The Simple Plant Isoquinolines
by Dr. Alexander Shulgin & Wendy Perry
Foreword 1 by Alexander T. Shulgin
... The passion of my life over the last forty years has been a compelling interest in psychedelic drugs. They have given me not only an exciting area of research and discovery, but also a personal understanding of just who I am and why I am. Certainly these guides and sacraments will eventually play an accepted role in our community and in our culture. Almost all of these drugs have either been isolated from psychoactive plants, or are the results of subtle variations of the molecular structures of these isolates.
I have always looked at these plants and the compounds they contain in the same way that the Romans dreamt of their ultimate empire. It was Caesar who acknowledged that all of Gaul was divided into three parts and to understand it, to conquer it, each part had to be respected as a separate entity. It is exactly the same way with understanding the world of psychedelic drugs. There are three domains of inquiry that must be studied independently before one can begin to appreciate just how they might integrate into a single concept. These three are now, I believe, coming together.
One part is the large collection of psychoactive compounds known as the phenethylamines. The first known plant psychedelic was mescaline, or 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine. This simple one-ring alkaloid was discovered in the North American dumpling cactus Peyote (
) in the late nineteenth century, and is now known to be a component of over fifty other cacti. Over a dozen other cactus phenethylamines have been isolated and identified, and there are perhaps a hundred synthetic analogues that are now also known to be psychedelic in action. This body of information has been published by my wife Ann and me as a book entitled "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story." PIHKAL stands for Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved.
An almost-as-large chemical group contains the tryptamines. ... Ann and I have written a companion volume to PIHKAL called "TIHKAL: The Continuation" (TIHKAL stands for Tryptamines I have Known and Loved), which has brought together most of these natural and synthetic tryptamines into a single reference site.
The remaining third of the above Gallic synthesis deals with what I had originally called the "Q" compounds, as distinguished from the "P" compounds and the "T" compounds (the phenethylamines and the tryptamines). ... No name has yet been decided upon, but ideas such as The Third Book, or Book Three, are under consideration. Names like these resound with a rather striking arrogance, if nothing else.
Foreword II by Wendy Perry
... As it is now, the pharmaceutical industry is bridging the gap between what is socially and legally acceptable to do to one's brain chemistry in order to feel well, and what is currently considered unacceptable, which is using chemical or plant medicines to look at why one is not feeling well to begin with.
There is great hypocrisy, fear, and thoughtlessness afoot in the United States regarding psychoactive drugs. Their benefits and potential uses are lost in the rhetoric of the "drug war," and in the fear that it generates. There are many examples of healthy and informed use of psychoactive medicines throughout the world, and throughout the ages. They have been used in the past, and are being used today, as healing tools. We need that kind of thinking in this country, we need that kind of healing.
Hypocrisy exists in the laws regarding alcohol and tobacco, which are legal, and are the most damaging and widely abused drugs in our culture. Many pharmaceutical drugs are not without their dangers and abuses as well (it's a fact that far more Americans die from pharmaceutical drugs than illegal drugs). What are the fears of psychoactive drugs really based on? I encourage those who start with the arguments of brain damage caused by this or that drug to obtain the actual scientific papers that make those claims (not just the titles of the papers) and read them carefully. They will find much misinformation due to political pressure, economics, and fear.
624 pages Hardcover 6" x 9"
The Simple Plant Isoquinolines