Users have reported that mephedrone causes euphoria, stimulation, an enhanced appreciation for music, an elevated mood, decreased hostility, improved mental function and mild sexual stimulation; these effects are similar to the effects of cocaine, amphetamines and MDMA, and last different amounts of time depending on the way the drug is taken. Of 70 Dutch users of mephedrone, 58 described it as an overall pleasant experience and 12 described it as an unpleasant experience. In a survey of UK users who had previously taken cocaine, most users found it produced a better-quality and longer-lasting high and was less addictive. The users were also asked to compare the “risk”, and they answered that it was equal. A study of users in Northern Ireland found they did not equate the fact that mephedrone was legal with it being safe to use. This was contrary to another study in New Zealand, where users of benzylpiperazine thought that because it was legal, it was safe.
Mephedrone can come in the form of capsules, tablets or white powder that users may swallow, snort, inject, smoke or use rectally. When taken orally, users reported they could feel the effects within 15–45 minutes; when snorted, the effects were felt within minutes and peaked within half an hour. The effects last for between two and three hours when taken orally or nasally, but only half an hour if taken intravenously.:12 It is sometimes sold mixed with methylone in a product called bubbles in the UK and also mixed with other cathinones, including ethcathinone, butylone, fluoromethcathinone and methedrone.:9
One published study that analysed samples of mephedrone bought using the internet in the UK in 2010 found it was racemic (a mixture of both stereoisomers) and of high purity. An unpublished study of six samples also ordered off the internet in the UK in 2010 found they contained very few organic impurities. Four products sold in Irish head shops were tested in 2010 and were found to contain between 82% and 14% mephedrone, with some products containing benzocaine and caffeine.