How to synthesize Sudafed from crystal meth

Illustration for article titled How to synthesize Sudafed from crystal meth

Are you at your wits end over how hard it is to get your hands on some decent decongestant these days? The fact that Sudafed can be used to produce N-Methylamphetamine (aka crystal meth) has made the act of purchasing the stuff seem next-to-impossible as of late. The cold medicine has become so highly regulated that it almost seems like it would be easier to get your hands on some actual meth, and reverse-synthesize the "over-the-counter" drug for yourself.


Wait a minute. That's not a such a bad idea.

Researchers O. Hai and I. B. Hakkenshit bring the definition of pseudoscience to an entirely new level in the latest issue of the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry *, with "A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine." The illustrious Hai and Hakkenshit write:

Illustration for article titled How to synthesize Sudafed from crystal meth

This practical synthesis is expected to be a disruptive technology replacing the need to find an open pharmacy.

Pseudoephedrine, active ingredient of SudafedĀ®, has long been the most popular nasal decongestant in the United States due to its effectiveness and relatively mild side effects. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain psuedoephedine in many states because of its use as a precursor for the illegal drug N-methylamphetamine (also known under various names including crystal meth, meth, ice, etc.). While in the past many stores were able to sell pseudoephedrine, new laws in the United States have restricted sales to pharmacies, with the medicine kept behind the counter. The pharmacies require signatures and examination of government issued ID in order to purchase pseudoephedrine. Because the hours of availability of such pharmacies are often limited, it would be of great interest to have a simple synthesis of pseudoephedrine from reagents which can be more readily procured.

A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis of useful amounts of the desired material. Moreover, according to government maintained statistics, N-methylmphetamine is becoming an increasingly attractive starting material for pseudoephedrine, as the availability of Nmethylmphetamine has remained high while prices have dropped and purity has increased. We present here a convenient series of transformations using reagents which can be found in most well stocked organic chemistry laboratories to produce psuedoephedrine from N-methylamphetamine.

Check out the rest in the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry.

*A Journal that we sincerely wish existed, but most certainly does not. Yes, everyone, this "article" is a joke. This paper may be faked, but it's brilliant satire... and if you have a problem with that, we suggest you take it up with authors O. Hai and I.B. Hakkenshit.

[Via boingboing]
Top image via


Okay, awesome article.

And this is the primary reason I hate meth.