4-CEC is a research chemical in the cathinone family created from the Catha edulis plant. Research on this supplementary compound has not been thoroughly performed. The only data available is the chemical formula, the molecular mass, and the IUPAC name. However, it is closely related to cathine, methcathinone, and certain other amphetamines. These compounds created by research chemical manufacturers release dopamine and inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine, epinephrine, and serotonin.

Research on the chemical in scientific laboratories shows that 4-CEC is an analog of 4-MEC so most research performed will determine various binding properties on receptors as well as compare the new research chemical with 4-MEC. Due to the unfamiliarity of 4-CEC and not enough data available, it is not intended for human or animal consumption. The long term effects, toxicity, and even side effects are not known.

Manufacturers create research chemicals such as 4-CEC due to legal issues with parent drugs and other structurally related compounds. This will allow scientists to experiment with compounds in the cathinone family using research chemicals that are legal for laboratory testing. However, the chemicals are not intended for human consumption until more can be discovered if there are any beneficial factors of 4-CEC and if there are any harmful side effects. One of the main reason these research chemicals are created is to try to create a new chemical that will replace drugs being used for mental or medical issues that offer less harmful side effects.