Book II of PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. Alexander & Ann Shulgin #18: 4-Br-3,5-DMA
SYNTHESIS: The starting material 3,5-dimethoxy-4-bromobenzoic acid (made from the commercially available resorcinol by the action of methyl sulfate) was a white crystalline solid from aqueous EtOH with a mp of 248–250 °C. Reaction with thionyl chloride produced 3,5-dimethoxy-4-bromobenzoyl chloride which was used as the crude solid product, mp 124–128 °C. This was reduced with tri-O-tert-butoxy lithium aluminum hydride to produce 3,5-dimethoxy-4-bromobenzaldehyde which was recrystallized from aqueous MeOH and had a mp of 112–114 °C. Anal. (C9H9BrO3) C,H. This aldehyde, with nitroethane and anhydrous ammonium acetate in acetic acid, was converted to the nitrostyrene 1-(3,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenyl)-2-nitropropene, with a mp of 121–121.5 °C. Anal. (C11H12BrNO4) C,H,N. This was reduced at low temperature with just one equivalent of LAH, to minimize reductive removal of the bromine atom. The product 3,5-dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine hydrochloride (4-BR-3,5-DMA) was isolated in a 37% yield and had a mp of 221–222 °C. Anal. (C11H17BrClNO2) C,H,N.
DOSAGE: 4–10 mg.
DURATION: 8–12 h.
QUALITATIVE COMMENTS: (with 3 mg) “This is certainly no placebo. At about 2 hours I felt some analgesia and numbing in my extremities, but if there were any sensory distortions, they were barely perceptible.”
(with 6 mg) “There is a very shallow threshold, no more.”
(with 10 mg) “I can certainly confirm the indications of anesthesia that were hinted at. It was for me central in nature, however. I could (this at three hours) pierce a skin pinch on my left arm with no bother except for the emerging of the needle due to skin resistance. There was little bleeding. And multiple needle prickings into the thumb abductor were not felt. A quick plunge of the tip of my little finger into boiling water elicited reflex response, but no residual pain. Judgment was OK, so I stayed out of physical trouble, luckily! The perhaps ++ was dropping in the fourth or fifth hour, and by the tenth hour there were few effects still noted, except for some teeth-rubbiness and a burning irritation at the pin-prick area, so feeling is back. No sleep problems at just past midnight.”
EXTENSIONS AND COMMENTARY: Here is a complex and, at the moment, totally undefined drug. There were two independent reports of analgesia, yet a thorough screen in experimental animals, conducted by a major pharmaceutical house, failed to confirm any of it. A ++ report does not necessarily reflect a psychedelic effect, since this quantitative measure of the level of activity represents the extent of impairment of function, regardless of the nature of the drug producing it. In other words, if you were experiencing the effects of a drug that would in your judgment interfere with safe and good driving, this would be a ++ whether your performance was being limited by a psychedelic, a stimulant, a hypnotic or a narcotic. None of the quantitative reports ever mentioned any sensory distortion (analgesia is a loss, not a distortion) or visual effect. Perhaps 4-Br-3,5-DMA showed its ++ as a narcotic. But then, the rats had said no.
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 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.”
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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