Phencyclidine, or How to Make PCP (Pre-Pimpology II)

This is an excerpted chapter from How to Be a Motherfucking Pimp. This is not endorsed. It’s evil shit. Kids, you shouldn’t want to fuck with it. However, if you want to make crack, it’s in the book too. Same for meth. But, again, the same proviso, from pimping to drugs: nothing is meant to be implemented in anyway. It is for entertainment purposes only.

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Ketamine is for pussies,[1] but let’s get at those N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors.[2] Let’s get wet. There are a number of ways that you can do it, and it is often all about compromise.[3] You see, although assholes, the pigs and spooks aren’t idiots. A lot of what you need are monitored substances. With crack you begin with coke, illegal but easily available. Not so for what you need to make PCP.[4] It is like a Lego set. You’ve got to take shit apart before you put anything together. If you’re not comfortable with the chemistry, than stick to Jimsonweed and the like.[5] Just make sure that you have some activated charcoal on hand, for all the good it will do you, and some benzodiazepine for tomorrow, provided you’re not in jail or the morgue.

Because of the illicit nature of phencyclidine, there are analog compounds such as benocyclidine and other members of the arylcyclohexylamine family where the piperidine ring has been substituted for a pyrrolidine one, but fuck that shit.[6] We’re going to keep it real. Kind of like crack, we’re going to bind to those dopamine transporter receptors, but we’re also going to try and trigger a psychotic episode. That’s where the real fun is, so buckle up. The following you can spray onto mint, weed or into someone’s eyes. This is how you make PCP.[7]

You can use different intermediates, but we are going to address the nitrile path. This means we are looking for Bruylants reaction of an organometallic reagent on alpha-amino nitrile. Now, we are going to number the steps, just like we did for crack, but here it is largely ornamental and only meant to lend an aura of respectability.

1.First we need to get PCC (1-piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile).[8] This can be secured as Sernyl or Sernylan,[9] but you’re likely not to get your hands on that. To make PCC we need to synthesize cyclohexanone and Piperidine. Piperidine is naturally occurring in black pepper, but good luck isolating that. Let’s take it back a step and work with pyridine.

A light shone in the night some way ahead

2. Pyridine can be achieved through coal gasification. This is done by way of syngas (CH4, CO, H2, CO2 and H2O). Hydrogenate this and produce the needed piperidine via a molybdenum disulfide catalyst. We can now tick that box. Next you need to get cyclohexanone.

Blue turned into green and then it was red

3. Cyclohexanone is an organic compound. It is a colorless oil similar to acetone. You can buy it because it is required in great quantities for the industrial production of nylon. However, if you’re ambitious, you can bring it around on your own, but with some difficulty.[10] Cyclohexanone is present in coal, but it is not easy to obtain. If you like, you can try a Dieckmann condensation of pimelic acid and follow it through to multiple reductions. If I were you, I’d just buy it with a stolen credit card and have the consignment sent to an abandoned house.

And stirring the night loud music played

4. Now we have our precursors. It depends on the molar scale,[11] but effectively the following is what you are going to do to get to the needed PCC. You want the hydrochloride salt of the piperidine and the bisulfite adduct of the cyclohexanone. This might get a little Byzantine,[12] but here we go.

The light I saw in the night was a penny arcade

5. Mix 85 g of piperidine 2 84 ml of conc. HCl (concentrated hydrochloric acid) in 200 ml of water at about 3oC. You want the aqueous solution to hit a pH of 3. Now 98 g of your cyclohexanone is added. Following this you add 68 g of KCN (potassium cyanide) premixed in 150 ml of water.[13] This is stirred for solubility on and off for about two hours. At this point it is left to stand for about 10 hours. In the morning you collect the precipitate. Wash, dry, repeat as you strive for purity. Now you’re sitting on around 170 g (give or take) of PCC.[14] Make sure it is completely dry. You might even want to heat it just to make sure. Time for the next synthesis.

Oh, step up and play each machine seemed to say

6. Here we make use of a Grignard reagent. This is important for the formation of carbon-carbon bonds. There are a couple types suitable for this, but we are going to use phenylmagnesium bromide. To get this you take magnesium shavings and heat in a flask.[15] You can just buy it, though, in a solution of diethyone ether, but I find it better to just use magnesium turnings. Use around 12 g of magnesium and add 200 ml of dry ether as a solvent.[16] Do this in stages. To this add 79 g of bromobenzene. Introduce about 39 g of PCC and keep topping up your ether/bromobenzene so that you have reflux without the need of non-reactive heating. However, once the entire solution has been applied, it will require cooking.

