These research chemicals are also known know as “designer drugs”. They are a novel class of drugs whose chemical structure has been altered just enough so that they are not explicitly scheduled according to the law. They are often nicknamed “bath salts” or “legal highs” because of the way they are legally marketed and their effects are usually very similar to the parent illegal drug from which they are derived, but the research chemical by itself remains legal and unscheduled, making it attractive for several reasons.
MDAI aka 5,6-Methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI) is a research chemical developed in the 1990s by a team led by David E. Nichols at Purdue University.
It acts as a non-neurotoxic and highly selective serotonin releasing agent (SSRA) in vitro and produces entactogen effects in humans.
The chemical structure of MDAI is indirectly derived from that of the illicit drug MDA, but the alpha-methyl group of the alkylamino amphetamine side chain has been bound back to the benzene nucleus to form an indane ring system, which changes its pharmacological properties substantially.