What is Precursor chemicals?
Precursor chemicals or simply precursors are substances which mostly have legitimate commercial uses and are legally used in a wide variety of industrial processes and consumer products, such as medicines, flavourings, and fragrances,etc.Some precursors also are known to be used in the illegal manufacture of illicit drugs.
We write about this topic for using precursors correctly and legally.International regulators of precursor chemicals consider it necessary to recognise and protect the legal trade of these chemicals, while at the same time preventing their diversion from such trade for use in the illegal manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychoactive substances.
For example, phenylacetic acid is used legally in the production of penicillin, flavourings, perfume, and cleaning solutions, but it can also be used in the illegal manufacture of amphetamines and methamphetamine.It really depends on the user’s knowledge and good judgment of the precursor chemicals.
How to discriminate precursor chemicals from illegal usage?
Wikipedia says that there are organized crime groups operating in East and Southeast Asia have demonstrated significant sophistication in recent years, as well as their comparative advantage when it comes to sourcing precursors and specialized non-controlled precursor and pre-precursor chemicals for the illicit manufacture of drugs.
Some governments in Europe set a control system in place with the aim to achieve a balance between precursor diversion prevention without inhibiting legal trade.
Which exactly precursor chemicals are outstanding?
Examples of such precursors and end-products made with them are listed below.
(2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine) 3600-86-0 (free base) 3166-74-3 (HCl) is a lesser-known substituted phenethylamine of the 2C family.
N-Acetylanthranilic acid CAS 89-52-1 is an organic compound with the molecular formula C9H9NO3. It is an intermediate product in catabolism of quinaldine in Arthrobacter sp., and is further metabolized to anthranilic acid.
Anthranilic acid CAS 118-92-3 is an aromatic acid with the formula C6H4(NH2)(CO2H) and has a sweetish taste.The molecule consists of a benzene ring, ortho-substituted with a carboxylic acid and an amine. As a result of containing both acidic and basic functional groups, the compound is amphoteric.
Anthranilic acid is a white solid when pure, although commercial samples may appear yellow. The anion [C6H4(NH2)(CO2)]−, obtained by the deprotonation of anthranilic acid, is called anthranilate. Anthranilic acid was once thought to be a vitamin and was referred to as vitamin L1 in that context, but it is now known to be non-essential in human nutrition.
Benzaldehyde (C6H5CHO) CAS 100-52-7 is an organic compound consisting of a benzene ring with a formyl substituent. It is the simplest aromatic aldehyde and one of the most industrially useful.It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic almond-like odor. The primary component of bitter almond oil, benzaldehyde can be extracted from a number of other natural sources. Synthetic benzaldehyde is the flavoring agent in imitation almond extract, which is used to flavor cakes and other baked goods.
Benzyl cyanide (abbreviated BnCN) CAS 140-29-4 is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH2CN. This colorless oily aromatic liquid is an important precursor to numerous compounds in organic chemistry.Benzyl cyanide can be produced via Kolbe nitrile synthesis between benzyl chloride and sodium cyanide and by oxidative decarboxylation of phenylalanine.Benzyl cyanides can also be prepared by arylation of silyl-substituted acetonitrile.
What are the popular precursor chemicals in Oceania？
Oceania countries’ hot requirements,Ephedrine ,Pseudoephedrine,gamma-Butyrolactone(GBL),also some Reagents Hydroiodic acid,Hypophosphorous acid,Iodine,Sodium ,some other related materials.Here we would like to discuss some of the hot materials only.
Ephedrine medical use details
Ephedrine may decrease motion sickness, but it has mainly been used to decrease the sedating effects of other medications used for motion sickness.Ephedrine is also found to have quick and long-lasting responsiveness in congenital myasthenic syndrome in early childhood and also even in the adults with a novel COLQ mutation.Ephedrine is administered by intravenous boluses. Redosing usually requires increased doses to offset the development of tachyphylaxis, which is attributed to the depletion of catecholamine stores.
γ-Butyrolactone (GBL) is a hygroscopic colorless, water-miscible liquid with a weak characteristic odor. It is the simplest 4-carbon lactone. It is mainly used as an intermediate in the production of other chemicals, e.g. methyl-2-pyrrolidone. In humans GBL acts as a prodrug for gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), and it is used as a recreational CNS depressant with effects similar to those of barbiturates.
