Bath salts have been discussed more and more in the media.  However, “bath salts” no longer just refers to soothing salts, like Epsom Salt, put in bath tubs.  “Bath salts” is a phrase used to describe a mind-altering drug. The name bath salts might sound harmless, but the drug is actually quite dangerous. Knowing more about bath salts can help clear up any confusion.

What are Bath Salts?

Bath salts are man-made chemical stimulants.  The real name of bath salts is synthetic cathinones. Cathinone is a substance found is the khat plant.  People have used them as cheaper substitutes for stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine. This substance is a central nervous system stimulant that also inhibits the dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake system in the brain. Bath salts are categorized as new psychoactive substances (NPS).  These are dangerous as they are unregulated psychoactive mind-altering drugs.  There is no legitimate medical need or use for this substance.

Other street names bath salts may go by include bliss, bloom, blue silk, charge plus, cloud nine, drone, energy-1, hurricane Charlie, ivory wave, flakka, lunar wave, meow meow, ocean burst, plant fertilizer, plant food, purple sky, pure ivory,  purple wave, scarface, sextasy, snow leopard, stardust, vanilla sky, white dove, or white lightening.

Bath salts are usually white or brown crystal-like powders.  People may swallow, snort, smoke, or inject synthetic cathinones substances.

They are often sold in small plastic bags or foil packages.  These packages are typically marked with labels that say “not for human consumption.” People have reported seeing synthetic cathinones sold in packages labeled as bath salts, jewelry and electric cleaner, or plant food. This has been a major public concern for health officials.

Bath salts are dangerous and can be addictive.

What are the Effects of Bath Salts?

People that use bath salts may experience a high similar to an elated, delirious, out-of-body experience. The high has been described as a rush similar to one caused by speed (methamphetamine). However, there are some dangerous side effects.

Short Term Side Effects

  • agitation, irritability, or uncharacteristic changes in mood
  • clouded thinking or an inability to problem-solve
  • delusions or hallucinations
  • depression or suicidal thoughts
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia

Physical Side Effects

  • brain swelling
  • chest pains
  • decreased muscle and body control
  • excess sweating
  • feeling sick and throwing up
  • heart attack
  • increased blood pressure and body temperature
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle spasm or tremors
  • nosebleeds
  • reduced appetite
  • seizures
  • stroke


Long Term Side Effects

  • addiction
  • dangerous, out of character, risk taking behavior
  • psychosis
    • This includes hallucinations, hearing voices, paranoia, and more. This side effect may resemble schizophrenia behaviors or symptoms.
  • severe panic attacks
  • intoxication from this drug can and has led to death


Withdrawal Side Effects

Withdrawal from bath salts could cause the following side effects:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • paranoia
  • sleeping issues
  • shock
  • tremors
  • in extreme cases, Death


Bath salts can be very dangerous and potentially fatal.  Seek medical attention or ask for help from a medical professional for any questions or concerns. While no medications are currently available to treat addiction to synthetic canthinones, help is still available and therapy treatments have been successful. Addiction can be overcome with the correct support and professional guidance, helping people to lead a successful life.