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2C-B: If LSD and MDMA had a baby



DenysDoskach, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Shulgin, best known for introducing MDMA to the psychological community, also created over 230 novel psychoactive compounds and documented their effects in the book PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story written with his wife Ann Shulgin. Among the 200+ compounds discussed was a unique molecule called 2C-B.

Also known as, 4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, Nexus or Erox, 2C-B is often unheard of, understudied and the effects are unlike any other psychedelics.

2C-B is part of a list of phenethylamines that Shulgin referred to as the “magical half dozen.” This list includes mescaline and other members of the 2C family such as 2C-E, 2C-T-2 and 2C-T-7. Shulgin wrote that 2C-B was by far one of his fondest creations and one of his most preferred psychedelic journeys.

See also  The psychedelic experience: comparing LSD, ketamine and nitrous oxide 

In 2003, he told the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics: “[2C-B] is, in my opinion, one of the most graceful, erotic, sensual, introspective compounds I have ever invented. For most people, it is a short-lived and comfortable psychedelic, with neither toxic side-effects nor next-day hang-over.”

2C-B was popular in the club scene in the 80’s and 90’s. After MDMA was classified as a Schedule I substance in the US, many people migrated to the use of 2C-B, which was relatively unknown by the DEA at the time.

It was common to find 2C-B packaged in head shops, sex shops and some nightclubs from the mid-80’s to the early ‘90s. 

Legal use of 2C-B ended in 1995 when the DEA classified it as a Schedule I substance in the US.

What makes 2C-B stand out compared to the other psychedelics?

The effects of 2C-B as a mix of psychedelic and entactogenic effects, classify it as a cross between LSD and MDMA.

2C-B chemical structure

2C-B creates interesting psychedelic effects because of its chemical structure and is classified as a phenethylamine, a chemical cousin to mescaline. 

Due to this, some effects include open-eye visuals with patterns and outlines of shapes moving and undulating throughout the trip, and giggling and laughing, which remind users of an LSD trip.

People can experience a mood lift and euphoria, with increased feelings of empathy, similar to MDMA. 

Making it sometimes called the love child of LSD and MDMA.

2C-B Dosing Guide

Shulgin describes 2C-B as one of the most potent psychedelics, and as such, users do not need to take a large amount. The effects vary greatly between a low dose (15 mg) and a very high dose (35 mg).

The following dosing guide was produced by using information compiled from the works of Alexander Shulgin, anecdotal sources and PiHKAL.


Minimum Effective Dose, 10 mg

Normal / Museum Dose, 15-25 mg

Strong Dose, 26 – 34 mg

Heroic Dose, 35+ mg

Duration, 4 – 8 Hours


Minimum Effective Dose, 4 mg

Normal / Museum Dose, 5-9 mg

Strong Dose, 10 – 19 mg

Heroic Dose, 20+ mg

Duration, 2 – 4 hours

There is currently no known lethal dose, however, Shulgin cautions against taking anything more than 45 mg.

Research on 2C-B

A recent study of 2C-B’s effects in a double-blind study was conducted for the first time. 22 volunteers were administered 20mg of 2C-B (a normal/museum dose), 15 mg of psilocybin (a medium dose) and placebo with each drug given on separate days.

2C-B shows an experience profile compatible with what is known about MDMA and LSD, psychedelic 5-HT2A agonists, just lighter in experience pertaining to the mystical or anxious realms of ego dissolution.

People reported less negative emotions under 2C-B and felt less impaired, despite showing similar outcomes to psilocybin on cognitive tasks. This data suggests that 2C-B may lead to a clearer headspace than the classical psychedelics.

2C-B as Therapy

2C-B was created in the 1970s, after the golden era of the first psychedelic revolution in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately, this left little room for the drug to be officially investigated as a therapeutic substance.

It was reported that Alexander and Ann Shulgin used 2C-B to treat more than 200 individuals with anxiety, depression and suffering from PTSD and nightmares before it became illegal in the 1990s.

