E: A quick and simple test (Marquis Reagent)
Marquis Reagent is a chemical spot test reagent that has been relied on by Forensic Police for over 30 years as the first line in presumptive identification of drugs and poisons. Marquis Reagent rapidly produces a colour response to a wide range of drugs and poisons.
Advanced Testing Technique
You really do need to be diligent here, and use your experience. For best results, use a fresh tester that at room temperature. Take your scraping (or powder) and spread it out to be about 0.7cm in diameter (approximately 1 drop of liquid in size). Don’t totally crush it to smithereens; just let it break into its ‘natural’ bits.
Drop the reagent onto the sample, and immediately look at it under good white lighting. Not too bright, just good white light (not yellow or other). Immediately start to swirl the drop of reagent liquid around, looking carefully at each fragment, looking for different colours and hues, and for different speeds of colour change. You can often pick up mixtures by the miniscule colour variants seen. This is particularly apparent with ‘re-engineered’ pills. The swirling also ‘thins’ the liquid layer you are looking at, making the colours more easily seen, rather than just seeing a concentrated section of colour that really looks black from the beginning. What we mean is that you look t a thin layer of purple and can see purple, rather than looking at a thick layer of purple which looks black!
For good MDMA (with a good fresh Marquis Reagent tester, for example), you WILL see a dark royal blue at the start, followed by a dark purple, and then the black will kick in within probably a few seconds, but sections should remain blue/purple for around thirty seconds or so. The blues and purples should be visible clearly if you SWIRL!
The same technique should be applied to E2: 2nd Defence (Mandelin Reagent).
Effervescence is due to the inert fillers and other chemicals they use in the tablets or powders. You can use Calcium hydrogen phosphate, perhaps Magnesium oxide, perhaps Calcium carbonate to ‘fill’ your pills. Some of these react with the sulphuric acid to produce carbon dioxide (usually from calcium carbonate – remember from chemistry: acid + carbonate = salt + water + carbon dioxide).
You can tell the difference between MDA and MDMA with the Marquis Reagent, but the problem is you will need a good fresh tester (which you may not have), a keen eye, good technique and lighting, and a sample which is JUST one or the other. It is the latter of these which is the most difficult. Pills are full of impurities, starting materials, and other small amounts of contaminants which also give colour changes and interfere with your results and interpretation. Spreading the sample and swirling helps, but it’s not going to help much with a mixed sample.
As for the speed of the colour change, we are not too convinced yet that quicker reaction equals ‘better’ pill. We think temperature and age of the tester have more to do with it. We do think that if you are an experienced tester, you can start to get semi-quantitative results from you testers. The intensity of the reaction, in comparison to what you have seen before, can help you to provide some information on strength, just not a huge amount!
Some words of caution: Where you get a mixed colour result, a murky result, or the colour tones and not clear, you can gather than your sample is a mixture, and you cannot use the information from the reagent test kit. A quick black reaction is NOT a desirable thing. You can add inert chemicals to a pill to make it go nice and black very quickly. Look for DARK ROYAL BLUE and the purple for Marquis (with MDMA).