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The Complete Morning Glory FAQ
Preparation and Use
by TrakMan.Du
v 1.5.4 - based on version from Nov 1994
minor update Jan 2010, by Erowid
Erowid Note: This FAQ was not authored by Erowid. It may include out-of-date and/or incorrect information. Please check the version date to see when it was most recently revised. It appears on Erowid as part of our historical archives. For current information, see Erowid's summary pages in the substance's main vault.

{([Standard Disclaimer] lexical exceptions) Context Definition} The author's intent: This report is based on personal research conducted on the psychotropic effects of heavenly blue et. al. morning glory between June 1958 and the summer of 1973. Research proceeded with intermittent intensity throughout that period, sometimes occupying <7dayweeks{24hrdays}> for intervals up to three months, other times nil. Since this work has not been duplicated elsewhere to the best of my knowledge, it seems appropriate to publish it, if only for historical interest and to correct what appears to a general lack of knowledge regarding this plant and its uses. This material is 'intended' as referential only and the author does not publicly advocate the violation of any local laws or statutes, nor in the same sense does he support any current attempts to reproduce these findings should such an attempt be in conflict with local prejudice and deemed criminal. This document may be freely reproduced in any media so long as appropriate attribution is maintained and the document reproduced intact including this disclaimer. Contextual quoting is ok 2.

{([Secondary Disclaimer] personal firewall) Educational Deficiencies} The author is not a chemist. I have had only basic chemistry supplemented with reading and various forays into chemical synthesis and extractions primarily involving indole alkaloids and other psychotropic molecules as well as explosives. These experiments were all conducted twenty years ago or more. Throughout this faq various premises will be presented. These represent informed hypotheses based on experience and what knowledge I do have. I would welcome the supplementation of these premises with hard information or equally their refutation. However, the methodologies presented here *do work* and the experiences chronicled in Part II of this faq: Alchemical Considerations *did occur*. Actual mechanisms and meanings are up for grabs.

Q. How do you prepare morning glory seeds to best activate their psychedelic properties?

A. Here is a simple way to process morning glory seeds which produces the best possible results as well:

  • Equipment:
    • Coffee Grinder or equivalent to powder seeds
    • 2 Jars with Lids
    • 1 Coffee Filter or Funnel
    • Coffee Filters or Filter Paper
  • Chemical/Biological:
    • Morning Glory Seeds (1 seed = ~ 1 ug) (50-500 ug=1 dose)
    • Petroleum Ether
    • Ethanol-based liquid suitable for human consumption in approximate order of preference:
        Reagent Grade Ethanol
      • EverClear or similiar substance
      • 100 Proof or better vodka or gin
      • 151 Proof rum
      • other beverages 80 proof or better
        - or -
      • Water-based beverages (not preferred (nausea))
  • Processing Methodology:
    1. If using treated seeds wash thoroughly in detergent and cold water first.
    2. Grind seeds to powder in coffee grinder
    3. Place powder in jar with a "healthy" qty of petroleum ether.
      (~360-500 ml/500 seeds (can't use too much, can use too little))
    4. Put lid on jar and shake it vigorously for a while. Let stand 20 minutes (you can shake it more if you like)
    5. Shake jar, remove lid, and pour suspension into filter (with filter paper in place). Use second jar to catch the petroleum ether than comes through the filter paper. (Windows should be open or do this outside otherwise you will get prematurely in a non-canonical fashion). If some seed powder clings to the side of the jar, rinse it out with some of the filtered ether. When finished, you will have slightly discolored petroleum ether in a jar and the powder on the filter paper.
    6. *** DO NOT DRINK THE PETROLEUM ETHER ***. Put the lid on that jar and save it to reuse next time (you can get at least five processing cycles out of it). Dry the seed powder THOROUGHLY. Wash and dry the empty jar.
    7. When powder is thoroughly dry, place it back in the jar and add alcohol. The amount of alcohol is critical, since you will be drinking it later, and will vary according to your propensities, tolerances, and the intended intensity of your proposed voyage. For light, recreational use, assuming reasonable alcohol tolerance use 1 oz. of alcohol per 30-50 seeds. For intense meditation use 1 /250 seeds. If you use a high seed/alcohol ratio you will want to prepare a large number of seeds at a time otherwise you will be working with micro-quantities and it gets more tedious (unless you like that sort of thing).
    8. Soak the seed powder in the alcohol, shaking frequently, for three days.
    9. Filter again, as before. Discard the seed powder (unless you wish to make 'soap'). Keep the alcohol for use.
    10. Drink the alcohol to achieve desired effect.

