Citation: Lillys Dolphin. "A Warning on Unpredictability: An Experience with 2C-I (exp89260)". Erowid.org. Jan 28, 2011. erowid.org/exp/89260
||(powder / crystals)
I'm a long-time dabbler in psychedelics, but have never before felt the compulsion to post an experience. I've tried marijuana, salvia, DXM, Woodrose-derived LSA, LSD, shrooms, 2C-E, 2C-I, 4-AcO-DMT, 5-Meo-DMT, 5-Meo-DIPT, ayahuasca and catcus-derived mescaline --- but I've never done a dosage, on anything, that would be considered 'heroic.' I'm not interested in using psychedelics to push myself, to 'lose control,' or even really for basic entertainment value; I'm more interested in using them as analytic tools to observe and, with the repeat use of what I've found to be beneficent substances (DXM & LSA), to 'deprogram' thought patterns and behaviors in myself that I find unwanted or debilitative.
However, I recently had a run-in with 2C-I that concerned me enough to submit this account, as a sort of guide-post in the largely uncharted waters of research-phenethalymine usage. This shouldnít come as too dire --- I didnít die, didnít even end up in the hospital, no HPPD or other persistence, and Iím no psychologically worse for the wear --- but Iíve also had a large amount of psychedelic preparation, extensive practice in meditation and anxiety control, and a working knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacokinetics (which I find, in general, greatly lessens the chance of bad trips spiraling into Insurmountably Bad Trips).
The effects I encountered from 2C-I --- a Ďmereí 10mg no less, and hardly my first encounter with the drug --- were so wildly counter to my expectations that, I fear, a neophyte wouldíve had an even more difficult time and, possibly, lingering psychological difficulties in terms of integrating such an experience. Moreover, it was the sheer surprise of what happened that I found particularly alarming. I often read Ďtrip disastersí here in which there was a clear Mistake (dose was too high, dosage boosting, chaotic environments, poor decisions) that instigated the bad trip, but with this, itís a complete mystery to me.
This was the sixth time Iíd taken 2C-I, and the first time in roughly five months. Iíd been on a regimen of piracetam (800mg daily) combined with Alpha-GPC (300mg) for choline supplementation, both taken daily at breakfast. I also smoke marijuana before bed to combat insomnia, and I take a multivitamin and one gram of vitamin C daily. I abstain from alcohol, but I was a regular cigarette smoker at the time of ingestion. On the day of, my fiancť was going to work from 2-7pm, and I decided to use that as a window to try and combine 2C-I with Zen meditation. There will be lapses in the account because of the nature of the experience and, because of the low dosage and my intended activities (meditation), I hadnít planned on taking notes.
10am - Consume 800mg piracetam w/ 300mg Alpha-GPC
2pm (T+0hrs) - Consume 10mg of 2C-I, carefully measured with a professional scale accurate to 1mg, in a glass of filtered water. I have considered the possibility of a dosage error, but Iíve used this scale many times and have never had a problem. Furthermore, I only had 100mg total, so I wouldíve noticed if I measured out something outrageous --- for example, even if my scale had broken and Iíd measured out 50mg, I wouldíve noticed that Iíd dumped half of the baggie onto the scale. Given variances in the scale itself, a reasonable upper-limit would be 12mg, but itís equally likely that I only took 8mg.
I smoke a cigarette shortly after ingestion. Very little, if anything, happens for the next couple hours. I begin to wonder if 10mg of 2C-I is, in the pantheon of my experiences, relatively insignificant.
4pm (T+2) - No, thereís definitely something going on. I begin to meditate. This is where things become strange. After a very long and imperceptible onset, I suddenly leap into a psychedelic state (around ++) while meditating. Nothing crazy, but more than Iíd expect from 10mg. Iím intrigued by this, and suspect that Iím experiencing some sort of reverse-tolerance. Suddenly, perhaps an hour in, a plane flies overhead (I live near an airport), and I literally become Ďlostí in the noise, as if itís engulfed me, my surroundings, the physical universe and the metaphysical universe into a singularity. This is already far deeper than I ever expected to go, easily a +++. I eventually return from this and begin to feelÖ worried. Iíve noticed on other trips that mental states often synchronize with physical states, and I suspect that Iím simply feeling sick (a common symptom of 2C-I) and that Iím tripping enough to translate this into general anxiety. Suddenly I do feel sick, but itís more like a hunger pain, and I decide to warm up a light plate of spaghetti (this, perhaps, could have been a Mistake, but I doubt it --- more on this at the end).
