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Reducting Duration While Maintaining Intensity with Phenethylamine Psychedelics
by Lazar
v1.1 Jan 31 (originally published Spring, 2001)
Originally published in The Entheogen Review
Citation:   Lazar. "Short-Acting". The Entheogen Review. Spring 2001;10(1):20-23.
The use of psychedelic compounds in psychotherapy and for personal use is well established, even though they are proscribed by the DEA. The use of many of these compounds to elicit altered states is often limited by time constraints; that is, the patient and/or therapist or the personal user does not always have six to ten or more hours to commit to such an activity.

For a number of years we have been investigating the use of phenethylamines compounds that are described in great detail by Ann and Alexander Shulgin in their book, PIHKAL. After reviewing many of these compounds, both in the literature and by human administration, we did not find any that were short-acting among those with really useful properties; that is, any that lasted only three or four hours or less. On the other hand, DMT, which is in the tryptamine class of compounds, is very short acting (+/- 30 minutes); and MIPT is also short (+/- 2 hours).

We wish to report some methods that can shorten the effects, yet retain a full-blown psychedelic experience. These methods, when used with phenethylamines such as 2C-D, 2C-I, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-4, 2C-T-7, etc., produce an altered state wherein the user can incrementally raise or titrate the degree of alteration desired. The effect lasts from one third to one half (1/3 to 1/2); of the oral dosage and generally uses only one quarter (1/4) of the amount of the pure compound that would be required when the drug is taken orally. This increases the practicality of doing a little in an evening, after a meal (since a full stomach does not negatively effect the action of compounds taken in these manners, as it does when ingesting via the gastrointestinal tract). It is also possible to have a good night's sleep afterward, and awaken the next day refreshed, clear, and able to go to work without having to deal with long-lasting after-effects. Also, in these times of high prices and short supply, the economy of using a quarter (1/4) of the usual dose is obvious.

Side effects are greatly reduced or eliminated in subjects, leading to a clear and clean space. Some of the side effects eliminated are: stomach discomfort (queasiness, cramps, empty feeling.); muscle twitches and jaw clenching; loss of balance; flatulence; headache; sweating; chills; etc. Side-effects tend to affect some individuals more than others, due to each individual's unique biochemistry, so that amelioration of these discomforts will also be somewhat random. There appear to be no across-the-board statements that can be made in this area, except that when a particular side effect is still present, it is much less intense than when the compound is orally administered.

With these methods the onset of the altered state is very rapid; much more so than with oral ingestion. Effects usually begin to be felt within a minute or less and the subject is peaking within ten minutes. The plateau will last for an hour followed by a gentle decline over the next hour to a still high space; then over the next half (1/2) hour the decline will take you to the base-line state (where you started from). Total time may be about 2-3 hours, but this will vary with the compound, the individual, the amount taken, and of course set and setting.

None of the methods reported on in this article are original; we plagiarized shamelessly and built on the work of many others, applying these older tried-and-true methods to different substances. Although some modification of these methods was necessary, every effort was made to keep the entire process simple yet effective.

The methods that showed the most promise are:

1)  Snuffing or snorting
2)  Nasal spray
3)  Vaporizing the base and inhaling it

Two other methods were considered for evaluation:

1)  Injection by hypodermic needle; however, this was rejected as being too invasive and due to the difficulty in obtaining pure, sterile compounds.
2)  The other method used a small-volume enema to place a solution of the compound into the large intestine where it is absorbed rapidly without going through the upper gastrointestinal tract and subject to the digestive process. This method worked, but took about the same amount of compound as oral ingestion and the time span of alteration was also about the same. So the method did not seem to be an improvement other than in some cases reducing side effects. This was not pursued further.

