- Powerful stimulant
- Can improve sports performance
- Originally invented as a nasal decongestant
- Studies in animals only
- Discontinued in medical use in the 1970s
- Sold as a designer stimulant
- Banned by WADA
- Likely increases blood pressure and heart rate
DMHA or 2-aminoisoheptane or Octodrine is a widely used stimulant. It was originally invented way back in the 1940s. The mechanism of action seems similar to Ephedrine as Octodrine acts like a stimulant that has decongestant properties.
Thus, Octodrine was once marketed in the US as Vaporpac to treat airway obstruction illnesses. Now, Octodrine is better known as either 2-aminoisoheptane or DMHA. While FDA has issued several warnings about the inclusion of DMHA in food supplements, currently they have not issued a retraction or ban.
What is DMHA: Basics
DMHA is often compared to DMAA. As there are no scientific studies comparing these two, we can only go by anecdotal evidence.
Most DMHA users consume the stimulant through preworkout. According to most reports, DMHA is a little bit weaker than DMAA even at higher doses. However, the former has a greater “mental high”, therefore is a common inclusion in stim-junkie preworkouts.
Typical dosages for DMHA range from 50mg all the way up to 200mg. Two hundred milligrams is considered the top-end of the dosages with very few preworkouts going over that amount.
As with most stimulants, it takes a bit of time to feel the effects of DMHA. Most users report a 15-60 minute lag before the ingredient “kicks in”. Once it does, it usually elevates moods, provides energy, boosts focus and suppresses appetite.
Side effect wise, DMHA has most of the hallmarks of a regular stimulant. Increased blood pressure, heart rate, heartburn are all commonly reported. Additionally, taking the ingredient late in the evening (or before bed in general) might cause sleep disturbances.
There are other, more rare side effects, reported such as tremors, mood swings, loss of concentration, eye twitches, pulsing of the sinuses. Most of these side effects will likely happen due to extended use or high dosages of DMHA. However, anyone with non-perfect heart and mental health should take care or altogether avoid taking DMHA.
It’s often extremely difficult to talk about legality unless the topic is about completely illicit drugs. Thus, these will be generalizations and be sure to consult either your local laws or a lawyer before making any decisions.
In most areas of the world, DMHA is not banned per se. By banned I mean being included in restricted substances lists that would require either a prescription or would be completely inaccessible. However, in most countries the sale of DMHA as a food supplement (or within food supplements) is either restricted or banned.
To understand these differences, we must look at some general legislation procedures. In most countries, there different laws exist for food supplements and drugs. The latter are often lists that outright ban the acquisition or use of certain compounds (with some extreme exceptions). However, the former are usually targeted at companies that have a license to sell food or food-related products.
Usually, if something is banned for sale as a food supplement, it can be imported for personal use. Additionally, if someone buys a restricted food supplement from a store, that person is generally not prosecuted.
DMHA hasn’t been banned or restricted in my country, therefore I have had plenty of time to test the waters of this stimulant. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything particularly unique to report. Most of my experiences with DMHA fall within everyone else’s.
I notice a boost in energy, stimulation, and mood elevation about 30-45 mins after ingestion. DMHA has a very distinct feeling to me. It provides me a light-headed-like feeling. Imagine spinning around for several seconds and then suddenly stopping. Except DMHA is a lot more enjoyable than that.
Anecdotally, I have found that DMHA usually includes a harsh crash at the end. So much so that I am nearly always prepared to take a good nap after the workout. Your mileage may vary, however.
Side effect wise, I get the usual suspects – increased heart rate (about 10 BPM for half the duration), slightly raised BP (about +5/5), appetite suppression. However, I have never gotten tremors or shakes or anything of the like.
What is DMHA: Summary
DMHA is a powerful stimulant included in most preworkouts. There are two types of people who should avoid taking the ingredient altogether: professional athletes (banned by WADA) and people with heart or mental issues (increased harsh side effect risk). However, if your health is in order it is likely that nothing bad would happen.
However, I cannot still recommend taking DMHA. Its effects on humans have not been studies and we don’t know anything about the long-term potential of this compound. Additionally, it may have a lot of interactions with other compounds or conditions.
If you still decide to take the ingredient or preworkouts containing it, I would highly advise spacing out the use throughout the week or month. I have personally never used DMHA containing compounds more than once every other day. I would say that 3 times per week is the absolute max.