What is 2CB?
2CB is an hallucinogen related to ecstasy also known as Nexus or Brom, or by chemists as 4-Bromo-2,5-Dimethoxyphenethylamine. A relative newcomer to the UK illicit market, it made its emergence on the dance scene as an alternative and a complementary drug to ecstasy. The drug is sold either as a white powder or as small pills.
2CB is categorised as belonging to the ecstasy family of drugs, and is therefore a Class A drug. It is illegal to produce, supply or posses the drug in any form. No doctor can prescribe it and anybody wanting to use it for research purposes has to obtain a licence from the Home Office.
Production and supply
2CB was developed by Alexander Shulgin, an American chemist responsible for over 200 psychoactive compounds, nearly all of which he has administered to himself. Most of what we know in the literature is based on his accounts. The drug is manufactured in illegal laboratories at home and abroad. Production sources as far away as India and Thailand have been reported, with routes passing through Turkey and the Balkans on its way to Europe.
As a relatively uncommon drug, prices vary. For a standard dose of 20mg of 2CB prices start at £5, going up to £25 for stronger doses of around 40mg.
At the moment there are no figures for levels of use in the UK. Clubbers and ravers are more likely to come across the drug than other user groups.
How is it used?
Seen as a complimentary drug to ecstasy, 2CB was sold on the premise that if taken at the peak of ecstasy intoxication, heightened stimulation would ensue, lengthening the peroid of the high. Its use therefore is closely identified with ecstasy and the dance scene, altough it also taken on its own. The drug is normally swallowed, but it can also be snorted or smoked.
2CB is highly dose sensitive. In its pure state the drug is active at 15 to 40 mg, depending on one's body size and sensitivity. At lower doses the drug is described as an energetic experience similar to ecstasy. At higher doses the experience is similar to that of LSD and ecstasy.
People have reported heightened visual imagery, acute awareness of their bodies and increased sensitivity to smells, tastes and sexual stimulation. At low doses, users report feeling 'in touch with themselves' and often report erotic sensations. At higher doses, users indicate that moving objects seem to leave 'trails' behind them. Surfaces sometimes appear covered with geometric patterns and seem to move or breathe. Listening to music in conjunction with taking 2C-B reportedly causes patterns, colours, and movements to be distorted.
This table represents estimates from various users of the drug's effects: 
|Onset ||20-90 minutes|
|Coming Up ||15-30 minutes|
|Plateau ||2-3 hours|
|Coming down ||2 hours|
|Aftereffects ||2-4 hours|
Mixing with other drugs
Because the drug is relatively new and not widespread, little is known both anecdotally and clinically about the drug's effects when taken with other drugs. When taken together with ecstasy the drug is said to intensify feelings of exhilaration, extending the length of intoxication. Feelings of nausea and anxiety are likely to intensify if combined. As with ecstasy and amphetamine, this drug should not be taken with MAOI anti-depressants.
There are no selective studies into the effects of 2CB use. However, experience from other drugs such as ecstasy and LSD, suggest that regular use can leave the user feeling fatigued, disorientated, and anxious. Users may also experience depression, and in vulnerable individuals may experience psychotic syndromes, visual illusions, panic attacks and depersonalisation.
DrugScope has had reports of 2Ci (2,5-DIMETHOXY-4-ODOPHENETHYLAMINE) being used in preference to 2CB. It is believed to be stronger than 2CB, and the effects last for a longer time.
 2C-B (Nexus) reappears on the Club Drug Scene. US Department of Justice Information Bulletin, 2001.
Updated Jan 2004