The "snuffing" or "snorting" method is well known, primarily for its use with cocaine (and for a few other substances on a much lower scale). The use of "snuffing" for the majority of phenethylamines is very uncomfortable for these compounds, since they are usually available in the hydrochloride salt form. The hydrochloride salt is extremely painful for individuals who use cocaine regularly. We have found that the hydrobromide or tartrate salts are much less harsh on the mucous membranes. However, these salts of the phenethylamines are rarely available on the street, and it can be challenging to convert a hydrochloride salt to a hydrobromide or a tartrate salt. Since none of these salts are completely without discomfort to the mucous membranes, we found that by grinding one oral dose in a small mortar and pestle with equal amount of procaine hydrochloride (novocaine) and then snuffing small lines (about a quarter (1/4) of the total per person), the discomfort is diminished substantially in nearly all individuals. This method works fairly well with the hydrochloride salts of the phenethylamines; it is not as smooth as with the hydrobromide or the tartrate, however.

The ratio of procaine hydrochloride to the substance may be varied to suit your nose. Procaine hydrochloride is a common cut for cocaine and your street supplier should be able to get some for you at a reasonable price. If it is not available, cocaine can be substituted for procaine, but may change the quality of the alteration. The reason for their use is to anesthetize or numb the mucous membranes in order that the phenethylamine causes less discomfort.

[NOTE: It used to be that procaine was commonly available at headshops. However, I recently checked into this by cruising the streets of Berkeley. There was no procaine to be found in any of the four headshops that I visited, and none of the young kids working these shops had any idea what I was asking for. A quick search on the web only brought up hits for the life-extension product G-3; and while this contains procaine as its primary active ingredient, it also contains a number of other things that most people wouldn't want to cram up their noses. [...] It is worth noting that one individual pointed out that a doctor told him that pain in the nose from snuffing powders was generally a good indication that damage was being done, and that numbing away this pain might allow one to do more damage than they normally would. Still, the nasal doses for most of the phenethylamines being discussed are pretty low, and it isn't likely that one would be using them frequently or repeatedly. -- David Aardvark]

Street compounds are occasionally cut with some diluting agent to make them easier to press into tabs or put into gelatin capsules. A pure phenethylamine hydrochloride with a 20 mg dosage in a tablet will be one eight (1/8) inch in diameter and one sixteenth (1/16th) of an inch thick. This is a very small tablet and if what you get is larger than this, then the compound will have been cut with something. The dosage range for each compound can be found in PIHKAL, which can provide one a bit of a sense whether or not what one has gotten has been cut with binders and/or fillers. Additionally, the problem of misrepresentation of what a compound really is has increasingly been reported, making it important to cultivate a reliable source.

A last comment about snuffing 2C-B: the hydrochloride salt is absorbed slowly into the mucous membranes--so slowly that the anesthetic effect of the procaine wears off leaving the undissolved (and hence unabsorbed) 2C-B particles hurting your nose. The hydrobromide salt of 2C-B is absorbed faster and works much better.

The next method is the use of these compounds in a nasal spray that incorporates procaine hydrochloride. The same discomfort is noted with hydrochloride salts taken one their own via a spray, and the addition of procaine hydrochloride similarly pretty much eliminates the discomfort or pain. After considerable experimentation with various solution strengths and application guidelines, the optimum our testing group came up with is produced as follows:

For this example I will discuss 2C-T-2. 25 mg of the phenethylamine salt and 15 mg of procaine hydrochloride are combined per ml of water (about 20 drops of water). Warm the water to dissolve the powdered materials if necessary. Place 5 drops of this solution in a small glass atomizer and spray (with inhalation) into each nostril. (Small glass atomizers with a rubber bulb are generally available in pharmacies.) Immediately lie on your side so that the spray will stay in the sinus passages and be absorbed instead of draining down your throat or out of your nose. After a minute or so turn over to your other side. During this absorption period you will most likely feel the material taking effect. When you feel that all has been absorbed sit up and enjoy.

Following is a typical report for the use of 2C-T-2 nasal spray:

6:00  -  5 drops atomized into nostrils.
6:02  -  Feeling it. This is really fast!
6:19  -  Getting really high.
6:35  -  Absolutely great feeling, especially considering the tiny amount of material taken. I have peaked out and am cruising the plateau. Great space. Wonderful love-making. Exquisite!
7:15  -  Coming down a little, still fine.
8:29  -  Really coming off of the material now. Getting hungry.
8:42  -  Cashew nuts good! Mild case of gourmet munchies.
9:00  -  Back at base-line.
9:30  -  Crashed, went right to sleep, good rest. Refreshed and clear next morning. This is worth repeating!

