CICAD: Inter-American Observatory on Drugs (OID)

2 C-B and NPS in South America


4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine (2C-B): on 20 March 2001, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs decided to include this psychoactive substance in Schedule II of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

A number of studies have reported the synthesis of some phenethylamines and amphetamine substitutes. In the 1980s and 1990s, Alexander Shulgin, a biochemist and pharmacologist, reported the synthesis of numerous new psychoactive compounds. This included the ‘D series’ (e.g. DOC, DOI) and the ‘2C series’ (e.g. 2C-T-7, 2C-T-2) of phenethylamines.

 Simple variations on the mescaline molecule (a natural phenylethylamine) led to the synthesis of powerful hallucinogenic substances, e.g. 4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine (2C-B), synthesized by Shulgin in 1974. The ‘2C’ series differs from the ‘D’ series only by a slight modification in the chemical structure, and their psychoactive effects have been reported to be dose dependant, ranging from mere stimulant effect at lower doses, with hallucinogenic and entactogenic effects at higher doses.

Over two decades later, a new generation of phenethylamines was researched by Professor David Nichols and his research team at Purdue University in the United States. The team found the potency of synthetic analogues of mescaline such as 2C-B and DOB, to exceed that of many naturally occurring hallucinogens. Several substances were synthesized, including a wide range of benzodifuranyl substances, later known as the ‘FLY’. Benzodifurans, such as ‘FLY’ (tetrahydrobenzodifuranyl) and ‘Dragonfly’ (benzodifuranyl aminoalkanes) are potent hallucinogens. Bromo-Dragonfly is the most common and potent substance in this sub-group.

In South America, throughout 2013 and so far in 2014, some seizures of 2C-B have been reported by policing forces, mainly from Chile and Colombia. Some uses of 2C-B have been associated as the cause of intoxication of some youth in Chile and Colombia. In the case of Colombia, the early warning advisory on new psychoactive substances in that country, found that after a series of chemical analyzes of substances marketed as 2C-B, these corresponded rather to ketamine. Ketamine is a dissociative hallucinogenic drug that has a high potential to create dependency. Moreover, the two countries have reported the presence of new psychoactive substances marketed as LSD, but in reality they were 25B-NBOMe and 25C-NBOMe. These are synthetic substances similar to LSD and hallucinogenic effects, belonging to the group of phenethylamines.

The proliferation of new synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances is an alarm signal for the responsible of decision making about the drug problem in the region which should reinforce the actions necessary to intervene effectively on this new problem.

updated on 4/16/2014 5:04:05 PM