2C-B: Party Drug or Potent Medicine?


2C-B image courtesy of erowid.org

When people suffer from depression or anxiety, doctors often prescribe anti-depressants such as Zoloft and Prozac, both of which practically guarantee a death sentence to the libido. Goodbye sex life, hello stability! Screw that – I’d  rather roll around in Saran wrap on hot coals. But what if there’s a drug that enables you to access the roots of those nagging problems with total awareness whilst tripping out with said libido fully intact? Enter 2C-B (4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine), not to be confused with 2C-D. Popular amongst psytrancers, 2C-B was first synthesized in 1974 by Alexander Shulgin, aka The Godfather of MDMA. In PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved), Shulgin gives a detailed description of how to synthesize the drug, its recommended dosage and effects.

Also known as Nexus and Bees, 2C-B was first used successfully in psychiatric therapy before it became known as a recreational drug.  Shulgin himself observed, “Many of the reports that have come in over the years have mentioned the combination of MDMA and 2C-B. The most successful reports have followed a program in which the two drugs are not used at the same time, nor even too closely spaced. It appears that the optimum time for the 2C-B is at, or just before, the final baseline recovery of the MDMA. It is as if the mental and emotional discoveries can be mobilized, and something done about them. This combination has several enthusiastic advocates in the psychotherapy world, and should be the basis of careful research when these materials become legal, and accepted by the medical community.” Unfortunately, 2C-B has been placed in Schedule III of the CDSA, which makes possession of this substance illegal. Prior to its placement in List I of the Opium Law, 2C-B was widely available at smartshops in the Netherlands as a legal substitute for Ecstasy. 

2C-B is widely distributed in gelcaps or pill form

At milder dosages (5-15 mg), 2C-B’s entactogenic properties become more pronounced. It’s no surprise then that it was once peddled as an aphrodisiac named Eros by Drittewelle, a German pharmaceutical company.  It seems the Germans are always onto something; heck, even MDMA was first discovered in Germany! Up the dosage to 25 mg and more, and shit starts to get intense. Light trails, candy coloured clouds, rippling bushes, an achingly deep affinity with nature and music manifesting itself visually are just some of the many wondrous effects one can expect from this dynamic drug. Commercially sold as a brownish white powder (usually in capsule form), 2C-B can either be ingested orally or insufflated. When swallowed, it takes much longer for the effects to be felt (1 – 2 hours from the moment of ingestion), but the trip lasts significantly longer (4 – 8 hours). This is best done on an empty stomach, as 2C-B can induce nausea. Insufflation produces rapid results, usually within a matter of minutes, but your nose will pay a painful price for 5 minutes or more while you wonder, “WHAT THA FUCK HAVE I DONE TO MY FREAKIN NOSE!!! AAARRRGGGHH!!!” However, the onset is intense but the ride will be much shorter. It is really a matter of individual preference coupled with how much mileage the user wants to get out of the experience, that determines the method of absorption. 

What’s truly unique about 2C-B is that it combines the psychedelic properties of LSD with a hint of MDMA’s warm glow, while eschewing the sometimes unpleasant side effects one usually experiences with LSD. When used correctly, it allows one to remain in a lucid frame of mind, observing thought processes in minute detail with the understanding that the Self is separate from one’s thoughts. For this reason, 2C-B has the potential to help the user to address repressed emotional issues, release negative thought patterns and experience one’s connection with other sentient beings, namely plants and animals. If done at a party, expect some far out visuals and hours of transcendent hula-hooping or contact improv if that’s your  kind of scene. Do it outdoors and you might find yourself skulking and snarling in the underbrush as you become one with your totem animal. Nevermind that badass raccoon that looks like it’s about to fly right off the frickin tree and make a beeline for your face – you’re in your element! Suddenly, you know beyond a doubt that wild animals hate cars – I mean, really fucking hate ’em.

Ultimately, 2C-B can empower you to make brave decisions you wouldn’t normally do, like ditching a co-dependent relationship you’ve been dying to end but didn’t know how to. Or chucking your worn out shoes in the garbage and going home barefoot. Or pissing on whitey’s lawn. Be forewarned: 2C-B  is a very powerful psychotropic substance, best used on its own. DO NOT COMBINE with marijuana or alcohol. Overdose and you may find yourself bawling in the psychiatric ward as it can seriously skewer your perception of reality before you even come back to Square 1. Respect for this powerful medicine as a shamanic intermediary is key to having a positive experience. Many may find it helpful to have a sober, trustworthy person present to act as a guide in case things get dicey. A more equipoised individual might choose to dose privately in a natural environment with few distractions. The majority seem to prefer taking it at parties, so the effects of blacklight visuals and music is intensified, but this is drastically different compared to dosing in the woods for example. Setting is of utmost importance when using 2C-B as it can have a profound effect on what the user gets out of it. For a more introspective experience, it is best taken outdoors. Effects may include: 

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety attacks (which subside when addressed rationally)
  • Headaches
  • Feelings of isolation / introversion
  • Greater insight into the roots of one’s problems
  • Improved sense of well being and confidence
  • Acute observation of one’s environment in minutiae (similar to LSD)
  • Colours become noticeably vibrant and dynamic
  • The ability to perceive auras (coloured vapours around people and flowers)
  • Kinship with nature
  • Subsequent rejection of materialistic societal values
  • Recognition of one’s power animal and the ability to see what that animal sees
  • Intense hunger (when coming down)
  • Reluctance to leave the vicinity (hence it is advisable to let someone you trust know you’ll be tripping out!)

So far, no fatalities have been reported from taking 2C-B. However, if you have a history of mental illness / psychosis, you definitely should not take this drug. Too often, people approach these substances with a trivial attitude, thinking it’s all fun and recreation, but 2C-B has the potential to give you a serious reality check.  A resounding bitchslap to the ol’ noggin! This is not something you want authorities to be aware of if you should end up screaming your head off at a busy junction because you took twice the recommended dosage despite warnings from your friends. Respect 2C-B for its medicinal properties, and you may gain remarkable insight into what makes you tick.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.



3 responses »

  1. What a terrific article! It’s informative, personal, and humourous. I like how you bold the key points and I’m in LOVE the word “equipoised” you just taught me!

    You discuss the topics of therapy and self-reflection but you also seem to hint at the interesting concept of self-therapy. I’d be fascinated to hear your thoughts on this concept in more detail some day. I firmly believe that a shift in perspective is sometimes all you need to awaken some revelation inside yourself, giving you an answer to a question you’re too stubborn or blind to figure out. It’s not without risks, though, so it’s rare to find the topic discussed.

    Keep up the great work on the blog!

    • Thanks Brian. 2C-D was placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act as of July 2012. It’s a shame the establishment prefers to ban these substances rather than recognize their tremendous potential for self-exploration when used appropriately. Regulation as opposed to prohibition is the key to creating a society where people are empowered to heal themselves effectively, with or without supervision, instead of taking prescribed drugs that fail to address the underlying cause of their emotional issues.

  2. Actually, DO combine with marijuana. It makes the experience complete, in the opinion of many I know who have taken it. Good article otherwise though.

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