This Research Chemical is Killing Users Who Think It’s LSD (It Isn’t)

If you’ve bought LSD off the street, it’s possible that you ingested something that isn’t really LSD at all.

25I-NBOMe is a research chemical that mimics the effects of LSD. It’s known as just 25I or NBOMe on the streets and the internet, pronounced “N-bomb.” NBOMe can refer to two similar chemicals, 25B and 25C, too.

It can produce the same potent visual effects as LSD (it’s sometimes called synthetic LSD or fake acid) but at a much lower cost.

The result is that drug manufacturers make fake acid blotters out of NBOMe and sell them to unsuspecting users who don’t know the difference.

The problem is, NBOMe is dangerously potent. LSD is measured out in milligrams (a thousandth of a gram), while NBOMe is measured out in micrograms (a millionth of a gram).

NBOMe is odorless and tasteless, so you won’t know if an LSD blotter really has NBOMe without testing it. And it’s impossible to know the dosage, which is dangerous when you’re dealing with a substance that’s measured in micrograms.

Without knowing the dosage, it’s easy to overdose on a drug that’s as strong as NBOMe. A research study found that 15% of NBOMe overdoses led to death.

Only 40% of those patients actually knew that they were taking NBOMe. The remaining 60% thought they were taking LSD or another drug.

What’s the Difference Between LSD and NBOMe?

It’s impossible to tell by visual inspection if you have LSD or NBOMe. NBOMe comes on a paper tab or blotter, the same as LSD. It usually has a colorful pattern on it.

Anecdotal reports say that blotters that are all-white with no pattern are less likely to contain NBOMe, but that’s impossible to confirm.

The only way to find out whether a tab contains LSD or NBOMe is to test it.

There are test kits available that use a liquid that turns purple in the presence of LSD. If the liquid doesn’t change colors, then the substance isn’t LSD.

These kits don’t tell you for sure that the tab contains NBOMe, but they can tell you for sure whether LSD is present. If LSD is not present, then the chances are good that NBOMe is present instead.

What Are the Effects of NBOMe?

The short-term effects of NBOMe last 6 to 10 hours. They include euphoria, body high, visual hallucinations, and dissociation.

In people who are prone to them, NBOMe can cause seizures.

NBOMe activates the 5-HT2A receptors in the brain to cause these effects. Some people have more receptors than others and it’s impossible to know. People who have extra 5-HT2A receptors can react badly to NBOMe, with long-lasting effects like:

  • Anxiety and panic
  • Agitation
  • Cognitive fog
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization
  • Mood changes

These changes can cause you to hurt yourself or other people. There are reports of patients self-harming and attacking other people while under the toxic effects of NBOMe.

Finally, NBOMe is known to cause kidney failure, heart failure, and circulation problems. These side effects are serious and can cause death.

How Many People Die From NBOMe?

It’s hard to tell how many people die from NBOMe because it’s not a drug that appears on routine tests. If it appears on a toxicology report at all, it may appear as “New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)” or “Research Chemicals (RC).”

However, deaths from NBOMe overdoses appear in the news regularly since the early 2010s.

For example:

  • A 15-year old boy from Frisco, Texas died from taking NBOMe that he thought was LSD
  • A 15-year old boy from Washington died after taking NBOMe and psilocybin mushrooms
  • A teenage boy (location withheld) died after jumping off a bridge into the water while under the influence of NBOMes
  • A 15-year old girl from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts died after taking NBOMe for the first time

These are only a few reports of death from NBOMe overdose—there are dozens more all over the United States. Anecdotally, most of the news reports involve teen victims. However, people of all ages have been known to overdose on NBOMe.

How Does NBOMe Kill People?

NBOMe has a low overdose threshold because it’s so powerful. It’s easy to overdose badly enough to die without even knowing it.

Overdosing on NBOMe causes effects that include:

  • Amnesia
  • Delirium
  • High heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels, which slows circulation)

These effects can be extremely hard on your body. NBOMe can cause heart failure and other types of organ failure, leading to death.

You are more likely to die from overdosing on NBOMe when it’s mixed with certain substances, such as:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Lithium
  • Tramadol
  • Other research chemicals

Tramadol and lithium increase the risk of seizures while using NBOMe. Amphetamine, cocaine, and research chemicals increase the risk of organ failure. This can lead to death.

Call 911 right away if you think someone you’re with is having an NBOMe overdose.

Get Treatment for Substance Abuse

If your substance use has you worried about your safety, it’s time to seek help. Our treatment center can provide you with the support and tools needed for recovery.

NBOMe isn’t known for being an addictive substance because like all psychedelics, its effects lessen immediately after one dose. However, most people who use NBOMe also use other substances that are addictive.

Northeast Addictions Treatment Center can help you take back your life using an evidence-based treatment such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This kind of therapy shows you the relationship between your thoughts and your actions. It can be a great tool in fighting addiction!
  • Dialectical behavior therapy: DBT teaches mindfulness, a skill that helps you hold on through bad situations instead of turning to drugs.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: MAT is available for some clients who are recovering from alcohol or opioid addiction. It helps manage symptoms of withdrawal.

Now is the best time to begin your recovery journey. Call us today and start taking back your life!

Sources:

  1. Case Review of the First Analytically Confirmed 25I-NBOMe-Related Death in Washington State. (2015, September 16)
  2. Montana Sean Brown. (n.d.)
  3. N-bomb Long and Short-term Effects. (n.d.)
  4. Suzuki, J., Dekker, M. A., Valenti, E. S., Arbelo Cruz, F. A., Correa, A. M., Poklis, J. L., & Poklis, A. (2015). Toxicities Associated With NBOMe Ingestion—A Novel Class of Potent Hallucinogens: A Review of the Literature. Psychosomatics, 56(2), 129-139. doi:10.1016/j.psym.2014.11.002
  5. Toxicities associated with NBOMe ingestion, a novel class of potent hallucinogens: A review of the literature. (2015, March)

Northeast Addictions Treatment Center

Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. Our team has been helping individuals with Drug or Alcohol Addiction live a life of Recovery since 2016.