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Ecstasy ‘Godfather’ Shulgin Died At 88

The author and chemist “gently died after several years of battling various illnesses.”

Sasha Shulgin

Sasha Shulgin. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, an author and a chemist well-known as a pioneer in the pharmaceutical use of MDMA, died of terminal liver cancer peacefully at the age of 88 after several years of fighting against his illness. His death was confirmed by the ErowidCenter, a nonprofit organization providing information on psychoactive chemicals.

In 1960s Shulgin began to work as a chemist for the Dow Chemical Company. Later he quitted his job and started his own independent research targeted on psychoactive chemicals, synthesizing MDMA as well as hundreds of other compounds.

By altering the chemical composition of existing psychoactive, he had created hundreds of new compounds, which are quite similar to known drugs but with totally new structures.

To get more practical information, Shulgin always tested the chemicals on his own body. In summarizing his tests, he and his wife, Ann wrote two popular underground books: A Chemical Love Story and TIHKAL:

Before the use of MDMA, widely accepted as ecstasy, was prohibited in the U. S, Shulgin a strong support of its application as a medicine. In order to avoid DEA prosecution for his work, he never synthesized many of his chemicals before. However in 1993 his laboratory was raided, thus the license for production of the chemicals was confiscated.

For a quite long time, Shulgin has been regarded as a fringe character in research, which can well illustrated from the assessment in the New York Times in 2005. He was “at best a curiosity and at worst a menace”.

It is hoped that as new research demonstrated the benefits of MDMA therapy and further experiments were encouraged in this regard, Shulgin’s work would be proved to be useful and beneficial.

Source: Popular Science.