6pm (T+4) - My fiancť comes home early, and Iím abjectly terrified. No idea why. I run into the shower and lock the door. Turn the shower on, attempt to Ďsound normal,í as if Iím merely taking a routine scrub. I become *overwhelmed* with anxiety, specifically that I have lost my mind, that I will be incapable of dealing with my fiancť in any sort of rational manner, that she will become disgusted or terrified by my behavior, that I could even lose all control and harm her in some manner. I become convinced that this night will become some infamous tabloid event, that I will become a permanently deranged victim of psychedelic use, that all of my theories on the beneficial use of psychedelics are going to be proven wrong --- and in the most violent, uncompromising ways possible.
Of course, ďoh my god Iím goiní crazy and Iím never gonna be normal againĒ is a fairly standard bad trip response, and indeed Iíd experienced it before. But never, ever, with the utter, intractable finality of this experience. I can describe the thought-pattern as this: by fearing that I was going insane, my insanity was instantly made manifest by the very fact that I could imagine myself being insane (no, this doesnít make sense to my sober mind, either; I remember it the way you would remember the logic of a dream). A part of my mind, an uncontrollable part, wanted to test this theory to its full extent, so I became convinced that simply cogitating the extent of my *possible* insanity inherently caused that extent of insanity in my psyche. Absolutely bat-shit in retrospect, but easily the most terrifying experience of my life at the time.
7pm (T+5) - The hot water finally runs out, and I exit the shower. I am *freezing* cold. I glance in the mirror, and I look frankly psychotic. My pupils have literally engulfed my corneas; I look like an alien, or a Simpsons character made physical. After several minutes of preparing myself, I exit the bathroom, quickly tell (in something approaching a panic) my fiancť that Iím ďreally, really trippingĒ and rush to the bedroom and lock the door. My fianceís reaction to my announcement plays back in my head as one of absolute fear (Iím sure this was an exaggeration, or even an invention: sheís fairly well versed in tripping, herself).
Now the real fun begins, which I would categorize as a Ďnegative ++++,í if such a thing existed. Given that time ceased to have any tangible meaning to me, the following is a vague account of what my life was for the next four hours.
*Unmanageable, all-consuming, undefined terror
*Self-revulsion and shame, stemming from being completely convinced of my permanent insanity --- I recall this largely being in the form of me believing Iíd never be able to have a coherent conversation with my father ever again
*Unmanageable anxiety over the possibility of me harming my fiancť, either physically or emotionally
*Extreme physical duress, characterized by tension, agitation and discomfort. I spend these hours alternating between lying in bed with my face in the pillows, pacing the room, and taking 20-minute showers. Nothing helps.
*Extreme visual distortion, in the form of tracers (but to the point that entire Ďframesí of my visual buffer would repeat themselves) and in something Iíve never encountered before, a sort of melting quality to all of my surroundings. Despite having experienced more intense hallucinations before, I find all this very, very frightening. I realize with mounting hysteria that closing my eyes does nothing to stop either the hallucinations or the fear.
*Continually (every five minutes) checking my pupils in the mirror. I become convinced that none of this will stop until my pupils contract, and of course this leads to the belief that my pupils will simply never contract. They are, without change, as dilated as they could possibly be throughout this period.
*Intense, painful jaw clenching. I truly fear that Iím going to bite through my teeth.
*The perception of life-threatening tachycardia. Unfortunately I cannot, with certainty, say whether I actually had an elevated heart-rate, as it never dawned on me to check.
*The expanding fear that, um, itís already been nine freaking hours and Iím *still* coming up. Isnít this stuff only supposed to last five hours, total? I vaguely recall the concern that I had, in fact, been sent something other than 2C-I, but I could only hold onto this thought for a few seconds at a time, as, believe you me, rationality was fleeting.
*Continually (every five minutes) feeling the need to remind myself verbally of what was going on. ďYour name is xxx, and you took 10mg of 2C-I at 2pm.Ē This does nothing to make me feel better, and eventually I lose the concept of what, exactly, this sentence is supposed to be telling me.
The only aspect that abates, at all, is my anxiety over harming my fiancť. I eventually convince myself that I need to eat something, and I exit the bedroom.
11pm (T+9) - I realize Iím doing fairly well around my fiancť; much less than harming her, Iím overly courteous. I apologize profusely for having taking the drug, for Ďburdeningí her with my craziness, and I declare to her quite adamantly that ďI am done with this shit,Ē meaning psychedelics in general. I march into the bathroom, take out my small packets of 2C-I and 4-Aco-DMT and ask that she witness me flush them down the toilet, which I do. This makes me feel slightly better. I then march into the living room, grab our pack of cigarettes, and ask that she tear them up and throw them away. She does so, and this too makes me feel slightly better.
