2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine (2C-E Drug) is psychedelic phenylethylamine ( a class of psychoactive drugs), with a chemical structure similar to mescaline (a psychedelic hallucinogen obtained from the small, spineless cactus Peyote), used as a new psychoactive substance (NPS). It inhibits norepinephrine and serotonin uptake and, more relevant, acts as a partial agonist of the serotonin 2A (5-HT2A), 2B (5-HT2B), and (5-HT2C) receptors . Common features identified in individuals intoxicated with 2CE drugs included hallucinations, agitation, aggression, violence, dysphoria, hypertension, tachycardia, seizures, and hyperthermia.
First identified in the 1970s by Alexander Shulgin, an American chemist, 2CE Drugs has since that time gained some popularity for recreational use. 2CE Drugs mimic the euphoric effects of other well-known illicit drugs but are advertised as “legal” highs and are sold over the internet, at raves and nightclubs, and in head shops. The 2C series drugs are ring-substituted phenethylamines that belong to a group of designer agents similar in structure to 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) .
The drug may be used via oral or insufflated (inhaled) routes. The DEA  considers 2CE Drugs as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, meaning that it is illegal with no accepted medicinal uses and has a high potential for abuse. With reported street names including Europa, Tootsie, and Aquarust, 2CE Drugs has, in the past, been bought online and shipped into the United States from countries such as China.
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How Do People Use 2CE Drug?
Drugs in the 2C family usually come in the form of capsules or tablets that are swallowed or a powder form that is snorted. They may also come in liquid form. Typical doses of 2C drugs usually range from 10 to 30 milligrams. The effects of 2C-E typically last for eight to 12 hours, but some 2C drugs can last for 24 hours or longer. Snorting 2C-E can be extremely painful. The drug would also kick in faster and leave your system earlier. Snorting high doses of 2CE Drugs is not safe, especially if you suffer from heart problems.
How Does it Make People Feel?
The general public has long been aware of traditional illicit drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Designer drugs were created in the 1960s to avoid the provisions of existing drug laws by preparing analogs or derivatives of currently available drugs. Designer drugs, including the 2C class discussed in this article, are not new but have been increasing in popularity.
Manufacturers of designer drugs purposely change the structure of these drugs to stay ahead of drug laws, making it difficult for clinicians to stay informed. Structure manipulation to produce new compounds, advertisement of these compounds as “legal” highs, and ease of access of designer drugs from the internet, raves, night clubs, and sale in head shops have rejuvenated and promoted the current designer drug resurgence.
In recent years, 2CE drug recreational users have reported its effects as being a combination of hallucinogenic and stimulating ones, like those of ecstasy and LSD. Like other psychedelics drugs and 2C compounds, 2CE drug at low doses usually produces stimulant effects and increased auditory, visual and tactile sensations. At moderate doses, it leads to mild hallucinations, and at high ones can cause the user to experience unpleasant hallucinations and sympathomimetic effects. In general, effects from 2C-E are reportedly more intense in comparison to 2C-B. As with most psychedelics, the effects of the 2CE drug are long-acting, lasting typically for 6–12 hours, depending on the dose and individual.
As stimulants, they can make you feel awake, alert, and affectionate towards people around you.
The 2C drugs can make you:
- Energized and alert
- Extra aware of colors, sounds and smells
- Very sensitive to touch and sexually aroused
They can also make you:
- Happy and in tune with your surroundings (similar to ecstasy), especially if taken in smaller doses
- See the world around you as being distorted, this is sometimes called ‘visuals’
- Hallucinate, especially if taken in larger doses
As with all psychedelic drugs, it’s very hard to predict how you’ll feel when you take a 2C drug – and some 2Cs cause more psychedelic effects than others. The more you take, the more intense and uncontrollable the experience will be.
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Recreational drugs, particularly hallucinogenic substances, appear to be growing in popularity, with increasing amounts of information available via the Internet to entice potential users. In addition, some newer “designer” psychoactive substances are available for purchase online without adverse legal consequences, therefore adding to their popularity.
