Dr Alexander (Sasha) Shulgin was a brilliant chemist lauded by his employer, Dole Chemical early in his career. Dole had so much faith in the young Shulgin after he developed a commercially successful insecticide in the 1950's that they gave him the freedom to work on any area of research he desired. He chose to work on psychoactive compounds, an area which Dole Chemical felt was unmarketable. After leaving the company in 1966, Shulgin set up a laboratory in the garden shed of his home in California and went on to synthesize hundreds of new psychedelic substances, which he and his circle of friends also tested (multiple times at varying dosages) for qualitative effects. Responsible for the popularization of MDMA in the 1980's (the drug was initially synthesized by Merck in 1920), he also championed it's use in the field of psychiatric medicine. Under close watch and subjected to years of intimidation by DEA agents he continued to produce whole classes of psychedelic phenethylaimine compounds, like the 2C-group, the TMA-group, DOB (STP) and the Aleph-group. All while maintaining his unique view on the world and his insatiable desire for exploration and knowledge.
PiHKAL stands for "Phenethylamines I have Known and Loved". Phenethylamine forms the basis for a wide variety of drugs, from methamphetamine to mescaline. PiHKAL is half-memoir, half scientific journal and contains chemical synthesis procedures and psychedelic effects of hundreds of compounds. This is an essential reference book for any drug enthusiast (although posession of this book has in the past been deemed a criminal offence in the US under their failed drug criminalization policy).