SYNTHESIS: A solution of 2.3 g 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(methylthio)benzaldehyde (see under 2C-T for its synthesis) in 7.5 mL nitroethane was treated with 0.45 g anhydrous ammonium acetate and heated on the steam bath for 6 h. The excess solvent/reagent was removed under vacuum leaving a mass of orange crystals as residue. These were ground up under 10 mL MeOH, collected by filtration, washed with a little MeOH, and air dried to provide 2.6 g crude 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylthiophenyl)-2-nitropropene. After recrystallization from 140 mL boiling MeOH, filtering and drying there was in hand 1.8 g of bright orange crystals with a mp of 137–138 °C. Anal. (C12H15NO4S) C,H,N,S.
A suspension of 1.4 g LAH in 10 mL anhydrous Et2O and 40 mL anhydrous THF was put under an inert atmosphere and, with good stirring, brought up to a gentle reflux. A solution of 1.8 g 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylthiophenyl)-2-nitropropene in 30 mL anhydrous THF was added dropwise at a rate that maintained the reflux. Heating and stirring were maintained for an additional 7 h, then the reaction mixture was allowed to return to room temperature. There was added 1.6 mL H2O (dissolved in a little THF), followed by 1.6 mL 15% NaOH, and finally another 4.8 mL H2O. Stirring was continued until all the curdy solids had turned white. The reaction mixture was filtered, and the filter cake washed with THF. The filtrate and the washings were combined, and the solvent removed under vacuum. The residue was 1.3 g of a colorless oil that solidified. Its mp of 90–93 °C was improved slightly to 91–93 °C with recrystallization from hexane. The product was dissolved in 25 mL warm IPA, neutralized with concentrated HCl (0.57 mL required) and then diluted with 100 mL anhydrous Et2O. After a moment’s delay, the white crystalline product appeared. It was removed by filtration, washed with Et2O, and air dried to provide 1.2 g 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylthioamphetamine hydrochloride (ALEPH) with a mp of 200–201 °C. Recrystallization from IPA gave an analytical sample with a mp of 204–205 °C. Anal. (C12H20ClNO2S) C,H; N: calcd, 5.04; found, 5.52.
DOSAGE: 5–10 mg.
DURATION: 6–8 h.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 5 mg) “The initial hints of action were physical—warming of first the legs, and then a comfortable warmth spread over the entire body. Intense intellectual stimulation, one that inspired the scribbling of some 14 pages of handwritten notes. Which is a pretty good record for an experience that is almost entirely non-verbal. The afterglow was benign and rich in empathy for everything. And by the sixth hour I was quite hungry.”
(with 10 mg) “There was a rapid shift of frame of reference that made simple tasks such as reading and tuning the radio quite alien. I happened to catch the eyes of Pretty Baby, the cat, at the same moment she looked at me, and she turned and fled. I am able to interact with people on the telephone quite well but mechanical things, such as arranging flowers or alphabetizing names, are beyond me. Driving would be impossible.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: This specific compound is probably the first sulfur-containing phenethylamine to have been evaluated as a potentially active CNS stimulant or psychedelic. It was a complete, total, absolute unknown. The first trials were made at the sub-microgram level, specifically at 0.25 micrograms, at 11:30 a.m. on September 3, 1975. Part of this extreme precaution was due to the uniqueness of a new heteroatom in a phenethylamine system. But part was due to the strange manic excitement that occurred at the time of the isolation and characterizing of the final product in the laboratory. Although it was certainly all placebo response, I was jumpy and unable to stay in the lab for more than a few minutes at a time. Maybe dust in the air? Maybe some skin contact with the free base? Now, I know there was nothing, but the possibility of extraordinary potency was real, and I did indeed wash everything down anyway. In fact, it took a total of 18 trials to work the experimental dosage up to as much as a single milligram. In retrospect, overly cautious. But retrospection, as they say, is cheap.
The 5 milligram experiment, briefly quoted from above, is the stuff of Chapter 14 of this book, important in that it gives an interesting example of some thought processes associated with psychedelic intoxication, ego-inflation, and what might be thought of as bits of mania. As is always the case with peak experiences that happen to be catalyzed by drugs, this extraordinary event could not be duplicated. At 7 milligrams there was an uneventful +1, and some 10 milligrams was needed to generate a full +3 experience. The first clue of the erratic nature of the Aleph family came from an independent assay by a colleague of mine, one who was very familiar with such states of consciousness, but for whom this was not a time for peak experiences. At 10 milligrams he told me that he had had only mild effects which he found relatively uninteresting.
As it stands, ALEPH remains relatively unexplored. Its two positional isomers are entered here as ORTHO-DOT and META-DOT. Three higher homologues have been more thoroughly looked at, and the generic name ALEPH (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) was given this group on the basis that they might have extraordinary properties in common. But the real treasure came in the exploring of the 2-carbon homologues, the compounds that make up the 2C-T family. Here, there proved to be much less uncertainty as to reasonable dosages, and much more richness in the subjective nature of the experience.
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,