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Book II of PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story, by Alexander & Ann Shulgin #85: GANESHA
#85 GANESHA: G; 2,5-Dimethoxy-3,4-dimethylamphetamine

#85 GANESHA SYNTHESIS: A solution of 15.4 g 2,5-dimethoxy-3,4-dimethylbenzaldehyde (see under 2C-G for the preparation) in 50 mL nitroethane was treated with 3 g anhydrous ammonium acetate and heated on the steam bath for 12 h. The excess nitroethane was removed under vacuum, and the residual oil was diluted with a equal volume of MeOH. There was the slow generation of deep red cottage-cheese-like crystals which were removed by filtration and air-dried to constant weight (9.3 g) with a mp 71–74 °C. Recrystallization from MeOH (10 mL/g) gave an analytical sample of 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-3,4-dimethylphenyl)-2-nitropropene with a mp of 82 °C sharp. Anal. (C13H17NO4) C,H,N. The NMR spectra (in CDCl3) and CI mass spectrograph (MH+ = 252) were proper.

To a suspension of 3.3 g LAH in 200 mL refluxing THF, well stirred and maintained under an inert atmosphere, there was added 4.2 g 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-3,4-dimethylphenyl)-2-nitropropene in 25 mL THF. The mixture was held at reflux for 48 h. After cooling, 3.3 mL H2O was added cautiously to decompose the excess hydride, followed by 3.3 mL 15% NaOH and finally another 10 mL H2O. The inorganic solids were removed by filtration, and washed with additional THF. The combined filtrate and washes were stripped of solvent under vacuum, and the residue (4.7 g of a deep amber oil) dissolved in dilute HCl. This was washed with CH2Cl2 (3×75 mL), then made basic with 5% NaOH and extracted with CH2Cl2. Removal of the solvent under vacuum yielded an amber oil that was distilled (105–115 °C at 0.4 mm/Hg) to give 1.2 g of a white oil. This was dissolved in 8 mL IPA, neutralized with 15 drops of concentrated HCl, and diluted with 250 mL anhydrous Et2O. After a period of time, there was a spontaneous appearance of white crystals which were removed by filtration, Et2O washed, and air dried. Thus was obtained 1.0 g of 2,5-dimethoxy-3,4-dimethylamphetamine hydrochloride (GANESHA) with a mp of 168–169 °C. This was not improved by recrystallization from either EtOAc or nitroethane. Anal. (C13H22ClNO2) N.

DOSAGE: 20–32 mg.

DURATION: 18–24 h.

QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 24 mg) “There was a slow buildup to a ++ or more over the course of about three hours. Extremely tranquil, and no hint of any body toxicity whatsoever. More than tranquil, I was completely at peace, in a beautiful, benign, and placid place. There was something residual that extended into the sleep period, and was possibly still there in the morning. Probably I was simply tired from an inadequate sleep.”

(with 32 mg) “A rapid and full development. Lying down with music, the eyes-closed visuals were quite something. There was sudden awareness of a potential toe cramp which I possibly exaggerated, but it kept spinning itself into my awareness, and somehow locked in with my visual imagery. It was not easy to keep the visual/somatic/ cognitive worlds in their proper places. The almost-cramp went away and I forgot about it. There was a back spasm somewhere in this drama, and it really didn’t matter either. This dosage may be a bit much for good housekeeping, though! Towards the end of the experiment, I looked at a collection of photos from a recent trip to Europe, and the visual enhancement was wonderful. A rolling +++.”

EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: This compound was the seventh of the ten possible Classic Ladies. I have mentioned the concept already under the discussions on ARIADNE. This is the teutonic replacement of each of the distinguishable hydrogen atoms of DOM with a methyl group. The findings with GANESHA were a total surprise. The extension of a hydrogen in the 3-position of DOM with a methyl group should have a minor influence on its steric association with whatever receptor site might be involved. A much greater impact might come not from the size of the group but from its location. This, coupled with a full order of magnitude of decrease in potency, seemed to call for an involvement of that particular position as being one that is affected by metabolism. And since the activity is decreased, the obvious role is in the blocking of the metabolic promotion of DOM-like things to active intermediates.

The remarkable point being emphasized here is that the placement of a dull methyl group at a dull position of the DOM molecule actually inactivated (for all intents and purposes) the activity of DOM. It is not the presence of the methyl that has decimated the potency, but the removal of the hydrogen atom.

How can such a hypothesis be explored? A historic premise of the medicinal chemist is that if a structure gives an unusual response in a receptor, vary it slightly and see how the response varies. This is exactly the principle that led to the ten Classic Ladies, and with this particular Lady (who actually turned out to be a gentleman), the same concept should hold. There are two involved methyl groups in GANESHA, one at the 3-position and one at the 4-position. Why not homologate each to an ethyl group, and as a wrap up make both of them into ethyl groups. Look at the differences along two lines of variation; the effects of the homologation of the 3- and 4-positions, coupled with the effects of the homologation intrinsic in the comparison of the two-carbon chain of the phenethylamine with the three-carbon chain of the amphetamine.

There are thus six compounds involved in such a study. And they have been named (as have all the other GANESHA analogues) in accordance with the collective carbon inventory in and about these two ring positions. The first two compounds are related to DOET and to 2C-E. Maintain the methyl group at the 3-position but homologate the 4-position to an ethyl. The ring pattern would become 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-3-methyl, and the phenethylamine and amphetamine would be called 2C-G-12 and G-12 respectively (a one carbon thing, the methyl, at position-3 and a two carbon thing, an ethyl, at position-4). Reversal of these groups, the 3-ethyl homologues of 2C-D and DOM would thus become 2C-G-21 and G-21. And, finally, the diethyl homologues would be 2C-G-22 and G-22. In each of these cases, the paired numbers give the lengths of the chains at the two positions, the 3- and the 4-positions that are part of the GANESHA concept. And this code is easily expandable to longer things such as 2C-G-31 and 2C-G-41, which would be the 3-propyl-4-methyl, and the 3-butyl-4-methyl homologues, resp.

Unfortunately, these six initially proposed compounds have so far resisted all logical approaches to synthesis, and are at present still unknown. What has been successfully achieved, the building up of a big bulky hydrocarbon glob at these positions, has rather unexpectedly led to a remarkable enhancement of potency. As with all true exploration into areas of the unknown, the deeper you get, the less you understand.

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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.

Transform Press,
Box 13675
Berkeley, CA 94701

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