Adrenochrome is a chemical compound with the molecular formula C9H9NO3 produced by the oxidation of adrenaline (epinephrine). The derivative carbazochrome is a hemostatic medication. Despite a similarity in chemical names, it is unrelated to chrome or chromium.
Effect on the brain
Several small-scale studies (involving 15 or fewer test subjects) conducted in the 1950s and 1960s reported that adrenochrome triggered psychotic reactions such as thought disorder, derealization, and euphoria. Researchers Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond claimed that adrenochrome is a neurotoxic, psychotomimetic substance and may play a role in schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. In what they called the “adrenochrome hypothesis”, they speculated that megadoses of vitamin C and niacin could cure schizophrenia by reducing brain adrenochrome. While the treatment of schizophrenia with such potent anti-oxidants is highly contested in literature, and adrenochrome is not currently believed to have any psychedelic properties, a number of recently published papers consider Hoffer’s paper a landmark contribution to the notion that impairment of what’s now termed the anti-oxidant defense system (AODS) seems to play a role in schizophrenia.
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