'Smoking' mephedrone: the identification of the pyrolysis products of 4-methylmethcathinone hydrochloride

Drug Test Anal. 2013 May;5(5):291-305. doi: 10.1002/dta.1373. Epub 2012 May 28.


The ring-substituted cathinone - mephedrone - has gained popularity among recreational drug users over the past several years. It is generally consumed orally or by snorting but reports indicate that it is also ingested by vaporization/inhalation. This study examines the pyrolysis products produced by heating mephedrone under using simulated 'meth pipe' conditions. Thirteen pyrolysis products were identified, the major ones being iso-mephedrone, 4-methylpropiophenone, 4-methylphenylacetone, two pyrazine derivatives formed by dimerization of mephedrone, N-methylated mephedrone (N,N,4-trimethylcatinone), two hydroxylated oxidation products and a diketone. Other minor products formed were identified as 4-methylacetophenone, two α-chloro ketones and N-methylated iso-mephedrone.

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / analysis*
  • Methamphetamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methamphetamine / analysis
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Smoke
  • Methamphetamine
  • mephedrone