top of page

LIFE, THE UNIVERSE & EVERYTHING...According to D: 2CB Shulgin's Favourite. My Dark Night of the Soul

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

2CB was synthesized by a chemist named Alexander Shulgin in 1974. Apparently it was his all time favourite invention. It is a stimulant, a hallucinogen and an empathogen. Empathogens are a class of psychoactive drugs that produce experiences of emotional communion, oneness, relatedness, emotional openness - that is, empathy or sympathy. This last trait, though less commonly emphasized, I personally would say, is the most important aspect of this medicine, especially at higher therapeutic doses.

The dosage for this journey was 20mg orally in a capsule and 10mg insufflated. This combined dosage is a strong to high therapeutic dose. My guide present, I set my intentions. Now, I want to be clear the intentions I set for this journey were dark as I was trying to understand a close friend’s psychological detachment, which they said they used to protect themselves when things got hard. Not being a person who detaches, I felt a great distance from my close friend in these times and wanted to better understand what they experienced and what they felt when they went away to their dark place. The empathogenic properties of 2CB, I believed could help me in this endeavour to understand. As with all psychedelic intentions, which can be a bit like genie wishes – be careful what you wish for.

The first part of this journey which I found very difficult was the insufflation of the 2CB which is simply a fine white powder. The capsule which I swallowed would take about 40 mins to take full effect. The plan was for the insufflation to take immediate effect and then level out as the orally consumed portion would begin to peak. Well, my plan worked, all to well. The 2CB up my nose hurt a lot. A lot, A lot. I will reemphasize this. It sucks so much. Burning sensations throughout my sinus cavity to the point of tearing up. I put pressure on my sinuses in an attempt to alleviate the pain to no avail. My guide made space for me and told me it would pass. The somatic response in my body was immediate. Extreme energy coursed through my limbs as I paced throughout my home. I rubbed my arms and the sensation was intense, past the point any concert-level cuddle puddle molly. This was like feeling pure energy radiate from my hand to the skin of my arm and back again in an arc of of electricity. As I walked through my home I experienced time dilation. I could see where I was going to be, before I got there and then appeared there without experiencing how I arrived there. It was as though I was jumping through time and catching up with myself. After about 5-10 mins the pain in my sinus passed. The pain disappeared completely and allowed me to focus on the journey.

The room was dimly lit, but it was as though the darkness wanted to swallow the light. Extreme drifting occurred in my vision and there was a shuddering or pixelating effect. Synethesia occured, sound effected my vision as well and the quiet meditative music could be seen in the drifting visuals all around me. I asked for the music to stop. My guide granted my wish. I felt cold and curled up into fetal position. I felt their pain. A deep pain in my center in my reproductive organs inside me. The areas around my lymph nodes throbbed with sadness. The room became darker and I could see the candles but they gave off no light. I remember I uttered the words “I’m scared.” My guide said “It’s okay, it’s not yours. You’re safe to feel it. You’re okay.” So I did. I felt all their pain and understood their need to detach. The darkness around the pain was their detachment. I felt guilt and shame and began attaching those feelings to actions in my own life that perhaps not my brightest moments of my higher self. It was strange to reperceive past experience in a much darker light than I had previously. It was as though I was being as hard on myself, in a moral or in an ethical framework that was not my own. And it wasn’t. It was my friend’s.

I had been raised in an extremely liberal, progressive, socialist, and atheist home that celebrated a melding of multiple cultures and ethnicities. Whereas, my friend had grown up in an extremely conservative, monocultural and monotheistic family. I was applying their framework of programed values on my life experiences. Though that was not a realization I made in the moment, rather one that came through integration in the weeks that followed and continues now to this moment as I write these words. The light in the room changed. It became red and black. The somatic effect of the drug lessened and my journey leveled out. At times I cried. I asked to hold my guide’s hand. I did want the experience to be complete before it was, but I allowed myself to sit in the medicine and embrace the pain.

The drifting lessened and the light from the candles returned. I felt the weight lift and I decided to shower. The flow of the water on my skin felt amazing and instead of lightning shooting through my nervous system, a gentle and extremely pleasurable energy coursed through my enhanced nerves. I sat down in on the 'old man' chair I use for stretching in the shower and enjoyed a deep and prolonged stretching session under the warmth of the hot water and steam. After I toweled off, bundled up in a sweat suit and returned to the journey space. I lay down and after not too long I fell asleep under the watchful eye of my blessed guide.

This was undeniably a challenging experience. And of course, I intended for it to be one. I want to be clear again that this dark experience wasn't the 2CB, it was the intentions I brought to the medicine. It is rarely, if ever, the medicine's fault that someone has a challenging or bad trip. I would say almost to the point of never, but only because I don't like saying never. I am grateful to have a strong and experienced guide to help me with my explorations and I am grateful for all my psychedelic experiences, whether pleasurable, pleasant, dark or painful. It's not simply the colours and fractals and interactions with deities or interdimensional entities that I'm after. I'm here to learn. I want to feel and understand more of what it is to be myself and others.

The idea of universal oneness is nice. But what does that mean when you're living a material existence as human in a breathing meat suit? These mortal coils are extremely devisive of our spiritual energy and it takes concerted effort to expand one's experience beyod the skin and into the skein. So what is it to be part of the universal oneness? I don't know the full answer. But I know part of the answer is understanding other people's pain. And not just people. Plants. Animals. The land. The air. Earth. If we are able to feel pain from over aspects of the universal oneness then we stand a better chance of empathisizing in a meaningful way, when that other person, place of thing experiences suffering. Most of all, if we know what that pain feels like and we are able to experience it in safe container, maybe, we will be less likely to cause that pain in others. I know that hurt people, hurt people, but maybe hurt people can teach people, and together we can become healed people, that heal people.

And that was my initial experience with 2CB,

That's Life, the Universe and Everything... according to me, D.

Thanks for the fish.

57 views0 comments


bottom of page