In vivo, adrenochrome is synthesized by the oxidation of epinephrine. In vitro, silver oxide (Ag2O) is used as an oxidizing agent. Its presence is detected in solution by a pink color. The color turns brown upon polymerization.
Adrenochrome is uncontrolled in the United States. Thus, it is generally legal to buy, possess, and distribute (sell, trade or give). If sold as a supplement, sales must conform to U.S. supplement laws. If sold for consumption as a food or drug, sales are regulated by the FDA.
In popular culture
Adrenochrome is mentioned in The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley as "a product of the decomposition of adrenaline" that can "produce many of the symptoms observed in mescaline intoxication."
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 (“It's no good if you get it out of 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 a fictional exaggeration. In fact, Gilliam insists that the drug is entirely fictional and seems unaware of the existence of a substance with even a similar name. Thompson also mentions the substance in his book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
Adrenochrome is mentioned in Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novel Sourcery. The book describes the wizard Rincewind looking "like someone who had just eaten a handful of pineal glands and washed them down with a pint of adrenochrome" after he is overwhelmed by a magical field. Sourcery was first published in 1988.
Adrenochrome is the title of a 2013 album by Italian electronic group XP8.
Adrenochrome and Other Mythical Drugs is a book published in 2013 in which the author (psychologist expert in drugs) describes his first-hand experiences with this substance.
Adrenochrome or a fictionalized version of the substance appears in the Syfy TV series Defiance under the name "Adreno".
^"The controversy that these reports created just sort of died away, and the adrenochrome family has never been accepted as being psychedelic. No one in the scientific community today is looking in and about the area, and at present this is considered as an interesting historical footnote." As seen at: Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin (1991). "#157 (TMA)". PiHKAL - A Chemical Love Story. Transform Press.