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Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin

Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin

The late Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin was undoubtedly one of the most pioneering chemists of this century. Completing his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1955,Shulgin went on to get a job at the Dow Chemical Company, where he invented a highly lucrative, biodegradable pesticide by the name of Zectran and ultimately pursued his own research program, synthesizing psychoactive substances after an experience with mescaline. Shulgin left Dow in 1966, setting up a home-based laboratory on his ranch in Lafayette, California, where he synthesized more than two hundred novel psychoactive compounds. A bold explorer of the frontiers of neurochemistry, Shulgin tested the majority of the substances he synthesized on himself, his wife and co-researcher Ann, and a small circle of trusted friends. He and his friends kept diligent notes on their experiential research forays. He and his wife Ann co-authored the psychonautic tome, PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story in 1991. In 1996, the Shulgin’s published TiHKAL: The Continuation, a sequel to PiHKAL, standing for “tryptamines I have known and loved.” Shulgin is most often remembered for his rediscovery and synthesis of a chemical known as MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, and Shulgin suggested that MDMA would be a powerful aid in therapy. (Photo by Charles R. Lucke)

Related: Continuing the Shulgin Legacy: Synergetic Press & Transform Press Agree to a Co-Publishing Deal

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