[D-lysergic acid diethylamide](LSD)
Starting material may be any lysergic acid derivative,
from ergot on rye grain or from culture, or from synthetic sources. Preparation #1 uses any amide, or lysergic acid as starting
material. Preparations #2 and #3 must start with lysergic acid only, prepared from the amides as follows:
10 g of any
lysergic acid amide from various natural sources dissolved in 200 ml of methanolic KOH solution and the methanol removed immediately
in vacuo. The residue is treated with 200 ml of an 8% aqueous solution of KOH and the mixture heated on a steam bath for one
hour. A stream of nitrogen gas is passed through the flask during heating and the evolved NH3 gas may be titrated is HCl to
follow the reaction. The alkaline solution is made neutral to congo red with tartaric acid, filtered, cleaned by extraction
with ether, the aqueous solution filtered and evaporated. Digest with MeOH to remove some of the coloured material from the
crystals of lysergic acid.
Arrange the lighting in the lab similarly to that of a dark room. Use photographic red and
yellow safety lights, as lysergic acid derivatives are decomposed when light is present. Rubber gloves must be worn due to
the highly poisonous nature of ergot alkaloids. A hair drier, or, better, a flash evaporator, is necessary to speed up steps
where evaporation is necessary.
Step I. Use Yellow light
Place one volume of powdered
ergot alkaloid material in a tiny roundbottom flask and add two volumes of anhydrous hydrazine. An alternate procedure uses
a sealed tube in which the reagents are heated at 112 C. The mixture is refluxed (or heated) for 30 minutes. Add 1.5 volumes
of H2O and boil 15 minutes. On cooling in the refrigerator, isolysergic acid hydrazide is crystallised.
Use Red light
Chill all reagents and have ice handy. Dissolve 2.82 g hydrazine rapidly in 100 ml 0.1 N ice-cold HCl using
an ice bath to keep the reaction vessel at 0 C. 100 ml ice-cold 0.1 N NaNO2 is added and after 2 to 3 minutes vigorous stirring,
130 ml more HCl is added dropwise with vigorous stirring again in an ice bath. After 5 minutes, neutralise the solution with
NaHCO3 saturated sol. and extract with ether. Remove the aqueous solution and try to dissolve the gummy substance in ether.
Adjust the ether solution by adding 3 g diethylamine per 300 ml ether extract. Allow to stand in the dark, gradually warming
up to 20 C over a period of 24 hours. Evaporate in vacuum and treat as indicated in the purification section for conversion
of iso-lysergic amides to lysergic acid amides.
Step I. Use Yellow light
5.36 g of d-lysergic
acid are suspended in 125 ml of acetonitrile and the suspension cooled to about -20 C in a bath of acetone cooled with dry
ice. To the suspension is added a cold (-20 C) solution of 8.82 g of trifluoroacetic anhydride in 75 ml of acetonitrile. The
mixture is allowed to stand at -20 C for about 1.5 hours during which the suspended material dissolves, and the d-lysergic
acid is converted to the mixed anhydride of lysergic and trifluoroacetic acids. The mixed anhydride can be separated in the
form of an oil by evaporating the solvent in vacuo at a temperature below 0 C, but this is not necessary. Everything must
be kept anhydrous.
Step II. Use Yellow light
The solution of mixed anhydrides in acetonitrile from Step I is
added to 150 ml of a second solution of acetonitrile containing 7.6 g of diethylamine. The mixture is held in the dark at
room temperature for about 2 hours. The acetonitrile is evaporated in vacuo, leaving a residue of LSD-25 plus other impurities.
The residue is dissolved in 150 ml of chloroform and 20 ml of ice water. The chloroform layer is removed and the aqueous layer
is extracted with several portions of chloroform. The chloroform portions are combined and in turn washed with four 50 ml
portions of ice-cold water. The chloroform solution is then dried over anhydrous Na2SO4 and evaporated in vacuo.
This procedure gives good yield and is very fast with little iso-lysergic acid being formed (its effect are mildly unpleasant).
However, the stoichometry must be exact or yields will drop.
