HEXEN (also known as NEH, N-Ethylhexedrone and hex-en) is a novel stimulant substance of the cathinone class. N-Ethylhexedrone is a derivative of hexedrone and belongs to a group of compounds known as the substituted cathinones. Little is known about its pharmacology, although it likely works by increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.
The original synthesis date of N-ethylhexedrone is unknown, but it began to appear on the online research chemical market in late 2015. It is an example of a novel psychoactive substance specifically chosen to mimic the features of prohibited substances and bypass drug laws. It is one of a number of substances collectively referred to in popular culture as “bath salts”.
User reports characterize N-ethylhexedrone as having euphoric stimulant effects comparable to those of crack-cocaine and α-PVP-type compounds, particularly when they insufflated or vaporized. Like other substituted cathinones, N-ethylhexedrone has gained notoriety for its association with compulsive redosing and addictive behaviors when abused.
Very little is known about the pharmacology, metabolism, and toxicity of N-ethylhexedrone. It is highly advised to use harm reduction practices if using this substance.
N-Ethylhexedrone was first identified in a sample from the Belgian Customs laboratory which was received at the JRC on November 2015. In January 2016, it was identified at the JRC in a sample provided by French Customs. Subsequently, in February 2016, the EMCDDA received notifications of the identification of this substance from other countries, such as Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Belgium and Slovenia.
N-ethylhexedrone is a molecule of the cathinone chemical class. The term “substituted cathinone” refers to a broad array of substances based on cathinone, the principally active constituent of the khat plant. Cathinone is principally constituted of a amphetamine core (a phenethylamine core with an alkyl group attached to the alpha carbon) and an oxygen group attached to the beta carbon. Cathinones are also known as the beta-ketone (βk) (double-bonded oxygen to the β-carbon) analogs of amphetamines.
Notably, the cathinone backbone can be modified in three different places to create hundreds of possible compounds, which include substituents such as on the aromatic ring, the alpha carbon, or the amine group