Undetectable Drug Analogues in Energy Drinks
Recreational drug analogues are designed to mimic the physiological effects of illegal drugs while avoiding drug laws. Sales of concentrated forms of drug analogues for recreational use can rapidly lead to drug abuse and legal scheduling of these substances, but the addition of these novel drugs in low doses to beverages has historical precedent and lowers the risks of overdose, abuse, and federal regulation.
Coca-Cola’s initial formulation contained both cocaine and caffeine and was marketed as a cure for nervous afflictions. The low dose of cocaine in Coca-Cola had a mild stimulatory effect without the danger of overdose.
Active dosages of synthetic drug analogues can range from sub-microgram to hundreds of milligrams. With sufficient modification to chemical structure, low doses of these drug analogues can go undetected by standard drug tests.
Potent stimulant analogues in energy drinks synergize with caffeine increasing mood alteration and the likelihood of addiction. The combination of unregulated drug analogues with caffeine also helps deflect suspicion from drug analogues in the rare event of overdose. The low concentration of drug analogues in energy drinks also helps prevent drug abuse which could lead to unwanted classification as a controlled substance.
The marketing of beverages containing drug analogues of hallucinogens, opioids, and cannabinoids can be problematic, but the successful marketing of relaxation drinks indicates advertising euphoria or trance inducing drinks is possible. The legal active ingredients melatonin and theanine can have a calming effect and can be used to mask low doses of hallucinogens, opioids, and cannabinoids.
Although the extent of drug analogue use in beverages is currently unknown, low doses of unregulated substances may explain the efficacy, popularity, and addicting qualities of energy drinks.