Synthesis and impurity profiling of MDMA prepared from commonly available starting materials

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Journal Article
Forensic Science International, 2012, 223 (1-3), pp. 306 - 313
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This work examines the synthesis of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) from common starting materials that may be utilised by clandestine laboratory operators. Piperonal was prepared from two common starting materials, piperine (from pepper) and vanillin (a common flavouring). Piperine was converted to piperonal by ozonolysis and oxidative cleavage with potassium permanganate and tetrahydrofuran. Vanillin was converted to piperonal by demethylation with pyridine and aluminium chloride followed by methylenation with dichloromethane. The resulting piperonal samples were converted via a commonly encountered route to MDMA. The impurities that indicate a particular route were identified and the feasibility of each method was also assessed. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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