A German pharmaceutical company Drittewelle briefly marketed 2C-B under the name Erox as an aphrodisiac for temporary alleviation of male impotence and female frigidity.

Dr. Ben Sessa, a psychedelic researcher, published a paper about his conversations with German psychiatrist Dr. Friederike Fischer who, with her husband, frequently used 2C-B in combination with MDMA for therapeutic purposes. They treated 97 clients in total until the couple’s arrest in 2009.

Their psychotherapeutic work did not lead to any clinical conclusions about the use of 2C-B in combination with MDMA, as no quantitative data was collected about clients’ progress. However, Dr. Sessa notes in his paper that patient outcomes of their work were “overwhelmingly positive. There were no serious adverse reactions to the substances, no psychoses, no hospitalizations, and no suicides of any clients who were actively undergoing psycholytic therapy.”

The potential therapeutic effects of 2C-B (as reported by Ann and Alexander Shulgin), along with the few available studies, suggest that it may have potential as a treatment for mental health disorders. 

Given the limited options for treating conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, exploring the potential of 2C-B as a treatment option is crucial. More research is required to fully understand the drug’s positive and negative effects and to better determine the appropriate dosing and administration methods.

There is one currently active study, sponsored by University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, comparing the effects of different doses of 2C-B to MDMA, psilocybin, and a placebo on healthy subjects. The study is listed on and estimated to start next week on June 30, 2023. 

Counterfeit 2C-B

“Tusi”, a pink drug cocktail, became popular last year in Latin America’s nightclub scene. 

When news channels investigated this “pink cocaine,” there was a widespread disagreement about what the substance actually was.  In Panama, a police spokesman said Tusi was ketamine cut with the opioid Tramadol. In Venezuela, the media claimed it was LSD with a dash of MDMA. In Uruguay, the Interior Minister suggested it was a mixture of cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD.

All were wrong. Tusi was a brand name, instantly recognizable for its bright pink color and mass merchandising. The name was linked to 2C-B and Tusi (Two-C) became the phonetic nickname. 

In the late 2000s, 2C-B reached Colombia’s nightclubs via rich young adults in Medellin who had brought small quantities from Europe. They sold it in their upper-class circles, as a whitish powder or small pill that 2C-B still comes in today. It gained attention as an “elite drug,” a synthetic European import that was far more expensive than the locally produced cocaine. 

Attention was accelerated by a feat of marketing genius. 2C-B powder closely resembled the white color of cocaine but according to users is notoriously painful to snort.  This led early dealers to begin mixing their powder with an aromatic pink food coloring.

The mix was deemed more pleasant to consume and the bright pink color created a cool and memorable visual aesthetic making it a much more attractive drug.

The pink caught on and demand rapidly increased. But as demand grew, the supply was far too low. Even in Europe, 2C-B was a niche drug and only a tiny portion of that production reached South America. 

To meet the new rise in demand, Columbian vendors began cutting it heavily. Bulking their powder with caffeine and synthetic drugs like MDMA and ketamine, as these European imports were cheaper and widely available.

Soon enough the Tusi fueling the Colombian nightlife contained almost no actual 2C-B, and ran at a price 33 times higher than cocaine. Purity has never recovered and 2C-B is still extremely rare in South America according to a 2021 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC.)

This article was first published on Nina’s Notes on 21 June 2023 and is republished on Psychedelic Health with permission.

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Ketamine: understanding the K-Hole



Ketamine: understanding the K-Hole
Photo by Gary Meulemans on Unsplash

Ketamine is an FDA-approved medical anesthetic and recently a prescription nasal spray version of ketamine called esketamine (Spravato) was approved for treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine is an interesting drug because it can exist in three different forms, R-ketamine (the aesthetic version), S-ketamine (the psychedelic version), and a mixture of the two (racemic ketamine).

Ketamine is typically used to put you under before surgery, however, lighter doses that don’t put you to sleep are being used to treat depression, pain, and other mental health and substance use disorders.

