How to Make Methamphetamine the Proper Way
by Speed Raver
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Sorry if some of the spelling looks tweaky. My C key is acting really
weird. Also, there are diagrams at the end for reference.
SYNTHESES THAT SUCK:
There've been a lot of synthesis methods proposed on UseNet for
synthesizing methamphetamine. Thus far, I haven't seen one that I imagine
One, from Phrack magazine, is the "tried and true method" for prepping
meth from Vick's nasal inhalers. Vick's nasal inhalers contain
"l-desoxyephedrine," another name for "l-methamphetamine." The l- isomer
of methamphetamine is the relatively inactive one, usable as a (mild)
nasal decongestant. The d- isomer is the one that everyone wants and that
Uncle Sam has declared is just too cool for anyone except doctors. [Note: Vick's Inhalers have been reformulated and as of 2001 they cannot be used to synthesize anything useful or fun.]
The procedure described would extract the l-meth froom the inhalers and
collect it and that's it. I'm sorry, but the Isomer Fairy can't wave
her magick wand and reverse the chirality of the molecule. The only way
to change between the two isomers is to oxidize the l-meth into
phenylacetone, condense it with methylamine, then reduce it. Sorry, but
soaking inhalers in HCl then separating the "juice" with Et2OH just won't
do it. You'll get l-meth and that's that.
A more credible souding one mentions that "methamphetamine is prepared by
the calalytic reduction of pseudoephedrine in acetic acid" blahblahblah and
then goes on to describe, not catalytic reduction via acetic acid, but
reduction with sodium borohydride. I'm sorry to say that no method
attempting to directly reduce (pseudo)ephedrine's hydroxyl group is going
to work. You can't expose it to a strong acid, or a weak acid, or sodium
borohydride, or even lithium aluminum hydride and expect it to reduce at
all. As with the Vick's Inhalers "recipe," you get a lot of SOMETHING,
but it ain't d-meth. All you'll be left with is your (pseudo)ephedrine
and a bunch of acid, lithium, and/or sodium and lotsa hydrogen gas. This
is because the hydroxyl group (the OH in ephedrine) is on a very acidic
carbon (the first carbon away from the ring) and a hydroxyl group is very
basic. If the hydroxyl were on the second carbon from the ring (the
carbon with the amine group, the NH2 or NHCH3), there might be some
chance, but it's not and there's not. You're not getting a basic group
off an acidic carbon without a fight, and acids, borohydride, and
LiAlhydride aren't gonna fight that hard.
SYNTHESES THAT DON'T SUCK:
One of the easiest ways to make methamphetamine is from amphetamine. Of
course, this assumes you have amphetamine in the first place, but let's
just pretend you have some and you want to spice it up a bit.
The difference between amphetamine and methamphetamine is the addition of
a single methyl group (CH3) to the amino group sticking off the middle
carbon atom in the chain. Fortunately, substituting amines is really
simple. Vaporize your amine (your amphetamine) with a bunch of vaporized
chloromethane (CH3Cl, a solvent) and some gaseous pyridine...
voila, the amino group takes the methyl from the chloromethane and lets a
hydrogen go. The hydrogen joins the liberated chlorine, and the resulting
HCl is soaked up by the pyridine. The pyridine is optional. Adding it
drives the reaction a bit by pulling the excess HCl out of the equation,
but it's not neessary.
Assuming you don't have amphetamine lying around, an easy synthesis with
a very high yield is to reduce the condensation product of phenylacetone
and methylamine. The benefit of this method is that different amines can
be used to produce novel N-alkyl amphetamines (ethamphetamine,
Making it from ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is possible. The only
difference between methamphetamine and (pseudo)ephedrine is that damn
alpha-hydroxy group. Reacting your ephedrine with thionyl chloride
replaes the OH with Cl to produce N-methyl-alpha-chloroamphetamine as an
intermediate. Hydrogenating this product is easy: use lithium aluminum
hydride, sodium borohydride, or even hydrogen gas with nickel or platinum
metal as a catalyst. The product of this step is N-methylamphetamine and
HCl. Evaporate off the water and you have methamphetamine hydrochloride.
A surprisingly simple synthesis is possible from the amino acid
phenylalanine, which is available at health food stores for about $14 for
100 tablets. Phenylalanine is 2-amino-3-phenylpropanoic acid, which is
more or less amphetamine with a COOH where the CH3 should be at the end of
the chain. Thionyl chloride will replace the OH with a Cl, which falls off
and is replaced by H when you give it lithium aluminum hydride, sodium
borohydride, or hydrogen gas and nickel/platinum. If you use hydrogen and
metal for that step, you'll have to reduce the carbonyl group with one of
the hydrides, so best save time + effort and use them and do both
reductions at once. When that carbonyl is reduced, you now have
amphetamine. Go back up to that first one I mentioned for upgrading
amphetamine into methamphetamine.
Note that azll of these (and probably anything anyone ever comes up with)
will give you a mix of d- and l- isomers. The d- is cool, the l- is shit,
remember. If you have time, energy, and equipment, you can separate the
two and reprocess the l- into d- by oxidizing it and re-aminating it as
described in the "critique" of the Phrack synthesis.