Key things to know
There are many different 2C drugs. 2C-B, 2C-E and 2C-I are the most common in New Zealand. Drug checking can help you find out which one you have.▼ More info
Dosage and duration will be different depending on which 2C drug you have.▼ More info
Be aware that some 2C drugs can give you effects at very low doses.▼ More info
Snorting 2C drugs can have an unpleasant burning effect. Using a saline rinse after snorting can help.▼ More info
What to expect
How do 2C drugs make you feel?
The 2C family of synthetic drugs are sometimes described as being ‘somewhere in between MDMA and LSD’ due to producing both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. In the 1970s, psychedelic researcher and pharmacologist, Alexander Shulgin, first synthesized many 2C drugs.
How you feel and the length of the effects can depend on which 2C drug you use (e.g., 2C-B, 2C-I). These effects can last from as little as 2 hours to as long as 8 hours.
2C drugs might make you see and hear things that aren’t there, and make you feel stimulated, or excited. 2C drugs can also make some people feel more empathetic and connected towards others, but in a less pronounced way than in MDMA. Using 2C drugs with alcohol, medicines or other drugs can change the effects.
One person described their experiences with 2C-B as:
It's like being forced to wear 4D glasses. I think that can be polarising.
|Pleasant effects||Unpleasant effects|
Energised and alert
More aware of your senses
Changes in perception
|Pleasant effects||Unpleasant effects|
Increased euphoria and excitedness
Increased empathy and connection with others
Feeling more horny*
Increased nausea or vomiting
Increased sweating or chills
Increased anxiety or paranoia
Feeling more horny*
*Hallucinations and feeling horny may be pleasant for some and unpleasant for others; or this can be dependent on the situation or environment.
Very high dose
Increasingly paranoid or having panic attacks
Loss of consciousness
*These pleasant effects can be desirable for some people, or be very overwhelming for others
How can you be safer when using 2C drugs?
How you use 2cs is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to staying safer.
Take your drugs to a drug checking clinic.
If you aren’t sure if what you have is a 2C drug, it is always a good idea to take it to a drug checking clinic. The drug checking technology cannot always reliably tell the difference between 2C drugs (i.e., whether it is 2C-B or 2C-I), but it will be able to tell you if it is mixed with any other drugs, binder, or filler.
Know your dose.
2C drugs are a large family of substances that may have different effects and strengths, so it is a good idea to research what to expect. If you are not sure what 2C drug you have, it can be safer to start with the recommended dosage for stronger analogues such as 2C-P or 2C-E. The most common 2C drugs in NZ are 2C-B, 2C-E, and 2C-I.
2C drugs can cause intense and varied experiences - so adding other drugs, alcohol, or medicines may cause unpredictable or unpleasant effects. Particularly dangerous combinations to avoid when using 2C drugs include 5-MeOs, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, MAOIs, mescaline, NBOMes, tramadol and AMT. If you choose to mix 2Cs with other substances, space out your doses as much as possible!
See more about drug combos on Tripsit.
Make sure you are in a good space.
Like with any hallucinogenic drugs, considering your set and setting, as well as how you are feeling mentally is a good idea before you use. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, you are more likely to have an unpleasant experience. 2C drugs can cause challenging experiences, even if you are in a positive mindset so it helps to be with people you trust and in a safe environment.
Consider taking orally instead of snorting.
Many people report having unpleasant burning when snorting 2C drugs. This can last for several hours and leave you with a sore or blocked nose for a few days. 2C drugs are often combined with binders, which can be tough on your nasal passage. Consider swallowing 2C drugs instead; if you do choose to snort, try a nasal saline rinse. We've put together a handy guide to doing a nasal rinse.
If you’ve had too much
What happens if you have too much of a 2C drug?
As 2C drugs have stimulant effects, they can cause strain on your heart, especially if you take a large amounts. These drugs also have hallucinogenic effects, which for some people, can cause mental distress. For more information on what you can do to decrease you risk of overdosing, check out our Safer Using page.
If you take too much of a 2C drug, you might feel restless or irritable, feel anxious, feel jittery or shaky, feel nauseous, feel overstimulated, feel confused or disoriented or have a racing heart.
- Focusing on breathing – try taking slow, deep breaths.
