A lot of phantasy has accrued to adrenochrome lately, mostly from conspiracy theorists. The story, as related by Hunter S. Thompson, goes that adrenochrome is a super-hallucinogen, that can only be harvested by taking adrenal glands from living humans.

“Adrenochrome,” he said. “You won’t need much. Just a little tiny taste.”
I got the bottle and dipped the head of a paper match into it.
“That’s about right,” he said. “That stuff makes pure mescaline seem like ginger beer. You’ll go completely crazy if you take too much.”
I licked the end of the match. “Where’d you get this?” I asked. “You can’t buy it.”
“Never mind,” he said.
“It’s absolutely pure.” I shook my head sadly. “Jesus! What kind of monster client have you picked up this time? There’s only one source for this stuff…”
He nodded.
“The adrenaline glands from a living human body,” I said. “It’s no good if you get it out of a corpse.”
“I know,” he replied. “But the guy didn’t have any cash. He’s one of these Satanism freaks. He offered me human blood – said it would make me higher than I’d ever been in my life,” he laughed. “I thought he was kidding, so I told him I’d just as soon have an ounce or so of pure adrenochrome – or maybe just a fresh adrenalin gland to chew on.”
I could already feel the stuff working on me. The first wave felt like a combination of mescaline and methedrine. Maybe I should take a swim, I thought.
“Yeah,” my attorney was saying. “They nailed this guy for child molesting, but he swears he didn’t do it. ‘Why should I fuck with children?’ he says; ‘They’re too small!’” He shrugged. “Christ, what could I say? Even a goddamn werewolf is entitled to legal counsel… I didn’t dare turn the creep down. He might have picked up a letter-opener and gone after my pineal gland.”
“Why not?” I said. “He could probably get Melvin Belli for that.” I nodded, barely able to talk now. My body felt like I’d just been wired into a 220-volt socket. “Shit, we should get us some of that stuff,” I muttered finally. “Just eat a big handful and see what happens.”
“Some of what?”
“Extract of pineal.”
He stared at me. “Sure,” he said. “That’s a good idea. One whiff of that shit would turn you into something out of a goddamn medical encyclopedia! Man, your head would swell up like a watermelon, you’d probably gain about a hundred pounds in two hours… claws, bleeding warts, then you’d notice about six huge hairy tits swefling up on your back…” He shook his head emphatically. “Man, I’ll try just about anything; but I’d never in hell touch a pineal gland.”

—-Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas

This meme has since mutated into the reason for Satanic Ritual Abuse: adrenochrome can only be harvested from the (kidneys, brains, hearts) of humans frightened to death. This miracle hormone is supposed to be at once the highest high and a potent life extension drug, available only to “the elite”, who consume it daily, right with their breakfast of rhino bacon and whooping crane eggs.Like every other scare drug, it’s instantly, one-dose addicting, which means that they need at least several dozen victims a year to function.

Depressing fact: adrenochrome isn’t derived from pineal glands, and is not an hallucinogen. Consider the common epiPen, for anaphylactic shock. If you look at its active ingredient, you’ll see that it is norepinephrine, that is adrenaline. Oh. So adrenaline comes from the adrenal glands of the kidney. Except that most norepinephrine doesn’t come from frightened mammals, but from a lab, who know how to manipulate the hydrocarbons into the neat pentagon on hex shape of norepinephrine. (And no,it’s chemically identical, “organic” means nothing.) To make adrenochrome, they just oxidize them, or just let the solution alone, and let time do the trick. Sorry folks. Hunter Thompson has been proved wrong. So, how does it feel?

Not like much. It is a pretty liquid, with a beautiful bright red color, and a metallic taste, like what you’d think of a blood-derived fluid would have. Ingesting it in a safe quantity, makes for a slight muzzyheadedness, but little else. One experimenter reported the mother of all headaches. Ingesting it in an unsafe manner leads to blood clotting. The only citation I can find of any real psychoactive qualities comes from Abram Hoffman, who reported hallucinations in “a disturbed woman” in the early Fifties. (She also had a headache.) At one point, it was a suspect in chemical markers in schizophrenia, also in the Fifties. But the trail stops there.

Wow! But I guess this is like, a schedule zero drug, like worse than LSD or heroin?
That’ s true. It has no real schedule. In a word, it’s legal. In all 50 states. It’s just not recommended for human consumption. In short, it’s an expensive lab curiosity, running to $4000/gm,but little else. As for a pick-me-up, ALDI makes a great soda, Gridlock, that makes for a wonderful boilermaker, with their energy shot. For $3, you’ll feel like a million. And don’t read creepypasta before bed.