All rights reserved
Alexander Shulgin and Anne shulgin looking at each other Illustration
Medical Review: Paloma Lehfeldt, MD
May 2, 2023

2C-B, the Forgotten Psychedelic: Understanding the “Love Child” of Alexander and Ann Shulgin

Disclaimer | In Crisis?

In Crisis?

If you are in crisis or contemplating self-harm or suicide, please call 988 or visit 988Lifeline.org, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the United States. An extensive list of International suicide prevention hotlines can be found there. Remember: You are needed, you deserve to be here, and you are not alone. Reach out, and do not give up.

Having a Challenging Trip?

If you are experiencing a difficult psychedelic event, or still need help processing one, call or text 62-FIRESIDE. The Fireside Project offers free emotional support during or after a psychedelic experience. You can also download their app. Their services are completely confidential, and their staff is rigorously trained, compassionate, and knowledgeable regarding psychedelics. You can also contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at (800) 622-HELP (4357). Their confidential helpline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish for individuals and family members experiencing emotional distress or crisis.

Additional support resources can be found in the Zendo Project directory. The Zendo Project was founded in partnership with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Their extensive list of harm reduction resources, emotional support services, and peer support hotlines offer a vast array of tools to help you move through a challenging experience and come out the other side feeling empowered and secure.

Having a Medical Emergency?

If you or a loved one are experiencing a medical emergency and require immediate attention, please dial 911 (USA) immediately.

Are You a Veteran Having a Medical Emergency?

If you are a veteran experiencing a difficult trip or crisis, please contact (800) 273-8255 and Press 1. This will connect you to the Veteran Crisis Line. Their hotline is staffed by experienced personnel, many of whom are also veterans. A trained responder will answer your call 24/7 to help you through a crisis, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm.

Emotional and Crisis Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community.

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face unique and difficult situations during a challenging psychedelic experience. If you need emotional or crisis support, dial (888) 688-5428 or visit LGBThotline.org. Their hotline is designed for people of all ages and staffed by a dedicated team of highly trained volunteers from all parts of the LGBT+ community. They also offer a dedicated line for LGBT+ seniors that you can reach at (888) 234-7243.

Be Wary of Fentanyl-Contaminated Drugs.

The United States is experiencing a synthetic opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives due to street drugs being adulterated with other drugs, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and deadly narcotic, with doses as low as two milligrams (a dose so small it could fit on the tip of a pencil) being potentially deadly. While it is never recommended to consume any illicit substances, it is critical that you or the people you know test any drugs you may ingest for fentanyl. Several non-profit harm reduction organizations, such as DanceSafe, offer fentanyl testing strips and at-home drug testing kits.

Medical Disclaimer

The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Some individuals with preexisting mental health conditions should not use psychedelics. Always consult with a trained medical professional about your specific healthcare needs.

Are Psychedelics Legal?

Most classical and non-classical psychedelic drugs are prohibited in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This family of chemical compounds are considered Schedule I drugs, the most tightly controlled and generally illegal class. This includes psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms), Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, Peyote, 2C-B, Cannabis, and others. Ketamine is also controlled under the same act and listed as a Schedule III drug. Due to the illegal or controlled nature of these drugs, it is not advised that you attempt to purchase, source, or otherwise possess any Scheduled substances, as you may be at risk of civil and criminal penalties.

Legal Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is intended for informational and harm reduction purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Nor is this information, or any journalistic stories, anecdotes, visual or artistic material intended as a replacement or supplement for medical or legal advice. It is important to understand that using any psychedelic compounds from the streets has significant risks and is unlikely to produce the promising results emerging in some clinical trials which involve particular dosing and purity, along with specific, carefully crafted psychotherapy in a safe, controlled environment. Various psychedelics purchased illegally often are adulterated with other, possibly harmful substances, making it difficult and not advisable to self-medicate for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or for the treatment of other mental health issues.

What is 2C-B?

