SYNTHESIS: To a solution of 27.6 g protocatechualdehyde (3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde) in 250 mL acetone there was added 57 g finely powdered anhydrous K2CO3 and 43 g 1,2-dibromoethane. The mixture was held at reflux for 16 h, and then the acetone removed by evaporation. The remaining tar-like goo was distributed between equal volumes of H2O and CH2Cl2, and the phases separated by centrifugation. The organic phase was washed with 2×50 mL 5% NaOH, and the solvent removed under vacuum. The residue (22.0 g with the smell of the starting halide) was distilled to give a fraction that boiled at 110 °C at 0.25 mm/Hg to yield 3,4-ethylenedioxybenzaldehyde (1,4-benzodioxane-6-carboxaldehyde) as a white oil weighing 6.88 g. This spontaneously crystallized to give white solids that melted at 50–51 °C.
A solution of 6.64 g 3,4-ethylenedioxybenzaldehyde in 40 mL nitroethane was treated with 0.26 g anhydrous ammonium acetate and held at reflux for 3 days. TLC analysis showed that there was much aldehyde remaining unreacted, so an additional 0.7 g ammonium acetate was added, and the mixture held at reflux for an additional 6 h. The excess nitroethane was removed under vacuum. The residue was dissolved in 30 mL hot MeOH which, with patience and slow cooling, finally deposited a heavy yellow-gold powder. This product 1-(3,4-ethylenedioxyphenyl)-2-nitropropene melted at 95–96 °C and weighed 6.03 g when air dried to constant weight. Recrystallization from either MeOH or EtOAc gave the product as a yellow solid, but without any improvement in mp.
A solution of 4.0 g of 1-(3,4-ethylenedioxyphenyl)-2-nitropropene was made in 30 mL warm acetic acid. This was added to a suspension of 16 g elemental electrolytic iron in 75 mL acetic acid. The mixture was heated on the steam bath, and an exothermic reaction set in at about 70 °C. Heating was continued and the reaction allowed to proceed until the mass was a thick gray color and a dirty scum had been formed on the surface. After about 2 h, the entire mix was poured into 2 L H2O and filtered free of a little residual unreacted iron which was washed with CH2Cl2. The filtrate and washes were extracted with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2 and the pooled organic extracts washed with 2×50 mL 5% NaOH. Removal of the solvent gave 3.38 g of an amber oil which was distilled. The product 1-(3,4-ethylenedioxyphenyl)-2-propanone distilled as a white oil, at 105–110 °C at 0.2 mm/Hg. It weighed 2.74 g.
To 2.0 g. of 1 inch squares of light-weight aluminum foil there was added a solution of 50 mg mercuric chloride in 70 mL water. After standing at room temperature for 30 min, the H2O was drained away, and the amalgamated aluminum washed twice with H2O, and shaken as dry as possible. There was then added, promptly and in immediate sequence, a solution of 3 g methylamine hydrochloride in 3 mL H2O, 9 mL IPA, 7.25 mL 25% NaOH, 2.70 g of 1-(3,4-ethylenedioxyphenyl)-2-propanone, and 18 mL IPA. The mixture was heated on the steam bath until an exothermic reaction set in, and then it was continuously swirled as the reaction proceeded. When the aluminum was consumed, there was a colorless gray sludge, and this was filtered and washed with 2×10 mL MeOH. The combined mother liquors and washes were stripped of solvent under vacuum. The two phase residue was suspended in 400 mL H2O containing sufficient H2SO4 to make the resulting water solution acidic to pH paper. This was washed with 3×50 mL CH2Cl2, made basic with 25% NaOH, and the product extracted with 3×50 mL CH2Cl2. The resulting 3.01 g slightly amber residue oil was distilled at 110–120 °C at 0.25 mm/Hg to give 2.53 g of a white oil, which did not appear to absorb carbon dioxide. This was dissolved in 12 mL IPA, neutralized with 1 mL concentrated HCl and diluted with anhydrous Et2O to the point of initial turbidity. There separated white crystals of 3,4-ethylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine hydrochloride (MDMC) which weighed, when air dried to constant weight, 2.53 g.
DOSAGE: 200 or more mg.
DURATION: 3–5 h.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 150 mg) “A flood of paresthesia at the 30 minute point, and then nothing. There was the development of a plus one-and-a half effect over the next hour with the tendency to drift into a dozing state with hypnogogic imagery. There were colored letters in the periphery of my visual field. There was no appetite loss nor was there any blood pressure rise. And no eye jiggle or teeth clenching. I was out of the experience in 4 to 5 hours. A repeat of this level a few days later gave a bare possible threshold with no other effects.”
(with 200 mg) “There was something unmistakable at 45 minutes, with hints of nystagmus. Possibly MDMA-like, with no indicators of anything psychedelic. Subtle return to baseline, and there were no after-effects.”
(with 250 mg) “I am at a bare threshold at best.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: What a strange and completely unsatisfactory compound! In the original run-up from low levels to increasing higher levels, there never was a dosage that was a minus, that had no effect. At every level, something was thought to be there, usually at a level of a single plus or thereabouts. But with different people, different responses. There is no way of guessing what an active level might be, or how consistent that level might be between different people, or for that matter what the responses are that might be expected at that level.
This was yet one more effort to find an MDMA-like substitute by the miniscule manipulation of the MDMA molecule. Perhaps a small molecular change might leave the particular magic of the MDMA action alone, but eliminate the serotonin neuron problem in test animals. Maybe the serotonin neuron change is essential for MDMA to have the action it has. Who can tell?
The original name that this compound got, during the several explorations of MDMA analogues, was based on the nickname for MDMA which was Adam. HAD’EM was mentioned with the hydroxy compound, MADAM with the 6-methyl homologue, and FLADAM with the 6-fluoro analogue. This compound got the sobriquet MACADAM from that horrible black gooey mess generated at the aldehyde stage. This was shortened to “C” and eventually the “C” was added to the MDMA parent name. Thus, MDMC. It doesn’t really make sense; EDMA is more reasonable. But then there is no reason why MDMC should make sense.
This version of Book II of PiHKAL is based on the Erowid online version, originally transcribed by Simson Garfinkle and converted into HTML by Lamont Granquist. I drew also on “Tyrone Slothrop’s” (Unfinished) Review of PIHKAL to enumerate the many analogues mentioned in PiHKAL but not described at length. Still others remain to be added.
I have tried here to expunge any artifacts introduced by the earlier transcriptions and restore most of the typographic niceties found in the printed edition. I’ve also made minor changes to some chemical names in line with current nomenclature practice, and in the hope of aligning with more readers’ searches. Typically the change is little more than expanding a prefix and setting it in italics. The errata and changes page has further details.
“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 herein, 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 copyright for Book I of PiHKAL has been reserved in all forms and it may not be distributed. Book II of PiHKAL may be distributed for non-commercial reproduction provided that the introductory information, copyright notice, cautionary notice and ordering information remain attached.
PiHKAL is the extraordinary record of the authors’ years exploring the chemistry and transformational power of phenethylamines. This book belongs in the library of anyone seeking a rational, enlightened and candid perspective on psychedelic drugs.
Although Sasha and Ann have put Book II of PiHKAL in the public domain, available to anyone, I strongly encourage you to buy a copy. We owe them—and there’s still nothing quite like holding a real book in your hands.
PiHKAL (ISBN 0-9630096-0-5) is available for US$24.50 (plus $10 domestic first-class shipping) from Transform Press.Transform Press,