PwKHAL: MESCALINE PART I
Psychedelics we Have Known And Loved
Reflections on Shulgins Death Part IV
Reflections on Shulgins Death Part IV
The Basic Structure of the Magic Half Dozen: The Phenethylamine.
“Use them with care, and use them with respect as to the transformations they can achieve, and you have an extraordinary research tool. Go banging about with a psychedelic drug for a Saturday night turn-on, and you can get into a really bad place, psychologically. Know what you're using, decide just why you're using it, and you can have a rich experience. They're not addictive, and they're certainly not escapist, either, but they're exceptionally valuable tools for understanding the human mind, and how it works.” S. Shulgin
|SHULGIN NEXT TO A FEW OF|
HIS MESCALINE CACTI
To begin, here is the 6 phenethylamines that Shugin found were the most important or noteworthy for our species. These are the 6 he chose from the 150+ he created and the 200+ he examined experientially. These 6 are the compounds we will examine in detail in this series. By doing so, we will learn what these molecules are, how they work their "magic" in the brain, and why they are important at all. The Magic 6 psychedelics all acheive psychoactivity because they exploit the brains naturally occuring neuro-synaptic receptors. The Magic 6 virtually all work by targeting specific serotonin sites. Serotonin is one of the most interesting and one of the most indispensible neurotransmitter's in our brains - it is here that these molecules do their mysterious work, an enigmatic lock we are slowly building the keys to unlock.
1. Mescaline (3,4,5 - trimethoxyphenethylamine)
2. DOM (2,5-dimethoxy-4-methlyamphetamine)
3. 2C-B (2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine)
4. 2C-E (2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine)
5. 2C-T-2 (2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenethylamine)
6. 2C-T-7 (2,5-dimethoxy-4-propylthiophenethylamine)
MESCALINE AND THE PHENETHYLAMINE
To understand what Mescaline is, on a molecular and structural level, you need to know a few basic things. Compreheding the structure of a compound is important as one can then compare it to the serotonin molecule, which is where most psychedelic activity takes place - serotonin 2a to be exact. Furthermore, it is then easier to deal with the harder problem of why, or rather how, mescaline targets certain serotonin receptor sites and not others.
Peyote Mescaline Cacti.
Mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine) is a Phenethylamine, as the end-half of the chemical name suggests. The 2D molecule to the right, is the basic construction that all phenethylamines share. The hexagon to the left of this molecule is called a Benzene Ring. A benzene ring is 6 Carbon atoms double bonded to one another and each bonded to 2 Hydrogen atoms. The lines inside the hexagon represent carbon atoms. double bonded to other carbon atoms. Carbon has four electrons in it's outer shell and thus wants four chemical bonds to complete this outer shell, this makes the molecule stable and happy. Carbon is the base atom for all organic chemistry and for all of organic life - including your brain's neurotransmitters.
|PHENETHYLAMINE IN A SIMPLER DIAGRAM.|
OFTEN DIAGRAMS WILL SAY "N H 2"
TO FURTHER SIMPIFY THE PICTURE,
INSTEAD OF LINES SHOWING
THE BONDS FROM "N" TO "H"
BUILDING FROM A PHENETHYLAMINE
|7 FREE CARBON POSITIONS|
(not including the amine, which can also be altered)
Basically Shulgin would remove the hydrogen atom stuck to the carbon atoms and replace it with another atom, or a group of atoms; a molecule. By doing this one can add atoms or molecules which are of more intrigue, such as Bromine, Ethyl, Carbon or Oxygen etc. Shulgin was so proficient at this process, after decades of doing the laborious but rewarding procedure, that he developed a methodology of 'knowing' where to put what atom to acheive a more promising end compound. Sasha more or less "knew" where to add what atom(s), to get plausibly psychoactive molecules. Furthermore he could make good predictions about what the approximate psychactive effectes of the new creation may be. Most combinations are not active, or are not very interesting to the Psychonaut, but practice as Shulgin demonstrated more than anyone else, makes one significantly more proficient if not quite perfect.
This is the simplified, but accurate for our purposes, molecular structure of all the magic 6 phenethylamines. Shulgin created over 150 novel psychedleic molecules by following this process of attaching interesting atoms or combinations of atoms to the 'free' carbon atoms on the phenethylamine. This is all we need to know about the basic strucutre of the organic molecule called the phenethylamine.
|San Pedro (Echinopsis Panachoi)|
All of Shulgins magic half dozen psychedelics are phenethylamines and are true psychedlics - meaning they activate specific serotonin receptors in the human brain. Below is a diagramatic comparison of mescaline, phenethylamine and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Notice the basic structure of all is largely the same. Mescaline has three identical molecule's attached to the right hand side (benzene ring positions 3,4,5) in the diagram below, this is the only difference between it and a basic phenethylamine. We will discuss the structure of Mescaline further, but in the next chapter on Mescaline we will examine it's qualitative, experiential side - what happens when you take the drug and is it really better than over 150 other psychedelic phenethylamines? We will also examine why Sasha Shulgin was so fascinated and captivated by this molecule. His first dose of Mescaline began his career in psychopharmacology after all.
In the following chapters we will discuss my experiences with Mescaline. I will try and contrast these with Shulgin's reports. I agree with Shulgin regarding the addition of Mecaline to the Magic 6 list. There are literally thousands of psychedelic drugs, deciding which one's are the most important for humanity is difficult - and thats putting it mildly. It is subjective by it's very nature, but there must be a reason why the Godfather of jourying into the mind AKA Psychonautics, found mescaline more than compelling.
MESCALINE, SEROTONIN, PHENETHYLAMINE MOLECULES (2D).
PwKHAL. Reflections on Shulgins Death. Part 1
PwKHAL. Reflections on Shulgins Death. Part 2