What is Adrenochrome used for and why are conspiracy theorists obsessed with it?

What is Adrenochrome used for and why are conspiracy theorists obsessed with it?
Sound of Freedom trailer

Adrenochrome has been mentioned heavily across social media as QAnon’s bizarre conspiracies become spoken about more and more. With the unexpected box office hit The Sound of Freedom, the adrenochrome conspiracy has become part of mainstream conversations.

The chemical compound was the subject of limited research from the 1950s to 1970s as it was believed to be a potential cause for schizophrenia. It currently has no medical application.

Despite the adrenochrome conspiracy theory spiking in popularity in recent years, theories around adrenochrome can actually be traced back to the 70s. Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, depicted adrenochrome as a psychedelic extracted from humans.

The more recent reiteration of the conspiracy theory baselessly claims that Hollywood and Democratic elites kidnap and torture children to harvest adrenochrome from them. It’s a large part of the conspiracy group QAnon, who also believe that a Satanic child sex trafficking ring is organised by political and Hollywood elites.

Posts about the theory can be dated back to the early 2010s on fringe platforms such as 4chan, which also served as the birthplace of QAnon.

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Conspiracy theorists claim that adrenochrome has psychedelic properties that helps those who consume the chemical have the ability to stay young.

The theory has been debunked multiple times by both media outlets and scientists who have highlighted that the chemical has no rejuvenating effects. As well as the fact that it is simply not true, the conspiracy has also faced criticism for its roots in antisemitism, namely blood libel. A myth that Jews use the blood of Christian and non-Jewish children in rituals. The anti-Semitic conspiracy was historically used to justify the imprisonment of Jews and was part of Nazi propaganda.

Conspiracy theorists claim that the Pixar film Monster’s Inc ‘tells on itself’ because the monsters scare children to extract screams from them which is used as energy.

Platforms such as Reddit and Amazon have taken steps to contain the theory, such as removing the subreddit r/adrenochrome and Amazon taking books promoting the theory off of its platform. However, searching “adrenochrome” on Twitter reveals the opposite.

Many believe celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey are part of the group that are behind the conspiracy.

But adrenochrome is just the latest right-wing conspiracy to entice many into a larger culture of misinformation and conspiracy theories. Theories such as Pizzagate and the belief that JFK or JKF Jr would reappear alive to reinstate Trump as president have previously made their way from fringe communities to mainstream discussion as the absurdity of the theories captures the interests of many. But as these theories become more known, many are calling for the crackdown of misinformation, especially online where many of these conspiracies are first spread.

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