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Author: Subject: P2P-please don't discard, is just a scientific question with no intention about that chemical's synthesis
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 15:24
P2P-please don't discard, is just a scientific question with no intention about that chemical's synthesis

Phenylacetone is a list 1 drug precursor in both EU and USA and many other places. Still, there is a thing I don't understand.
Before anybody says anything about this topic, I'll say once again that this is purely made for debating purposes, and no illicit drug synthesis questions or anything like that. In my opinion these drugs that have very simple chemical formulas have ruined the amateur chemistry... and also it makes me feel sometimes bad when a friend asks me how is meth or mdma made, what you need for that, even if i know they don't do drugs or even have an intention on trafficking, and even if they know that i'm not a bad man, because i feel like we the ones who practice chemistry are put in some gray shade.
Phenylacetone is a monofunctional organic compound, and is a chemical with an extremely simple structure, than other list 1 precursors such as ephedrine or piperonal or safrole which are a bit more complicated, so they are not a "basic chemical skeleton". Ok, they've chosen the carbonyl group because that group is used in meth production, but speaking in common sense, any chemical with a functional group on the beta position from a benzene ring would not be ok even if it is not a listed one, let's say 1-phenyl-2-propanol.
Thus, theoretically, it should have many legit uses. Why it doesn't ? Or i have not seached deeply enough ? Or the legit chemicals that are made using it are made using a disubstituted carbon ring, let's say 2-chloro phenylacetone, and if the desired compound must have a monosubstituted ring, the ( in this example ) chlorine, has to be removed somehow ?
Continuing from this, why is phenylacetic acid a list 2 chemical in the EU ?
Why is it not a list one ? Basically this is like "ok, you are not allowed to have that list one precursor, but you can have the one that is one step before it" The list 2 chemicals are a bit strange, with permanganate and acetic anhydride being extremely useful, and the another three being maybe useful to some synthesis and piperidine as a solvent in some situations. Theoretically, the list 2 chemicals should be divided in 2 sublists. I don't understand how can you put potassium permanganate in the same chart with phenylacetic acid.
What is the basis on making a drug precursor list ? Supposing meth was not a psychoactive compound, so that p2p was not a listed chemical, would p2p find any uses or would be just a chemical with its only purpose being " ketones collection " ?
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 18:24

I would not expect any logic or consistency in the compiling of these lists. Basically they are constructed to give legal means for detaining people who are up to no good. The fact that they frustrate amateur chemists or other legitimate users is merely collateral.

If you compare availability of chems around the globe there is not much commonality. I can buy potassium permanganate from any pharmacy but good luck finding any NaBr. I could make my own acetic anhydride but if I attempted to buy some I could expect a little talk down at the station.

P2P seems to be on everyone's restricted list. Despite its simplicity it really only has pharmicological applucations. So no reason for Joe Amateur to have it.
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[*] posted on 11-1-2019 at 21:40

To expand a little on j_sum's points.
The people who usually make methamphetamine are idjits who dont know a lick about chemistry, for this reason a rather large plethora of easy to read idjit friendly literature regarding the preparation of methamphetamine and other illicit materials, was compiled about a decade ago. This literature was designed to be user friendly so that anyone with half a brain could follow the recipes and succeed at making some half pure yellow crap that they could sell.

The idjits who are smart enough to use a computer (few of them ironically) refer to this literature in order to make methamphetamine and given that P2P is a easy well established route, it is the go to route for idjits that cant steal pheudophedrine.

As a result of this, law enforcement see P2P regularly in their clandestine lab busts, so to try and quell this tide, they have scheduled and restricted P2P, not as a precautionary measure but as a response to what they saw was happening out on the streets.
Certainly there are better and more accessible ways out there to make amphetamines but the idjits don't know enough chemistry to explore these routes.
The law enforcement are also somewhat lazy when it comes to their understanding of organic chemistry, they typically know just enough to recognize a clan lab or a chemical that is used in illicit manufacture rather than having an in depth knowledge of organic chemistry that could be used to theorize more novel routes to these chemicals.

I think the list is designed in a way that puts priority on the chemicals that are more closely related and can more easily be turned into amphetamines.
Phenyl acetic acid and acetic anhydride can both be used (in the same reaction) to get to phenyl acetone.
So starting from these materials would be atleast a 2 step process requiring a little more knowledge that your average idjit meth cook has, so it is seen less often but still often enough to be put on the list.

I sincerely doubt the drug enforcement agencies give a crap about us or the pharmaceutical industries or the research labs.
Which is fine as their care is not needed, given that we are the individuals who are not interested in the chemistry purely just to make money or get high, thus we have a broader more developed understanding of the subject and could very easily prepare all the compounds on those lists from non scheduled materials should we need too.

Sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from madness.
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[*] posted on 12-1-2019 at 08:16

I think that P2P actually became scheduled prior to the internet.

I am actually okay with a direct precursor to be scheduled in that it takes away some of the one pot mentally that many nonchemist/cooks like so much.

With that being said, there is no way to keep someone with some organic chemistry knowledge and decent lab skills from making P2P if they decided they needed it for whatever reason.

[Edited on 1/12/2019 by morganbw]
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[*] posted on 14-1-2019 at 06:59

Quote: Originally posted by ChemistryForever  
..speaking in common sense, any chemical with a functional group on the beta position from a benzene ring would not be ok even if it is not a listed one, let's say 1-phenyl-2-propanol.

I just wanted to point out that what you think is "common sense" is arcane wizardry to most people. Including the people that make the lists.

I mean, I've been in this hobby for nearly 10 years and didn't understand one word of that!
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[*] posted on 14-1-2019 at 09:48

Quote: Originally posted by morganbw  
I think that P2P actually became scheduled prior to the internet.

Assured Fish is basically telling the right story, but "10 years ago" should say "30 years ago". Even then there was USENET.

[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 14-1-2019 at 15:37

There is an urban legend about phenylacetone. It is possible to make tea with it. The tea tastes like honey and crime.
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[*] posted on 14-1-2019 at 20:35

A little chemical history is in order.
Methamphetamine was traditionally prepared making phenylacetone and methylamine (as anyone that watched breaking bad would know). First they outlawed the Methamphetamine, so people started making it from these two precursors.
Then they made the immediate precursors 'listed chemicals'. So people went one step back to phenylacetic acid and acetic anhydride. Then they made these illegal. Potassium permanganate was primarily used in MDMA synthesis but can also be used to produce methcathinone. People started making methamphetamine using either hydriodic acid and red phosporous with pseudoephedrine as well as lithium-birch style reaction. Guess what got made illegal then. There are lots of ways to make the end products. Now MDMA is often synthesized starting with piperine, now adays. The government is clearly not going to be able to outlaw pepper so there is a point of diminishing returns. Clearly there are many more ways that an experienced chemist can synthesis these compounds. Every compound or element on the listed chemical lists are there because people used them to make drugs. Some such as MEK are used in more esoteric extractions. While others such as acetic anhydride are used in multiple drugs, specifically methamphetamine and heroin.
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