Drug use has been an integral part of human history, from peace pipes to Ayahuasca, we have benefitted from the gifts nature gives us. However, with the new scientific age we live in, so-called ‘designer drugs’ have been growing in popularity. Designer drugs are those that have been created by people themselves with the specific intention of giving us a high, trip or experience, think LSD in the 50’s and 60’s.
A newer designer drug that has been taking the drug scene by storm is 2C-B; a psychedelic and stimulant rolled into one. Sometimes known as ‘tripstacy’ or ‘seventh heaven’ – and described as crossing MDMA with LSD – this interesting drug has been dubbed ‘the scary party drug’. However, it’s also seen as a way to revolutionize partying; in general becoming the most popular novel psychedelic. So, what is 2C-B? where does it come from and what are its effects? As part of our What is: drugs series we’ll be delving into this tripstatic drug and figuring out just where it fits into the developing drug scene.
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What is 2C-B?
According to the AAC, “2C-B, or 4-bromo-2,5 dimethoxyphenethylamine, is a hallucinogenic drug…whose effects are reportedly similar to MDMA, mescaline, LSD, and amphetamine”. It is a designer drug first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin in 1974, but became much more popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s as MDMA was becoming more controlled around the world. With MDMA being made illegal, and concerns over the purity of MDMA pills sold through the illegal drugs trade, people were marketed 2C-B as a legal and potentially safer alternative, but due to its more psychedelic effects it became very popular for its own reasons.
The drug is now one of the most popular designer drugs to take and can be found in most club scenes, in fact in a study conducted on frequent drug users in Spain, 2C-B was found to be the most popular ‘new psychedelic’ taken, even beating Ketamine and mephedrone. 2C-B is just one of the types of 2C drugs synthesized, which we will discuss further in the history of 2C-B section in this article. 2C-B is illegal in most countries, including the US and UK. The US counts it as a Schedule 1 drug and in the UK it is a Class A, the highest class of drug illegality. Possession and selling will result in conviction.
What Does It Look Like?
The drug can come in different forms, but most often it is taken as a pill or a capsule, much like MDMA. The pill is swallowed and usually after about half an hour you’ll be coming up, then feel the effects, both euphoric and psychedelic for about 2-3 hours. Alternatively 2C-B can be sold as a fine, white powder and snorted which will give a more rapid onset of effects, but with a lower intensity. 2C-B can be combined with other drugs, most famously MDMA and LSD. Taking MDMA and 2C-B together is called a party pack, heightening the euphoric elements of the drug and when mixed with LSD, called a banana split, heightening the psychedelic side. If a user so wishes, they can also vaporize 2C-B and inhale it.
Ways to Have a Good Trip
The bristol drug project has compiled a great list on ways to reduce the chances of having a bad trip. Some of their tips include: ‘weighing out your dose’, ‘being considerate of your setting’ and even ‘considering a trip sitter’. The drug is powerful and users must be wary that it isn’t completely the same as MDMA. Strengths can vary and a small change in dose can create a very different experience.
The History of 2C-B
2C-B was first synthesised by Alexander Shulgin in 1974. Shulgin was a scientist interested in synthesising drugs and is perhaps more famous for synthesising MDMA. Though the drug had already been discovered by a German Pharmaceutical company in the early 20th century, Shulgin’s work meant that the drug could be more easily made and produced. He even tried MDMA out on himself and gave it to psychiatrists to promote its ‘therapeutic effects’. Shulgin then went on to investigate creating a psychedelic drug with stimulant effects. He stumbled upon the 2C series. A group of phenylethylamines that include 2C-C, 2C-D etc.
The name 2C comes from the fact that there are 2 Carbon atoms between the benzene ring and the amino group in its chemical structure. 2C-B was first marketed as an aphrodisiac sold under brand names such as ‘Erox, Nexus, Venus’ and easily picked up in head shops and adult shops as a way to alleviate impotency. The drug then made its way into the night club scene, and particularly when the US moved MDMA up to a schedule one, illegal drug in 1985. 2C-B was then itself made schedule one in 1994, but is still popular in night clubs across the world.
How Does It Feel?
2C-B gives the user a range of feelings and effects and especially, as discussed, gives both a feeling of euphoria and a psychedelic experience. When on 2C-B, you can feel energised, awake, your perception of colours and patterns can become heightened and you can hallucinate with a real connection to your surroundings. It’s a fantastic combination of some of the best parts of MDMA and LSD, though it is a little bit more intense than both alone because of this combination, so if you’ve never taken it before make sure you know your dosage. A small dose of about 10 milligrams can create milder experiences, whereas increasing up to 20 mg will give a more intense hallucinatory trip. Even higher doses can give experiences similar to acid. A side note here to mention that Shulgin himself took a maximum does of 100mg and supposedly reported no harmful effects… we do not recommend this.
Something to note is that, like MDMA, a user can experience a come down, feeling low and having troubles focussing and motivating in the week after taking the 2C-B. The comedown isn’t as bad as MDMA, but because the drug affects serotonin, you may still feel a little low.
What are the Psychoactive Effects?
So, where does 2C-B work in the brain? As you’d expect, much of 2C-B’s effects on the brain are very similar to MDMA, affecting Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to mood and is needed to regulate emotions, in particular happiness. Too little serotonin in the brain is what leads to depression and having lots of it, which is what happens after you take 2C-B leads to a sense of euphoria! 2C-B supposedly increases the level of Serotonin in the brain making it a Serotonin agonist, this increase will also be linked to the hallucinatory effects of the drug as well.
2C-B is an incredible drug in that it brings together two very different drug experiences, the high of MDMA and the psychedelic experiences of LSD. This is a huge positive for people looking to change up their drug taking habits or to experience something new in the club scene. 2C-B may also have some interesting effects on human emotional perception: 2C-B reduces feelings of anger and can even increase experiences of other’s emotions, read through facial expressions.This has lead some people to believe that drugs such as 2C-B could be used for some types of therapy. Shulgin himslef was an avid believer of the drug’s positive psychological effects.
As with any psychedelic there are risks to 2C-B. Anyone taking the drug has to be mindful of where your thoughts can go. 2C-B can cause anxiety, negative thoughts and the feared ‘bad trip’. Of course if you’re in the right setting and have good people around you, this can be avoided but it is something to think about. Another issue is that the purity of the drug is variable. There have been very, very few deaths linked to 2C-B and any that are because the user was given a pill mixed with other substances. Shulgin himself has expressed anger at the way ‘amateur chemists’ don’t care about purity and just want to make some money. All of this has to be considered as a risk of 2C-B, so make sure when you buy, you try safe and manageable doses first.
My Own Experiences
I’ve only taken 2C-B once and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t a huge amount of the drug but it gave me an incredible feeling of calm and contentment. I was with a group of close friends and we listened to classical music (Mahler 9) and it blew my mind. I didn’t experience too many hallucinations, but the lights were much more twinkly and fractal. Unfortunately, the night before I’d eaten some bad Oysters and woke up after a very peaceful and calm trip to projectile vomit across my friends carpet… but that was nothing to do with the 2C-B. I definitely want to try it again.
2C-B is a fascinating drug which can really give someone a novel drug experience that perhaps they’d have never tried before. It can change the way we view stimulants and psychedelics and it could even potentially be used for therapeutic benefits. Of course, as with all drugs, 2C-B has to be taken safely, responsibly and in a good environment; but when done right it’s a brilliant drug.
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