My first drug synth

By NeuroChi · Mar 1, 2009 · ·
  1. NeuroChi
    I've never written a blog before, and was never inclined to share personal information about myself on the internet to begin with. I am however on a journey of knowledge through university into a research field of some sort, with my major interest being psychopharmacology. Chemistry and biology classes are currently at the forefront of my studies, since I only began university a few months ago. So I decided I would write about what I like, what I don't like, and what I do in school and hopefully in the years to come, I'll be able to reflect on how my attitude has changed in regards to my interests in school and where I stand on my journey of knowledge. So here is my first ever drug synthesis; Aspirin.

    (Completely legal of course) :)

    In first semester, my chemistry lab was Monday nights. This was the second last lab, and like all others, I hadn't read it before hand. We are supposed to, and there is always a pre-lab quiz worth 1/3rd of the lab, but I just didn't have time. Or I did, but I did other things with my time. Ahh... the new found freedom of university. Anyways, back to the lab.

    Acetylsalicylic acid isn't an overly complicated molecule. It's more or less a benzoic acid ring, with an acetoxy ether attached at position 2. At least that's what my basic organic chemistry knowledge would deduce.

    The reaction required salicylic acid and acetic anhydride, which react to form Aspirin and the main component of vinegar - acetic acid. Then it had to be recrystalized to purify it. Here's what I did, in a summarized version.

    2.0 ml of acetic anhydride was added to about 1 gram of salicylic acid, along with 8 drops of phosphoric acid. This was heated, a simple esterification took place, and there you go, acetylsalicylic acid! With a little acetic acid on the side... just kidding. There’s more. Upon cooling the aspirin crystallized as a solid, and now it must be filtered. A vacuum filtration was set up with a funnel with filter paper and the crystals were placed in it. Then after filtration, the crystals were heated and dried. Now, we have aspirin... :cool:

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  1. cra$h
    very cool. I'm getting into the same field (psychopharmacology) and can see where you're comming from. But what i've found cool is that you've created, of all things, asprin. completely legit medication. it's definitly something a little different than what we're used to on the forum. a fun read.
  2. Humanity
    Heh... going to uni next september aswell, and I'm fairly sure I'm gonna go major in either biology or chemistry or a mix of the two - like what you're doing!
    Thanks for posting :>
  3. honourableone
    Aspirin was the first thing I synthesized when I had organic chemistry lessons as well, it must be a pretty standard thing (I think I still have the aspirin somewhere). After that I did a two step synthesis of methyl 3-nitrobenzoate, and there my lessons ended. Eventually I would like to get a more in depth chemistry education, but it will be a few years before I get the chance.

    Enjoy your studies, organic chemistry really is fun :).
  4. Ilsa
    welcome to the wonderful world of chemistry ;) i also started with that synth in organic lab...we made soap, extracted clove oil, synth'ed this banana smelling stuff. pretty fun, imo ;)
  5. itsmyturn
    swim is on his way now. fingers are crossed with hope of success and observational skills are ready. swim says pay attention even when not sure so mistake will show signs that he can track Chuck Norris style and kick the crap out of them. then the real Kung-Fu will start. Swim is fresh to THE forum so hes not sure, is he a bee,newbie,or ??? well he is off. will let u know how he did soon. Attempt #1
  6. itsmyturn
    Also swim was curious as to consistency of the pseudo. his is veeery thick. wouldnt run but loose shape fairly quick. color is caramel to slightly darker. 2 types-1 long legged 1 far out in astro space. ANY suggestions welcome. swim was told p2p method will work beautifully. iguessing he should experiment with intelligence and caution, but he doesnt want to waste. also hes been waiting a loooooonnnnngggg time and wants to produce THE BEST he can. Big guys(u know who you are) its community service time. School SWIM thoroughly and he will learn the right way.
  7. honourableone
    Aah... "Banana smelling stuff" that reminds me of all the esterification reactions I did (just for the sake of making a few different esters). The whole classroom stunk, to all the non-chemists it smelled of "deep-heat", but to us that was the sweet smell of ester :). That was an incredibly fun hour. The banana-smelling ester that I made was the most realistic one; the others all smelled like highlighter pen.
  8. TheBadMan
    SWIM remembers demonstrating the ASA synthesis from salicylic acid and acetic anhydride to undergraduates. First year students were mystified by the electron-pushing diagrams showing how the reaction proceeds. One of SWIM's students even ate about half a gram of the ASA.
  9. Greenport
    Very good :) I would synthesize aspirin if I had acetic anhydride or an acetyl halide. Unfortunately obtaining those in this day and age can be a trick of its own.

    Hope ya learn lots!
  10. Laudaphun
    I'm pretty sure that there is some sort of standard curiculum for state schools, as snythesizing acetasylic acid seems to be a very common experimemt. Of course, it's a terrific example for beginning chemists because not only are they actually synthesizing something, they are actually doing an experiment which was considered a very important medical breakthrough WAY back. When SWIM was in that class, the lab aid had accidently mixxed up the acetasalicylic acid with the salicylic acid and our professor was quite perplexed until he realized what had happened.
  11. psychedelaholic
    Was exactly how I did it in the first year of my chem degree too. In my final year now, 4 weeks and I'll be finished :)
  12. NeuroChi
    Haha yeah that's true. This is drugs forum, where we synthesize completely legit medication. :)

    Wow. :confused: We had to give it all to the TA's. I swear it's a money making ploy, they get us to synthesize it, then they sell it in bulk to big pharma for us to buy off the shelves when we get headaches from the amount work they load us with. It's the cycle of things. :cool:

    Ah, congratulations then!
  13. Greenport
    Ah you know it you pot smoking pot plant you :D Don't trust the shit from the store, make your own aspirin, make it pure!

    I'm done haha. Wonder if any chemists out there have actually done that for a headache though :p
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