Saturday, July 19, 2014

PwKHAL - Reflections On Shulgin's Death. Part 1.

PwKHAL - Psychedelics We Have Known And Loved.

In Memory of Alexander (Sasha) Shulgin - June 17, 1925 – June 2, 2014
“The most compelling insight of that day was that this awesome recall had been brought about by a fraction of a gram of a white solid, but that in no way whatsoever could it be argued that these memories had been contained within the white solid. Everything I had recognized came from the depths of my memory and my psyche. I understood that our entire universe is contained in the mind and the spirit. We may choose not to find access to it, we may even deny its existence, but it is indeed there inside us, and there are chemicals that can catalyze its availability.” Shulgin. 
The Worlds Greatest Psycho-Pharmacologist and Organic Chemist Passed Away on June 2, 2014, aged 88 years, or 2000 Psycho-Nautical Years.

For those of you who are unaware, or unenlightened about Sasha Shulgin, you are almost certainly familiar with his substantial societal impact. Sasha Shulgin single-handedly invented well over 200 unique psychedelic and empathogenic/entactogenic psychoactive molecules. Virtually all of these new compounds do not exist in nature. His resume of inventions and accreditation's is lengthy, and includes, but is not limited to; 2C-B, 2C-E, 2C-I, 2C-T-7 and the 2C-x family in general. He also is credited with the creation of the DOx family of psychedelics, which includes novel compounds such as DOI, DOB and DOC. His most well known contribution to the field of psycho-pharmacology - and the contribution everyone should have heard of - is the re-discovery and recommendation of the use of MDMA as a psychiatric medicine in the 1970's.

Sasha in his Laboratory
Sasha began his epic journey, which ended with him being awarded the justified label of "the godfather of psychedelics", as a talented organic chemist, studying at Harvard on a scholarship at age 16. When WWII began his study was put on hold while he joined the navy, serving in the Pacific theater of war. After the conclusion of WWII he received his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Berkeley, California in 1954.

In 1954 psychedelic drugs were largely unknown and the general population was not familiar with their existence, let alone their profound effects on the mind. It was around this time that Shulgin first took a psychedelic drug: Mescaline. This experience was so profound that it would not only shape his own destiny but change the future of psychedelic's forever.
Peyote (Lophophora Williamsii)

Mescaline was the very first psychedelic to be chemically isolated from it's natural biological source, by the German chemist Arthur Heffter in 1897. Mescaline is found in several species of Cacti, including the Peyote and San Pedro. Between 1897 and 1950 only a few other psychedelics had been invented or isolated from their organic origins. The next psychedelic to be chemically synthesized was DMT, which was isolated in the 1930's, making it the second psychedelic compound to be separated from it's original biological source. DMT is ubiquitous in nature, being found in several plant species such as the Acacia and Psychotria Viridis species. DMT also has the unique characteristic of being the only known psychedelic to naturally occur in the brains of animals as a neurotransmitter. DMT is a schedule 1 drug and is manufactured in the brains of humans. So technically anyone charged with synthesizing DMT is arguably just as guilty as the court judge and court jury are. This in just another irony in the War on Drugs, a war with no short supply of the tragically ironic.

Most famous, or most notorious, of all, was the discovery of LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, in 1943 by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. LSD was a noteworthy and incredible breakthrough as it was the first psychedelic molecule to be created synthetically. LSD does not occur in nature, it is entirely man-made. LSD is manufactured using the ergot fungus as a precursor. Hofmann tested LSD on himself, later calling it his problem child in his book of the same name.
LSD (with Hoffman's Famous 'Bike Ride' printed on it)

Hofmann did not rest on the laurel of making the most prolific, synthetic psychedelic in modern history. He did more research into psychedelia by investigating the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, of the Psilocybe species. Isolating Psilocybin, a pro-drug, for the active molecule Psilocin, which he also separated from the psychedelic mushroom. He then went on to create a new, synthetic and novel compound unknown in nature, 4-AcO-DET. 4-AcO-DET is an analogue of psilocin which has similar effects but subtle experiential differences in it's qualitative effect. Hofmann is rightly regarded as the grandfather of modern psychedelics - arguably only matched, or surpassed by Alexander Shulgin in societal impact and fame.
Psilocin Mushrooms

After Shulgin's late 1950's mescaline experience directed his career path into a lifelong pursuit of studying and synthesizing psychedelics. The stage was set for his legendary next several decades of research. In Part 2 Shulgin will reach his full potential and as Aldous Huxley puts it, he will open the "doors of perception" more than any one else in history.

Shulgin tested all his compounds on himself and found 6 that he called the "magical half dozen", they are; DOB, 2C-B, 2C-E, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7 and Mescaline. He created the first five compounds himself (mescaline is naturally occurring). 2C-B and Mescaline surely belong on this list :D


Thanks, Brady.

No comments:

Post a Comment