Sasha Shulgin, a modern-day shaman of psychedelic drugs, died this week, longtime supporters at the website Erowid said.

The 88-year-old died after battling several illnesses, including cancer, the organization said. He also had a stroke in 2010.

Shulgin invented, synthesized or documented at least 150 otherwise unknown psychedelic substances and put their blueprints in two books called “Tikhal” and “Pikhal.”

But the San Francisco-area chemist was best known for having suggested to a therapist friend that ecstasy might be good for mental sessions. That was in the 1970s, when the MDMA had been forgotten. It was soon back,  not only on the therapists’ couches, but in the clubs.

In 1985, the DEA outlawed ecstasy. But Shulgin, a consultant who had a license to experiment from the DEA (which expected expert court testimony in return), went on to do research on dozens of new mind-blowing substances in his backyard lab for more than three decades.

He tested the drugs out himself, or with his wife.

A former Dow Chemist, he became somewhat of an icon for the rave generation, or at least for the more intellectual fans who knew he even existed. They called him the Godfather of Ecstasy.

About The Author


Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He’s a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor’s recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out:

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