SYNTHESIS: A suspension of 140 g anhydrous AlCl3 in 400 mL CH2Cl2 was treated with 100 g acetyl chloride. This slurry was added to a vigorously stirred solution of 110 g p-dimethoxybenzene in 300 mL CH2Cl2. Stirring was continued at ambient temperature for an additional 40 min, then all was poured into 1 L water and the phases separated. The aqueous phase was extracted with 2×100 mL CH2Cl2 and the combined organic phases washed with 3×150 mL 5% NaOH. These washes, after combination and acidification, were extracted with 3×75 mL CH2Cl2 and the extracts washed once with saturated NaHCO3. Removal of the solvent under vacuum provided 28.3 g of 2-hydroxy-5-methoxyacetophenone as yellow crystals which, on recrystallization from 2 volumes of boiling MeOH and air drying, provided 21.3 g of product with a mp of 49–49.5 °C. Ethyl-ation of this material serves as the starting point for the synthesis of 2Cl2 fraction from the base wash, above, was stripped of solvent on the rotary evaporator to give a residual oil that, on distillation at 147–150 °C at the water pump, provided 111.6 g of 2,5-dimethoxyacetophenone as an almost white oil.
In a round bottom flask equipped with a reflux condenser, a take-off adapter, an immersion thermometer, and a magnetic stirrer, there was placed 100 g 2,5-dimethoxyacetophenone, 71 g 85% KOH pellets, 500 mL of triethylene glycol, and 125 mL 65% hydrazine. The mixture was brought up to a boil by heating with an electric mantle, and the distillate was removed, allowing the temperature of the pot contents to continuously increase. When the pot temperature had reached 210 °C, reflux was established and maintained for an additional 3 h. After cooling, the reaction mixture and the distillate were combined, poured into 3 L water, and extracted with 3×100 mL hexane. After washing the pooled extracts with water, the solvent was removed yielding 22.0 g of a pale straw-colored liquid that was free of both hydroxy and carbonyl groups by infrared. This was distilled at 120–140 °C at the water pump to give 2,5-dimethoxy-1-ethylbenzene as a white fluid product. Acidification of the spent aqueous phase with concentrated HCl produced a heavy black oil which was extracted with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2. Removal of the solvent on the rotary evaporator yielded 78 g.of a black residue that was distilled at 90–105 °C at 0.5 mm/Hg to provide 67.4 g of an orange-amber oil that was largely 2-ethyl-4-methoxyphenol. This material could eventually be used as a starting material for ethoxy homologues. However, remethylation (with CH3I and KOH in methanol) provided some 28 g additional 2,5-dimethoxyethylbenzene.
A solution of 8.16 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-1-ethylbenzene in 30 mL CH2Cl2 was cooled to 0 °C with good stirring and under an inert atmosphere of He. There was then added 11.7 mL anhydrous stannic chloride, followed by 3.95 mL dichloromethyl methyl ether dropwise over the course of 0.5 h. The stirred reaction mixture was allowed to come up to room temperature, then held on the steam bath for 1 h. The reaction mixture was poured into 1 L water, extracted with 3×75 mL CH2Cl2, and the pooled extracts washed with dilute HCl. The organic phase was stripped under vacuum yielding 10.8 g of a dark viscous oil. This was distilled at 90–110 °C at 0.2 mm/Hg to yield a colorless oil that, on cooling, set to white crystals. The yield of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylbenzaldehyde was 5.9 g of material that had a mp of 46–47 °C. After purification through the bisulfite complex, the mp increased to 47–48 °C. The use of the Vilsmeier aldehyde synthesis (with POCl3 and N-methylformanilide) gave results that were totally unpredictable. The malononitrile derivative (from 0.3 g of this aldehyde and 0.3 g malononitrile in 5 mL EtOH and a drop of triethylamine) formed red crystals which, on recrystallization from toluene, had a mp of 123–124 °C.
A solution of 21.0 g of the unrecrystallized 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylbenzaldehyde in 75 g nitromethane was treated with 4 g of anhydrous ammonium acetate and heated on the steam bath for about 2 h. The progress of the reaction was best followed by TLC analysis of the crude reaction mixture on silica gel plates with CH2Cl2 as the developing solvent. The excess solvent/reagent was removed under vacuum yielding granular orange solids that were recrystallized from seven volumes of boiling MeOH. After cooling in external ice-water for 1 h, the yellow crystalline product was removed by filtration, washed with cold MeOH and air dried to give 13.4 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-β-nitrostyrene. The mp was 96–98 °C which improved to 99–100 °C after a second recrystallization from MeOH.