2C-B hydrochloride works well this way, but needs warming to dissolve the substance, because of its limited solubility. We have reports of some people making up an amount of solution containing their favorite phenethylamine and putting it in a common decongestant nasal spray bottle and even using it in business meetings! Many have used the same practice for cocaine. The little plastic nasal spray bottles tend to spray too much in a coarse spray; if you use them, a more dilute solution of about one-half strength of that given above works well. You may have to repeat spraying to titrate to the desired level of alteration.

The practice of smoking various psychedelic compounds with combustible material such as Cannabis or mint leaves has been going on for some time. The greatest difficulty with this practice in its use with phenethylamines is that the hydrohalide salts do not thermally dissociate into the amines efficiently. There is a tendency for the salts to decompose to some extent, depending on conditions, and you not only lose some of the precious compound, but the by-products of such decomposition may detract from the positive aspects of the altered state or may be harmful.

By heating the phenethylamine hydrochloride salt with an excess of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), the hydrochloride part combines with the soda to form sodium chloride (table salt), carbon dioxide, and water vapor leaving the amine as the base, which can then be volatilized and inhaled. [...] Conversion efficiencies are very good and onset of the altered state is rapid; however, some individuals--especially non-smokers--find the condensed vapors or smoke to be harsh and irritating to their throats.

A set-up for vaporizing the material is easy to construct. Basically all that is needed is:

1)  A small glass or metal tube to heat the mixture of sodium bicarbonate and the phenethylamine salt
2)  A support for the tube while heating
3)  A heat source
4)  A tube to inhale vapors through

Following are more details on these four items:

A small glass or metal tube to heat the ingredients: 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch diameter and 1 inch to 1.5 inches high. A metal thimble works well, or you can form a tube from heavy duty aluminum foil. Use a cylindrical object for forming the foil, such as a pen or a dowel. Diameters larger than 3/8 inch should be closed at the top with a 1/4 inch hole size washer. This will prevent convection currents from sweeping vapors from the tube before you can capture them.

A piece of cardboard about 4 inches by 8 inches with a hole in the center will hold the tube vertically. Two stacks of books can support the cardboard and tube while it is heating.

A good simple heating device is a short piece of candle, stuck to a small square of cardboard. The height of the tube is adjusted with the two stacks of books so the tip of the candle flame is very close or just touches the bottom of the tube. Be careful not to set fire to the cardboard.

For inhaling the vapors into your mouth, a glass tube works great and even a clean, inverted metal pipe will work. (Do not use plastic straws, as the plastic will melt and the fumes are toxic.) The vapors are drawn into your mouth and then inhaled with air or drawn directly into your lungs. If the vapors are too irritating to your throat try inhaling them through your nose. It feels strange, but doesn't hurt your throat. [NOTE: Inhaling via the nose really can substantially reduce irritation! -- David Aardvark] Or adding a little procaine to the mix in the pyrolyzer helps numbs the throat after the first inhalation (which is harsh).

For two people, we grind one half an oral dosage (or a little more if an increased degree of alteration is desired) of a phenethylamine with about 150 mg of sodium bicarbonate (a pile the size of half of a large pea) in a small mortar and pestle. This is divided into four equal portions and put into four tubes. The tubes are heated one at a time, so that the participants can catch their breath between heating the tubes. The degree of alteration can be titrated to the desired level with this method.

The above three methods are those that we found to be most useful in our investigations. Unfortunately, none of them is without some drawbacks and the effectiveness of each method will vary considerably with different people. So explore the area of different ingestion methods and find the one that is easiest, most comfortable, and gives the results best for you. And don't be afraid to improvise a little!

Revision History
  • v1.1 - Jan 31 - Published on Erowid with minor editing
  • v1.0 - Spring 2001 - Published in The Entheogen Review