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Ann and Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin. Alexander Shulgin is the grandfather of many drugs. MDMA, which is the primary ingredient in Ecstasy, is one of the most known ones.

In order to carry out consulting work with the DEA, Shulgin obtained a DEA Schedule I license for an analytical laboratory, which allowed him to possess and synthesize any otherwise illicit drug. Shulgin set up a chemical synthesis laboratory in a small building behind his house, which gave him a great deal of career autonomy. Shulgin used this freedom to synthesize and test the effects of psychoactive drugs.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only two psychedelic compounds known to Western science: cannabis and mescaline. A little over 50 years later -- with LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, TMA, several compounds based on DMT and various other isomers -- the number was up to almost 20. By 2000, there were well over 200. So you see, the growth is exponential. When I asked him whether that meant that by 2050 we'll be up to 2,000, he smiled and said, The way it's building up now, we may have well over that number.



About Shulgin

In 1967, Shulgin was introduced to MDMA (ecstasy) by Merrie Kleinman, a graduate student in the medicinal chemistry group he advised at San Francisco State University. MDMA had been synthesized in 1912 by Merck and patented in 1914 as a byproduct of another synthesis, but was considered useless, and was never explored. Shulgin went on to develop a new synthesis method, and in 1976, introduced the chemical to Leo Zeff, a psychologist from Oakland, California. Zeff used the substance in his practice in small doses as an aid to talk therapy. Zeff introduced the substance to hundreds of psychologists around the nation, including Ann Shulgin, whom Alexander Shulgin met in 1979, and married in 1981.

Most of the scientific community considers Shulgin at best a curiosity and at worst a menace. Now, however, near the end of his career, his faith in the potential of psychedelics has at least a chance at vindication. A little more than a month ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Harvard Medical School study looking at whether MDMA can alleviate the fear and anxiety of terminal cancer patients. And next month will mark a year since Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist in Charleston, S.C., started his study of Ecstasy-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. At the same time, with somewhat less attention, studies at the Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center and the University of Arizona, Tucson, have focused on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). It's far from a revolution, but it is an opening, and as both scientist and advocate, Shulgin has helped create it. If -- and it's a big if -- the results of the studies are promising enough, it might bring something like legitimacy to the Shulgin pharmacopoeia.

After judicious self-experiments, Shulgin enlisted a small group of friends with whom he regularly tested his creations, starting in 1960. They developed a systematic way of ranking the effects of the various drugs, known as the Shulgin Rating Scale, with a vocabulary to describe the visual, auditory and physical sensations. He personally tested hundreds of drugs, mainly analogues of various phenethylamines (family containing MDMA and mescaline), and tryptamines (family containing DMT and psilocybin). There are a seemingly infinite number of slight chemical variations, all of which produce variations in effect-some pleasant and some unpleasant, depending on the person, substance, and situation-all of which are meticulously recorded in Shulgin's lab notebooks. Shulgin published many of these objective and subjective reports in his books and papers.

In 1994, two years after the publication of PiHKAL, the DEA raided his lab; allegedly finding problems with his record keeping, the agency requested that Shulgin turn over his license for violating the license's terms, and he was fined $25,000 for possession of anonymous samples sent to him for quality testing. In the 15 years preceding the publication of PiHKAL, two announced and scheduled reviews failed to find any irregularities. Richard Meyer, spokesman for DEA's San Francisco Field Division, has stated that, "It is our opinion that those books are pretty much cookbooks on how to make illegal drugs. Agents tell me that in clandestine labs that they have raided, they have found copies of those books,"suggesting to many that the publication of PiHKAL and the termination of Shulgin's license were related.

Their Books

Pihkal Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved. A Chemical Love Story. By Alexander and Ann Shulgin Tihkal Phenethylamines Tryptamines i Have Known And Loved. The Continuation. By Alexander and Ann Shulgin

phen-ethyl-amine \fen-'eth-al-a-,men\ n. [phenyl fr. F. phène, fr. Gk. phainein, to show (from its occurrence in illuminating gas)+ ethyl ( + yl) + amine fr. NL ammonia] 1: A naturally occurring compound found in both the animal and plant kingdoms. It is an endogenous component of the human brain. 2: Any of a series of compounds containing the phenethylamine skeleton, and modified by chemical constituents at appropriate positions in the molecule.


The Copyright for Part 1 of PiHKAL has been reserved in all forms and it may not be distributed. Part 2 of PiHKAL may be distributed for non-commerical reproduction provided that the introductory information, copyright notice, cautionary notice and ordering information remain attached.


At the present time, restrictive laws are in force in the United States and it is very difficult for researchers to abide by the regulations which govern efforts to obtain legal approval to do work with these compounds in human beings.... No one who is lacking legal authorization should attempt the synthesis of any of the compounds described in these files, with the intent to give them to man. To do so is to risk legal action which might lead to the tragic ruination of a life. It should also be noted that any person anywhere who experiments on himself, or on another human being, with any of the drugs described herin, without being familiar with that drug's action and aware of the physical and/or mental disturbance or harm it might cause, is acting irresponsibly and immorally, whether or not he is doing so within the bounds of the law. -- Alexander T. Shulgin


The first half of PiHKAL is an excellent commentary on the Shulgin's personal experiences with phenethylamines. It is highly recommended and well worth purchasing the book. Purchasing the book also gets you a far more complete cross-index into the chemicals described in the second half. If you are seriously interested in the chemistry contained in these files, you should order a copy. The book may be ordered through Transform Press, for $22.95 ($18.95 + $4 p&h U.S., $8 p&h overseas). Box 13675, Berkeley, CA 94701. (510)934-4930 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (510)934-4930      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (510)934-4930      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (510)934-4930      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (510)934-4930      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (voice), (510)934-5999 (fax). California residents please add $1.56 State sales tax.

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Pages in category "Shulgin"

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