Jun 17, 1925 -
Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, Ph.D., is a pharmacologist and chemist known for his creation of new psychoactive chemicals. After serving in the Navy, he earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley in 1954. In the late 50s and early 60s he did post-doctorate work in psychiatry and pharmacology at U.C. San Francisco and worked briefly as research director at BioRad Laboratories before becoming a senior research chemist at Dow Chemical Co.
In 1960, Sasha tried mescaline for the first time. He then experimented with synthesizing chemicals with structures similar to mescaline such as DOM. After leaving Dow in 1965 to become an independent consultant, Sasha taught public health at Berkeley and San Francisco General Hospital. In 1967, he was introduced to the possibilities of MDMA by an undergrad at San Francisco State University at a time when very few people had tried MDMA. Though Shulgin didn't invent the chemical, he did create a new synthesis process in 1976 and introduced the material to Leo Zeff, an Oakland psychologist who worked with psychedelics in his therapy practice. Zeff introduced hundreds of therapists to MDMA and word quickly spread outside the therapist community. Sasha's partner Ann Shulgin also conducted psychedelic therapy sessions with MDMA before it was scheduled in 1985.
Since that time, Shulgin has synthesized and bioassayed (self-tested) hundreds of psychoactive chemicals, recording his work in five books and more than two hundred papers. He is a fixure in the psychedelic community, who has spoken at countless conferences, granted frequent interviews, and instilled a sense of rational scientific thought into the world of self-experimentation and psychoactive ingestion. In April of 2010, Sasha and Ann Shulgin were honored for their lifetime of achievements in the field at the Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century conference in San Jose, CA, where a portrait of the couple painted by Alex Grey was unveiled for the first time.
On November 17, 2010, Sasha had a stroke. His recovery went well, but he continues to face a variety of age-related health challenges. You can visit his Caring Bridge Page for updates and to post well-wishes.
Recently I've been reading Pihkal and Tihkal, and I'm a little bit amazed by them. I was wondering if anyone else has read these books, and your thoughts on them?