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Next, remove the flask from the freezer, and nestle it in an ice-salt
bath. Now with stirring add a solution of 26'/i grams (17.8 ml)
trifluoroacetic anhydride in 225 ml acetonitrile. The trifluoroacetic
anhydride solution should have been previously cooled down to -20° C
in the freezer before adding. The resulting solution is stirred in the cold
and in the dark for a couple of hours, during which time the
suspended lysergic acid dissolves and forms the mixed anhydride.
Now the mixed anhydride solution is poured into 450 ml of
acetonitrile containing 23 grams diethylamine. This mixture is stirred in
the dark at room temperature for a couple of hours.
To get the product, the acetonitrile is evaporated off under a
vacuum. The residue is then dissolved in a mixture of 450 ml of
chloroform and 60 ml ice water. The chloroform layer is then
separated, and the water layer is then extracted four times with 150 ml
portions of chloroform. The combined chloroform layers are then
dried with a little sodium sulfate, and the chloroform evaporated away
under a vacuum to give a solid residue weighing about 10 grams
which is a mixture of LSD and iso-LSD. These are separated by
chromatography as described in Chapter 4, and the iso-LSD converted to
LSD as also described in that chapter.
LSD From Lysergic Acid And
The water layer from the extractions contains about 6 grams
unreacted lysergic acid. It can be recovered by acidifying with sulfuric
acid to pH 3, and filtering. This material should be purified by
recrystallization from hot water, then dried again under high vacuum.
Preparation of Trifluoroacetic Anhydride
The simplest method for making trifluoroacetic anhydride is to
dehydrate trifluoroacetic acid with phosphorus pentoxide. One is more
likely to come across a bottle of trifluoroacetic acid than the
anhydride, so knowledge of this method has a definite value.
To do this reaction, grind 25 grams phosphorous pentoxide with a
mortar and pestle, and place it in a 500 ml flask. Next add a magnetic
stirring bar, and 30 ml of trifluoroacetic acid. Rig the flask for simple
distillation using glassware that has been baked to ensure freedom
from traces of water. Flow ice water through the condenser, nestle the
receiving flask in ice, and attach a drying tube to the vacuum adapter of
Now with stirring, heat the flask with hot water — about 50-60° C.
Trifluoroacetic acid has a boiling point of 12- C, while the
anhydride has a boiling point of 40° C. The anhydride as it is formed
will boil out of the flask, to be collected in the receiving flask nestled in
ice. When no more anhydride is produced, the crude product should be
redistilled through a fractionating column. This product must then be
immediately transferred to a dried container, or kept in its receiving flask
tightly stoppered to protect from moisture. The yield is about 10 ml (15
LSD From Lysergic
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