The Drug Hexen: Side Effects & Everything Else You Need to Know

Medically Reviewed

Hexen is a lesser-known stimulant drug, but it’s gained some popularity in the past decade; not as a medication, but as a designer drug. Hexen’s effects mimic some of the effects of some other popular recreational, illicit drugs. However, using Hexen comes with some significant risks including dependence, addiction, withdrawal, and overdose.

Learn more about Hexen’s side effects, symptoms of addiction, and how it can be treated.

What is Hexen?

Hexen, also known by its chemical name N-Ethylhexedrone, is a psychoactive drug that was once developed for medical purposes but other alternatives have since replaced it. Today, it’s almost exclusively used as a designer drug for recreational purposes. Hexen is a stimulant in the cathinone class of drugs. It’s development led to the discovery of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), which is another popular designer drug.

Designer drugs are substances that can be used to achieve psychoactive effects that are similar to more widely known illicit substances. Designer drugs are used and developed to circumvent existing drug laws. Hexen’s effects are often compared to cocaine, a notable illegal drug. Lesser-known stimulants like Hexen, MDPV, and alpha-PVP (flakka) are sold and used instead.

The idea is to sell chemicals that are unknown to law enforcement and legislation on the gray market. These substances are often sold as innocuous products like plant food or bath salts, which is why some are called bath salts to this day.

However, legislators sought to cover this loophole in 1986 with the Federal Analogue Act, which made it illegal to buy and sell substances that are “substantially similar” to a controlled substance. Since cathinones are controlled, Hexen would be illegal to buy and sell in the United States.

Still, designer drugs often take on popularity of their own and continue to be bought and sold on the black market. Hexen gained popularity in the 2010s, and it’s often used for its positive psychoactive effects such as stimulation, warmth and tingling sensations, euphoria, increased sociability, and cognitive enhancement.

At low doses, the drug can be used to increase productivity, enhance cognitive ability, and increase one’s ability to socialize. However, in higher doses needed to achieve euphoria, it can cause confusion, which decreases productivity and lowers sociability. Euphoria is most common in higher doses, especially when insufflated or inhaled. The drug can also lift the user’s mood and cause a feeling of empowerment. However, the euphoric effect only lasts for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s common to take a second or third dose after the euphoric effects start to wear off. However, tolerance builds quickly, and the ability to achieve euphoria will subside quickly after each dose.

If you continue to take more doses, you will start to feel uncomfortable stimulation, anxiety, and paranoia. These uncomfortable symptoms sometimes cause people to step away from recreational use of the drug, in favor of alternatives, though others may continue to use it.

Is Hexen Dangerous?

Like most stimulants, Hexen can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects when used recreationally. People who use multiple doses in close succession are likely to experience adverse side effects like anxiety and general discomfort. As with other illicit stimulants, anxiety can give way to panic and terror, which can have negative psychological effects like trauma. It may also trigger fight or flight responses, which can lead to accidents and injuries.

Other common side effects of using Hexen include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Jitteriness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Jaw clenching
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle tension
  • Vasoconstriction
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia

Stimulants can sometimes cause a strong desire to redose as the drug’s euphoric effects begin to wear off. This phenomenon leads to drug binging when it comes to drugs like meth and crack cocaine. Hexen is also reported to cause a strong compulsion to redose, which can be dangerous. Many doses in close succession can increase your risk of experiencing some of the more severe side effects like paranoia and heart rate changes.

two bags of the drug hexen in powder form

High doses of Hexen can also increase your risk of developing stimulant psychosis, a mental health problem that is induced by the excessive use of a stimulant drug. Stimulant psychosis is marked by hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions following high doses of a stimulant drug like Hexen. Stimulant psychosis is also more likely to occur during binges because they also cause insomnia. A lack of sleep, plus the stimulant’s effects, can cause psychotic symptoms.

When the drug starts to wear off, you can experience extreme fatigue and severe depression. If you start to have thoughts of suicide while coming off a Hexen binge or frequent use, speak to a medical or clinical professional as soon as possible. These feelings are usually temporary, but you may need medical treatment to get through withdrawal safely.

High doses of Hexen can also lead to a potentially dangerous overdose. A Hexen overdose will cause some of the more dangerous side effects to appear like paranoia and panic. People with heart-related illnesses or problems with blood pressure may be at greater risk of experiencing serious medical emergencies. The greatest risk of overdose occurs when Hexen is mixed with other powerful stimulants like MDMA, cocaine, other cathinones, or DXM. It can also be dangerous to mix with alcohol because stimulants can lead inhibit some of alcohol’s perceived effects and cause you to drink to the point of alcohol poisoning accidentally.

Hexen isn’t widely studied in humans, and its long-term effects are unknown. The toxicity risk is poorly understood and may have unknown long-term consequences.

Is Hexen Addictive?

A Hexen binge can start out being motivated by euphoria, but as you continue to take more and more of the drug, you will no longer feel euphoric. Instead, you’ll only be taking the drug to stave off an uncomfortable comedown. Tolerance builds up quickly as dopamine and other feel-good chemicals reserves are depleted. However, your dopamine levels will return to normal after a period of rest after taking the drug. Still, prolonged and repeated use can lead to greater tolerance that can take up to three to seven days to start reducing and up to two weeks before your tolerance level has normalized.

As with other euphoria-inducing chemicals, Hexen has a moderate-to-severe risk of causing dependence and addiction. Prolonged use of the drug will lead to chemical dependence that will cause you to need the drug to maintain a feeling of normalcy. To avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and cravings, you will be compelled to continue using. If you stop using, you may experience fatigue, hypersomnia, and depression. If you’ve used Hexen for a long time and stop abruptly, you may experience extreme withdrawal symptoms that lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. Again, if you start to experience thoughts of suicide, speak to a professional immediately.

Treating Hexen Addiction

If you or someone you know has used Hexen and may have developed a substance use disorder, there are treatment options available. In addiction treatment, your recovery program will be tailored to your personal needs from medical concerns to underlying issues.

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