She then warms me a light dinner, I eat it, and we watch The Simpsons until she goes to bed. Sleep is utterly impossible to me --- the very thought of *trying* to sleep is, in my mind, akin to visiting the very bowels of Hell --- and being left alone on the couch brings my anxiety levels right back up to the same peak I experienced in the bedroom. The aforementioned shame, however, prevents me from asking her to stay up with me.
1am (T+11) - I watch The Simpsons, in a state of categorical anxiety and directionless fear, until 6am. The show has never seemed so menacing, so cognizant of the dark fears and behaviors of man. Iím watching the earlier seasons --- the ones overseen by Conan OíBrien --- and they seem almost tauntingly rife with references to unmanageable psychedelic states (Iíve since gone back and reconfirmed this: seasons three & four practically feature at least one reference to tripping per episode; OíBrien never struck me as the type, but who knows?).
Twice per episode, I get up to urinate and check my pupils. The pupils are still as dilated as possible, which I find terrifying. The fact that Iím peeing so much, I also find terrifying. I have a bowel movement around 3am, which is briefly gratifying and almost, barely reassuring. A distant part of my brain realizes that I hadnít had a bowel movement that entire day, and that perhaps whatever was causing my constipation was also causing the 2C-I to remain resident, and active, in my system. I reason that I simply need to detox everything, and that each successive bowel movement will bring with it a commensurate return to sanity. This catharsis quickly fades, though, and I donít again think of this reassurance until writing this.
6am (T+16) - I finally go to bed, knowing full well that Iím just going to lie there, lost in impending doom. And, so I do. The sun rises, my fiancť gets up, and Iím still lying there, now presumably suffering from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in addition to whatever is causing the 2C-I to *still be peaking.* Itís here that I truly realize how ludicrous the duration has become, and my notion that Iíve well and truly gone mad progresses from a belief to absolute certainty.
9am (T+19) - None of the effects have diminished. I tell myself that, if this goes past the 24hr mark, Iíll have to submit myself to a psych ward. I decide to get up, reasoning that I have to acclimate to psychotic life eventually. I eat breakfast, try to calm down by watching more Simpsons (some part of me reasoned, perhaps correctly, that providing my brain with too many sources of stimuli would make things worse, so I stick with what had become my Ďroutineí during this trip). This is an exact repeat of last night --- the same terror, the same frequent urination, the same extreme pupil dilation. My fiancť eventually leaves to get her car repaired; this makes my mental state worse. I once again perceive tachycardia, but only now, 24hrs later, do I realize that I can simply measure my heart-rate and know for sure whether my BPM are dangerously high. I do so, several times, and the result is always the same --- a smooth 72 BPM. Surprisingly, this does little to make me feel better.
2pm (T+24) - I again try to go to sleep, again convinced that it will be fruitless. I lie in bed, the sun beating down on me, and again spiral even more so into fear and revulsion. I begin to feel that Iím being psychically raped, that even if I do regain sanity, the sheer trauma of all this will be impossible to get over. I toss and turn, it gets worse and worse, and finally, out of nowhere, a decision forms to ďstop being a victimĒ and go outside. I put on my jacket and go out for a walk. The anxiety is still there, but I no longer fear that I will act out in an obvious (e.g., certifiable) sort of way.
Going outside was a major turning point in all this. For the next hour, I walked through town and all the way down to the beach. It felt, if not good, then profoundly *necessary* for me to be moving, to feel the sun on my body, to make use of my limbs. It was as if the 2C-I had dumped an excessive amount of energy into my system, and I simply had to exercise it out. I do not know for certain if itís merely synchronicity that the trip finally started to drop off just as I started walking outside, or if walking was indeed actively mitigating the trip, but I firmly believe the latter. It was as if each step was Ďpurgingí the 2C-I toxicity from my bones.
In fact, my whole context of the trip started to change. I began to feel that the 2C-I had merely been a catalyst for a Ďdeep purge,í as if all the psychedelics, cigarettes and negativity in my life had left residue on my brain cells, and the 2C-I had triggered a full-system cleansing that would remove their lingering ill effects from my life. Suddenly, the whole thing became a necessary travail, a progression through the Ďvalley of deathí that I had had to undergo to metamorphose into the next stage of my being. I was, of course, still tripping, and my perception of what had in reality been some sort of near-overdose was clearly affected by this, but regardless, my fear and loathing had flip-flopped into a weird sense of gratitude, and I was appreciative of the switch.
4pm (T+26) - I sat at the beach for a few hours, and it was profoundly nice. Not nice in a Ďgee, isnít that prettyí sort of way, but nice in a Ďgee, I actually survived and get to see the ocean again,í sort of way. Iím still somewhat concerned that, yes Virginia, itís been 26 goddamn hours and Iím still +++, but at least the trip isnít purely categorized by terror any more. Iím also increasingly convinced that, yeah, Iím probably still Ďsane,í after all.