A total of 120 mL of 1.0 M solution of LAH in THF (120 mL of 1.0 M) was transferred to a 3 neck 500 mL flask, under an inert atmosphere with good magnetic stirring. This solution was cooled to °C with an external ice-water bath, and there was then added 3.0 mL of 100% H2SO4 over the course of 0.5 h. This was followed by a solution of 5.85 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-β-nitrostyrene, in 40 mL of warm THF. The reaction mixture was stirred for 0.5 h, brought to room temperature, heated on the steam bath for 0.5 h, and then returned to room temperature. The addition of IPA dropwise destroyed the excess hydride, and some 4.5 mL of 5% NaOH produce a white cottage cheese, in a basic organic medium. This mixture was filtered, washed with THF, and the filtrate evaporated to produce 2.8 g of an almost white oil. The filter cake was resuspended in THF, made more basic with additional 15 mL of 5% NaOH, again filtered, and the filtrate removed to provide an additional 2.8 g of crude product. These residues were combined and distilled at 90–100 °C at 0.25 mm/Hg to give a colorless oil. This was dissolved in 30 mL IPA, neutralized with concentrated HCl, and diluted with 50 mL anhydrous Et2O to provide, after spontaneous crystallization, filtration, washing with Et2O, and air drying, 3.87 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine hydrochloride (2C-E) as magnificent white crystals. A similar yield can be obtained from the reduction of the nitrostyrene in a suspension of LAH in THF, without the use of H2SO4. With 11.3 g of LAH in 300 mL dry THF, there was added, dropwise, a solution of 13.4 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-β-nitrostyrene in 75 mL THF over the course of 2 h. The mixture was kept at reflux for an additional 8 h, and killed by the careful addition of 11 mL H2O, followed with 11 mL 15% NaOH, and finally another 33 mL of H2O. This mass was filtered, washed with THF, and the combined filtrates and washes evaporated to a residue under vacuum The approximately 15 mL of residue was dissolved in 300 mL CH2Cl2 and treated with 200 mL H2O containing 20 mL concentrated HCl. On shaking the mixture, there was deposited a mass of the hydrochloride salt which was diluted with a quantity of additional H2O. The organic phase was extracted with additional dilute HCl, and these aqueous phases were combined. After being made basic with 25% NaOH, this phase was again extracted with 3×75 mL CH2Cl2 and after the removal of the solvent, yielded 12.6 g of a colorless oil. This was dissolved in 75 mL of IPA and neutralized with concentrated HCl. The solidified mass that formed was loosened with another 50 mL IPA, and then filtered. After Et2O washing and air drying there was obtained 7.7 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine hydrochloride (2C-E) as lustrous white crystals. Anal. (C12H20ClNO2) C,H.
DOSAGE: 10–25 mg.
DURATION: 8–12 h.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 16 mg) “There was a strange devil-angel pairing. As I was being told of the ecstatic white-light ascent of my partner into the God-space of an out-of-body experience, I was fighting my way out of a brown ooze. She saw the young Jesus at the bottom of a ladder drifting upwards step by step to some taking-off place, and I saw all the funny gargoyles around the base of the ladder surrounded by picnic bunting. For me it was the 4th of July, rather than Easter!”
(with 20 mg) “The view out of the window was unreal. The garden was painted on the window, and every petal of flower and tuft of grass and leaf of tree was carefully sculptured in fine strokes of oil paint on the surface of the glass. It was not out there; it was right here in front of me. The woman who was watering the plants was completely frozen, immobilized by Vermeer. And when I looked again, she was in a different place, but again frozen. I was destined to become the eternal museum viewer.”
(with 25 mg) “I have a picture in my living room that is a stylized German scene with a man on horseback riding through the woods, and a young girl coming out to meet him from the nearby trees. But she was not just ‘coming out.’ He was not just riding through the woods. The wind was blowing, and his horse was at full gallop, and his cape was flapping in the storm, and she was bearing down upon him at full bore. The action never ceased. I became exhausted.”
(with 25 mg) “Within minutes I was anxious and sweaty. Each person has his own brand of toxic psychosis—mine always starts with the voices in my head talking to me, about all my worst fears, a jumble of warnings and deep fears spinning faster. Twenty minutes later this complex chaos passed as quickly as it had come. At lower dosages 2C-E has been a truly enjoyable esthetic enhancer. But it really has a steep dose/response curve.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: Here is another of the magical half-dozen. The range is purposefully broad. At 10 milligrams there have been some pretty rich +++ experiences, and yet I have had the report from one young lady of a 30 milligram trial that was very frightening. My first experience with 2C-E was really profound, and it is the substance of a chapter within the story. The amphetamine homologue is Halcion or Valium at the 16 hour point. After a night’s sleep, there were still some effects evident the next day. Thus, the dose is comparable to the parent compound 2C-E, but the duration is 2 to 3 times longer. It was given the nickname “Eternity” by one subject.
About PiHKAL · info
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. Many, many others have since been added.
I have tried here to expunge any artifacts introduced by the earlier transcriptions and restore the typographic niceties found in the printed edition. I’ve also made minor changes to some chemical names in line with current nomenclature practice. Typically the change is little more than expanding a prefix or setting it in italics. The history 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.”
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.
Though 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,
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