SYNTHESIS: A total of 20 mL concentrated HCl was added beneath the surface of 20 mL propylamine, and when the addition was complete, the mixture was stripped of volatiles under vacuum. The slightly yellow residual oil weighed 20.7 g and set up to crystals on cooling. It was dissolved in 75 mL MeOH, and there was added 4.45 g of 3,4-methylenedioxyphenylacetone (see under MDMA for its preparation) followed by 1.1 g sodium cyanoborohydride. Concentrated HCl in MeOH was added as required to maintain the pH at about 6 as determined with external, dampened universal pH paper. When the generation of base had stopped, the MeOH was allowed to evaporate and the residue was suspended in 1 L water. This was made strongly acidic with an excess of HCl. After washing with CH2Cl2, the aqueous phase was made basic with 25% NaOH, and extracted with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2. Removal of the solvent from the pooled extracts under vacuum yielded 3.3 g of a pale amber oil that was distilled at 85–90 °C at 0.2 mm/Hg. This fraction was water-white and weighed 2.3 g. It was dissolved in 10 mL IPA and neutralized with 25 drops concentrated HCl which produced crystals spontaneously. These were diluted with anhydrous Et2O, removed by filtration, washed with additional Et2O, and air dried. In this way there was obtained 2.3 g of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-propylamphetamine hydrochloride (MDPR) with a mp of 190–192 °C. Recrystallization from IPA gave a mp of 194–195 °C. The NMR spectrum was completely consistent with the assigned chemical structure. Anal. (C13H20ClNO2) N.
DOSAGE: greater than 200 mg.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 200 mg) “There are the slightest hints of physical response, maybe a smidgin of a lightheadedness at the one hour point. Perhaps a slight teeth clench. Certainly there is no central mental effect.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: This particular drug, considering that it was without activity, has proven one of the richest veins of pharmacological raw material. Two clues suggested its potential value. A number of reports in the 150 to 200 milligram area suggested that something was taking place in the periphery even without any clear central effects. The term “body window” was used occasionally by experimenters, an outgrowth of the term “window” that was used (at that time, the mid-1970’s) to describe the mental effects of MDMA. It was as if the body was opened up and made receptive, instead of the mind. The second clue came from many anecdotal reports that methedrine (a potent central nervous system stimulant) would augment the effects of an LSD dosage which followed it. The putting of a drug on top of an inactive drug is the “primer” concept. It turned out that MDPR was an extraordinary primer to some following psychedelic, especially LSD, even at modest doses. The putting of a drug on top of an active drug, usually during the latter part of its effectiveness is, as previously stated, called “piggy-backing.” A third drug-drug interaction has also been studied; the simultaneous administration of two active drugs, to study synergism. There may be an enhancement, or an inhibition, of one with the other. Let’s now re-enter the subsection “Qualitative Comments” again, with this primer concept in mind.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 160 mg followed at 2 h by 60 μg LSD) “The visual phenomena were extraordinary. We were at the beach just south of Mendocino. In anything that had ever been living, there was an endlessly deep microcosm of detail. Endless, and forever more microscopic in intricacy. A sea urchin shell, a bit of driftwood, a scrap of dried seaweed, each was a treasure of jewels. I have never had such wealth of visual eroticism and bliss before. Later, we visited the pygmy forest, but these living fossils were not as magical.”
(with 160 mg followed at 2 h by 60 μg LSD) “We both felt the first effects at about 30 minutes, and an hour later we found ourselves in a startling folie-a-deux, involved in reliving the origins of man’s arrival on earth. We were deep in a tropic environment, defending ourselves against the nasties of nature (insects, threatening things, blistering heat) and determining that man could indeed live here and perhaps survive. A shared eyes-closed fantasy that seemed to be the same script for both of us.”
(with 160 mg followed at 2 h by100 μg LSD) “This proved to be almost too intoxicating, and a problem arose that had to have a solution. The entire research group was here, and all were following this same regimen. Two hours into the second half of the experiment a telephone call came that reminded me of a promise I had made to perform in a social afternoon with the viola in a string quartet. Why did I answer the phone? My entire experience was, over the course of about 20 minutes, pushed down to a fragile threshold, and I drove about 10 minutes to attend a swank afternoon event and played an early Beethoven and a middle Mozart with an untouched glass of expensive Merlot in front of me. I could always blame the booze. I declined the magnificent food spread, split, and returned to my own party. Safely home, and given 20 more minutes, I was back into a rolling +++ and I now know that the mind has a remarkable ability to control the particular place the psyche is in.”
(with 200 mg followed at 2 h by 60 μg LSD) “There was a steady climb from the half-hour point to about 2 hours. There was not the slightest trace of anything sinister. There was simply a super tactile person-to-person window. I had an overpowering urge to go out and interact with other people. To see, to talk, to be with others. There are unending fantasies of things erotic. Perhaps being with others should be circumspect. By evening the effects had largely worn off, but this was an incredible day, beautiful and unexpectedly relaxing.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: There is need for more commentary. It must be noted that all of the above comments used rather modest dosages of LSD. The notes of this period, some two years of exploring interactions of the MD series of compounds as preludes to true psychedelics, are difficult to distill into a simple pattern. Most of these studies used LSD in the 60–100 microgram range which is fundamentally a modest level. Many trials were made where the challenge of acid plopped right on top of an active residue of another drug was more in keeping with the “piggyback” argument. An illustration of this is a trial in which the primer was MDMA followed at 5 hours (this is at a time of almost no effect) with a larger dose of LSD (250 micrograms). The LSD overwhelmed the residual numbing of the MDMA, and the generated state was overwhelmingly erotic and out of body. There can be no way of analytically organizing such a gemisch of drug-drug interactions with any logic that would allow a definitive interpretation. And LSD is not the only agent that can be used to challenge the “body window” such as that produced by MDPR. 2C-B, 2C-T-2 and 2C-T-7 have all been used with fine success as well.
In general, the use of an MD compound (looking at it as a stimulant and primer) followed by a psychedelic, brings about an exaggeration and enhancement of the latter compound. Much work must be done in this area to make sense of it all.
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,