Chemist. Spent the 50s
working for Dow Chemicals
, and has since worked with phenethylamine
s and tryptamine
s under the guise
of a 'drug
Sometime in the 50s, Shulgin experimented with large doses of mescaline. After claiming that he had found things deep inside of himself (like, what? a ball of lint? I dunno.), he did postgrad work in his chosen field, chemistry, and joined Dow Chemicals as a research scientist. After he had created a very profitable insecticide, Dow let Shulgin have a bit of room and privacy to work in. Dow gave an inch, Shulgin took a mile, and Dow ended up with a few patents on psychedelic drugs. Shulgin left Dow in 1965 to do his own research.
Shulgin is a true chemist - anyone who reads his books can discover that he is trying his hardest to create drugs that fit certain known receptors in the human brain. His book, PihKaL : A Chemical Love Story (PihKaL meaning Phenethylamines I have Known and Loved) is a scientific tome of 179 different phenethylamines, all kid-tested and mother-approved. Shulgin tries out all of his creations first, so there's no need to worry about ill effects you are unprepared for. Included in the list is MDMA (ecstasy), DOM (STP) and 2C-B, along with many other classic psychedelics. Each chemical listing includes an incredibly detailed recipe (you'll need more than a Toys-R-Us chemistry kit, tho) and 'qualitative comments', Shulgin's experiences on the drugs, ordered by dosage.
Shulgin's work with MDMA in the mid-70s and his subsequent push to keep the drug legal for therapeutic use was blocked, but his work and publications let the public know of the drug. Shulgin is often called 'the stepfather of ecstasy'.
Shulgin was also the author of 'Controlled Substances: Chemical & Legal Guide to Federal Drug Laws', which is supposedly still used by law enforcement. The popularity of this guide is probably what allows him to keep his 'drug handler's permit', which allows him to legally explore drugs so he can authoritatively testify about them in court.
Mad props to dmd for the autonoding job on PiHKAL. Run, don't walk, to your nearest unquestioning raw chemical supplier, and let me know how those recipes turn out.