The 2C compounds produce a wide range of effects. Some are highly visual, while some are deeply introspective. Others enhance cognition or have primarily emotional effects. Many have few overt psychedelic effects at all. They are generally less potent and shorter acting than other more well known psychedelics.
2C-B is known as a sensual, tactile drug, often referred to as an “aphrodisiac.” 2C-T-7 is called “7th-Heaven” because it tends to produce states of enlightenment. 2C-E is known as “the teacher” because it promotes optimism, thoughtfulness and creativity. 2C-I is a more traditional, overtly LSD-like psychedelic, tending to be more visual and intellectual.
“The story of the 2C compounds,” says chemist Paul Daley, co-author with Sasha Shulgin and Tania Manning of The Shulgin Index: Psychedelic Phenethylamines & Related Compounds, “really starts with the first attempts to modify known naturally occurring psychedelics, to change their activity. This began in 1949 with the creation of the first synthetic analog of mescaline.”
Mescaline, the principle active agent in peyote, was the first known psychedelic. Its use goes back over 7,000 years. It belongs to a family of compounds known as “phenethylamines,” which include the 2C family and more well-known drugs like MDMA, MDA, amphetamine, anti-depressants like Wellbutrin and Effexor, and essential amino acids like L-tyrosine. Phenethylamines are structurally close to dopamine, which is naturally occurring in the brain, and is involved with the sensing of pleasure and ‘reward.’ Phenethylamines are thought to be involved in the drive to repeat dosing with drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, that stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain.
One of the great unsung tragedies of the "War on Drugs" (aside from the unjustified imprisonment of millions of people) is the harmful effect it has had on brain research and medical treatment. These drugs have powerful effects that could be used to investigate fundamental properties of cognition, emotion, spirituality, and perception. But because they're illegal, very few scientists are willing to take the risks required to investigate them.