2C-B, also known as 4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, is a synthetic psychedelic drug synthesized from 2,5-Dimethoxybenzaldehyde by the American chemist Alexander Shulgin in 1974. 2C-B is typically compared to both LSD and MDMA in terms of its effects, with many psychonauts saying it’s “as if LSD and Molly had a baby.”(1)

Shulgin created over 200 psychoactive compounds, including 2C-B, and documented their effects in his book PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. Alexander and his wife Ann Shulgin used 2C-B to treat more than 200 individuals for everything from anxiety, depression, and PTSD to nightmares – and even one case of supposed “possession” – before it became illegal in the 1990s.(1, 2)

An illustration Alexander Shulgin creating chemical compound

Shulgin referred to 2C-B as part of his “magical half-dozen,” which was a list of phenethylamines that he considered particularly noteworthy. They include other psychedelics like mescaline and additional members of the 2C family of psychedelics such as 2C-E, 2C-T-2, and 2C-T-7. However, Shulgin wrote that 2C-B was by far one of his fondest creations and would go on to call it his favorite psychedelic, often describing the experience as a “warm hug.”(1, 2)

The popularity of 2C-B grew in the 1980s, particularly in the nightclub scene, where it became known as a “party drug” due to its euphoric and psychedelic effects. It was also briefly marketed as an aphrodisiac in the 1990s under names like Nexus, 2CB-FLY, and B-Dub. Furthermore, German pharmaceutical company Drittewelle briefly marketed 2C-B under the name Erox. More recently, it has begun to gain some notice within the scientific community. Currently, there is one active study, sponsored by University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland, comparing the effects of different doses of 2C-B to MDMA, psilocybin, and a placebo. The study is currently recruiting via Clinicaltrials.gov.(3, 4)

How long will this last, this delicious feeling of being alive, of having penetrated the veil which hides beauty and the wonders of celestial vistas? It doesn’t matter, as there can be nothing but gratitude for even a glimpse of what exists for those who can become open to it.

– Alexander Shulgin, Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story (ed. 1995)

What to Expect from a 2C-B Trip

The effects of 2C-B can vary depending on the dose, but generally, users experience psychedelic and euphoric effects. Some users report that the positive impacts of 2C-B include increased sensory perception, heightened emotions, and enhanced creativity. Users may also experience enhanced libido and sociability. Other effects include increased visual acuity and music appreciation, and heightened awareness of one’s surroundings. Objects (usually walls) may appear to “breathe” in and out, and loved ones may also look as though they are surrounded by a radiant glow.(1, 5)

Unlike other psychedelics, the visuals do not tend toward organic shapes and movements. Rather, they are typically more geometric. Some user reports indicate that 2C-B can make one view themselves more positively. People often feel that they become aware of their best attributes, and are able to appreciate themselves as uniquely beautiful beings. Users also report smiling more readily and often find themselves laughing, playing, and enjoying life more fully while on 2C-B.

Book Crystalized Illustration

The room was cool, and for the first hour, I felt cold and chilled. That was the only mildly unpleasant part. We had been hanging crystals earlier that day, and the visions I had were dominated by prismatic light patterns. It was almost as if I had become the light. I saw kaleidoscopic forms – similar to, but less intense than, when on acid – and organic forms like Georgia O’Keefe flowers, blossoming and undulating. My body was flooded with orgasms – practically from just breathing. The lovemaking was phenomenal, passionate, ecstatic, lyric, animal, loving, tender, and sublime. The music was voluptuous, almost three-dimensional. Sometimes the sound seemed distorted to me, underwater-like. This was especially so for the less good recordings – but I could choose to concentrate on the beauty of the music or the inadequacy of the sound’s quality, and mostly chose to concentrate on the beauty.

– Alexander Shulgin, 2C-B, Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story (ed. 1995)

Anecdotal reports, as well as descriptions of 2C-B drawn from PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story, draw parallels between 2C-B, LSD, and MDMA. With 2C-B often being described as the “love child of LSD and MDMA.” The 2C-B experience is said to be intense and introspective, and one may experience a deeper sense of self-awareness. Similarly to other psychedelics, users report experiencing a sense of connectedness with those around them and a feeling of “oneness with the universe.”(1)

However, these claims should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are gathered from user reports, and other anecdotal sources, as well as Ann and Alexander Shulgin’s personal descriptions of the 2C-B experience. However, one study showed that the participants experienced “well-being and euphoric reactions closely related to other drugs such as MDMA.” Mood changes were more frequent than changes in perception.(1, 5)

2C-B use is anecdotally reported to come with a clearer headspace than substances such as LSD. Some individuals claim that the drug allows them to think rationally, and that they are less likely to become confused or agitated. It is important to note that 2C-B is extremely dose-dependent. Shulgin discusses this in PiHKAL: A chemical love story.(1, 5)

