How is phenibut still legal

"Legal highs"

For this, inter alia the mass phenomenon "Research Chemicals" (RC, "Research Chemicals") are responsible. Numerous psychoactive ingredients can be obtained almost in their pure form as RC via the Internet, especially from Asia. The pack sizes are usually in the range of around one gram, but sometimes several hundred grams, which, depending on the substance, can correspond to well over a thousand consumption units. As a rule, they are dispensed in plastic zip-lock bags that are more or less clearly declared as RC (Fig. 5). In addition to the common names of the substances, structural formulas are sometimes given. Almost every product is advised that the content is to be used for research purposes only and not for consumption.

In addition to the synthetic cathinones and synthetic cannabinoids discussed so far, which include can be seen as alternative substances for amphetamines or cannabis products, numerous other substances with a wide variety of action profiles are sold, z. B. also known designer drugs. From the group of phenethylamines, the hallucinogenic 2C-E should be mentioned, which has a structural similarity to mescaline (active ingredient in the peyotl cactus). Sometimes green colored 2C-E solutions are sold as an alleged extract from psychotropic cacti.

Furthermore, there is a trend towards an increase in seizures of tryptamine derivatives (e.g. 5-MeO-DALT, DIPT), which have so far played a subordinate role in Bavaria. 5-MeO-DALT was found both as an RC and as a component of bath salts. In principle, tryptamine derivatives produce a euphoric or hallucinogenic effect, depending on the substance and dosage. Some have been subject to the provisions of the BtMG for a long time.

Phenazepam, an extremely potent tranquilizer from the benzodiazepine group of active ingredients, which is not approved in Germany, is available on the Internet as an RC because it is currently not subject to any statutory control in most countries. Only 0.5 to 2 mg are set as the unit of consumption in the "scene", so that overdoses can quickly lead to long-term unconsciousness. Strongly sedating agents such as phenazepam are also used to "come off" stimulating agents.

Dimethocaine (larocaine) is ascribed not only to have an analgesic effect but also a mild stimulating effect, so that it is seen in the "scene" as an alleged legal alternative to cocaine. However, other local anesthetics such as benzocaine or lidocaine have often been identified as the main component in the alleged "dimethocaine". In some cases, such preparations contained little or no dimethocaine. Here, too, the consumer cannot see which active ingredients are actually contained in the respective product. The opinions about the effect of dimethocaine therefore differ widely in the "scene".

A further group of active ingredients are the aminoindanes, which are derived from the amphetamines through a ring closure. They are also said to have stimulating effects. Representatives of this group are z. B. MDAI as an aminoindane analogue to 3,4-methylenedioxyamfetamine (MDA) or 2-AI (analogue to amfetamine). In Bavaria, however, this group of active substances is still rarely found in comparison to the synthetic cathinones.

With substituted derivatives such as 4-fluoroamfetamine (4-FA) and the active ingredient methiopropamine (thiophene derivative of metamfetamine), which was first seized in Bavaria in May 2011, amfetamine derivatives are offered as RCs that are currently not subject to the provisions of the BtMG.

As a further alternative to amphetamines and the drug methylphenidate, which also has a potential for abuse, deoxypiradrol is also consumed in the "scene". was developed to treat attention deficit disorder but has not prevailed against methylphenidate.

A moderate stimulating, caffeine-like effect is also attributed to 4-methyl-hexan-2-amine, which is available as RC under the names geranamine or DMAA (dimethylamylamine). It has also been found in legal high products.


: For almost all classic drugs that are subject to the Narcotics Act, supposedly legal alternatives in the form of RC are now available.

Consumer groups

When legal high products are seized, it can be seen again and again that many consumers are noticeably young. For young people, the anonymity of an Internet order and the supposedly legal purchase of these substances in head shops should serve as an incentive to gain experience with intoxicants.

Another group are BtM consumers who have already come into conflict with the legal regulations and who are called in for urine screenings or hair analyzes as part of suspended sentences, open prison systems or medical-psychological examinations (MPU); because many of the substances mentioned are not (yet) recorded by common immunoassays for urine analysis. (However, they can be detected with more complex analytical methods.)

The sale of RC or legal high products in powder form is likely to take place in discos as an amfetamine alternative or as a deliberate amfetamine counterfeit. Synthetic cathinones have also been detected in cocaine preparations.

In addition to their use as party or recreational drugs, synthetic cathinones and other stimulants are also increasingly being used by school and university students to improve their performance (so-called "brain doping").


Further information on the homepage of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction:> Topics (A– Z)> Drug Profiles

Danger potential when consuming "legal highs"

These products pose incalculable dangers for the consumer. As a rule, no specific information about the actual ingredients is given on legal high products, so that the consumer first has to feel the effect of the product in question. Depending on the active ingredient, careless dosing can result in severe side effects such as complete loss of control or loss of consciousness. The constantly changing compositions of legal high products increase this risk, as the consumer may be more careless in dosing the products he is already familiar with.

The content is usually stated on the packaging from RC, but it can happen that the declaration is incorrect. If the active ingredient actually contained is significantly more potent than the declared one (e.g. MDPV instead of methylone), overdoses with the corresponding side effects can quickly occur.

Basically, most of the active ingredients have hardly been researched or not at all pharmacologically. The consumers of RC can truly be viewed as living subjects. As part of their "research", the consumers sometimes take very adventurous cocktails of active ingredients, the ingredients of which sometimes have opposing action profiles. According to the information available here, regular rampages of amok have already been observed under the influence of such substances.

Research chemicals and the active ingredients of legal highs are also produced in "backyard laboratories" or the like. It must be doubted that the production takes place even approximately in accordance with the recognized guidelines for the production of pharmaceuticals. It can therefore be assumed that many products are not available in a purity suitable for consumer purposes, but are e.g. B. are contaminated by synthesis by-products.