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Tramadol (US brand name: Ultram) is an opioid-like pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory drug. It's commonly prescribed for back pain, sprains, and arthritis, and to people who need pharmalogical pain relief but for whatever reason can't take stronger opioids like Vicodin or Percocet. It's frequently used in 30cc doses in emergency rooms as an immediate but non-euphoric (and therefore, outpatient-compatible) painkiller.

Tramadol hydrochloride (Ultram in the United States and Canada, Adolonta in Europe) is a centrally acting anti-inflamatory analgesic. The chemical name for tramadol hydrochloride is (±)cis-2- (dimethylamino)methyl-1-(3-methoxyphenyl) cyclohexanol hydrochloride. The molecular weight of tramadol hydrochloride is 299.8.

The unencapsulated drug itself is a white, bitter, crystalline and odorless powder. It is readily soluble in water and in ethanol and has a pKa of 9.41. The water/n-octanol partition coefficient is 1.35 at pH 7.

The tablets are available in 50mg, 100mg, 150mg or 200mg varieties and will be either a yellow and green gelatin tablet or a white oval tablet. Inactive ingredients in the tablet are corn starch, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium starch glycolate, titanium dioxide and wax. Tramadol comes in two forms: regular and sustained release.

Tramadol has a moderate potential for abuse (although, compared to almost all other opioids, it's pretty weak), as its effects are similar to, though not nearly as intense as, lesser opioids, like dextropropoxyphene. Taking 150mg to 350mg (with 400mg being the dose where problems begin to occur—i.e., the necessity of a charcoal milkshake) produces roughly the same effect as about 10mg of codeine, only without an opioid's more unpleasant side effects (itching, vomiting, loss of alertness). In moderate to high doses, tramadol produces slight dizziness, extremely mild, almost unnoticeable euphoria, and mild stomach upset. In very high doses (>400mg), severe stomach upset, unpleasant hallucinations and seizures can occur.

Tramadol was not an FDA-scheduled drug in the United States for much of its early existence, despite its potentially addictive properties. It's the only opioid that isn't Schedule I or II. In 2003, it was moved to Schedule IV.

It has been noted that tramadol eases the comedown of several recreational drugs, notably MDMA and LSD, although I suspect that this is purely conjecture, as I've done both of those drugs and I've gone through courses of tramadol for pain, and I can't imagine it doing much for calming people down, at least not as well as any benzodiazepine or hypnotic sedative.


What is needed here, and what I hope to offer, is a first-hand account of the effects and availability of tramadol.

I first stumbled across tramadol on one of my jaunts into the seamier side of the web. Anything can be obtained for the right price if you only know where to look. With this spirit in mind, I set off to find some quality, yet inexpensive, painkillers. This is how I found the JLF Catalog. The catalog offered a sundry of questionable items including, but not limited to, morning glory, peyote, dopamine and of course tramadol. On a tangential note, the cover of the magazine consists of a Santa figurine surrounded by a fresh harvest of amanita muscaria mushrooms. A JLF catalog special. Tramadol was sold by the gram in pure powder form, allowing the catalog to sidestep the pharmaceutical industry all together and give the customer an incredible price for a decent painkiller. Of course, nothing lasts forever as JLF was raided by the police after a teenager overdosed on another of their products, 2C-T-7. The story was covered in Rolling Stone.

Tramadol is a one-two punch of a drug. Part of the drug's mode of action is to bind to the opioid receptors while still another inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. What results is an experience not unlike mixing codeine and ecstasy, and can be an incredibly pleasant high. Unlike opioids, people on tramadol will remain alert, talkative and full of energy. First time users can experience 'tramadol dreams,' where they seem to nod off and drift into a comfortable stupor though they are still awake, at doses of 200 mg or less. This happens most frequently towards the end of the high, as the drug can have lasting potentcy for 6-8 hours. The idea that a 400 mg dose would precipitate a call to your local poison control center is ludicrous. Granted, 400 mg is a powerful dose for someone not acquainted with the drug, but doses over 600 mg are not unknown.

These days tramadol is about the easiest drug to obtain on the net. There are dozens of sites that will sell it to you with no prescription, though they usually will quite happily rip you off as well. A good price is about $50-75 for 100x50mg pills. The powder can also be snorted for a stronger high as it is very smooth and only slightly more irritating than cocaine. Tramadol combines perfectly with both marijuana and tobacoo cigarettes.

I must add this fact to mcd's entry: it is dangerous to use tramadol with marijuana and certain other drugs. Tramadol lowers the seizure threshold because it is part serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, and cannabis adds to that effect. I myself had a myoclonic (myoclonus) seizure from combining these two drugs. It is also worth noting that the same goes for combining any two drugs that have an antidepressant effect -- such as tramadol plus an antidepressant. The condition that occurs from too much serotonin in synapses is called Serotonin Syndrome.

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