These “off-label” uses have led to the popularization of the therapeutic use of ketamine. This has given rise to ketamine clinics where one can pay out-of-pocket for a dose administered by a doctor in a luxuriously curated “set-and-setting” (more on ketamine therapy in Nina’s Notes #18).

The patented, FDA-approved formulation of S-ketamine, Spravato, is estimated to generate $1 billion in revenue in 2023.

In addition to the rise in ketamine use for mental health, and despite its legality, the recreational use of ketamine is rising in popularity and has quite a history of illegal recreational use.

A term frequently used with the recreational use of ketamine is “k-hole”. People use it by saying things like, they are “stuck in a k-hole” or they could have “fallen into a k-hole.”

What is a k-hole?

A k-hole is the term referring to the dissociated, trance-like state that sometimes follows acute, excessive use of ketamine.

K-holes most often occur in recreational settings, like a nightclub or house party.

The dissociative effects of ketamine are dose-dependent, meaning the more you administer the greater the felt effects.

Receiving a ketamine treatment at a ketamine clinic will likely not result in a k-hole. The dose for the therapeutic experience is finely measured for the client, is administered in a safe clinical setting, and a physician can closely monitor the medicine’s effect.

When in a k-hole, one may be unable to interact with surroundings, control motor functions or maintain awareness of their external reality. An individual may temporarily be unable to speak, walk properly or maintain their balance. They may even find themselves feeling temporarily “paralyzed” or physically inhibited.

These motor-control symptoms are often paired with a strong internal experience, visions or visuals and an altered state of consciousness.

Experientially, it can feel like “falling into a hole” which is where the term k-hole comes from. K-holes can last as long as 5 minutes or up to roughly 30 minutes.

For some, experiencing a k-hole can be highly transformative and powerful, for others it may be a frightening experience.

Why does it happen?

Ketamine is a dose-dependent drug, the larger the dose, the bigger the effects.

While entering a k-hole is rarely the aim of a ketamine user, it can easily happen in a party setting where people may be taking multiple doses within a short period of time.

Ketamine is a white powder, similar to cocaine, which many users ingest through snorting. If a ketamine user has a history of cocaine use, they may use the drug at the same frequency due to previous habits, which can sometimes lead to k-holing.

Why is that? It’s because the half-lives of cocaine and ketamine are both short, but very different.

The half-life of ketamine

Half-life is the time it takes for the total amount of a drug in the body to be reduced by 50%. The half-life of ketamine is about 2.5 hours.

This means that it takes 150 minutes for a dose of ketamine to become a half dose in your body. Meanwhile, the ketamine high lasts about 30-45 minutes. In comparison, the half-life of cocaine is 40-90 minutes, and the high is about 15-25 minutes. Cocaine is metabolized very quickly and the high lasts about a third of the half-life of the drug.

So half of the drug is cleared from the body at close to the same rate as the user feels the effects. Drug gone = effects end.

Because the half-life of Ketamine is about 150 minutes and the high is about 1/5th of that, a user could be going for a second, third or even fourth dose before half of the first dose is metabolized by the body.

So, with repeating doses, the total amount of ketamine in your body builds over time. A user may not feel the strong effects of ketamine anymore, but they still have more than half of a dose still in their body. When they take another dose, they risk falling into a k-hole.

What happens in a k-hole?

A k-hole can lead to intense feelings of dissociation causing feelings of being disconnected from or unable to control one’s own body.

It may also affect the ability to speak and move easily. One way to think about a k-hole is a state between intoxication and a coma. Some refer to a k-hole as an out-of-body or near-death experience. A k-hole can be frightening and induce strong feelings of powerlessness. This can be especially intense if the ability to speak is affected.

Others might not notice someone in a k-hole. They might just look immobile and intoxicated, but their mind is far from quiet. They may be experiencing vivid, dream-like hallucinations and distortions of time and space. Other k-hole symptoms include confusion, unexplainable experiences and floating sensations.