As I walked ’round and ’round the penny arcade

7. Heat this for about three hours, until all the magnesium is dissolved. Here is the nitrile displacement. White-grey bubble should be forming. This is getting toward the desired precipitate. However, it is not ready. Once finished with cooking, use a condenser and drying tube. When it is cooled you will add 175 ml of (4 N) aqueous HBr (hydrobromic acid). Do this slowly. Once cool, put it into the fridge for another overnighter.

Just ring the bell on the big bagatelle and

8. In the morning, take it out. The recipitated PCP hydrombromide is now filtered off. Leave it out to dry. Once dry, dissolve this in hot ethanol. This is just enough to make it a solution. Now you add a mixture of ethanol and NaOH (Sodium hydroxide) which will basify the acid layers. This should create a yellow oil that will quickly crystalize. Watch out for unwanted emulsions. Time to filter again.

You’ll make all the colored lights cascade

9. Filter the PCP. Let it dry. Now add benzene. About 1/3 for the benzene is distilled off to remove the water present through azeotropic drying.[17] Let this cool again. Now dilute it with two volumes of diethyl ether. To get the desired precipitate you now move to saturation with dry HCl. Now we have PCP hydrochloride.

And music played at the penny arcade

10. Filter this again. Let it dry, and you should have a yield of about 40 g PCP. Add some dye to it if you like. Fucking gangsta. Now you can introduce acid and get it to liquid form from the freebase. With this you can fill a syringe, stab and inject it into the water cooler at work. Even if you don’t do that, you’ll have done this:

Attaining PCP using a nitrile intermediate

  1. Getting PCC

2. Synthesising to PCP

It’s not laboratory grade, but I like to wear the I Know What You Did Last Summer mask while working. Visibility can be limited, but I think it is more important to be in keeping with the theme. On the whole, though, I haven’t address apparatus to much, but who cares? Safety is for bitches and you can try to make this shit in plastic garbage cans if you like,[18] or just divert veterinarial supplies, go crazy and wear those cans like Diogenes of Sinope. Just keep it real.[19]

And, remember, it brought Bushwick Bill back from the dead![20]

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[1] Still, Special K said, “Special K. I’m here to say. Chaos breaks out when I start to play.” Rock the body, body. Rock the body, body.

[2] Actually, we’re looking at inhibiting the reuptake of monoaminergic neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. But that’s not the whole story.

[3] Not entirely though. You have to toe the line on many fronts. First, you can’t do this in a stainless-steel mixing bowl in the school’s cafeteria like you can with crack. You need a damn-near-proper laboratory environment. You can improvise at points, but try not to fuck with shit too much. Methodology is not just important, it must be adhered to. If you take liberties, you might end up with some seriously toxic shit. You want to make sure you fully react your PCC. Even if you’re doing it properly, you’ve got to watch out as PCP easily breaches the epidermal barrier and you’ll be in another world before you know it.

[4] Since we’re about to get technical, let’s start now. PCP is 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine)

[5] Jimsonweed is treacherous. Don’t turn your back on it. Benefit from the wisdom of Dr. Gonzo. Or perhaps Carlos Castaneda.

[6] We can get to PCA (1-phenyl-1-cyclohexylamine) through a couple routes. This can be a terminal point or it can be further reacted to make PCP itself. Other analogs are PCE (cyclohexamine), PHP (phenylcyclohexylpyrrolidine), PCPP (phenylcyclopentylpiperidine), and TCP (thienylcyclohexylpiperidine).

[7] You can bypass all this if you know some dodgy veterinarians. After all, it is an accepted analgesic as it affects afferent receptors along with acute psychical dissociation.

[8] As C.L. Smooth said, “the main ingredient.”

[9] Really this is PCP, but there can be ambiguity. It depends on the trade name. The latter is discontinued anyway.

[10] Like how John Lennon asked George Martin of a song “to make it sound like an orange.”

[11] By that we are talking about 1 mole of piperidine and 1 mole of cyclohexanone. However, we are going to proceed using units of volume and water. Besides, ‘depending on the molar scale’ does not really make sense.

[12] Sounds like a compound, but it ain’t. Kinda was though while under siege when the Ottomans (*cough* Venetians) decided the hog was ready to go to market.

[13] You can almost just add it. KCN is a deliquescent salt. It’s once you mix the solution in with the other that you have to get to stirring with some vigor.

[14] Again, remember that PCC is some evil shit. Not that KCN is all that pleasant.

[15] You should use Rieke magnesium because it is free of the passivating layer of magnesium oxide that fucks with the organic halide.

[16] Not just either. You should use 50:50 ratio of ether to benzene.

[17] Well my name’s John Lee Pettimore. Same as my daddy and his daddy before.

[18] Or just divert veterinarial supplies.

[19] Be careful. As Red One said, “You can’t, he can’t find. Blind. You’re left behind by my scientific mind.”

[20] *Editorial note* Not necessarily true, but Dazzle Razzle prefers the version with PCP.