Created in the 1970s, 2C-B is a designer hallucinogenic drug that produces a trip similar to LSD and MDMA. Effects range from euphoria and increased sexual desire to visual hallucinations. Little is known about whether the drug is addictive, but long-term users can develop tolerance. The drug can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, and lethal overdoses have occurred with similar chemicals.
What Exactly Is 2C-B?
2C-B, or 4-bromo-2,5 dimethoxyphenethylamine, is a hallucinogenic drug that was synthesized in 1974 by Alexander Shulgin.2,3 When Ecstasy became a controlled substance in 1985, 2C-B was marketed as a legal MDMA substitute.3 2C-B became a Schedule I substance 10 years later in 1995.1
2C-B’s effects are reportedly similar to MDMA, mescaline, LSD, and amphetamine.1,4 Unfortunately, because it is produced illegally, someone who purchases and consumes what they think is 2C-B won’t know the exact ingredients used in the batch taken. They may have a dangerous reaction to the drug.1,4
Some of the common street names used to identify and sell 2C-B include:4
- Cloud nine.
2C-B is sold in pill or capsule form and is either taken whole or crushed and snorted. Snorting 2C-B can lead to excruciating pain that can last up to 30 minutes.1
People that use 2C-B may combine it with MDMA, called a “party pack,” or LSD, called a “banana split.”1
What Are the Short-Term Effects?
Depending on the mode of administration, 2C-B’s effects will begin within 20-90 minutes, and the 2C-B trip normally lasts 4-6 hours.1,3
The symptoms a person will experience during a trip depend on the dose taken and the chemical compounds in the 2C-B they consume. The effects associated with a 2C-B trip include:1,2,3
- Enhanced visual, auditory, and tactile sensations.
- Hallucinations (visual patterns and movement with shifting colors).
- Increased sexual interest and pleasure.
- Increased feeling of insight or perspective.
It has been reported that people that consume lower doses of 2C-B will experience the erotic and emotional 2C-B effects noted above. At higher doses, the hallucinogenic properties of the drug are more likely.1
Timeline of Effects
- Within the first 20 minutes to 1.5 hours, a person will begin to notice increased emotional and sensory activation.
- This is followed by increasing sensations for the next 15-30 minutes and then a plateau, when symptoms are at their peak for about 2-3 hours.
- Coming down from 2C-B’s effects is said to last 2 hours as well as an additional 2-4 hours of lingering after-effects.1
What Are the Side Effects?
Side effects are symptoms that are not part of the intended use of a substance. 2C-B side effects can range from uncomfortable (a “bad trip”) to potentially lethal. These symptoms include:2,3,4
- Runny nose.
- Cramping and/or gas.
- Hypertension or increased blood pressure.
- Tachycardia or increased heart rate.
- Frightening hallucinations.
- Delirium that may include agitation, violence, and/or hyperthermia, or death.
What Are the Long-Term Effects?
Some sources claim that long-term use can cause severe fatigue, anxiety, and ongoing confusion.6
But there is not enough research to support a definitive statement about the long-term effects of 2C-B. Even though 2C-B could be compared to other drugs in the hallucinogen class, it is not empirically proven that 2C-B interacts with the brain in the same way as other hallucinogens.
Funding for 2C-B research is needed to better understand the long-term effects.
Are There Withdrawal Symptoms?
Much is still unknown about the connection between prolonged use of 2C-B and withdrawal symptoms.
Most people do not experience physical withdrawal symptoms after using hallucinogens, though regular MDMA users are known to experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, and trouble concentrating.7,8
Can You Overdose?
At this time, it’s unclear whether one can overdose on 2C-B. However, since 2C-B is manufactured illicitly, users cannot know for sure what they are taking and may overdose or have an adverse reaction to another drug.
A consumer may get a derivative of 2C-B that can be lethal. People have overdosed on the variations of 2C-B compounds on the illicit market.2 However, a straight 2C-B overdose has not been reported.
Is It Addictive?
Some hallucinogens are considered addictive, and there is debate over whether MDMA is addictive.8,9 But because there are many variations of the 2C compound, it is difficult for scientists to study and understand the way that 2C-B interacts with the brain to create hallucinogenic effects. It therefore cannot be said for certain whether the drug is addictive.
However, a person who regularly uses 2C-B or any other drug may have an increased need for higher and higher doses to achieve the same hallucinogenic effects that they previously experienced (tolerance).5,6
If you or a loved one has used 2C-B for an extended period of time and in increasing doses, you crave 2C-B, you use it in situations that could be unsafe, or you use it despite medical, social, occupational, or other consequences, you may be addicted to the drug.5 If you think you or a loved one is addicted to 2C-B, treatment options are available, including:
- Partial hospitalization (PHP)/intensive outpatient (IOP) – PHP provides full-day monitoring and stabilization of any withdrawal or medical symptoms, and group therapy. IOP provides group therapy, but the program will expect you to have an outside medication provider. These programs may also provide both family and individual therapy as needed. Neither program offers housing.
- Individual therapy – Individual therapy may be helpful if you or a loved one cannot quit using 2C-B or other drugs. Therapists can help you understand why you use and help you to develop positive coping skills and make lifestyle changes that can help you remain sober.
- 12-step and non-12-step programs – These programs include Alcoholics Anonymous and other non-12-step programs, such as SMART Recovery. These groups provide education, support, and mentoring throughout your recovery. One of the many benefits of peer support groups is a sense that you are not alone, which can be a healing element in itself.
- Inpatient – Inpatient or residential programs are fully immersive programs in which you live at the treatment facility and participate in recovery activities throughout the day. Programs often include individual therapy, group therapy, medical care, detox, and 12-step groups.
- National Drug Intelligence Center. (2001). Information bulletin: 2C-B (nexus) reappears on the club drug scene.
- Dean, B. V., Stellpflug, S. J., Burnett, A. M., & Engebretsen, K. M. (2013). 2C or Not 2C: Phenethylamine Designer Drug Review. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 9(2), 172-178.
- Gahlinger, P.M. (2004). Illegal drugs: A complete guide to their history, chemistry, use, and abuse.New York, NY: Plume. (p. 343)
- Miller, R. L. (2002). The encyclopedia of addictive drugs. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (p. 432)
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
- Koelhoffer, T. (2008). Ecstasy and Other Club Drugs. Infobase Publishing.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). How Do Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca) Affect the Brain and Body?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What Is MDMA?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What are hallucinogens?
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