Step I. Use White light
Sulfur trioxide is produced
in anhydrous state by carefully decomposing anhydrous ferric sulfate at approximately 480 C. Store under anhydrous conditions.
II. Use White light
A carefully dried 22 litre RB flask fitted with an ice bath, condenser, dropping funnel and mechanical
stirrer is charged with 10 to 11 litres of dimethylformamide (freshly distilled under reduced pressure). The condenser and
dropping funnel are both protected against atmospheric moisture. 2 lb of sulfur trioxide (Sulfan B) are introduced dropwise,
very cautiously stirring, during 4 to 5 hours. The temperature is kept at 0-5 C throughout the addition. After the addition
is complete, the mixture is stirred for 1-2 hours until some separated, crystalline sulfur trioxide-dimethylformamide complex
has dissolved. The reagent is transferred to an air- tight automatic pipette for convenient dispensing, and kept in the cold.
Although the reagent, which is colourless, may change from yellow to red, its efficiency remains unimpaired for three to four
months in cold storage. An aliquot is dissolved in water and titrated with standard NaOH to a phenolphthalein end point.
III. Use Red light
A solution of 7.15 g of d-lysergic acid mono hydrate (25 mmol) and 1.06 g of lithium hydroxide hydrate
(25 mmol) in 200 ml of MeOH is prepared. The solvent is distilled on the steam bath under reduced pressure. the residue of
glass-like lithium lysergate is dissolved in 400 ml of anhydrous dimethyl formamide. From this solution about 200 ml of the
dimethyl formamide is distilled off at 15 ml pressure through a 12 inch helices packed column. the resulting anhydrous solution
of lithium lysergate left behind is cooled to 0 C and, with stirring, treated rapidly with 500 ml of SO3-DMF solution (1.00
molar). The mixture is stirred in the cold for 10 minutes and then 9.14 g (125.0 mmol) of diethylamine is added. The stirring
and cooling are continued for 10 minutes longer, when 400 ml of water is added to decompose the reaction complex. After mixing
thoroughly, 200 ml of saturated aqueous saline solution is added. The amide product is isolated by repeated extraction with
500 ml portions of ethylene dichloride. the combined extract is dried and then concentrated to a syrup under reduced pressure.
Do not heat up the syrup during concentration. the LSD may crystallise out, but the crystals and the mother liquor may be
chromatographed according to the instructions on purification.
Purification of LSD-25
The material obtained
by any of these three preparations may contain both lysergic acid and iso-lysergic acid amides. Preparation #1 contains mostly
iso-lysergic diethylamide and must be converted prior to separation. For this material, go to Step II first.
I. Use darkroom and follow with a long wave UV
The material is dissolved in a 3:1 mixture of benzene and chloroform. Pack
the chromatography column with a slurry of basic alumina in benzene so that a 1 inch column is six inches long. Drain the
solvent to the top of the alumina column and carefully add an aliquot of the LSD-solvent solution containing 50 ml of solvent
and 1 g LSD. Run this through the column, following the fastest moving fluorescent band. After it has been collected, strip
the remaining material from the column by washing with MeOH. Use the UV light sparingly to prevent excessive damage to the
compounds. Evaporate the second fraction in vacuo and set aside for Step II. The fraction containing the pure LSD is concentrated
in vacuo and the syrup will crystallise slowly. This material may be converted to the tartrate by tartaric acid and the LSD
tartrate conveniently crystallised. MP 190-196 C.
Step II. Use Red light
Dissolve the residue derived from the
methanol stripping of the column in a minimum amount of alcohol. Add twice that volume of 4 N alcoholic KOH solution and allow
the mixture to stand at room temperature for several hours. Neutralise with dilute HCl, make slightly basic with NH4OH and
extract with chloroform or ethylene dichloride as in preparations #1 or #2. Evaporate in vacuo and chromatograph as in the
Note: Lysergic acid compounds are unstable to heat, light and oxygen. In any form it helps to add ascorbic
acid as an anti- oxidant, keeping the container tightly closed, light-tight with aluminum foil, and in a refrigerator.