Like many drugs similar to 2C-E, overdose can cause a selective toxic leukoencephalopathy. Leukoencephalopathy is defined by a wide spectrum of neurologic deficits, including alteration of mental status, caused by pathologic changes in the cerebral white matter. Other substances aside from 2CE Drugs are also capable of causing toxic leukoencephalopathy, including cocaine and heroin.
According to the NCBI , to date, a dozen cases of acute intoxication (tachycardia, hypertension, agitation, delirium, and hallucinations) have been reported, some deaths have been linked to 2C-E. Most of the patients who died exhibited signs of excited delirium, which is characterized by agitation, hyperactivity, and aggression. These effects were followed by a rise in body temperature, cardiac arrest, and sudden death.
Higher doses can produce extreme paranoia, anxiety, fear, and ego loss. Mixing it with anti-depressants or giving it to those who suffer from depression or psychosis can exacerbate the problems e.g. causes panic attacks and depersonalization. It can also trigger a higher level of psychological problems. Snorting the drug is painful causing intense nasal burning tripling the drug’s strength and can be fatal.
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Effects of 2CE Drugs
Drugs in the 2C family can have different effects depending on how much of the drug is consumed.
The effects of 2C drugs may include:
- Elevated heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Elevated body temperature
- Nausea and vomiting
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased breathing
- Cardiac arrest
How Does it Make People Behave?
While hallucinogenic drugs like 2CE drug may differ from substances more commonly thought of as addictive (e.g., heroin, cocaine), their use (either alone or in conjunction with other substances) may become problematic enough in a person’s life that an individual using such substances would benefit from substance abuse treatment.
Some general signs of certain types of substance abuse that could be present in someone using 2CE drug could include:
- Packages coming in the mail from out of the country; labels without listed ingredients (for drugs obtained through disreputable online sources, etc.)
- Changes in behavior
- Increased secrecy and time spent online
- Social withdrawal and lack of interest in activities that were previously important
- Drop in grades at school or performance at work
- Sleeping more or less than usual and at odd times.
- Changes in weight or eating habits
- Increased risk-taking behaviors or engaging in potentially dangerous behaviors
- Possible financial trouble or legal difficulties related to consistent or compulsive substance use
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Is it Dangerous to Mix with Other Drugs?
Mixing 2CE drugs with alcohol may have serious consequences – mixing any stimulant drugs with alcohol can substantially increase their risks. Some people mix 2C drugs with other hallucinogens. The combination of 2C-B and LSD is known as a banana split while mixing 2C-B and MDMA is called a party pack. Some people mistakenly take 2C drugs thinking they are using molly or ecstasy. Drug dealers may not even know what they are peddling. Which creates a greater risk of a drug overdose.
Addiction to 2C-I, 2C-E, and 2C-B can be complicated to treat due to the high incidence of mixing these drugs with other common club drugs. People addicted to 2C substances may also have some level of dependence on cocaine, ecstasy, acid, methamphetamine, and cannabis. All addictions need to be addressed in any treatment plan.
Can You Get Addicted to 2CE Drug?
While Hallucinogens have a lower risk for addiction than other drugs, the stimulant effects of the 2C family of drugs may lead to an addiction. Abusing any illicit drug is cause for concern, as these unregulated drugs can cause serious side effects. Depending on a substance to feel enlightened or happy can be a sign of an addiction.
2CE Drug Abuse Treatment
Treatment for 2C drug intoxication is usually supportive and aimed at lowering body temperature and preventing seizures. Patients are placed in a calm and quiet environment and monitored closely. In severe cases, patients are sedated and placed on a breathing machine.
Most individuals using one designer drug have more than likely used other such drugs. Hallucinogens such as 2CE drugs can cause severe disruptions in the interactions between nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. For these reasons, it is recommended that you seek an inpatient drug rehab.
Being weaned off (detox) hallucinogens such as 2CE drugs can cause severe psychological and medical symptoms, which is another reason an inpatient drug rehab facility is the best environment for recovery. Such decisions cannot be made until you receive a full medical evaluation and consult with your team of addiction specialists. Only after a comprehensive history of your use of 2CE drug has been taken, as well as the use of other drugs, and taking into account, your current medical condition, can the best decision be made about treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with 2CE Drug addiction, contact We Level Up NJ today to discuss treatment options.
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