While some people find the psychedelic experience enjoyable, others find it terrifying. Some describe falling into a k-hole like a bad LSD trip. Keep in mind the whole experience may last from 10 minutes to an hour.

Signs of a ketamine overdose

Know the signs of a ketamine overdose so that if someone at a party is exhibiting symptoms, you can get them immediate medical attention.

Although the risk of an overdose from ketamine is low, it can increase outside of a clinical setting. The overdose risks are higher when ketamine is mixed with other substances such as alcohol, opioids or other recreational drugs.

Overdose symptoms can include anxiety, chest pain, elevated blood pressure, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, rapid or irregular heart rate, and seizures.

A k-hole, however, is a common experience due to excessive use of ketamine over a short period of time. It is not a ketamine overdose.

Though a k-hole is a temporary experience, there are several long-term side effects with extended recreational ketamine use, such as bladder problems, cognitive effects, heart problems, and seizures.

While there is no way to guarantee a perfectly safe experience with ketamine, using it outside of doctor supervision, its effects can be extremely unpredictable compared to other drugs.

With the rising popularity of ketamine in both medical and recreational spheres, this calls for a balanced perspective, appreciating the therapeutic potential of ketamine while being acutely aware of its potent effects and the dangers of excessive use.

This article was first published on Nina’s Notes and is republished on Psychedelic Health with permission.

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Beyond Psilocybin: the fascinating world of functional mushrooms



Beyond Psilocybin: the fascinating world of functional mushrooms

I typically write about psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in mushrooms. But mushrooms have many more interesting properties than just psilocybin.

There are well over 14,000 species of mushroom-producing fungi that have been identified so far. It is believed that many more exist and have yet to be discovered. In 2017, an article in Microbiology Spectrum estimates that there are between 2.2 and 3.8 million different species of fungi.

Functional mushrooms are a category of mushrooms that have been traditionally used for their health benefits.

See also  Lion’s mane boosts memory through nerve growth, say researchers 

They have been incorporated into Eastern medicine for thousands of years, especially in Asian cultures. These mushrooms are not your typical culinary mushrooms. They are often found in supplements, teas or other preparations to be used for health-enhancing benefits.

Popular Functional Mushrooms

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Known as the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi mushrooms are often used for immune support and to promote relaxation.

Reishi mushrooms may positively affect white blood cells, a critical part of your immune system. A 2006 study found that ingesting reishi could increase the number of white blood cells in those with colorectal cancer.

They were also shown to improve the function of lymphocytes in athletes when they are exposed to stressful conditions.

Reishi mushrooms may also reduce fatigue and depression.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

This pom-pom shaped mushroom is native to North America, Asia and Europe.

It is recognized for its potential neuroprotective effects, protecting nerves from disease or decline.

Lion’s mane has also been studied for its effect on neurons, and has gained the title “the smart mushroom” due to its potential to boost cognitive function and minimize brain fog.

It may also have potential benefits in addressing the cognitive decline associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The bioactive compounds in Lion’s mane, hericenones and erinacines, may promote the production of growth factors and protect against brain damage.

Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Chaga is a black, parasitic mushroom, which looks like a lump of burnt coal.

It’s high in fiber, low in calories, but rich in minerals and vitamins.

Chaga has been used to treat diabetes, parasites, tuberculosis, and inflammation.

The oldest reference to the use of chaga mushrooms as a medicine comes from Hippocrates in his Corpus Hippocraticum, in which chaga is used to wash wounds.

For medical treatment, chaga is usually ground to a fine powder and made into a tea for its antioxidant properties and immune support.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Fortunately, not the Cordyceps that infect the brains of mankind in the popular The Last of Us series.

Though creepy to look at, Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China.

It is traditionally used to boost energy and improve athletic performance.