Alexander Shulgin 2C-B Pihkal A Chemical Love Story

2C-B Dosing Guide

According to Shulgin’s descriptions of the drug, 2C-B is one of the most potent psychedelics, and as such, users do not need to take a large amount. However, it is very easy to take too much or too little. The effects vary greatly between a low dose (15 mg) and a very high dose (35 mg).(1)

The dosing chart below was created using information from the works of Alexander Shulgin, anecdotal sources, and PiHKAL.(1)

2C-B Dosing


Insufflated (Snorted)

Minimum Effective Dose

10 mg

4 mg

Normal/ Museum Dose

15–25 mg

5–9 mg

Strong Dose

26–34 mg

10–19 mg

Heroic Dose

35+ mg

20+ mg


4-8 hours

2-4 hours

Shulgin writes that the usual duration of a 2C-B trip is between four to six hours, with some particularly powerful trips lasting up to eight hours. There is currently no known lethal dose, and Shulgin reports that one unnamed Californian psychiatrist accidentally took 100mg with no lasting ill effects. However, Shulgin does caution against taking anything more than 45mg.(1)

(As with any psychedelic, caution is advised, and one should take an anecdotal report of a high dose with no ill effects with lots of skepticism. More research is needed.)

The Downside of 2C-B

In one study, the following subjective negative side effects were reported by participants:(5)

These include:

Depression or Sadness

According to PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story, higher doses may cause users to experience confusion and anxiety. 2C-B is also known to cause adverse psychedelic events at extremely high doses. Again, this drug is very dose-dependent and requires precise measurements to get the desired effects. If too much is consumed, the 2C-B trip can be extremely distressing.(1)

Many users report feeling sober once the drug has run its course, with little to no lingering effects. However, as noted, most user data is anecdotal in nature, and there are few studies on the effects of 2C-B.(1, 5)

2C-B Legality and Research

2C-B is classified as a Schedule II drug under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, making it illegal in most countries. In the United States, 2C-B is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.(6, 7)

Unfortunately, research into the therapeutic effects of 2C-B is extremely underdeveloped. There have only been a scant handful of high-quality studies using this interesting chemical. One such study, published in 2023, showed that 2C-B has subjective effects very similar to psilocybin. The study recruited 22 healthy volunteers who had previous psychedelic experiences. After the 2C-B was administered, the participants were asked to complete a questionnaire that measured the effects of the drug. The study found that 2C-B had a positive effect on mood and cognition and was described as “lighter” than the comparison drug, psilocybin (the active chemical in magic mushrooms).(8)

The 2C-B event was also shorter in duration than psilocybin: lasting no more than six hours for most of the participants.(8)

The Importance of Studying 2C-B

The potential therapeutic effects of 2C-B (as reported by Ann and Alexander Shulgin), as well as 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.(1, 5, 8, 9)

There are quite a few questions about the safety and efficacy of 2C-B as a potential treatment, and more research is needed to fully understand the drug’s positive and negative effects and determine the most appropriate dosing and administration methods.(1, 9)

As with any psychedelic drug, it will be important to consider the risks and benefits of using 2C-B in a medical setting. Ann and Alexander Shulgin extolled the potential held by their “love child” as a tool for better mental health, self-exploration, growth, and play. But, It is up to the public to continue to push for more and better research.

This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.

This article contains expert opinion, and recommendations based on the writer’s personal and professional experience, as well as their knowledge of psychedelics.

  1. Shulgin, A., & Shulgin, A. (1991). PiHKAL: A chemical love story. Transform Press.
  2. Shulgin, A., & Carter, M. F. (1980). Centrally active phenethylamines. Psychopharmacology Communications, 1(1), 93-98.
  3. Clark, R. (n.d.). 2C-B | DanceSafe. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://dancesafe.org/2c-b/ 
  4. University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland. (2023, January 30). Acute Effects of 2C-B Compared With MDMA and Psilocybin in Healthy Subjects. Clinicaltrials.gov. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05523401?term=2C-B&draw=2&rank=1 
  5. Papaseit, E., Farré, M., Pérez-Mañá, C., Torrens, M., Ventura, M., Pujadas, M., de la Torre, R., & González, D. (2018, February 23). Acute pharmacological effects of 2C-B in humans: An observational study. Frontiers. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00206/full 
  6. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2022). Drug scheduling. https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling 
  7. United Nations. (1971). Convention on Psychotropic Substances. https://www.unodc.org/pdf/convention_1971_en.pdf 
  8. Mallaroni, P., Mason, N. L., Reckweg, J. T., Paci, R., Ritscher, S., Toennes, S. W., Theunissen, E. L., Kuypers, K. P. C., & Ramaekers, J. G. (2023, January 1). Assessment of the acute effects of 2C-B vs. psilocybin on subjective experience, mood, and cognition. bioRxiv. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.02.16.528808v2 
  9. Sessa, B., & Fischer, F. M. (2015). Underground MDMA-, LSD- and 2-CB-assisted individual and group psychotherapy in Zurich: Outcomes, implications, and commentary Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2050324515578080 
    • Mattha Busby

