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Tryptamines in Phalaris
& Phenethylamines in Cacti
Dear Dr. Shulgin:
wondered if you could tell me if the tryptamine alkaloids in Phalaris sp. are
directly soluble in supercritical butane? Or for that matter are any of the
significant PEA's found in some cacti?
most significant phenethylamine (significant at least from the psychoactive point of view)
to be found in cacti is the alkaloid mescaline. Its presence has been reported in
some 65 different species, but usually only in trace amounts. It is almost unknown
in nature outside the Cactaceae family, but there is one published report of it
being a trace component of a Texas Acacia tree, Acacia rigidula.
are over a dozen other phenethylamines known to be present in the cactus world, but none
of them have been established as being active in man, at least as pure compounds.
There are a number of psychoactive cacti that contain both phenethylamines and
tetrahydroisoquinolines and which are devoid of mescaline, so it is possible that some
phenethylamine in admixture with other alkaloids might account for the cactus activity.
As to the extraction of tryptamine alkaloids such as DMT from natural sources by the use
of a supercritical solvent, it sounds very reasonable. However, I know of no such
extraction having been tried with grasses.
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Dr. Alexander Shulgin
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