6pm (T+28) - I walk home. To my delight, my pupils are no longer dilated. I eat dinner and watch more Simpsons, which has become some sort of beacon to the Ďnormal worldí for me. I am, however, noticeably altered until I fall asleep. Granted, Iíd say that by sometime around 8pm (T+30), I could no longer tell whether the effects were caused by the 2C-I or by simple sleep deprivation.
Hoo boy. Thatís roughly a 30hr duration from a 10mg hit of 2C-I. That is completely and utterly out-of-nowhere, at least from all the literature Iíve read on 2C-I. So, what the hell happened? Alpha-GPC was taken several hours before ingestion, and itís supposedly one of the most powerful cholinergics. However, Iíve read absolutely nothing about bizarre interactions between phenethylamines and cholinergics, and I donít believe it to be a factor.
A much more likely culprit is the piracetam, and I have read reports of piracetam and phenethylamines being a surprisingly synergistic combination. Some reports effusively recommend it; others advise against it. Iíve come across a couple reports of people who had very bad times with it, that it was unmanageable and Ďschizophrenic-esque,í but these were on 2C-I dosages in excess of 18mg. Nowhere have I encountered any report describing such extreme potentiation of such a small dose. The most 2C-I Iíve ever taken was 20mg, and it wasnít particularly notable. This experience was so ridiculous that I canít even objectively compare the two --- I canít say it was Ďtwo or three timesí more intense, only that it felt *infinitely* more intense. Also, I canít theorize how piracetam could protract the experience to 30hrs (!!!), almost 6 times the typical length of 2C-I.
Thereís also the fact that I ate a light meal only three or four hours after ingestion. It was starches, mostly pasta. I suppose, possibly, thereís something in what I ate and drank that couldíve inhibited the metabolization of the 2C-I, causing it to simply sit in my brain and wreak havoc for almost a day-and-a-half. I donít, however, see how a food interaction couldíve potentiated the effects so wildly. Perhaps a combination of taking piracetam *and* eating food too soon? Once Iíd regained some modicum of awareness, about halfway through, I did start taking one gram of Vitamin C per hour for its antioxidant properties and drinking organic apple juice to stay hydrated. Canít say either helped, but they certainly didnít hurt.
Thereís also the cigarette I smoked during the onset, but to my knowledge, cigarettes only acutely affect the CNS for a couple hours at most. How could a single cigarette yield 30hrs of effect? Iíve also read several reports of people combining cigarettes with 2C-xís to no noticeable harm.
Occamís razor tells me that I was sent 2C-P by accident. Iím not particularly familiar with that variant (since Iíve never had any desire to take it, ironically because of its reported duration), but Iíve read that it has a very long profile and tends to instigate insomnia --- leading to overall experiences that can last over 24hrs. Of course, thereís also the possibility that it was neither 2C-I nor 2C-P, but something else entirely. The appearance and consistency of the powder was identical to other 2C-x batches Iíve seen, however.
I suppose the 2C-I couldíve been tainted in some way, but Iíve always read that Ďbadí batches of 2C-xís are simply less effective, not *extremely* effective. Unless, of course, it was abjectly impure and I really was experiencing some sort of negative, systemic reaction. Iím certainly unamused by that prospect, but again, I havenít experienced any cognitive difficulties since all this.
All that said, there have been benefits. Itís been three weeks, and Iím overall slightly less prone to my niggling issues with depression. Furthermore, Iíve yet to smoke a single cigarette since. Iíve had some psychedelics Ďdestabilizeí my addiction to cigarettes, but Iíve always gone back to smoking within a week or so. However, I havenít even had the desire to smoke, not once, since this experience.
This was a kick to the pants that, thankfully, didnít damage me in any permanent way. Nevertheless, the 2C-x phenethylamines seem overly dangerous compared to tryptamines, as I also had issues with 2C-I the last time I had a batch --- basically, I did it a few times over the course of a month, and near the end I found myself outright craving more of it, something Iíd *never* experienced with a psychedelic (normally itís the opposite, an aversion to doing more).
I worry that 2C-I, and possibly all the 2C-xís, might have a dopaminergic addiction-response that could become quite psychologically contraindicative. Further, unlike eating a cactus or munching Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, you just donít know what youíre getting into with this stuff --- I only ingest substances that I have extensively studied, and I now realize that preparation is rendered utterly moot when ingesting a mislabeled or tainted RC. The pointlessness of taking such a risk, indeed of having taken that risk so many times, is now rather daunting to me. I am, indeed, done with this shit.
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