Q. What kinds of morning glory seeds can be used?

A. Heavenly Blues (most common), Pearly Gates, and Flying Saucers are all known to be effective.

Q. Why is this method superior to others?

A. The virtue of this processing methodology will become clear if you sip a bit and hold it in your mouth before swallowing. VOILA: Instant Experience! No wait, no wondering "Did I do enough?". Because lysergic acid amides are soluble in ethanol, and because ethanol passes through mucus membranes directly to the blood stream, the effect is virtually instantaneous. Because of this, you can carefully meter the intensity of your experience in the same way you can with hemp.

Q. How long will the experience last?

A.Your voyage will last the standard 8-12 hours. The morning glory experience is clean, pure, intense and particularly enjoyable out of doors in the daytime (drink at dawn). This is the preferred hour for the flower and seems to be preferred for its tincture as well (this is coming from a confirmed ). (Night trips are cool too, but the sun does interesting things in the daytime)

Q. I tried morning glory seeds and only got a headache and blurred vision.
Q. I tried morning glory seeds and got sick to my stomach
Q. What do you know about this anyway?

A.My personal experience with morning glory seeds began in June of 1958, the day I graduated from eighth grade. Herb Caen had written something to the effect that "If you eat 100 morning glory seeds, you will go to morning glory heaven. Heavenly Blues, Pearly Gates, and Flying Saucers will do the trick.." A friend of mine had read this and invited a bunch of people to her house to try it out. I was the only person who managed to eat a full hundred, but probably didn't chew them enough and had only mild effects. Since then I have tried many ways of preparing them, and this is far and away the best. There are a number of approaches that are downright horrible.

Based on my experiences I believe the following to be true (though am wide-open to getting "scientific"/factual refutation/corroboration. In addition to the lysergic amides present in the seeds, there are two chemicals or chemical complexes which are toxic. One of these, relatively mild, is associated with nausea and is contained in the seed pulp. This is soluble in water and will form long 'strands' in it which are clearly visible. This material can be processed into a kind of 'soap' which lathers somewhat. It is not soluble in alcohol nor petroleum ether. This is evidenced by soaking the spent powder in water.

A second chemical or complex is much more malicious. Ingesting it results in headache, blurred and 'fish-eye' vision, and it also seems to counteract the psychedelic effect. For lack of a better term with the expectation that it is chemically non-descriptive, we will call this the 'strychnine effect' and the associated compound(s) the 'strychnine factor'. This factor is contained in the seed husk and is miscible with petroleum ether but only slightly soluble in water. If you chew the seeds you break the husk but do not usually chew it well enough to digest. Same thing if you pulverize the seeds with a hammer or similiar instrument before eating or swallowing. In both cases, the 'strychnine effect' is not observed except as background. However the high is not as lucid and bright as when the factor is removed. On the other hand, if you grind the seeds into powder and do not remove the 'styrchnine factor' with petroleum ether (or other solvent(?)) but ingest the powder itself, you will experience the 'strychnine effect' in great and unpleasant intensity. If you put the powder in water, filter the water, and drink it (effectively the traditional method for indigenous peoples), the nausea factor will be pronounced, but the 'strychnine effect' will be weak.

