(Washington, D.C., United States of America)
Adrenochrome is a chemical compound with the molecular formula C9H9NO3 produced by the oxidation of adrenaline (epinephrine). The derivative carbazochrome is a hemostatic medication. Despite a similarity in chemical names, it is unrelated to chrome or chromium.
In popular culture
- In his 1954 book The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley mentioned the discovery and the alleged effects of adrenochrome which he likened to the symptoms of mescaline intoxication, although he had never consumed it.
- Anthony Burgess mentions adrenochrome at the beginning of his 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange. The protagonist and his friends are drinking drug-laced milk: “They had no license for selling liquor, but there was no law yet against prodding some of the new veshches which they used to put into the old moloko, so you could peet it with vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom or one or two other veshches […]”
- Hunter S. Thompson mentioned adrenochrome in his 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is probably the origin of current myths surrounding this compound, because a character states that “There’s only one source for this stuff… the adrenaline glands from a living human body. It’s no good if you get it out of a corpse.” 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. Gilliam insists that the drug is entirely fictional and seems unaware of the existence of a substance with the same name. Hunter S. Thompson also mentions adrenochrome in his book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. In the footnotes in chapter April, page 140 he says, “It was sometime after midnight in a ratty hotel room and my memory of the conversation is haze, due to massive ingestion of booze, fatback, and forty cc’s of adrenochrome.”
- The harvesting of an adrenal gland from a live victim to obtain adrenochrome for drug abuse is a plot feature in the second episode of the television series Lewis (2007).
- The harvest of adrenochrome from murder victims is a key part of the 2017 horror film Adrenochrome.
- Adrenochrome is a component of several false conspiracy theories such as QAnon and the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Written & Directed by Trevor Simms
A young American Veteran gets involved with a gang of Venice Beach psychos who are killing people to extract a psychedelic compound from their victim’s adrenal glands.
Pizzagate Global spread
In 2020, Pizzagate became a pillar of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory and less U.S.-centric in nature, with videos and posts on the topic in Italy, Brazil, Turkey and other countries worldwide each gaining millions of views.
It focuses on an alleged global elite of child sex-traffickers, ranging from politicians to powerful businesspeople and celebrities such as Bill Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey and Chrissy Teigen. Justin Bieber’s 2020 song “Yummy” was alleged to be about the conspiracy theory, and rekindled support for the theory during the year.