In recent times the drug community has been combating prohibition by releasing research chemicals - new drugs, which are often analogues closely related to well-known recreational chemicals outlawed by the establishment. The research chemicals which become successful, do so in a big way, since with the advent of the Web we see cheap and easy access to these grey-area chemicals.
One major treasure trove for such chemicals is the collection of psychoactives documented by Alexander Shulgin, who spent his life exploring novel substances, testing them on himself, and later publishing his results along with detailed syntheses in his books PiHKAL and TiHKAL.
One of the latest drugs in this series explored has been AL-LAD, originally synthesised by David E. Nichols in the 90s while researching analogues of the mainstay psychedelic, LSD. It was later described by Shulgin in TiHKAL as "simply beautiful," published along with a guide to its synthesis.
It seems that AL-LAD wasn't previously produced since the process of doing so actually requires LSD - an already complicated synthesis, and an illegal substance. Despite this, it was released to the public at large on the Web midway through 2013 along with sister analogue LSZ.
Of the two, AL-LAD reached great popularity among users, and the substance quickly became sold out. Users described it as being slightly shorter than LSD, with a happier push and a slightly different visual profile - and of course, legal. Of the research chemicals we have seen made available in the last few years, this has been one of the most immediately successful, with the likes of MXE and etizolam.
As with most research chemicals which become popular, legislation soon began to follow - along with several other chemicals it was recommended that it become specifically outlawed as a Class A drug in the UK on the 10th of June 2014; the difference with AL-LAD was that there was no attempt at identification of harm related to the use of the chemical, usually required before outlawing it.
I believe this omission raises an important question as to what an honest, sober and unhysterical assessment of the potential harm of psychedelics would yield? If not AL-LAD, another of the slew of psychedelics shown to be exceptionally safe. With time we see more of the classic misconceptions held around psychedelics dispelled, and alongside it is being revealed to us the true potential for benefit to our society they hold.
Either way, AL-LAD is continuing to enjoy wide appreciation and popularity despite the ban (though it remains 'legal' in the USA) - and a new batch was made available on the Web earlier this month.
Read more about AL-LAD on our Wiki.