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Book II of PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story, by Alexander & Ann Shulgin #4: ALEPH-2
#4 ALEPH-2: 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylthioamphetamine

#4 ALEPH-2 SYNTHESIS: A solution of 2.0 g 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(ethylthio)benzaldehyde (see under 2C-T-2 for its synthesis) in 12 mL nitroethane was treated with 0.4 g anhydrous ammonium acetate and heated on the steam bath for 3 h. All volatiles were removed under vacuum, leaving a residue that set up as brilliant red crystals. These were mechanically removed from the evaporation flask, blown free of nitroethane vapor, and recrystallized from boiling EtOH, producing 1.8 g pale orange crystals, with a mp of 110–112 °C. Recrystallization from 20 mL boiling IPA gave, after filtering and air drying, 1.70 g light orange crystals of 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenyl)-2-nitropropene with a mp of 112–113 °C.

A suspension of 1.2 g LAH in 75 mL anhydrous THF was put under an inert atmosphere and, with good stirring, brought up to a gentle reflux. A solution of 1.5 g 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenyl)-2-nitropropene in 20 mL anhydrous THF was added dropwise. Heating and stirring were maintained for an additional 24 h, and then the reaction mixture was allowed to come back to room temperature with stirring. There was added 1.4 mL H2O (dissolved in a little THF), followed by 1.4 mL 15% NaOH and finally another 4.2 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 1.1 g of a pale amber oil. This was dissolved in 6 mL IPA, neutralized with concentrated HCl (about 8 drops were required) and then diluted with 150 mL anhydrous Et2O. The slightly cloudy solution was stirred for a couple of min, then there was the formation of a heavy white crystalline mass. This was removed by filtration, washed with Et2O, and air dried to provide 1.1 g 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthioamphetamine hydrochloride (ALEPH-2) with a mp of 128–130 °C with decomposition.

DOSAGE: 4–8 mg

DURATION: 8–16 h.

QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 4 mg) “There was a warm feeling in the total body and a light pressure in the head that changed with time into the feeling of a balloon without any anatomical definition. The usual color perception was not very much increased, and my vision was not sharpened as it was with DOM. Rather, I noticed waves of movement, very smooth and not too busy. Both my tactile perception and auditory acuity were enhanced. The main effect for me was, paradoxically, an easier handling of the outer world. None of the jitters of amphetamine. The body feeling is good, healthy, and I am at peace with the body-mind dualism. These are pretty much personal comments—I will write up the pharmacological points later.”

(with 5 mg) “This turned out to be a day of extraordinary visuals and interpretations. About two hours into it, I felt that the effects were still climbing, but there was a marvelous onset of visual distortions and illusions, right at the edge of hallucination. The logs in the fireplace were in continuous motion. The notepaper I was writing on seemed to scrunch and deform under the pressure of the pen. Nothing would stay still; everything was always moving. There was a phase of unabated inflation. The intensity was noticeably dropping at the five hour point and I observed considerable residual shakes and a muscular tremor. Even towards midnight there was some tooth-rubbiness, but I was able to get a somewhat fretful though adequate sleep.”

(with 5 mg) “I was exposed to a number of new environments and it was difficult to completely separate the experience into what was seen differently and what was seen for the first time. The Santa Cruz Mystery Spot should have been bizarre but it was simply hokey. And yet the boardwalk that should have been depressing was totally magical. The day was unworldly and I ended up with considerable muscular weakness. All in all, I handled it well, but I probably won’t do it again.”

(with 7 mg) “An amazing unification of visual hallucination seen only in the very fine detail of something, and what must be considered retinal hallucination. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the many retinal cells of the high-resolution part of the eye. Thus, the mind can pick and choose, sometimes from the right eye, and sometimes from the left. And so a small curve or bump can become whatever you wish. For a moment. And then it chooses again, but differently. Is all of our perceived world as subjective as this?”

(with 8 mg) “Extreme intoxication, but almost no visual phenomena. Even well into the evening, I know I absolutely could not drive. Why? I don’t know, since this experiment, at least, seemed to be quite free of strange colors and wiggly lines and streaks of light. It’s that I don’t trust that the reality I see is the same reality that the other driver might see. I am very much the center of the world about me, and I don’t think I could trust anyone else to fully respect my reality.”

EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: As with ALEPH itself, and in most ways with the entire ALEPH family, there is no predictability of the dose/response relationship. One person had expressed his psychic isolation by taking and maintaining a fetal position in relative hibernation for several hours and with substantial amnesia; this at a four milligram dose. Yet another person, at fully twice this amount, was aware of a slight light-headedness that could in no way be measured as more than a bare threshold. But by the time this erratic nature had become apparent, the ALEPHS had been assigned and made, up to and including ALEPH-7.

ALEPH-3 was intended to be the methallylthio compound, 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(β-methallylthio)amphetamine. The thioether (2,5-dimethoxyphenyl beta-methallyl sulfide) was easily made from 2,5-dimethoxythiophenol (see 2C-T-2 for its preparation) with 3.4 g dissolved in a solution of 1.7 g KOH in 25 mL boiling EtOH, and 2.72 g methallyl chloride, heated 1 h on the steam bath, poured into 250 mL H2O, extracted with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2, and solvent removal yielding 4.4 g of the sulfide as an amber oil. An effort to convert this to 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(β-methallylthio)benzaldehyde (7.2 g POCl3, 6.7 g N-methylformanilide, 4.2 g of the crude sulfide from above, 15 min heating on the steam bath, H2O hydrolysis, hexane extraction of the residues from a CH2Cl2 extraction) produced 3.1 g of a peppermint-smelling oil that distilled at 140–160 °C at 0.3 mm/Hg and which did indeed have an aldehyde group present (by proton NMR) but the rest of the spectrum was a mess, and the project was abandoned.

Several years later, this entire project was reinitiated, and the aldehyde was obtained as a yellow crystal, but again it was not pursued. At that time, the earlier try had been totally forgotten, and a brand new ALEPH- (or 2C-T-) number had been assigned; i.e., 20. Thus, the corresponding phenethylamine (2,5-dimethoxy-4-(β-methallylthio)phenethylamine), had it ever been made, which it was not, would have been called either 2C-T-3 or 2C-T-20, and the amphetamine homologue would probably have been ALEPH-20.

A closely related 2C-T-X compound was also started quite a while later—this was the allylthio homologue of the methallyl material 2C-T-3 or 2C-T-20. Its place in the flow of things is evident from its numbering, 2C-T-16. A mixture of 2,5-dimethoxythiophenol and KOH and allyl chloride in MeOH gave 2,5-dimethoxyphenyl allyl sulfide as a white oil which boiled at 110–125 °C at 0.25 mm/Hg. This, with POCl3 and N-methylformanilide provided 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(allylthio)benzaldehyde which distilled at 140–160 °C at 0.4 mm/Hg and could be recrystallized from MeOH as a pale yellow solid. Reaction of this aldehyde in nitroethane in the presence of ammonium acetate (steam bath for 2.5 h) provided 2,5-dimethoxy-4-allylthio-β-nitrostyrene as red crystals from acetonitrile. Its mp was 114–115 °C. Anal. (C13H15NO4S) C,H. This has not yet been reduced to the final amine, 2,5-dimethoxy-4-allylthiophenethylamine, 2C-T-16. The corresponding amphetamine would be, of course, ALEPH-16.

ALEPH-5 was to be the cyclohexylthio analogue (2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyclohexylthioamphetamine). The thioether (2,5-dimethoxyphenyl cyclohexyl sulfide) was successfully made from 1.7 g 85% KOH pellets in 25 mL hot EtOH, 3.4 g 2,5-dimethoxythiophenol (again, see under 2C-T-2 for its preparation), and 4.9 g cyclohexyl bromide, 3 h on the steam bath, into 500 mL H2O, extraction with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2, washing the extracts with 5% NaOH, and evaporation to yield 5.2 g of an amber oil. The aldehyde, (made from 6.1 g POCl3 and 5.4 g N-methylformanilide, heated until claret colored, then treated with 5.0 g of the above crude thioether, heating for 20 min on the steam bath, into 300 mL H2O, and over-night stirring) was obtained as 3.1 g of a flesh-colored solid that was clearly neither pure nor completely correct. Repeated partitioning with organic solvents and cooling and scratching the residues finally provided a pale orange crystal (1.3 g, mp 88–93 °C) which, after twice recrystallizing from MeOH, gave 0.4 g of pale yellow crystals with a mp 95–96 °C and a textbook perfect NMR in CDCl3 (CHO, 1H (s) 10.41; ArH 2H (s) 6.93, 7.31; OCH3, 6H, (2s) at 3.88 and 3.92; CH, 1H br. at 3.34; and (CH2)5 10H br. at 1.20–2.34). The nitrostyrene was prepared from 200 mg of the above aldehyde in 1.2 mL nitroethane and 0.1 g ammonium acetate overnight on the steam bath, the solvent removed to give an orange oil that spontaneously crystallized after a few months’ standing. This was never characterized, but sits there on the shelf to be reduced to ALEPH-5 some inspired day. The two-carbon homologue of this (2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyclohexylthiophenethylamine) will someday be called 2C-T-5 (if it is ever made).

The remaining members of this family, ALEPH-4, ALEPH-6, and ALEPH-7 have actually been prepared and they have all been entered here in Book II, under their own names.

Page updated 30 March 2012 · This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License ·

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. 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.

Cautionary Note

“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

Copyright Notice

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.

Ordering Information

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.

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