All information here is to be used at your own risk. The procedures documented in this file, if carried out by unlicensed individuals would violate laws against controlled substances in most countries and could result in criminal charges being filed. If carried out by individuals unskilled at chemistry they could result in serious bodily harm.
MDMA ("Ecstasy") is a semi-synthetic compound which can be made relatively easily from available precursors. Synthesis instructions exist which can be followed by an amateur with very little knowledge of chemistry. However, people with less than 2 years of college chemistry experience would probably not be capable of sucessfully synthesizing MDMA, and would either botch it in the best case or kill themselves in the worst case. For those interested in the techniques involved in synthesizing MDMA, a good book for self- learning is the following:
Zubrick, James W. "The Organic Chem Lab Survival Manual: A Students Guide to Techniques." ISBN #0471575046. Wiley John&Sons Inc. 3rd ed.
It is recommended that this book should be supplemented with at *least* one more of the 'dry' and technical O-Chem lab manuals available at any college bookstore. It is not recommend that the information from these books or herein this file be used to synthesize MDMA for the previously stated reasons. Knowledge, however, is not (yet) illegal.
The following chemicals are some of the more important ones in the synthesis of MDMA and related chemicals:
safrole: 3,4-methylenedioxyallylbenzene, 1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-propene
isosafrole: 3,4-methylenedioxypropenylbenzene, 1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-1-propene
3,4-methylenedioxybenzyl methyl ketone,
piperonal: 3,4-methylenedioxybenzaldehyde, heliotropin
safrole, isosafrole, MDP-2-P, piperonal and beta-nitroisosafrole are the most commonly found precursors to MDMA in clandestine labs.
For an overview of MDMA synthetic routes it is suggested that the readers familiarize themselves very thoroughly with the following reference:
Dal Cason-TA. "An Evaluation of the Potential for Clandestine Manufacture of 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) Analogs and Homologs." Journal of Forensic Sciences. Vol 35(3):675-697. May 1990.
The moor several other sources which have been abundantly documented in _Chemical Abstracts_ over the years. The safrole is then easily isomerized into isosafrole when heated with NaOH or KOH. The isosafrole is then oxidized into MDP-2-P. This latter procedure has been most clearly presented in _Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved_ by Alexander Shulgin under synthesis #109 (MDMA). The synthesis of MDP-2-P from isosafrole will require the use of a vacuum pump to evaporate the solvent from the final product in vacuo. An aspirator will not, unfortunately, be sufficient.
Once the MDP-2-P is synthesized there are several synthetic routes which can be taken:
1. Sodium Cyanoborohydride
2. Aluminum Amalgam
3. Sodium Borohydride
4. Raney Nickel Catalysis
5. Leukart Reaction via N-formyl-MDA
6. Leukart Reaction via N-methyl-N-formyl-MDA
The sodium cyanoborohydride method is probably the one most attractive to clandestine chemists. From the Dal Cason reference:
"It requires no knowledge of chemistry, has a wide applicability, offers little chance of failure, produces good yields, does not require expensive chemical apparatus or glassware, and uses currently available (and easily synthesized) precursors"
The aluminum amalgam synthesis is often used but has a slightly higher risk of failure and is not as versatile. The Raney Ni synthesis is more dangerous and requires special equipment to be done right (although this scheme is used in a...
References: ROAD HAZARDS:
Chemical Abstracts 52, 11965c (1958): In the synthesis of MDA from MDP-2-P this reference has a misprint that should read "add 100ml H2O" instead of "add 100ml H2O2" which would cause an explosion
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