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IUPAC name 2,3-Dihydro-3-hydroxy-1-methyl-1H-indole-5,6-dione
CAS number 54-06-8
Molecular formula C9H9NO3
Molar mass 179.175 g/mol
Density 3.264 g/cm³
Boiling point

(decomposes, 115-120 °C)

Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Adrenochrome, chemical formula C9H9NO3, is a pigment obtained by the oxidation of adrenaline (epinephrine). Adrenochrome monosemicarbazone, also known as carbazochrome, is a hemostatic, meaning it reduces capillary bleeding.


Schizophrenia hypothesis

Studies in the mid-twentieth century have indicated that adrenochrome is metabolized as one of two other substances, dihydroxyindole or adrenolutin. Dihydroxyindole may balance the anxiety and depression effects of adrenaline to reduce tension and irritability. Defective processing of adrenochrome, however, primarily produces the toxic adrenolutin instead, which combines with adrenochrome. The adrenochrome-adrenolutin combination is hypothesized by Dr. Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond to result in disruption of the brain's normal chemical processes.[citation needed] This disruption, according to their hypothesis, would be responsible for the symptomatology of schizophrenia. This hypothesis has long been opposed by proponents of the establishment medical industry.[citation needed]


Adrenochrome is synthesized in vivo by the oxidation of epinephrine. In vitro, Ag2O is used as an oxidizing agent (MacCarthy, Chim, Ind. Paris 55,435(1946))

optimum pH of water solution = 4

Psychedelic use

There has been a substantial amount of controversy about whether adrenochrome can be classified as a hallucinogenic drug. Even though adrenochrome induces remarkable psychoactive effects, most researchers agree that an adrenochrome experience does not qualify as a psychedelic one. Psychoactive effects of adrenochrome include euphoria, confusion, changed train of thought, and inability to concentrate.[1]

Adrenochrome in popular culture

Movies and books

Author Hunter S. Thompson mentions adrenochrome in his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In the book it is derived from a living donor's adrenal gland (removing the gland kills the donor; it cannot be taken from a corpse). As such, it is purported to be very exotic, and very intense: "the first wave felt like a combination of mescaline and methedrine". Thompson reported a significant perceived rise in body temperature that led to paralysis. The adrenochrome scene also appears in the novel's film adaptation. In the DVD commentary, director Terry Gilliam admits that his and Thompson's portrayal is fictional hyperbole.

In the book and film A Clockwork Orange, the drug whose street name is "drencrom" is possibly a reference to adrenochrome.

In the televised Inspector Lewis mystery Whom the Gods Would Destroy (2007), Lewis investigates a series of murders that revolve around the death of a prostitute some 20 years earlier. The prostitute had been murdered by a group of then-Oxford students for the purpose of experiencing the high attained from adrenochrome.

Author Aldous Huxley mentions adrenochrome early in his book The Doors of Perception relating it to lysergic acid and mescaline.

In the Frank Herbert novel "Destination: Void" , It is thought an adrenochrome-THC variant might be the chemical catalyst for artificial consciousness.

In the Discworld novel Sourcery a character is described thus: "He looked like someone who had just eaten a handful of pineal glands and washed them down with a pint of adrenochrome. He looked so high you could bounce intercontinental TV off him."


The Sisters of Mercy recorded a song called Adrenochrome, which appeared on the album Some Girls Wander By Mistake.

Otep has also recorded a song called Adrenochrome Dreams, which appeared on the album The Ascension. The song is highly psychedelic, narrating a discontinuous dream.


  1. ^ Hoffer, A. and Osmond, H. The Hallucinogens (Academic Press, 1967).
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Adrenochrome". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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