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Bath Salts Abuse and Addiction

How Long Do Bath Salts Stay In Your System?

Bath Salts, also known as PABS or Psychoactive Bath Salts, are the designer drugs used for the recreational purposes. They have no FDA approved medicinal uses and the packaging clearly states ‘not for human consumption’. The name is given because the white crystalline power resembles the Epsom salts. Bath salts are the synthetic compounds made from chemicals like Mephedrone, Methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and Methylone. The exact metabolism of the drug is still under research. The scientists have confirmed the high addictive potential of Bath Salts. They produce the stimulant effects by increasing the concentrations of monoamines like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the synaptic terminals. The compound can cross the blood brain barrier. However, the ability to cross is comparatively less than amphetamines due to the polarity caused by a presence of beta-keto groups. Bath Salts are banned in the United States. The United States Federal Drug Policy forbid the selling and buying of Bath Salts, which are often falsely labeled as ‘plant food’.

How long do Bath Salts stay in your system?

The use of Bath Salts has increased in the past few years. There are many tests offered by the drug-testing laboratories that can detect the presence of Bath Salts in the body system. The exact duration the drug stays in the system is highly variable depending on the dosages and other factors. The absorption of the drug has numerous pathways, which include the buccal mucosa, nasal mucosa, stomach, and the small intestines. The stomach and small intestines play a major role in the drug absorption. The maximum concentration in the blood is reached within 2.3 hours after taking the drug.

There has not been enough research to establish a definite half-life of Bath Salts. As per the data available, it is estimated that bath salts stay in the body system for 48 to 72 hours after the last dose. If we take this fact into consideration, it will take about 10-14 days for Bath Salts to get completely eliminated from the system. This time period also varies among the individuals. People who have abused bath salts for prolonged durations, the drug will stay for a longer length of time and the removal process will take more time than for those who consumed for shorter durations.

Factors that influence how long Bath Salts stays in your system:

The duration of drug stay in the body is highly variable among different users. It is due to a list of factors that contribute to the elimination time of Bath Salts. It is based on the following factors.

Alkaloid Cathinone Content:

Bath Salts are the synthetic chemicals that are made to resemble the extracts of a natural plant ‘Khat’. Bath Salts contain cathinones; their composition generally varies among the different products available in the form of Bath Salts. The main chemicals are methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone or methylone. In the United States, the main cathinone found in Bath Salts is MDPV whereas, in European Countries, Mephedrone is a more popular cathinone used in making Bath Salts. The amount of cathinone is also dependent upon the synthesis and the manufacturers.

Individual Factors

  • Age: The older a person gets, the body metabolism doesn’t remain as efficient as in the younger people. People above the age of 65 years take a much longer duration as compared to a healthy young individual. It is due to certain factors like a slow metabolic rate and a poor physical health.
  • Body Mass Index: It is comprised of two units, the weight and height. A person having a greater body mass index will remove bath Salts at a faster rate as compared to individuals having a lower BMI.
  • Body fat content:The nature of synthetic cathinones is hygroscopic. People having a higher body fat content tend to retain the drug in the body for longer durations. The fat contents provide a hindrance to the elimination process of drug from the body.
  • Genetics: The kinetics of Bath Salts is not fully studied yet. However, the body contains a set of enzymes that are needed to metabolize the drug. The expression of these protein molecules is based on the genetic composition of an individual. So the rate differs as the concentration and potency of enzymes is a variable factor among individuals.
  • Liver Functions:Liver is the main organ which is involved in the metabolism of drugs. Any dysfunction of the liver can impair the process of drug metabolism. The malfunctioning could be as a result of any disease process or liver trauma.
  • Renal Functions: The renal system is involved in the excretion of synthetic cathinones. Kidneys regulate the excretion of drug molecules through the kidney tubules into the urine. Any type of renal impairment can affect the drug elimination time interval.
  • Poly-substance use: There are many drugs that can interact with Bath Salts and affect the clearance process. Some can fasten the rate and many can slow the rate of clearance. It is important to discuss with the doctor about any drug that is in simultaneous use for any other disorder.
  • The frequency of use: It has a great impact on the clearance of drug from the body. The higher frequency of drug use has been associated with accumulation in the body tissues. The body gets adapted to the presence of Bath salts and takes longer duration for the elimination of the drug. The enzymatic processes become slower to respond and decrease the rate of elimination in case of frequent doses.
  • The dosage of drug: It is an important aspect determining the rate of drug elimination from the body. The higher doses will require more time to get adequately metabolized and excreted through kidneys. A smaller dose will require a comparatively lesser duration to get eliminated from the body.

Bath Salts absorption, metabolism, and excretion:

The route of administration of Bath Salts is mostly nasal insufflations and injections. Bombing is another method, in which the chemical compound (Synthetic Cathionine) is wrapped in the cigarette papers and swallowed. Gingival delivery, rectal administration, and intravenous or intramuscular injections are also used by some people. Through the insufflation method, the absorption rate is faster and the euphoric effects get initiated in 10 to 20 minutes. After the oral ingestion, it is 15 to 45 minutes. Through the IV route, blood levels of the drug start to rise within 10 to 15 minutes. The oral absorption may get affected by the food rich in fatty contents.

MDPV goes under CYP450 2D6, 2C19, 1A2 and the phase 1 COMT metabolism into pyrrolidine and methylcatechol. The products then undergo the process of glucuronidation, which is also completed in the liver. These metabolites get excreted through the kidneys with the exception of a smaller fraction that gets excreted in the stools. The free pyrrolidine will not be detected in the urine.

Different types of Bath Salts drug tests

The quantification of Bath Salts can be done in blood and urine. Bath Salts can also be detected through analysis of hair.

  • Urine Tests:

A fresh urine sample of the patient is obtained and tested in the laboratories for the presence of Cathinones. The time duration for which the chemical compounds can be detected in the urine is not exactly determined. Approximately, it can be detected up to several days in the urine samples. Bath salts are detected with the help of procedures such as liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS). These tests are used for both quantitative and qualitative analysis of bath salts in urine

  • Blood Tests:

Bath Salts can also be detected in the blood or plasma. The drug reaches the peak levels in the blood within 2-3 hours. When the drug is recreationally used, the blood concentration of MDPV is in the range of 10 to 50 micrograms/liter. More than 50 micrograms/liter are found in intoxicated patients and more than 300 micrograms/liter are present in cases of overdose. Liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOF-MS) and liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) are used for detecting the levels of Bath Salts in the blood or plasma.

  • Hair analysis:

It is not a routinely performed test. The drug gets accumulated in the hair over an extended duration of use. The test has a benefit that it has a longer window of detection, even up to 3-4 months.

Tips to clear Bath Salts from the system faster:

The drug takes some time to get cleared from the body. There are certain tips that can increase the rate of elimination of drug from the body.

  • Daily exercise can boost up the body metabolism and can speed up the process of elimination.
  • Increase the intake of water as the drug is composed of hygroscopic compounds. It will also accelerate the renal functioning and expel the drug through urine.
  • Taking supplements can also fasten up the process but they should be taken strictly in accordance with the advice of doctors.