The Characterization of 3,4-Dimethylmethcathinone (3,4-DMMC)


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Oliver Locos, Ph.D.
Illicit Drugs Section, Forensic Science Laboratory
ChemCentre, PO Box 1250, Bentley
WA 6893, Australia


Abstract:  Analogs and derivatives of traditional illicit drugs are ever increasing in variety and creativity. Staying abreast of the new developments is a constant challenge for every forensic laboratory. Recently, a seizure from Australian Customs Service presented our laboratory with the designer cathinone 3,4-dimethylmethcathinone (3,4-DMMC). Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, and ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometry were employed to analyze the spectroscopic characteristics of this cathinone. As an analog, 3,4-DMMC exhibits similar if not identical IR and UV profiles to mephedrone (4-MMC) and methcathinone; however, the retention time from GC is unique as expected, and the electron impact fragmentation pattern is consistent with the fragmentation pattern of other cathinones. The chemical shifts of the carbons and hydrogens were assigned by both one- and two-dimensional NMR techniques, while the molecular weight was confirmed by LC/MS.