The Hofmann Report: Update on Albert Hofmann

Winter 1996/97 Vol. 07, No. 1 Learning to Crawl

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The AHF is pleased to announce that Sandoz Corporation has agreed to turn over to the AHF Dr. Albert Hofmann’s research papers on his work with LSD and psilocybin. This issue also features the well-known and admired chemist, Alexander T. Shulgin.

Update on Dr. Albert Hofmann

Many people were greatly disappointed when Dr. Hofmann announced he would not be able to attend the Entheobotany Conference in San Francisco, October 18-20. We had learned in mid-September that Dr. Hofmann was having severe pains in his right knee. Examination revealed that he needed a new knee joint. He very much hoped that he could have the surgery done after the conference, and that medical treatment would alleviate the pain sufficiently for him to attend the conference. Unfortunately, the medications given for inflammation and pain relief became ineffective after a time, and it was no longer possible for him to get around. Surgery was scheduled for October 31, 1996. A stay of three weeks in the clinic where the surgery is done is required for recuperation, followed by another two to three weeks in a rehabilitation facility. His wife had the same operation several years ago, and was greatly improved. Dr. Hofmann reports that in all other aspects his health is excellent, and because of his wife’s success with this operation, he is optimistic that he will be able to travel again after his recovery. AHF has been coordinating with MAPS to persuade Dr. Hofmann to return to the United States in the late summer of l997. It is hoped that a successful recovery from his knee surgery will permit this to happen. This will provide an opportunity for Dr. Hofmann’s admirers on both the East Coast and West Coast to share his presence. Through joint MAPS/AHF sponsorship, a one-day gathering is planned in New York, followed by a similar meeting in Los Angeles. Future Hofmann Reports will keep you abreast of these developments.

Dr. Albert Hofmann’s Research Papers

We are pleased to announce that Sandoz Corporation has agreed to turn over to the Albert Hofmann Foundation Dr. Hofmann’s research papers. This will include a wealth of material on Dr. Hofmann’s work with LSD and psilocybin. Altogether, there are approximately 3,500 papers in the collection. The transfer of this material from Switzerland to the United States has been worked out.

The most urgent task facing the Foundation is to extract the pertinent information which will permit us to set up Drug Master Files at the FDA on LSD and psilocybin. Such files will include animal, toxicity, and safety studies which must be provided by any researcher applying for an Investigational New Drug permit before being permitted to conduct clinical studies on humans. Establishing these files will enable AHF to grant permission to use the relevant data for research applications on humans. Thus, the replication of a great deal of required work will be unnecessary, and it will be much simpler and far less costly for researchers to establish new clinical research projects with humans. These file also build the body of data which will aid future efforts to make these drugs available by prescription.

It will be a large and difficult task to sort through the papers, index them, and make them available for the Drug Master File applications as well as arrange the most relevant material to be available to other researchers. Further complicating matters, half the information is in German, requiring helpers conversant in this language, as well as translators to convert important German documents into English.

Your financial assistance is very much required to carry out these important tasks. Any amount you can give will be greatly appreciated. It is only with your help that we can complete this vital work. Please mail your contributions to:

Master File Fund
The Albert Hofmann Foundation
1278 Glenneyre No. 173
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Future Hofmann Reports will describe progress, accounting of funds expended, and funds required for completion.

In keeping with our policy of acquainting MAPS readers with our Advisors, we are featuring in this issue the well-known and admired chemist, Alexander T. Shulgin, affectionately known as "Sasha." Dr. Shulgin is undoubtedly the foremost chemist in the compounding and exploration of psychoactive compounds, a love which he has been pursuing for over three decades. One hundred seventy nine active compounds are described in his recent book, co-authored with his wife Ann, Pihkal, acronym for Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved (Berkeley, California: Transform Press, 1991). All the compounds are described in detail in Pihkal, including method of synthesis, dose levels, duration, and qualitative results. A number of these compounds, such as MDMA, 2C-B, 2CT-2, -4, and -7, to name but a few, have particularly outstanding characteristics. All of these but MDMA are Shulgin’s own creations. Some have been investigated by other researchers, and some have been manufactured in other countries. While the origin of MDMA dates back to 1912, Dr. Shulgin became interested in studying it further in the late 1960’s, and is largely responsible for initiating the widespread attraction to this popular substance.

