By Alice || Edited by Go Ask Alice Editorial Team || Last edited Mar 22, 2024
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Alice! Health Promotion. "What is “Foxy” and how does it affect the brain?." Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University, 22 Mar. 2024, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/what-foxy-and-how-does-it-affect-brain. Accessed 24, May. 2024.

Alice! Health Promotion. (2024, March 22). What is “Foxy” and how does it affect the brain?. Go Ask Alice!, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/what-foxy-and-how-does-it-affect-brain.

Dear Alice,

The new acid like synthetic club drug "Foxy" has caught the attention of a few of my friends and I am wondering what kind of high it is — compared to LSD — and what kinds of damage it does to the brain?

Dear Reader, 

“Foxy” or “Foxy methoxy” is the street name for 5-Methoxy-N, N-diisopropyltryptamine. This drug is a hallucinogen, with the subclass psychedelic, that might be substituted for other substances. As you stated, it’s a synthetic or lab-made drug that’s made from tryptamines which mimic the effects of hallucinogens such as LSD. While there isn’t a ton of research on it, what does exist suggests that it may affect cognition and memory after long-term use. Typical side effects range from euphoria to fear and anxiety. 

Foxy is a hallucinogen that interacts with serotonin in your brain. While its use is often popular among adolescents or young adults who are looking to get high, its use seems to be going down. Foxy is often ingested through the nose or mouth as a powder, tablet, or capsule. However, it can also be snorted or smoked. 

While it’s technically an illegal substance with no approved medical uses, there are some findings on its effects on the body. The effects of Foxy can vary depending on a person’s biology (such as age, sex, height, and weight) as well as other substances that may be in the body that could interact with Foxy. Often a user’s experience can be influenced by their personality, mood, environment, and state of mind at the time of use, so reactions to it can vary. Typically, effects start around 20 to 30 minutes after a person takes Foxy and can last anywhere from three to six hours. Common symptoms are altered perceptions, very intense emotions, or hallucinations of various colors and shapes. Sometimes people may feel more connected with themselves or the world as their sense of reality changes. 

However, a “bad trip” or feelings of anxiety, fear, and panic are also possible. Hallucinogens like Foxy can also lead to serotonin syndrome which disrupts the body’s natural serotonin regulation processes. Physical effects of using Foxy might include headache, nausea, changing heart rate, dilated pupils, vomiting, or diarrhea. While there are yet to be reports of overdose or death from taking psychedelics like Foxy, it should be noted that taking it with other drugs is suspected to increase the risk of an adverse reaction. 

Unfortunately, research is sparse when it comes to the differences between Foxy and LSD specifically. What scientists do know comes from research done on each substance separately. Because human studies on the long-term effects of Foxy are limited, studies on rats have been used to show the damage it can cause to DNA in the brain and how it can lead to behavioral changes. Repeated use of Foxy was also shown to decrease rats’ cognition and memory. In the human body, it’s known that you can become more tolerant of Foxy, though it’s uncommon for people to become addicted. 

That said, Foxy and LSD are both psychedelic drugs that affect serotonin use in the brain. Very small doses of LSD can create a large effect on the body, from euphoria to psychosis, depression, or hyperactivity. Foxy, however, is usually taken in larger doses, but the effects are similar. That’s why many may use Foxy as a substitute for LSD, or other drugs like mushrooms (psilocybin) or MDMA. In some cases, Foxy is taken in combination with other drugs like alcohol or fentanyl. This can lead to extreme effects on the body and may even lead to death. Additionally, psychedelics, in general, can lead to hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder (HPPD). This is a condition where people have vivid flashbacks of hallucinations they experienced when they were high, even months or years after taking the drug. 

When taking a substance like Foxy, it’s important to keep in mind the risks of substance misuse, even if the risks of a particular drug are low. Fortunately, there are options available if you or someone you know needs help with substance misuse or addiction. For those experiencing a bad trip, emergency health services can help you come down from the high and de-escalate any emotional side effects. Additionally, organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration often have confidential resources for those looking for long-term treatment or support options. Being informed about substances like Foxy whether you choose to use them personally or not can be helpful knowledge to have in preventing yourself or someone you care about from death or other harmful consequences. 

Stay foxy (with or without methoxy), 

Additional Relevant Topics:

Substance Use and Recovery
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