About Shulgin Farm

On an unassuming hill in Lafayette, California, on the grounds of a former almond orchard, sits a 200-square-foot chemistry lab unlike any other in the world. These four walls housed the intrepid research and playful explorations of Alexander T. “Sasha” Shulgin, a chemist now credited with creating over 150 novel psychedelic compounds. With classical music on the radio, he often worked well into the night next to a crackling fireplace, pondering chemicals with known and unknown properties—existing always in the possibility that something new could arrive in his mind that, when created by his own hands and ingested by a human subject, would illuminate a new facet of our humanity.

Anyone who has been to the lab cannot help but notice the infectious look on the faces of the newcomers. The alchemist’s workplace, with its corner of dusty brown bottles, glimmering beakers, and slivers of psychedelic cacti, has a strange beauty. It exists both as a symbol of independent research and freedom of thought and as a living, changing space where Sasha’s collaborators at the Alexander Shulgin Research Institute follow the breadcrumbs he left behind by exploring the potential of the substances he invented and continuing to develop new compounds. 

The scientific discoveries made here would be enough to secure its place as a historic and hallowed site, but the land reverberates with a particular warmth—what some call Shulgin-ness—that would never have existed if Sasha had not entered into his greatest collaboration: a decades-long partnership with his wife, Ann Shulgin. Ann was a writer, artist, and fellow adventurer of the spirit who authored one of the earliest guidelines on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, which she used as a tool in her work as a Jungian lay therapist.

At the Farm, Ann and Sasha tasted new compounds in thousands of psychedelic journeys, logging meticulous trip reports of their effects and convening a research group of their most trusted friends to do the same. Through cautious protocols and an abundance of love, they kept themselves and their friends safe in uncharted waters, and built a community of chemists, psychiatrists, and brilliant thinkers who continued to walk up the hill and be changed there. They risked legal repercussions and social sanctions in their conviction to uncover and share the revelatory capacity of psychedelic compounds, publishing their findings and psychedelic recipes in giant tomes—PIHKAL and TIHKAL—with the intention to ripple, to be bigger than themselves. Perhaps this is why you can feel their presence even in their absence there. 

The Farm has been a psychedelic gathering place for over forty years, home to the ritual seasonal gatherings that saw such guests as George Greer, Leo Zeff, Stan Grof, Andy Weil, Michael Pollan, Timothy Leary, Leonard Pickard, Paul Stamets, Amanda Feilding, and even astronaut Buzz Aldrin. It is an ever-fresh birthplace of new thought and a pilgrimage site for anyone curious about the capacities of the human mind and our ability to heal one another and solve intricate problems through psychedelic experiences. In preserving this place, we acknowledge that we are sitting on the shoulders of the elders who were brave before us, that they made the way for us, and that we will not forget them. To honor the lessons and protocols of Ann and Sasha, the alchemist and the artist, we continue the legacy of the Farm as an extraordinary site of healing and discovery.