2C-E Drug Abuse, Effects, and Treatment

The “research chemical” 2C-E (4-ethyl-2,5-dimethoxy-4-phenethylamine) is a designer hallucinogenic drug with psychoactive effects similar to classic hallucinogens like LSD, psilocybin, or ecstasy.

Read on learn more about the effects of 2C-E, 2C-E abuse, and how to get help if you or a loved one has lost control of their drug or alcohol use.

What Is 2C-E?

The illicit drug 2C-E is a potent psychedelic phenylethylamine first identified in the 1970s by American chemist Alexander Shulgin. Since then, 2C-E has gained some popularity for its recreational use.9

2C-E initially debuted in the club scene in the mid-1980s as an alternative to MDMA. The drug later re-emerged on the psychedelic scene and has most recently been encountered as part of the new psychoactive substance (NPS) or designer drug craze.

2C-E has also recently been detected in ecstasy pills sold in America and Europe.

Reported street names for 2C-E include:9

  • Europa.
  • Eternity.
  • Aquarust.
  • Hummingbird.

There are several variations of drugs in the 2C family, and 2C-E is one of the most potent forms.9

Use is most common among young adults, with several reports of mass poisonings across the country. In 2013, the Journal of Medical Toxicology published that at least five deaths could be attributed to 2C drug intoxication.3–5

However, because it is relatively difficult to detect, the numbers of 2C-E-related emergencies may be underestimated.

The drug can be used via oral or insufflated (inhaled) routes.2 The DEA considers 2C-E a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is illegal with no accepted medicinal uses and has a high potential for abuse.

Effects of 2C-E Use

The 2C family of drugs elicit a combination of hallucinogenic and stimulant effects.5 At relatively low doses 2C-E may act as a central nervous system stimulant, while at higher doses, it has more pronounced psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects that may last 4-8 hours.2

Possible adverse effects of 2C-E and other 2C drugs include:5

  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Violent or aggressive behavior.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations or delirium.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chest pains.
  • Seizures. 

The drug may not affect everyone in exactly the same way, however, making it unpredictable and difficult to know how someone will react to 2C-E.

Alexander Shulgin, the chemist who first synthesized the drug, described his experience with the substance—complete with negative auditory hallucinations—as a “toxic psychosis.”5

2C-E intoxication and the dangers associated with it may be complicated by the presence of another drug or alcohol, as often occurs in social or recreational drug use settings.

Signs of Synthetic Drug Misuse

Being able to spot 2C-E abuse, or any type of problematic drug or alochol use, can help family members and loved ones open the door to a discussion about substance abuse and may be the first step toward getting help.

Some general signs of substance abuse, which could be present in someone using 2C-E, may 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.

While hallucinogenic drugs like 2C-E 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.

Abusing drugs before the brain has fully developed may be a particularly troubling phenomenon, as the parts of the brain that help someone to make good decisions, control impulses, and regulate emotions may not be completely mature until around the mid-20s.6

This could make someone both vulnerable to drug abuse and open the door for possible future problems, should early drug use take place.6

2C-E Withdrawal & Detox

Getting help for substance often starts with detox that, in some cases, may be medically managed in a specialized facility. Medical detox includes 24-hour monitoring and supervision to ensure safety and as much comfort as possible.

Many synthetic “designer” hallucinogens are not associated with a pronounced withdrawal syndrome. As such, medications may not necessarily be required during detox for safe withdrawal management.

Though treatment will mainly be supportive, any adverse developments, such as anxiety and agitation may be managed pharmacologically with benzodiazepines or antipsychotics.7,8

Treating Synthetic Drug Addiction in Texas

Beyond detox, therapy and counseling may be helpful in determining any underlying reasons for turning to substance use. Sometimes, drug abuse is a coping mechanism to minimize emotional pain or mental illness symptoms, or to escape stress or memories of trauma.

Behavioral therapies, in both group and individual settings, can get to the root causes of an individual’s substance abuse, and teach new and healthier ways to manage stress and deal with potential triggers. Support groups exist for both families and those battling substance abuse, and they may be beneficial during recovery.

At Greenhouse Treatment Center, we offer different types of rehab designed to meet the individual needs of each patient.

Both outpatient care, where the individual returns home at night, and residential treatment, where the person stays onsite in a specialized facility for period of time, can promote long-term recovery from drug abuse. The highly trained professionals at our inpatient rehab near Dallas can help determine the most appropriate level of care for you.

Our staff can also answer any questions you may have about paying for rehab, using insurance to pay for rehab, and the treatment admissions process.

Don’t let your addiction reach rock bottom. If you or someone you love is struggling with the devastating side effects of addiction and unsure where to turn, call us today at .

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