    Understanding Shamanism: The Origins of Counterculture’s Most Misused Word

    Shamanism is one of the most common terms used in the psychedelic community. But what does it mean to be a shaman, and who can become one? Mattha Busby explores how the psychedelic community has been misusing “shaman,” and explains the origins of the word.
    • Madison Margolin
    Ego Death

    Tripping Through the Underworld: Could Psychedelics Help Us Understand Death?

    What can the psychedelics teach us about death, the afterlife, and the dissolution of the self? Ride along while Madison Margolin takes you on a psychedelic-fueled journey through the many aspects of death: fear of dying, letting go of the ego, and, perhaps, a glimpse of what comes after we’re gone.
    • Charley Wininger
    MDMA love drug

    The “Love Drug” MDMA Might Just Save Your Relationship

    Could MDMA be the solution to relationship problems? Charley Wininger, LP, LMHC and Author of “Listening to Ecstasy: The Transformative Power of MDMA,” talks about one couple’s successful use of the “Love Drug,” as a bolster to couples therapy. He also details how your relationship may benefit from a MDMA-inspired “chemical vacation.”
    • Nick Hilden
    Alex Grey psychedelic art

    Psychedelic Art Legend Alex Grey Reveals His Favorite Artists and Shares How to Return to a “State of Wonder”

    Legendary psychedelic artist Alex Grey speaks with science writer Nick Hilden about how psychedelics saved his life and inspired him to create stunning works of visual genius.
    • Zoe Cormier
    microdosing and psychedelic microdose banner

    The Two Sides of Microdosing: Medical Marvel or Psychedelic Placebo?

    Explore the science of microdosing psychedelics with Zoe Cormier and a range of experts in the field. Paul Stamets, Dr. David Erritzoe, and Rotem Petranker all weigh in on the how and why microdosing has captured the attention of the scientific and psychedelic communities. Zoe also shares a deeply personal story about her late mother, and how she used psychedelics to cope with end-of-life anxiety.
    • Mattha Busby
    good part of a bad psychedelic trip banner

    The Good Part of a “Bad Psychedelic Trip”

    What, if anything, can you take away from a Bad Trip? Mattha Busby examines what we can gain from “bad” (read: challenging) psychedelic experiences.
    • Zoe Cormier
    psychedelic integration with Dr. Rosalind Watts banner

    How Dr. Rosalind Watts is Bringing Integration into The Psychedelic Renaissance

    Follow-up care and integration are essential parts of the psychedelic experience. So why don’t we talk about them more? Dr. Rosalind Watts is on a mission to change that. Read more about how she plans to bring integration to the forefront of the psychedelic field.
    • Dr. Aidan Lyon
    psychedelics, meditation and overstimulation banner

    Modern Tech Giving You the Overstimulation Blues? Why Combining Meditation with Psychedelics May Help

    How can we deal with modern overstimulation? Psychedelics and meditation may be the key. Philosopher Dr. Aidan Lyon details how and why.
    • David Hillier
    psychedelic decriminalization banner

    Down The Rabbit Hole: How a Psychedelic Rabbi Became Lost in The Maze of U.S. Drug Laws

    What happens when a psychedelic Rabbi runs afoul of America’s mind-bogglingly intricate web of psychedelic regulation? David Hillier takes you on an odyssey of discovery to untangle the web of U.S. drug laws, while also helping you learn about the many potential paths to psychedelic legalization and telling an exciting tale of one rabbi’s run-in with the law.
    • Jamie Peck
    fentanyl vs mag mushrooms banner

    Fentanyl vs Magic Mushrooms: 150 vs 0 Dead a Day ― A Tale of Two “Drugs”

