Does Adrenochrome Really Exist?

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Does Adrenochrome Really Exist?

Thanks to Fear and Loathing, adrenochrome is one of those drugs that everyone has heard about, but very few have actually tried. And there is probably good reason for that.

Have a quick google and you will see that yes, adrenochrome does exist, but probably not in the way you want it to. It holds somewhat of a mythical status amongst pyschonauts, largely thanks to its portrayal in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In it, Jonny Depp is told to retrieve a small brown bottle form is psychotic attorney’s wash kit, only to be told it contains adrenochrome, a psychedelic drug that makes “pure mescaline look like ginger beer”. Depp helps himself, and then spirals into a world of hallucination. Despite this, mythical is probably the best way to describe adrenochrome, as chances are, this is what it is, a myth.

WHAT IS ADRENOCHROME?

Well the good news is that adrenochrome does technically exist. It is a compound produced by the oxidation of adrenaline. The bad news is that it is very debatable whether it actually causes any hallucinogenic effects – with very little evidence being present, and what evidence there is being rejected by modern science.

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET EVIDENCE?

Adrenochrome oxidises very quickly when exposed to air, light, humidity, or heat – making it pretty hard to use! However, labs can produce it fairly easily, and many do, with it featuring in many chemical supplier catalogues under the CAS number CAS:56-06-8.

So why is there no evidence? It may not be very practical to use, but labs seem to be able to get hold of it with relative ease - and when has a bit of impracticality stopped a determined psychonaut from expanding their consciousness? This in itself should be a strong hint as to whether adrenochrome actually has any psychedelic effects, because if it did, it would be better anecdotally recorded. Plus, if it had potential as a psychedelic drug, you can be sure that someone somewhere would be producing it to sell in one form or another.

LOOKING AT EROWID

The anecdotal reports that are available can be found on erowid, an online knowledge base for all things drugs. There are very few user reports of adrenochrome, but the reports that have been submitted go quite a way to dispel the myth. One report in particular, by gebaro, and titled “Killing the Myth” goes into great and rigorous detail. Suffice to say, gebaro didn’t experience any hallucinogenic effects, and even felt a slight sedation – nothing that he/she warranted as getting high though.

To check out the full user experience report, go here.

It just goes to show, you just can’t believe everything you see in the movies. Adrenochrome, we are sad to say, is likely to be an overhyped disappointment.