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Q: The most common drug in my city's (Toronto) rave scene is called "M". Nobody knows it as anything else, not even the dealers. The caps are usually clear and about half-filled with a somewhat fine white powder. I've searched and searched but "M" as a drug slang name seems to be related to either morphine (as per Erowid's A-Z list) or mescaline (as per PIHKAL). However, the effects of this "M" do not fit mescaline, and most assuredly is not morphine. The description of MBDB and MDAI match that of "M", yet the colour is wrong; MDE also matches, but there's no image to help confirm this possibility.

I have no idea how to do any chemistry tricks to check the composition and I don't want to submit it to some lab for fear that they'll nab me for illicit substance possession.

I suppose this is just curiosity, so if you can't or don't answer it, no hard feelings, but it seems to be an extremely local street name and, I think we can agree, it would be a good idea to get information on what I, and my friends, have been taking.

A: It's hard to say for sure what a drug named "M" might be without analyzing it. "M" could refer to many different psychoactive drugs.

After this response was published, a harm reduction worker in Toronto contacted us to say that "M" should refer to MDMA, which practically means ecstasy, which practically means anything that gets sold as 'ecstasy'/MDMA. An Erowid visitor wrote a comment about this on Jan 31, 2014 that we've included at the bottom of this answer: they said "M" was being used to mean pure MDMA as opposed to "E" (ecstasy) which is known to be a polluted source of MDMA.

While the color of some unknown material might be taken into account to a degree, most pure chemicals are a clear/white solid. Colors like reds, browns, grays, and oranges can easily be caused by minor impurities and fillers or dyes can simply be added to change colors to just about anything.

One might be able to get a mildly better sense of what an unknown compound might be by weighing a known-to-be active dose. While "cut" material would weigh more than a minimally active dose, it couldn't weigh less than a minimally active dose. For example, if the drug had "mescaline-like" effects but the known-to-be active dose that one had weighed was 50 mg, it would be safe to say that the material was not mescaline. Unfortunately, many empathogenic/entactogenic compounds are active within a similar dose range (between 20mg and 200mg), so this approach might not be that useful with the "M" you describe.

The letter "M" has been used for both obvious suspects (morphine and mescaline, as you point out, as well as MDMA and methamphetamine) and less likely candidates (Jonathan Ott has referred to 5-MeO-DMT as "M"). Alas, if the effects run toward the empathogenic/entactogenic--as you suggest--then "M" might as well stand for "maybe": maybe it is MDMA, maybe MBDB, maybe MDA, maybe MDE, maybe MDAI, maybe MDPR, maybe MDPV, maybe methylone (bk-MDMA), mephedrone (4-MMC), 4-methylethcathinone (4-MEC), methedrone (bk-PMMA), maybe even mCPP, or something entirely new-to-the-market.

Colorimetric testing kits, such as those using Mecke, Marquis, and Simon's reagents, are available from various online sources. In some instances they can help indicate what an unknown substance does not contain; however, they have various limitations to how useful they are. The field tests are helpful, but can not positively confirm the identity of a substance under any circumstances, despite the common misunderstanding that the reagent tests are capable of doing so.

On the concern you expressed about getting nabbed for submitting a sample for analysis, there is virtually no risk to individuals who want to submit a compound for testing to EcstasyData.org. The cost for non-copay samples (anything other than pressed ecstasy tablets, such as the capped material you describe) is currently $150 per sample (as of December 1, 2012). Particularly if even the dealers have no idea what they are selling as "M", it may be worthwhile getting Toronto users to pool funds and send in a sample for testing.

Samples can be (should be) submitted anonymously, with a false but not-clearly-fake name, a wrong but real return address (perhaps the address of a shipping store, UPS Store, Kinkos, etc). Try to package it in a standard envelope, with simple padding. If you need to fill out a customs form, write "analytical sample" or "medical sample" or similar text.

We have received numerous samples from Canada and never had one seized in 12 years of operating the EcstasyData testing program.

Trip! Project in Toronto goes on to say that there have been a lot of unusual consistencies and colours of powdered (supposed) MDMA (like pure white). As always users
are strongly encouraged to 'test it before you ingest it.' The Trip! Project in Toronto sells testing kits which help in identifying MDMA as well as other drugs that may be sold in its place, including many newer research chemicals.

Another visitor contacted us to say that Methoxetamine (usually referred to as MXE for short) is occasionally referred to as just "M" in the Chicago area.

Jan 31, 2014: An Erowid visitor wrote:

In regards to someone from Toronto that was asking about "M" in Canada. Dealers are trying to ensure their customers that they are only taking MDMA, and their customers repeatedly ask that their pills contain only MDMA.

As a result "M" is being used as slang for a MDMA-only pill and ecstacy is slang for a pill containing multiple substances, with MDMA too. There's no real guarantee, but dealers would tell you that you want "M" if you want a MDMA-only pill. They would also tell you that if you bought "ecstacy" it almost surely contains other drugs (some users knowingly seek it out for this reason).

From personal experience people who buy "M" usually go through a normal experience, while people buying ecstacy say they felt more "fucked up".

Asked By : Ody
Answered By : jon
Edited By : spoon, earth
Published Date : 2 / 21 / 2013
Last Edited Date : 2 / 3 / 2014
Question ID : 3178

Categories: [ Chemical ID ] [ Drug Testing ]




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