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How to detect CATHINONES?

Cathinones are novel synthetic stimulants, ranging from Mephedrone, a-PVP through Hexen to PV9. They are often mis-sold as older stimulants and can induce long-lasting side effects.

Reagent testing

While reagent testing works great using multiple reagents and pure samples, it doesn’t always work well for samples with cuts. The best way to detect mixed in adulterants (cuts) is to send a sample to a laboratory substance analysis service (like Energy Control). There are however also other, limited methods, that can be used in home or party settings: TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography) and reagent testing.

Reagent testing works by pouring 1-2 drops of a reagent test onto a small sample (● this much) and comparing the happening color change reaction with instructions. This method is limited by possible false positives – substances that react in a similar way. With most reagents, it can also be hard to tell if more substances are reacting at once, or just one.

To detect cuts using reagent tests make sure you know:

  1. What adulterant you are looking for
  2. What reagent reacts to a preferably dark, vibrant color with the adulterant
  3. Which reagent can work better at detecting the adulterant than the main ingredient

It is particularly useful to pair universal reagents, that react with 500+ substances (like Marquis, Mecke), with more selective ones, that might not react with the desired substance at all but indicate other (like Zimmermann, Scott, Simon’s or Robadope).


Pictured below is MDMA not reacting, and different cathinones showing reactions ranging from purple to purple as tested with the Zimmermann reagent of the Mephedrone reagent test kit:

Detecting synthetic cathinones using Zimmermann Reagent Test


Detecting Cathinones using reagents

The chart below will help you decide which reagent might be most useful in your particular scenario:

Find all the required information in our apps, videos or charts.

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