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Is "Sass" a natural form of MDMA (or MDA)?
Q: I've heard about a drug called "Sass" or "Sassafras" that is supposed to be a natural drug with effects similar to MDMA or MDA. Some psychedelic "shamans" and "medicine circles" give "Sass" to participants, telling them it's a natural plant extract.

I was able to get a sample of "Sass" from a shamanic retreat and sent it in to Erowid's DrugsData for GC/MS testing: you reported it contained only MDA.

Is it possible that the tested sample was natural sassafras or safrole oil? Or was the product you tested necessarily synthesized in a laboratory?

A: MDA is not found in any form in nature and can only be made (synthesized) by humans. MDA and MDMA can be made starting with oil from the sassafras plant, which contains the chemical "safrole". Both MDA and MDMA can be made starting with natural safrole, synthetic safrole, or from other starting precursors.

Currently, most MDA is not made from safrole, but the route used to arrive at MDA has little impact on the final product.

If a DrugsData result says the sample contains MDA or MDMA, we are certain that it is not a naturally-occurring plant extract, it is a synthesized chemical.

Unfortunately, the terms "sassafras" or "sass" are sometimes used as slang to refer to MDA or MDMA, and this can result in a lot of confusion. On the part of large-volume distributors, this is absolutely intentional. There is no actual uncertainty about there being a natural "Sass" product with effects similar to MDMA: no such natural product exists. Small-scale distributors may or may not know that the drug they are distributing under the name "Sass" is a synthesized chemical, most likely MDA or MDMA.

Many people prefer natural products over lab-synthesized drugs, so there are obvious reasons for misrepresentations by producers and distributors. No one with expertise appropriate to distributing capsules of a strong psychoactive material would be confused if they had taken minimal effort to confirm the identity of the substance.

We've heard from and about many people who've been offered a material they were told is a natural plant extract with effects equivalent to MDA or MDMA. For example, one of the plants falsely attributed with MDMA-like properties is kanna (Sceletium spp.). Though kanna is somewhat psychoactive, as of Aug 28 2023 we've had six samples submitted to DrugsData for lab analysis with the name "kanna" and all of them contained only MDMA or MDA.

After looking into this exact issue for almost twenty years, we believe there is no psychoactive substance that's a natural plant extract, has substantial MDA/MDMA-like effects, and fits into ten or fewer capsules.

Change History:
Aug 28 2023: Updated number of kanna samples analyzed through Erowid's DrugsData project.

Asked By : Indigo22
Answered By : Spoon, earth, Borax, Roi
Published Date : 7 / 20 / 2022
Last Edited Date : 8 / 28 / 2023
Question ID : 3192

Categories: [ Chemical ID ] [ Analyical Chemistry ] [ MDA ] [ MDMA ] [ Kanna ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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