter from random people who are not trustworthy but that doesn’t sound like the correct path of getting clean safe products. Any suggestions or countries I need to go to obtain ?

    • What don’t you get? How hard is it to network with “the right people” when you are that famous (especially famous for trying stuff like that)?

      Telling you how to get it? Unless this is your first time on the internet, did you really expect them to tell you where to order drugs? Try this thing called Google.

    • That’s incredibly tragic. Thank you for sharing your son’s story, even though I know it must be incredibly painful. Do you know what specific research chemicals, or class of research chemicals your son was taking? The substances listed above are part of a class of substances that are relatively non-toxic and non-addictive. Ideally people would not experiment with these drugs, but some people will continue to do so, and if they know a specific one has caused death, they will be less likely to use it. By sharing the details of what your son took, you could save someone else’s life.

  5. There is absolutely no “safe” way to use research chemicals! My son was a very intelligent young man. He got in some legal trouble with illegal drugs…by the time he was arrested I believe he was already addicted. Once he discovered so-called “research chemicals” he found a way to feed his addiction, “legally.” What no one seems to address is that once you start using drugs as a young adult, you’ve damaged your underdeveloped brain (which continues to develop until about the age of 25). The part of the brain being damaged is the “good decision-making” part. Once we discovered what he was doing, using these “research chemicals,” we finally convinced my son to go into rehab. He went, graduated the program, and stayed clean for a few months. But is addiction took over again. My son died on June 16, 2017, from a “synthetic drug” overdose. He had been using research chemicals for only 18 months. As I mentioned, he WAS a very intelligent young man. He thought he was too smart to overdose. Just like you all. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it couldn’t be you.

    • I know that a million people know have told you this and you dont know me but i am so sorry that this has happened to you. this Research Chemical crap is so destructive. i am lucky that this stuff came out after i graduated high school. the most lucrative part is you can buy this online and can be 10 yrs old. kids that cant find pot to smoke or are drug tested find this junk that is way way worse for you there are herion addicts that quit cold turkey to start doing RC’s. So sorry again

      • 4-AcO-DMT was synthesized in the 50’s or 60’s by the same Albert Hofmann who discovered LSD-25 and is a research chemical. I have had so much success using it in micro-doses to battle depression and anxiety and to be honest, don’t have a single negative thing to say about it. Listen to some of Terrence Mckenna’s talks about the similarities between DMT and Psilocybin or his brother Dennis speaking on the same subject and his take on the subject. We are on the cusp of some very mind-blowing shit, imho. Lace up your boots, boys and girls, and don’t pull down on the safety bar. This is a Double “E” Ticket ride, experienced riders only.

    • I’m sorry for you loss. Just because your son had a bad experience doesn’t mean these cannot be used safely. That’s why we don’t ban caffeine when someone dies from it.

      Might I ask, what drug and at what dosage he took? At least we can make a cautionary tale from the specifics. To apply this to all drugs and dosages would be remiss.

    • Thank you for posting. I hope everyone reading this will truley understand they can loose their lives. I hope you continue to share your story as far and wide across this world that you possibly can. So sorry for your lost. I grieve for the loss of a loved one as well. Thank you again!

    • @Aimee Curran,
      Your comment is quite vague as it does not tell us what drug was responsible for your son’s untimely demise. None of the drugs mentioned in this article can cause an overdose. Nor are any of them addictive.

      • Why Are drugs the only bad thing that can cause harm. No one preaches probation of alcohol when it ruins a life.

        Your son was executing his rights, it’s a shame he didn’t have access to safer alternatives.

  6. I’m sorry for your loss. Just because your son had a bad experience doesn’t mean these cannot be used safely. That’s why we don’t ban caffeine when someone dies from it.

    Might I ask, what drug and at what dosage he took? At least we can make a cautionary tale from the specifics. To apply this to all drugs and dosages would be remiss.

  7. Thank you for posting. I hope everyone reading this will truley understand they can loose their lives. I hope you continue to share your story as far and wide across this world that you possibly can. So sorry for your lost. I grieve for the loss of a loved one as well. Thank you again!

  8. I suffer from ADHD and fractured bones in my wrist that causes severe pain. My Docter took me off my Adderall when she found marijuana in my system. I can barely focus and complete tasks now and have suffered much from memory loss. I quit smoking pot because it makes me paranoid. Is there a legal stimulant to replace the Adderall so I can focus. AlSO THE SEVERE pain in my wrist keeps me depressed and tormented because I can not use my right hand. Is there a legal opioid analog that I CAN order for the severe pain. I have been searching for sources many years but have found none. I don’t want to suffer anymore. I dream to obtain this knowledge to heal myself and others. TEACH ME good medicine.

    • Hello,

      I am really sorry to hear about your condition and I truly wish there was an answer I could give you.

      Unfortunately, due to legal concerns, we cannot offer any information about sourcing here. Your best bet would be to do the research yourself or to consult a doctor.

  9. The current political climate has become increasingly hostile to drugs, especially those that have been defined as Schedule I. In the section addressing 1P-LSD, the author writes:

    Other countries have banned analogues of LSD, which 1P-LSD falls under…However, we have heard of no cases of people being prosecuted for 1P-LSD possession under these laws.

    Have there been one (or more) case in which someone been prosecuted in the US for 1P-LSD (or other research chemicals) possession since this article was originally written in March 2017 a little more than a year ago?

    • I’d stay away from any “pain” relieving research chemicals… as you’re only asking for serious complications and/or death with things like U-4700 and Tianeptine…

  10. Thanks for all you guys do, it’s beyond words the gratitude.
    I would like to know how and if methadone hci interacts w any of these..
    Say for example 4-aco-dmt? Or 1p-lsd? Any risks worth noting?

  11. I’ve had eth-lad and it is potent and extremely visual. open and closed eye visuals are pervasive and persistent. excellent to add to less visual lsd variants

  12. Yes it is correct and you guys are doing the right thing,it should be available to do who are in need or those who want to use for scientific research.

  13. I’m very interested in obtaining lsd/microdosing for severe depression ,ADD, anxiety,etc.
    I don’t see how one can obtain it ,except on the streets, which i don’t want to do

    • Hi there Martin,

      Unfortunately, classic psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin are still illegal in most countries. The research chemicals (such as the LSD alternative, 1P-LSD) discussed in this article might be easier to obtain in your area, but have the potential for prosecution so conducting your own extensive research would be recommended. We do not condone any illegal activity.

      We wish you best of luck!

      – Britt at The Third Wave

    • Hi Justin,

      Unfortunately, this is a difficult topic to address due to the “grey area” of legality regarding most of these substances. Due to this, we cannot make specific recommendations since they may be illegal in many places in the US. I would suggest that you do your own research into the safest methods for obtaining RCs, perhaps seeking advice from others in places like Reddit.

      – Britt at The Third Wave

  14. Hello,

    I’ve been looking everywhere but I cannot find any information about the legality of 4-AcO-DMT in China. Not even about the legality of psilocybin here. Does anyone know?

    Thank you

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