ICP #002: 2C-B
2C-B is one of Sasha Shulgin’s chemical creations. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, Shulgin synthesised ~150 new psychedelics by tweaking the structures of existing compounds. Most of them were based either on phenethylamine or tryptamine; his two quasi-autobiographical novels-cum-synthesis-guides, PiHKAL and TiHKAL, focus on these two groups of molecules.
2C compounds are diphenoxyphenethylamines with different substituents at the 4 position. 2C-B has a bromine atom; 2C-I has an iodine; 2C-E has an ethyl group (a two-carbon chain). These different molecular components give the different drugs different effects.
2C-B had inauspicious beginnings. It was sold in 5mg tablets as “Nexus” or “Eros”, available over-the-counter in the kind of shops that also sold poppers and weird herbal Viagra alternatives. It was marketed as an aphrodisiac in these small doses, and other pharmaceutical companies sold similar preparations under the names Eros and Performax.
While I doubt anyone taking it now is seriously consuming it solely as an aphrodisiac, it does undeniably have an ‘in the body’ type of high (which some people might experience as uncomfortable ‘body load’). In his notes, Shulgin writes:
I am totally into my body. I am aware of every muscle and nerve in my body. The night is extraordinary—moon full. Unbelievably erotic, quiet and exquisite, almost unbearable.
2C-B has a sort of magical quality that’s not the same as the cerebral headspace that some other psychedelics can put you in – it’s like dialing up the significance of any given event. It certainly can be a trigger for introspection, but it’s more visual than cerebral; there’s a sense of being able to lean into or out of the experience.
It’s also relatively short-acting:
The 2C-B experience is one of the shortest of any major psychedelic drug. Wherever you might be, hang on. In an hour or so you will be approaching familiar territory again.
Shulgin listed a “magical half-dozen” phenethylamines which he thought the most important and with the most profound effects, all synthesised by him (except mescaline): 2C-B, 2C-E, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, DOM and mescaline.
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Well worth a read, and even has a fun sidenote on the word “prove” and its two meanings (separated in French by having prouver and éprouver).