Forgotten Psychedelics: What Is 2C-B?

Synthesised by Alexander Shulgin, famous chemist and psychonaut, this substance has a unique profile of psychedelic-like effects.

Evan Lewis-Healey
4 min readNov 9, 2021


Retrived from Max Pixel

When you think of psychedelics, substances such as LSD, psilocybin, or perhaps even MDMA, immediately come to mind. The 1970s, however, was a golden age of discovery in the pharmacological world of psychedelics, leading to 2C-B.

The substance is unique: it’s understudied, its effects are unlike other psychedelics, and it’s often unheard of. Here we’ll explore the history, the effects, and the potential therapeutic application, of this unique psychedelic.

Tripping Through Time: The History of 2C-B

4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine (also known as Nexus, Erox, or 2C-B) was synthesized by a famous American pharmacologist and psychonaut, Alexander Shulgin, in 1974.

In his lifetime, Shulgin was responsible for the synthesis and discovery of over 230 novel psychoactive compounds. More than that, he was a devout psychonaut, exploring the realms of his consciousness with all of his pharmacological creations (he allegedly tripped some 10,000 times). However, 2C-B was up there as one of Shulgin’s most preferred psychedelic journeys.

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.”

Due to these relatively comfortable effects, 2C-B found its favor in the recreational club scene of the ’80s and ’90s. After MDMA became 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 packaged and sold in sex shops, head shops, and some nightclubs from the mid-’80s to the early ’90s. Whilst it was primarily used for partying, these establishments advertised that “it would alleviate impotence, frigidity and diminished libido”.

The legal use of 2C-B came to a stop in 1995, when the DEA classed it as a Schedule I substance in the US.



Evan Lewis-Healey

PhD student at Cambridge University. Studying the cognitive neuroscience of altered states of consciousness | Writer for Psychedelic Spotlight