What are SARMS?

Selective androgen receptor modulators or SARMs are a novel class of androgen receptor ligands. They are intended to have the same kind of effects as androgenic drugs but be much more selective in their action, allowing them to be used for more uses than the uses of anabolic steroids

Chemical class: Steroidal; Nonsteroidal

Biological target: Androgen receptor

Sarms Ranked by properties

What are SARMs

Selective androgen receptor modulators, better known as SARMs, are a class of drugs which were developed primarily to mitigate the vast array of side effects known to accompany anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) hormone therapy. Partaking in AAS therapies results in the user experiencing both anabolic (e.g. increased skeletal muscle mass and bone density) and androgenic (e.g. increased acne, male-pattern baldness) effects; the extent to which either one is experienced is dependent on the specific derivative of AAS used. Clinical use of AAS therapy is often contraindicated due to the onset of potential complications such as prostate growth, excess estrogen conversion, and shrinkage of the testicles [1]. This is where SARMs come into play; as they selectively target and address the medical condition at hand while simultaneously minimizing any unintentional effects (i.e. side effects and adverse events).


In clinical settings, SARMs have illustrated their potential to treat a wide variety of pathologies, such as muscle-wasting (cachexia) and osteopenia (low bone density). Recreationally, SARMs present a “safer” alternative to illicit AAS use, as their selective nature reduces the chance for the onset of adverse effects to occur, or at the very least lessens the severity of pre-existing side effects (i.e. testosterone suppression occurs to a lesser extent with SARMs than with AAS). All while at the same time, a notable amount of anecdotal reports have circulated around the internet touting impressive muscle gains; certainly beyond what most people could attain naturally.


As of August 2021, the legal status of SARMs resides in a sort of gray area, if you will. In November of 2019, the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators Control Act of 2019 was introduced into the United States Congress [2]. It was intended to be an extension of the Controlled Substances Act, where regulated drugs receive “schedules” in accordance with their potential for abuse. For instance, derivatives of AAS are categorized into Schedule III, which the Controlled Substances Act indicates that abuse of the drug:


May lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence” [3]


SARMs would most likely be placed in Schedule III as well. However, the Act was never officially passed. This brings us back to that gray area; SARMs are to be used for research purposes only and are not suitable for human consumption and anyone marketing it for such a purpose (e.g. in a dietary supplement) risks prosecution. This still makes it available for purchase online as long as it is marketed as a research chemical not to be consumed by humans.  


  1. Unwalla, R., Mousseau, J. J., Fadeyi, O. O., Choi, C., Parris, K., Hu, B., Kenney, T., Chippari, S., McNally, C., Vishwanathan, K., Kilbourne, E., Thompson, C., Nagpal, S., Wrobel, J., Yudt, M., Morris, C. A., Powell, D., Gilbert, A. M., & Chekler, E. (2017). Structure-Based Approach To Identify 5-[4-Hydroxyphenyl]pyrrole-2-carbonitrile Derivatives as Potent and Tissue Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. Journal of medicinal chemistry, 60(14), 6451–6457.
  2. S.2895 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): SARMs Control Act of 2019. (2019, November 19). | Library of Congress.
  3. 21 U.S. code § 812 – Schedules of controlled substances. (n.d.). LII / Legal Information Institute.

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