    Why has the United States government spent billions on prohibitive measures against psychedelics and cannabis, while opioids killed roughly 80,000 of your neighbors in a year? In her deep-dive article, Jamie Peck shows you the massive discrepancy between the dangers and costs to society of magic mushrooms versus the very real epidemic brought to America by opioids and opiates like Fentanyl.
    • David Hillier
    10 Tips Positive Psychedelic Experience banner

    Set, Setting, and Safety: 10 Tips for a Positive Psychedelic Experience

    Science writer David Hillier interviews key experts on how to have a safe and enjoyable psychedelic experience. They take you through dosing, set and setting, safety measures, and more.
    • Nick Hilden
    DMT and Entities with Rick Strassman

    Does the Spirit Molecule, DMT, Drive Our Sense of Reality? We Talk with Expert Dr. Rick Strassman

    Join psychedelic science writer Nick Hilden and leading DMT researcher Dr. Rick Strassman for a weird, wonderful, and informative conversation about DMT, and the many entities that users claim to meet during the psychedelic experience. Read about Nick’s personal tales of far-out elder gods, DMT creatures, and a surprising encounter with an aspect of femininity.
    • David Connell
    The Secret History of Psychedelics in the Military

    The Secret History of MK-Ultra and Psychedelics in the Military – Weird Warfare Part 1

    From MK-Ultra to Operation Delirium, take a trip into the weird history of secret CIA mind control experiments utilizing LSD and other psychedelics for warfare, mind control, and interrogation.
    • Nick Hilden
    The Rise of Psychedelic Tourism

    The Rise of Psychedelic Tourism: How Psychedelic Companies Can Deliver Exceptional Experiences

    Psychedelic therapy retreats are seemingly everywhere today, from the news to celebrity social media posts. But what do you need to know about the psychedelic tourism industry? Nick Hilden speaks with experts like MycoMeditations CEO Justin Townsend to answer your questions.
    • Kim Taylor-Foster
    Marvel Writers inspired by LSD with Doctor Strange banner

    Strange Origins, How Marvel Was Inspired By LSD―Doctor Strange Writer Steve Englehart Speaks

    Dr. Strange just got stranger. Comic writer Steve Englehart dives into the psychedelic origins of the “Sorcerer Supreme,” how psychedelics inspired Marvel’s heyday and today’s MCU, and the manifold mysteries that psychedelics could hold for humanity.
    • Madison Margolin
    LSD paradox banner

    Heaven or Hell?: The LSD Paradox

    LSD is one of the most mysterious substances ever created – and one of the most feared. Madison Margolin dispels many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding LSD, while making a case for why we should be learning more about the “Grandfather of Psychedelics.”
    • David Connell
    Tripping Through Time

    Tripping Through Time: Psychedelic Art Throughout the Ages

    How much of human art has been inspired by psychedelics? We explore psychedelic art through the ages, and humanity’s relationship with these mysterious substances.
    • David Connell
    Psychedelics in military part 3

    History of Psychedelics and The Military Part 3: How Israelis and Palestinians Were Brought Together by Ayahuasca

    Could psychedelics be the key to ending conflict? We examine how one study with Israeli and Palestinian ayahuasca groups may help us with “tripping away from war.”
    • David Connell
    Ego Death

    Psychedelic Ego Death: What is Ego Death and How Can It Help Us to Heal?

    What is ego death? We decipher the mysteries of ego dissolution and what benefits the loss of self may have for mental health.
    • David Connell
    Psychedelic trip in the media movie

    Top Ten Most Realistic Depictions of a Psychedelic Trip In Movies

    There’s something unique and often indescribable about a psychedelic trip. If you’re looking to share some of what the experience is like with those who have not journeyed, here are some films that may help.
    • David Connell
    Jaguars, Dolphins, and Elephants enjoy a good high

    Jaguars, Dolphins, and Elephants, Oh My: Animals That Enjoy a Good High

    Did you know that animals enjoy psychedelics as much as humans do? Jaguars eat ayahuasca, dolphins get high on pufferfish venom, and elephants enjoy a little booze from time to time.
    • David Connell
    MDMA afterglow

    MDMA and the “Afterglow Effect”

    Did you skip the “Tuesday Blues” and now feel great after taking MDMA? You may be experiencing the “afterglow.” Find out the causes and benefits of the MDMA afterglow.
    • David Connell
    Psychedelics in military part 2

    History of Psychedelics and the Military Part 2: What You May Not Know About Veterans with PTSD

    Two veterans share their experiences using MDMA and Psilocybin as alternative treatments for PTSD and depression.