2-CB: The ‘Pink Panther’ Taking Over The EDM Scene

As far as designer drugs go, 2-CB is a relatively new addition to the mix. Although the chemical has been around since it was first synthesized by Alexander Shulgin in 1974, it only started gaining popularity in Europe at the end of the 90s. Now, it is becoming one of the party favourites of many fans in the rave scene and EDM festivals. But it is not easy to find. Consumers usually go to the dark web to buy it, although more popular sites like Reddit already have forums dedicated to the different experiences caused by 2-CB. I went into one of these groups to find out what makes the pink cocaine so special.

For Brad, 19, from Ireland, what made a difference between 2-CB and other drugs was the level of intensity. “I found the mind space to be minimal enough, comparable to weed in intensity but much clearer.” One of the most attractive qualities for consumers of 2-CB is the double effect it produces, hallucinations and euphoria. The former is what makes this psychedelic so attractive to many. During his second trip, Brad describes the strongest visuals he has ever had. “There was a lot of morphing, breathing, colour enhancement and colour changing even.”

Raves and EDM festivals are the main settings for the use of 2-CB

Consumers experiment with the use of 2-CB, by changing the surrounding, doses and even mixing it with other drugs. Mary is 35, from Atlanta. Like many, she started with 2-CB at a EDM show, but has found its properties curious enough to experiment in other settings. She has found that the hallucinogen has made her sexual experiences better, making her feel more “connected” than usual to her lover. She had been a smoker until recently, when she realised that 2cb was better for her. “After my nexus flip one month ago, I just don’t crave nicotine anymore and I just stop using it. And I feel how much better my brain works without a nicotine addiction.”

Unlike other psychedelics like LSD, or other phenethylamine, like MDMA, the research on the effects of 2-CB is small, reducing the line of study to an observation of the short term effects and usually ignoring longer term consequences. According to José Carlos Bouso, Director of Scientific Projects at the ICEERS Foundation, adverse consequences of 2cb are not yet known. “Analogues of 2-CB, for example 2-CB dragonfly, are excessively potent and tis consumption has led to toxicity problems.”

The molecular structure of 2-CB dragonfly makes it more unpredictable than normal 2-CB

“Like all drugs, 2-CB can be very useful, but also harmful, just like a scalpel.” Says José Carlos Bouso.

Bouso defends the hallucinogen, saying that it has proven to be safe enough to be used in psychedelic therapy. Although in Spain there is not a history of these therapies, Bouso highlights experiments done by American colleagues. “2-CB is specially used in corporal therapies,” he explains, “the aim is to find the corporal blockages in which the energies are stuck, in other words, a psychosomatic blockage.” The drug is used in these sessions, along with massages, to find and deactivate these blockages. However interesting these perspectives might be, Bouso warns about the possible side effects. “Like all drugs, 2-CB can be very useful, but also harmful, just like a scalpel.”

The  potential unknown harmful effects of the psychedelic are starting to be a cause of concern within European authorities. Last week in Spain, 1.5kg of the 2-CB were found, along with a larger shipment of cocaine. It is the largest amount of the drug ever found in the country and authorities are worried that it might be a sign of a rise in consumption. According to police sources, La Guardia Civil has arrested over 20 people linked to traffic of cocaine and 2-CB in Huesca, North Spain.

Last shipment of 2-CB found. Image by La Guardia Civil

‘Pink panther’, another one of the nicknames for 2-CB, can be synthesized by anyone with chemistry knowledge. But thus far consumers have decided to skip the Walter White fantasy. The psychedelic is mostly produced in South American countries, specifically in Colombia. Police in Spain have said that the shipments of 2-CB are minuscule compared to those of cocaine or cannabis, but the price of the drug is what makes it profitable. The niche market is relatively small, mostly EDM enthusiasts, but the acquisitive power of them is what has led to police enforces to describe 2-CB as the new “drug of the rich”.

In the latest report published by the Office of National Statistics, the data show an increasing number of deaths due to drug misuse. Although not as high as those deaths related to ecstasy and MDMA, the amount of people who abuse these kind of drugs continues to rise, specially between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. As the number of death grows in the UK, one cannot help but wonder whether 2-CB will stay in the niche of electronic music or whether it will jump into the mainstream of consumerism.

Graphic showing the number of deaths due to abuse of psychoactive substances. Data from ONS

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