I could be trite and say only that they are psychoactive substances used for research by scientists and they also known as “designer drugs” but that doesn’t really tell you anything.
On an abstract level, ‘chemicals’ or ‘chemical substances’ are defined as any kind of matter that is consistently made up of one type of atom or molecule – something that is (within certain tolerances) purely only one type of material.
Researchers undertake extensive, systematic testing and experimentation to learn new facts and develop more accurate theories. Because research chemicals are chemically pure, they are useful to researchers. They always behave the same way when exposed to other chemicals or substances, so they can be used to test or manipulate those substances in predictable ways.
Therefore, research chemists use research chemicals to better understand chemistry, and how to combine chemicals in new ways, producing new substances, or producing known substances in new ways. Without research chemists, we wouldn’t have anything much more advanced than wood and stone tools, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this article.
On a more practical level, ‘research chemicals’ or “designer drugs” are different from other kinds of chemicals in a few important ways. They are defined as research chemicals because they are intended to be used only for research, never as additives, supplements, medicines or drugs for humans or even animals. However, use on plants is not automatically ruled out.
There are several classes of research chemicals, including pharmacological and agricultural research chemicals.