Magic mushrooms, once taboo, have recently experienced a renaissance. This new awakening is partially due to new findings that indicate the effects of psilocybin, and its dephosphorylated cousin psilocin on the 5-HT2A1 associated serotonin receptor showing psychedelic compounds are able to activate the receptor and produce long lasting results for patients who might be struggling with anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.2 As the body of scientific results continues to increase, the need for identification and purification of this class of compounds appears undeniable. The separation should be fast and reliable in order to ensure administration of the compounds is free of contaminates, in addition to toxicological identification for regulatory and safety purposes.

Psychedelics are generally regarded as being associated with feelings of well-being and connectedness.3 Within this state of mind, Hamilton Company has developed a methodology for the isolation and identification of 5 common psychedelic compounds used in the potential treatment of disease. In contrast to other methods currently available we have chosen to perform the isolation using the alkaline ion-pairing agent hexylamine. The use of this type of eluent additive perfectly complements the PRP-1 stationary phase used for the isolation. The use of the alkaline hexylamine as an eluent for the separation of these five tryptamine derivatives showed increased retention on the stationary phase compared to acidic eluents while still providing good peak shape and baseline resolution. The polymeric stationary phase is robust under these conditions and shows that even under 1000 injections and over 92000 column volumes there is no degradation of the stationary phase. The peak shape and resolution remain unaffected. The separation between psilocybin and psilocin is over 4 minutes providing superb resolution between the two molecules. Similarly, investigation of the three later psychedelics affords baseline resolution and good peak symmetry. Identification and isolation of this class of molecules is easily achieved with the PRP-1 from Hamilton.

  1. Stebelska, K. F. Ther. Drug Monit. (2013), 35, 420–2.
  2. Nichols, D.E. Pharmacol. Ther. (2004), 101, 131–181.
  3. Gonzalez-Maeso, J.; Weisstaub, N.V.; Zhou, M.; Chan, P.; Ivic, L.; Ang, R.; Lira, A.; Bradley-Moore, M.; Ge, Y.; Zhou, Q.; et al. Neuron (2007), 53, 439–52.

Author: Adam L. Moore, PhD, Hamilton Company

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