The only approach that effectively eliminates both side-effects is the one described above. The additional benefits provided by this method beyond the immediate high effect will be discussed in Part 2.0.0 of this FAQ.

Q. Does this method extract LSD-25 from morning glories?

A. Strictly speaking, No. Morning glories prepared this way do not provide anything like *pure LSD-25*. Instead, you get a complex of various lysergic acid alkaloids which are psychoactive to varying degrees in isolation, but which taken together produce a full blown psychedelic experience no less powerful than that produced by LSD.

Q. If this is true, wouldn't it be better to refine the chemistry further to isolate/synthesize pure LSD?

A. The question of the value of additional chemical processing is a subject open to discussion and possible experimentation. IMHO, only, it is unnecessary and hence undesirable. This is from the engineering perspective and from the naturalist perspective as well . The additional effort required to produce pure d-lysergic diethylamide tartrate is not work I have done myself and will not be discussed here. I personally feel there is a much more fruitful opportunity in exploring additional herbs which may be macerated along with the seeds. Various such have been tried with varying results. Possibilities include ginseng, damiana, kava, nutmeg, psycilocybe, valerian, yage, etc.

Q. Is there anything else you can do with morning glories?

A. The flowers of the morning glory may be steeped in water for a week or two to produce a mildly alcoholic wine with a distinctively pleasant flavor and very mild psychedelic effect, on the order of hemp. Once again herbs and/or honey can be added to good effect.

Q. What is the focus of part 2 of this faq and why is it separated into 2 parts?

A. Part 2 is concerned with the particulars of specific experiments which may fall under the classification of "irreproducible". It details a set of non-scientific protocols more aligned with shamanism and alchemy than chemistry. It also attempts to develop a model for the understanding of the results produced by these experiments that is somewhat coherent with accepted thought although extrapolates fairly loosely from it. The author considered that the audience for each of the two parts was potentially different and that individuals who could accept the first might have problems with the second. Further, should anyone implement the protocols defined in the first part (and it must again be emphasized that the author does not 'intend to advocate violation of local laws, customs, and prejudices'), they may well observe some of the effects described in Part 2 independently of the author's description of them, thus providing additional validation and possibly rendering these results anything but "irreproducible".

Q. When and where can I get part 2?

A. Part 2 will be published in this same place in 1 month's time.

MORNING GLORY FAQ UPDATE (previously unpublished)

Apologies :
My apologies to the many who wrote requesting the location of the Morning Glory FAQ Part II or an emailed copy of it. Although I promised it a month after the publication of Part I, I ultimately decided not to write it. It concerned ritualistic and shamanic aspects of preparation and use evolved over several years of working with this and other herbs. After reading the various responses to Part I and the email I subsequently received regarding it, this information did not seem suitable for this segment of the internet community.

New Questions since Part I
To those who asked about removing the alcohol prior to consumption, ethyl vs. methyl alcohol, and the use of water as a solvent, RTF.

To those who asked about the availability of petroleum ether, I cannot help unless you have access to a chemical supplier. Most products labeled "Naptha" are poor substitutes for what I used to purchase from chemical supply houses as "Petroleum Ether". They do remove the toxic oils from the seed coat but also appear to dissolve some of the lysergic acid as well. These products include Zippo lighter fluid and Coleman fuel. Seeds processed with these solvents produce a very weak brew. Some brands of Naphtha report that they are fairly pure, Ronsonal lighter fluid reports that it is "100% Naphtha" and VM&P Naphtha (Varnish Maker's & Painters) also claims to be "pure" naphtha. If one is going to ingest the resulting product, it is important to verify that the naphtha evaporates completely and does not leave a residue in whatever procedure one is using.