The interval of time spent creating and evaluating these compounds represents a vast amount of experience, both in personal evaluation and observing and/or assessing the experiences of many others. The result is an enormous compilation of data on numerous aspects of psychedelic substances, the effects of various compounds and dose levels, the extent and nature of possible experiences and the factors which influence results. It is probably safe to say that Sasha and Ann Shulgin are among the most informed world authorities on psychedelics and the experiences they provide.

It is therefore no surprise that Sasha Shulgin is in high demand as a teacher and/or lecturer on many aspects of the use of psychedelic chemicals. Because of his depth of knowledge and well-respected integrity, he is often called as an expert witness in drug trials, hired by prosecutors and defenders alike. His considerable knowledge in the field is enhanced by an exceptionally sharp, quick mind, an outstanding sense of humor which can turn a stray phrase or comment into something hilariously funny, and unbridled curiosity and energy. An exceptionally fast learner, he has absorbed a number of fields, including foreign languages.

An example is his interest in computers. Understanding the capabilities and potential of computers, he became thoroughly conversant with their functions, and rapidly designed methods and procedures to best serve his needs. For example, he is a master at exploring the Internet to keep up with a variety of news groups, and to obtain reference material from around the world. Upon writing Pihkal, he insisted on laying out the design and graphics of the book himself and furnished the printer camera-ready copy.

An interesting question presents itself. Is his quickness of mind and rapid ability to learn the result of numerous psychedelic experiences, or simply the manifestation of a naturally brilliant mind? No doubt some mixture of both. It cannot be denied that he was born with much gifted talent. This talent no doubt contributed to becoming a master at utilizing the expanded consciousness available from psychedelic experiences to expand awareness, amplify conceptualization, accelerate mental processes, and penetrate more deeply into the unknown. The overall result is a person of many gifts and talents, with whom discourse is a joy on most any subject, and who can contribute much wisdom and creative suggestions to a variety of problems.

While Sasha shares the desire of many of us for a more conscious society, he is convinced that our major impact will be "one on one." As has happened many times in history, the established powers in society often fail to recognize creative innovators and the significance of their important contributions. The threat to the status quo is often met with repressive actions. In the case of psychedelics, official and public understanding are particularly distorted. Many were not surprised when the Drug Enforcement Administration took action against Dr. Shulgin which resulted in the recall of his license to work with Schedule I compounds and a burdensome fine and legal expenses. Details of this traumatic episode in their life will be described in their forthcoming book, Tihkal (Tryptamines I have Known and Loved).

Sasha and Ann Shulgin are working very hard to finish their second book, Tihkal, by December 1996. The DEA and the Environmental Protection Agency have left them alone, and the laboratory is still in operation, the only change being that Sasha had to relinquish his DEA analytical license last year and cannot work with scheduled drugs. However, the pursuit of answers to new chemical questions continues. Their social life has been curtailed drastically until the book is finished.

They were asked to go to Sydney, Australia, this summer where Sasha appeared as an expert witness in a case involving the drug 2C-B, which he invented years ago. Ann was there as a possible backup witness. Between sessions with the defense attorney, they saw as much as they could of Sydney, most of the time in the rain, and reported that it is a lovely, very friendly city in which a black coffee is called a "long black," and coffee with cream is a "flat white."

Aside from an appearance for a two week conference in Palenque, Mexico last January (which will be repeated next year), and the Sydney visit for the court case, both Sasha and Ann have kept traveling to a minimum because of the book, and that’s the way things will continue until publication day.

Many persons throughout the world are deeply indebted to Sasha Shulgin for their introduction to new compounds, for vital and sometimes life- changing new experiences, and for his wise counsel in our efforts to bring compassion and wisdom into the world.

Myron Stolaroff, Editor

Inquiries and communications regarding our organization and activities may be sent to:

The Albert Hofmann Foundation
1278 Glenneyre No. 173
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Information on items of interest for future issues of the Hofmann Report will be much appreciated. Send to the same address, attention of:

Myron Stolaroff Editor, The Hofmann Report

Throughout history people have used mind expanding substances to explore consciousness and enhance their lives. Our purpose at the Albert Hofmann Foundation is to gather the records of these endeavors and to further the understanding and responsible application of psychedelic substances in the investigation of both individual and collective consciousness.