- If you are able, call and talk to somebody you trust and ask them to help keep you calm.
- Do not take more 2C drugs, caffeine, alcohol, or other drugs, as these can make you feel worse.
- Move to somewhere quiet – try to sit or lie down and do something relaxing.
- Drink water to stay hydrated.
If you start having more severe symptoms such as developing a fever, having a very rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pains, delirium or psychosis, seizures, or loss of consciousness, these may be signs of overamping (having taken too much of a stimulant drug). You or the people around you should act quickly. Call 111.
What do comedowns from 2C drugs feel like, and how can you feel better?
The effects from 2C drugs can last from 2 hours to 8+ hours, depending on which type you take and the amount you take. After the effects have worn off, you might start to experience a comedown. This can last for a few hours, or a few days.
Comedowns from 2C drugs are generally mild but some people may experience more severe symptoms. Most 2C comedowns can be managed at home.
- Feel tired or unmotivated
- Have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Have headaches
- Feel dehydrated
- Have some persistent changes to perception as the 2C drug is wearing off
- Experience low mood
- Experience anxiety
- Feel agitated or overstimulated
You can try:
- Getting plenty of rest and sleep
- Remembering to eat and drink plenty of water
- Get moving to release feel-good brain chemicals
- Reaching out and talking with friends and whānau for support
- Relaxing and doing things that you enjoy to take your mind off not feeling well
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs
- Practising mindfulness and deep breathing, and trying writing down your thoughts and feelings
What are the long-term effects of using 2C drugs?
Long term effects from 2Cs are relatively rare, though there is still a lack of research available on this family of drugs. However, if you are using large amounts regularly, you may experience some unpleasant side effects. 2C drugs are less likely to be addictive than other drugs but some people may have cravings to use more, especially after a period of using heavily.
If you use 2C drugs regularly and have pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure, 2C drugs can put extra strain on your heart, especially in higher doses.
If you have pre-existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia, frequent use of 2C drugs can increase the likelihood of having an unpleasant experience that may make you feel worse. Consider taking a break from using 2C drugs if you find your mental health symptoms are worsening.
2C drugs are sometimes snorted and are known to cause a lot of irritation to the nasal passage. If you are snorting 2C drugs regularly, this can cause discomfort, and in some cases permanent damage to your nose. Consider switching to using 2C drugs orally or switching between to give your nose a break.
How do you manage withdrawal from 2C drugs?
See the Making Changes page for more information on how to manage withdrawal from drugs.
2C drugs are not known to cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms in most people. However, some people may find themselves having cravings to use more after stopping.
If you are feeling a little unwell after stopping using 2C drugs try:
- Leaning on a support network of friends, family, and professionals
- Sticking to a routine: waking up, eating well, keeping active and rewarding yourself with things that bring you joy
- Practicing mindfulness by writing down your feelings, doing breathing exercises or meditating
Working and driving
How can 2C drugs affect your daily activities?
2C drugs change your perception of the world around you and can affect your day to day activities. The effects of 2C drugs can last from 2-8 hours, and the aftereffects may last for several hours.
2C drugs can cause significant changes in your perception, including hallucinations and heightened senses. It can also make you feel confused and disoriented, agitated, anxious and hyperactive. Due to this, it is unsafe to drive, operate machinery or do activities that require concentration or motor coordination when using 2C drugs. They can also cause euphoria, increased sexual arousal, and increased empathy and connectedness; this can make interacting with others in work situations difficult. It may also mean you do or say things or act in ways that are out of character.
If you take 2C drugs, will they show up on a drug test?
2C drugs are novel designer substances and are not often tested for on routine drug screenings. Due to this, there is a lack of research about how long they can be detected in urine, blood, and saliva. Research also suggests that 2C drugs won’t give a false positive for amphetamines on a drug test.
Like most other substances, 2C drugs are likely to show up in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.
Are 2C drugs illegal?
All 2C drugs come under the are illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act, rather than the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, coming under the Psychoactive Substances Act still means that possessing, selling, importing, buying, or making these drugs is against the law. If someone is using your car or home to do these things, you can also be charged.
You can also get in trouble with the law if you are found to be impaired by 2C drugs when driving.
To find out more about the law around legal and controlled drugs, including 2C drugs see our Drugs and the Law page.