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Systematic (IUPAC) name
Legal status
Legal status
CAS Number 71031-15-7
ATC code none
PubChem CID 62258
ChemSpider 56062
Chemical data
Formula C9H11NO
Molar mass 149.19 g/mol[[Script error: No such module "String".]]
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Cathinone, or Benzoylethanamine is a monoamine alkaloid found in the shrub Catha edulis (khat) and is chemically similar to ephedrine, cathine and other amphetamines. Cathinone induces the release of dopamine from striatal preparations that are prelabelled either with dopamine or its precursors, and it has been shown that cathinone also does this.[1] It is probably the main contributor to the stimulant effect of Catha edulis. Cathinone differs from many other amphetamines in that it has a ketone functional group. Other amphetamines that share this structure include the antidepressant bupropion and the stimulant methcathinone, among others.

Internationally, cathinone is a Schedule I drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.[2] Circa 1993, the DEA added cathinone to the Controlled Substances Act's Schedule I.

The sale of khat is legal in Israel (although synthetic cathinone is not), and also in Oman, in Yemen, in United Kingdom and in the Horn of Africa.


The molecular structure of cathinone.

Cathinone is structurally related to methcathinone, in much the same way as amphetamine is related to methamphetamine. Cathinone differs from amphetamine by possessing a ketone oxygen atom (C=O) on the β (beta) position of the side chain. The corresponding alcohol compound cathine is a less powerful stimulant. The biophysiological conversion from cathinone to cathine is to blame for the depotentiation of khat leaves over time. Fresh leaves have a greater ratio of cathinone to cathine than dried ones, therefore having more psychoactive effects.

Cathinone can be extracted from Catha edulis, or synthesized from α-bromopropiophenone (which is easily made from propiophenone).

Toxic effects

Excessive cathinone usage can cause loss of appetite, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, hallucinations and panic attacks. Chronic abusers are at risk of developing personality disorders and of sustaining myocardial infarction. Persons driving under the influence of the drug have had their serum or urine tested for the presence of cathinone and norephedrine, a major Metabolite.[3]

See also


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External links


fr:Cathinone nl:Cathinon pl:Katynon ru:Катинон

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  2. List of psychotropic substances under international control
  3. R. Baselt, Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man, 8th edition, Biomedical Publications, Foster City, CA, 2008, pp. 250-252.