GBL has been found in extracts from samples of unadulterated wines. This finding indicates that GBL is a naturally occurring component in some wines and may be present in similar products. The concentration detected was approximately 5 μg/mL and was easily observed using a simple extraction technique followed by GC/MS analysis. GBL can be found in cheese flavorings but typically results in a content of 0.0002% GBL in the final foodstuff.
Production and synthesis
γ-Butyrolactone is produced industrially by dehydrogenation of 1,4-butanediol at a temperature of 180–300 °C and atmospheric pressure in the presence of a copper catalyst.
The yield of this process is approximately 95%. The purification takes place with a liquid-gas-phase extraction.
In the laboratory, it may also be obtained via the oxidation of tetrahydrofuran (THF), for example with aqueous sodium bromate. An alternative route proceeds from GABA via a diazonium intermediate.
Precursor chemicals in Europe North America？
3,4-Methylenedioxyphenylpropan-2-one or piperonyl methyl ketone (MDP2P or PMK) is a chemical compound consisting of a phenylacetone moiety substituted with a methylenedioxy functional group. It is commonly synthesized from either safrole (which, for comparison, is 3-[3,4-(methylenedioxy)phenyl]-2-propene) or its isomer isosafrole via oxidation using the Wacker oxidation or peroxyacid oxidation methods. MDP2P is unstable at room temperature and must be kept in the freezer in order to be preserved properly.
MDP2P is a precursor in the chemical synthesis of the methylenedioxyphenethylamine (MDxx) class of compounds, the classic example of which is 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA), and is also an intermediate between the MDxx family and their slightly more distant precursor safrole or isosafrole. On account of its relation to the MDxx chemical class, MDP2P, as well as safrole and isosafrole, are in the United States (U.S.) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) List I of Chemicals of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) via the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act (CDTA). It is also considered a category 1 precursor in the European Union.
BMK methods, typically found in the Netherlands and Belgium
BMK has limited legitimate uses; in Europe it is mostly used to produce amphetamine, and increasingly, for the production of methamphetamine. BMK may be imported to the EU but it is more often produced locally from pre-precursors.
BMK methods typically involve the catalytic reduction (reductive amination) of an intermediate formed between BMK and methylamine. In Europe, there are two main techniques: (1) reductive amination uses the ‘aluminium amalgam method’; (2) the ‘high pressure method’ is the same technique used to produce MDMA in Europe, the only difference being the starting material (the precursor), where BMK yields methamphetamine and PMK (piperonal methyl ketone, also known as methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone, ‘MDP-2-P’) yields MDMA.
The availability of BMK and BMK precursor alternatives in Europe, although important, only provides an indication of the overall capacity to produce amphetamine-based stimulants. However, the manufacture of methamphetamine requires additional production steps, the chemicals required for which can provide more information on the trends and scale of methamphetamine production in Europe.
BMK methods produce 50:50 mixtures of d- and l-isomers of methamphetamine (a racemic mixture) (Maxwell and Brecht, 2011). To extract d-methamphetamine from the mixture, it can be treated with an ‘optically pure’ substance, and typically tartaric acid is used. This process is called ‘resolution’ and reduces the overall yields of the synthesis to 50 %. This type of separation process is well known to Mexican synthetic drug producers, and tartaric acid has been seized in association with drug production in Mexico since at least 2009 (INCB, 2019).
Mexico popular precursors
Piperidine is an organic compound with the molecular formula (CH2)5NH. This heterocyclic amine consists of a six-membered ring containing five methylene bridges (–CH2–) and one amine bridge (–NH–). It is a colorless liquid with an odor described as objectionable, and typical of amines. The name comes from the genus name Piper, which is the Latin word for pepper. Although piperidine is a common organic compound, it is best known as a representative structure element within many pharmaceuticals and alkaloids, such as natural-occurring solenopsins.
Piperidine was first reported in 1850 by the Scottish chemist Thomas Anderson and again, independently, in 1852 by the French chemist Auguste Cahours, who named it. Both of them obtained piperidine by reacting piperine with nitric acid.
Industrially, piperidine is produced by the hydrogenation of pyridine, usually over a molybdenum disulfide catalyst:
C5H5N + 3 H2 → C5H10NH
Pyridine can also be reduced to piperidine via a modified Birch reduction using sodium in ethanol.