Technically speaking, petroleum "ether" is not an ether at all, which is essentially an organic oxide just as an alcohol is an organic base. Ethers in general are highly volatile compounds and come in the usual methyl, ethyl, butyl, etc. flavors. Petroleum ether, on the other hand, is the most volatile product produced through catalytic cracking in the process used to make gasoline, jet fuel, kerosine, and other petroleum products. The process is fractional distillation. Fractional distillation involves introducing a gaseous mixture of related compounds, in this case petroleum compounds into a cooling mechanism, in this case a cracking tower. As the gaseous products cool progressively, they liquify earlier or later depending on volatility. By controlling the rate of flow through the cooling mechanism and drawing off the liquid at specific locations along it, it is possible to separate compounds which are otherwise miscible. You can use the same process to separate methyl (wood) alcohol which is poisonous from ethyl (grain) alcohol which is also poisonous, but less so. "Petroleum ether" is the product drawn off from the top of the cracking tower. Reagent grade petroleum ether appears to be significant more volatile than "naptha" which is also drawn off the top of the tower and marketed as Zippo lighter fluid, Coleman fuel, and white gas. Perhaps reagent grade is subjected to a second distillation or perhaps is simply a more narrowly-defined drawoff. It is definitely a different animal.

In practical terms, if you examine the effect of the solvent being used for "petroleum ether" in this process on the seed meal, you will observe the following: After shaking the mixture well, Zippo lighter fluid and other substitutes will retain a brownish color. Some substitutes will also exhibit the same kind of "tendrils" that appear when you dissolve the meal in water. Reagent grade petroleum ether will remain clear after shaking and the meal will fall immediately to the base of the jar. Nothing will remain in suspension. When you filter the seed meal after soaking in reagent grade petroleum ether, the filtration process is nearly instaneous and the seed meal will retain its appearance as separate grains throughout. With substitute products, this filtration process takes several minutes to half and hour. The seed meal is "gummy" afterward and much harder to dry.

At this point it is pretty clear, that attempts to substitute Zippo, Coleman fuel, or other products marketed as "naptha" will not produce an active brew. This seems to explain some of the poor results reported in alt.drugs.

An alternative processing method occured to me since writing the FAQ in light of the apparent current difficulty in obtaining petroleum ether:

  1. Proceed with a water extraction from the seed meal: Soak the meal in water and then filter off the water with a coffee filter, discarding the filter and solid matter, keeping the water.

  2. Evaporate all the water until only a brown sludge remains. Do this maintaining the lowest possible temperature since lysergic compounds break down at relatively low temperatures. If you have access to a vacuum pump, use it. If you can perform this processing 5-10,000 feet above sea level or higher, do so. Otherwise, try blowing a fan across a flat pan such as a cookie sheet or pizza pan.

  3. When only sludge remains, redissolve it in alcohol, perform any shamanic rituals desired with this material, then filter again and drink.
This process will preserve the "instant high" effect of the process described in the FAQ without incurring the "fish-eye" toxic side-effect.

Erowid Note (updated Jun 2007)

Several people have contacted Erowid to point out vendors who specify that their morning glory seeds are untreated:

Added by Lamont Granquist: Petroleum Ether is a mixture of volatile hydrocarbons which is available in hardware stores as Naptha, or in chemical supply shops in a range of boiling fractions. Pet Ether is _not_ the same as Diethyl Ether (which is often simply referred to as just "Ether" to make things confusing). Diethyl Ether is substantially more dangerous to use than Pet Ether, and Diethyl Ether which has been exposed to the air peroxidizes and tends to explode -- old containers of Diethyl Ether should be disposed of by the bomb squad.

Revision History
  • 2010 - Jan 18 : 1.5.4 : Erowid : changed naphtha note
  • 2007 - Jun 23 : 1.5.3 : Erowid : added second note about untreated seeds
  • 2006 - Mar 20 : 1.5.2 : Erowid : added note about untreated seeds
  • 1995 : 1.5.1 : Lamont Granquist : added note about petroleum ether.
  • 1994 - Nov : 1.5 : TrakMan.Du