In recent years, you may have heard references to a new group of stimulant-like drugs that go by the name “bath salts.” And you may also have asked yourself, are bath salt drugs really bath salts? The answer to this question is “No.” A quick review will expose the key differences between these drugs and legitimate, generally harmless bath products.
True Bath Salts
True bath salts are therapeutic bathing products that contain the active ingredient magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salts. Epsom salts do not belong to the same chemical family as actual table salt. However, this product gained its name because it bears a resemblance to especially large table salt grains. Bath salts/Epsom salts are believed to provide a range of beneficial effects, including:
- Insomnia relief
- Stress relief
- The reduction of pain and tissue swelling
- Relief of muscle cramping after strenuous physical activity, and
- Relief of magnesium deficiencies
In addition to these uses, some people consume Epsom salts orally (after they are dissolved in a glass of water) to relieve constipation and improve the function of the digestive system. Researchers don’t really know if there is sufficient evidence to support these various uses.
Bath Salt Drugs
Bath salt drugs are a group of substances purposefully misnamed to hide their true identity as powerful, mind-altering substances. You may also see them labeled as other consumer products such as jewelry cleaners, screen cleaners or plant food. In reality, bath salt drugs belong to a family of chemicals known as synthetic cathinones. These man-made substances get their name from the stimulant plant called khat, a native of Arabia and East Africa that serves as their inspiration. People who use synthetic cathinones can experience a range of unpleasant or harmful mental effects, including:
- Sensory hallucinations
- Paranoid mental states
- Bouts of extreme, irrational fear (i.e., panic attacks), and
- A violent, intensely agitated state known as excited delirium
A synthetic cathinone user affected by excited delirium can develop severe, potentially fatal health complications such as:
- Failed kidneys
- Dehydration, and
- A form of toxic muscle tissue breakdown called rhabdomyolysis
In addition, repeated consumption of a synthetic cathinone can lead to the onset of addiction. So, are bath salt drugs really bath salts? No, they’re dangerous substances that can damage your health or even kill you if you do not seek treatment right away.
Authority Nutrition: Epsom Salt Benefits and Uses (Plus Important Side Effects) https://authoritynutrition.com/epsom-salt-benefits-uses/ National Institute on Drug Abuse: Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”) – Drug Facts https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts