SYNTHESIS: To a well-stirred solution of 1.95 g of the free base of 2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine (2,5-DMA) in 12 mL glacial acetic acid, there was added 1.8 g elemental bromine dissolved in 4 mL acetic acid over the course of 5 min. The slightly exothermic reaction was allowed to stir for 3 h, and then added to about 200 mL H2O. The cloudy solution was washed with 2×100 Et2O, made basic with aqueous NaOH, and extracted with 3×100 mL CH2Cl2. Evaporation of the solvent from the pooled extracts gave about 3 mL of a pale amber oil which was dissolved in 250 mL anhydrous Et2O and saturated with anhydrous HCl gas. The fine white crystals of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine hydrochloride, DOB, were removed by filtration, Et2O washed, and air dried. These weighed 1.7 g and had a mp of 195–196 °C. Recrystallization from IPA brought this up to 207–208 °C. Proton NMR spectroscopy of the hydrochloride salt in D2O gave confidence that the bromine atom had uniquely entered the 4-position, in that there were only two unsplit aromatic hydrogen atoms present, at 6.97 and at 7.20 ppm downfield from external TMS.
DOSAGE: 1.0–3.0 mg.
DURATION: 18–30 h.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 0.4 mg) “There was a distinct enhancement of visual perception, and some strengthening of colors. A clean, cold feeling of wind on the skin. I felt an enriched emotional affect, a comfortable and good feeling, and easy sleeping with colorful and important dreams.”
(with 2.0 mg) “There was a continuous tremor at the physical level, and an incredible Moebius strip representation of reality at the intellectual level. I was able to enter into personal problems easily, and get out again when I chose to. During the next day, there were brief lapses of attention, or little fugue states, and it was not until the following evening that I was completely myself again.”
(with 2.8 mg) “About three hours into this I had a severe cramp, and had a near fainting response to the pain, and yet there was no pain! I felt that I was very near a loss of consciousness, and this was most disturbing. There were flashes of depersonalization. I saw rings around the moon with prismatic colors, and there were long-lasting “after-images” following any viewings of points of light. I was still a good plus 1 at 14 hours, but did manage to sleep. It was the next day before I was again at baseline.”
(with 3.0 mg) “This was a complex, but a very good day. It involved making a large pot of chicken-vegetable soup, and listening to H.L., my favorite Saturday morning fundamentalist Christian radio preacher, bless ’im. The Democrats are not exactly all anti-American dupes of Moscow (or the Devil), but to H.L., they are practically, almost, next-door to it. The Rapture is supposed to happen tomorrow according to a certain book, newly published (just in time, looks like) and he is busy softening the possible disappointment of those who may find themselves unchanged Monday morning. Wunnerful. It’s been one heck of a good experiment, and I can’t understand why we waited nine years to try this gorgeous stuff. Without going into the cosmic and delicious details, let’s just say it’s a great material and a good level.”
(with 0.5 mg of the “R” isomer) “I am underway, and this is a smooth intoxication. I am completely functional, but still really a plus two. I would not choose to drive a car. Not very far. I felt a rather quick dropping to a plus-one at the fifth hour, but there is a residual stimulation still the following morning.”
(with 1.0 mg of the “R” isomer) “By the fourth hour I am absolutely a +++ and am searching the kitchen for food. But what I eat is only so-so. There is not the introspection or intensity of 2.0 milligrams of the racemate material, but this is a rewarding place nonethless. At the 18th hour, there was some fitful sleep, with bizarre dreams. The next day I was still hungry for altered spaces, and successfully challenged the residual plus one with LSD and, as is usually the case, acid cut right through the detritus and allowed a direct shot up to a +++ again.”
(with 1.5 mg of the “R” isomer) “This is a +++ but it is vaguely irrational. I feel a heavy body load, but then the temperature outside is over a hundred degrees and I may not be in the best of all physical environments. I would not wish any higher dosage. There were cat-naps at the twelth hour, but most symptoms were still there at the 18th hour. A good experience. It would be interesting to compare this, some day, with 3.0 milligrams of the racemate.”
(with 0.5 mg of the “S” isomer) “There are no effects at all.”
(with 1.0 mg of the “S” isomer) “There is something warm and nice at a couple of hours into this, but I am no more than threshold, and the effects are very slight. By the fifth hour there are no longer any effects.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: The stars had clearly lined up in favor of making DOB and exploring its biological activity. This preparation had been completed in 1967 and the report of this compound and its unprecedently high potency published in 1971. And very shortly, two additional papers appeared completely independently. One described DOB made via a different route, and describing high activity in rats. The other described DOB and a couple of closely related brominated amphetamines and their action in man.
This is one of the last of the experimental compounds within the phenethylamine family on which any animal toxicity studies were performed by me prior to human studies. A mouse injected with 50 mg/kg (ip) showed considerable twitching and was irritable. Another, at 100 mg/kg (ip), had overt shaking at 20 minutes, which evolved into persistent hyperactivity that lasted several hours. Yet another, at 125 mg/kg (ip), lost much of her righting reflex within 15 minutes, entered into convulsions at 50 minutes, and was dead a half hour later. A fourth mouse, at 150 mg/kg (ip), entered into spontaneous convulsions within 10 minutes, and expired in what looked like an uncomfortable death at 22 minutes following injection. What was learned? That the LD50 was somewhere between 100 and 125 mg/kg for the mouse. And an effective dose in man of maybe 2 mg (for an 80 kg man) is equivalent to 25 μg/kg. Therefore the index of safety (the therapeutic index, the lethal dose divided by the effective dose) is well over a thousand. I feel that two mice were killed without anything of value having been received in return.
Actually, it is very likely that the damaging, if not lethal, level of DOB in man is a lot lower than this ratio would imply. There was a report of a death of a young lady following the snorting of an amount of DOB so massive, there was the actual recovery of over nine milligrams of the drug from her body tissues in the post-mortem examination. It was said that she and her companion had thought that the drug they were using was MDA and, taking a dosage appropriate for this, effectively overdosed themselves. He survived, following convulsions and an extended period (several weeks) of being in a comatose state. Tragic examples have been reported that involve arterial vascular spasm. But in most overdose cases ascribed to DOB, the identity of the drug has remained unestablished.
As with DOI, the presence of a heavy atom, the bromine atom, in DOB makes the radioactive isotope labelled material a powerful research tool. Studies with DOB labelled with either 82Br or 77Br have been used in human subjects to follow the distribution of the drug. The use of a whole body scanner permits the imaging of the intact body, with the travelings of the radioactivity easily followed from outside. A fascinating finding is that DOB goes first and foremost to the human lung where it accumulates for a couple of hours. It is only afterwards that the brain level builds up. There is a strong implication that some metabolic conversion occurs in the lung, and it is only after this that the truly active metabolite is available for central action. This is consistent with the relatively slow onset of effect, and the very long duration of action.
As with all the other psychedelics which can and have been studied as their optical isomers, it is the “R” isomer of DOB that is the more active than the racemic mixture, and the “S” is certainly much less active, but it has never been run up to fully active levels. The alpha-ethyl homologue of DOB is mentioned under ARIADNE. The positionally rearranged isomers of DOB are discussed under META-DOB.
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,