Cordyceps is believed to increase the flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body, boost metabolic rates, increase stamina and help muscle recovery.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

Turkey tail is valued for its immune-boosting properties, specifically its medicinal properties as an antitumor, antimicrobial, immunostimulant and antioxidant.

It is also believed to improve bone strength and regulate blood glucose.

And some report that turkey tail can prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and protect against age-related cognitive decline.

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Apart from being a popular culinary mushroom, shiitake is also known for its immune-modulating effects.

Traditional Chinese medicine considered shiitake a food that enhances vital energy. It is a great source of nutrients, high in protein, low in fat, and contains iron, calcium, zinc, along with vitamins B, E and D.

Easily accessible at any grocery store or market, shiitake mushrooms can be prepared to eat, or taken as a supplement for its functional properties.

What are some popular functional mushroom products?

You may have seen Ultimate Shrooms in your local health store. It’s a product that contains Cordyceps, Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s mane, Turkey Tail, Maitake, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms.

Live Ultimate, the brand behind Ultimate Schrooms recommend adding two tablespoons with a full glass of water, juice or smoothie in the morning on an empty stomach.

Mushroom Coffee is also gaining popularity, like the product Four Sigmatic which contains Chaga and Lion’s Mane.

Some functional mushrooms, like Reishi, are less appetizing when eaten in their natural form. Thus people have begun consuming them in a power form, adding them to smoothies, teas and coffee, to improve the taste.

Functional mushrooms can offer a wide range of health benefits, though it’s essential to purchase mushrooms from a reputable source, and understand their proper preparation. Not all claims for health benefits have been substantiated by clinical trials.

It is also important to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating functional mushrooms into your diet and routine, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

This article was first published on Nina’s Notes and is republished on Psychedelic Health with permission.

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Report reveals prevalence of ayahuasca use



Report reveals prevalence of ayahuasca use

A report has revealed that the consumption of ayahuasca is increasing in several countries.

Published by Carlos Suárez Álvarez and the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS), the report documents ayahuasca use across the Netherlands, Spain, the USA and Colombia.

Ricard Faura, the Bridge Weaver for ICEERS and collaborator on this research, commented: “It is clear that the global landscape of ayahuasca practices is evolving dynamically and steadily and this global expansion presents great challenges. 

“It is therefore crucial to have a clear understanding of what is happening. This is why our research sheds light on the details of this expansion in various countries around the world and contributes to formulating a more inclusive and informed future.”

Use across continents 

The report reveals that Colombia, which has deep-rooted cultural ties with ayahuasca, has the highest percentage of ayahuasca drinkers among the studied nations. 

The prevalence was attributed to the ayahuasca practices within Indigenous communities and the support they have received at the institutional level. 

The country with the second highest prevalence of ayahuasca drinkers is Spain, followed by the Netherlands, where, the report highlights, a long-standing ayahuasca community faces tightened regulations on the importation of the medicine, reflecting the delicate balance between traditional practices and legal frameworks. 

However, the USA is the country with the highest number of ayahuasca drinkers globally.

Reported deaths

According to the report, there is an estimated four million ayahuasca drinkers worldwide. 

Following analysis of deaths reported by the media, the report found 58 documented cases of ayahuasca-related deaths. 

ICEERS has stated that so far “no forensic examination has determined that ayahuasca caused these deaths”. 

ICEERS stated: “This ICEERS research underscores the importance of accurate reporting, responsible practices, and informed dialogue about ayahuasca. 

“The organisation encourages further research and open discussions to support the well-being of individuals seeking the benefits of ayahuasca in a diverse range of cultural and legal contexts.

“This analysis not only broadens the understanding of ayahuasca’s global footprint but also navigates the complex terrains of legal, cultural, and social factors that shape ayahuasca consumption in diverse contexts. 

“These findings underscore the need for a well-informed, respectful approach to ayahuasca to support its reverent integration across diverse landscapes.”

The Netherlands, Spain, the USA and Colombia countries have are part of an in-depth research project published by ICEERS earlier this year.

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