Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take acid and molly at the same time? As more and more drugs get outlawed, people have turned to less conventional compounds to trip on. One of these drugs is a research chemical (which are chemical compounds synthesized by scientists in fancy-ass laboratories) called 25I–NBOMe that has only been taken recreationally since about 2010. 25i, and its close relatives 2cb and 2c, have been experiencing a steady increase in popularity as people search for new ways to get high. Many people who take 25i describe it as a comfortable cross between acid and molly, experiencing effects of both but at a lower intensity. It can be taken in a variety of different ways, including sublingually, in the buccal space (Ed note: that means in your cheek, #educateyourself) or nasally. In the United States, 25i (and other members of the 2c family) has been added temporarily to the list of Schedule I controlled substances, such as DMT, LSD, MDMA, PCP and even good ol' THC. That doesn't mean, though, that Penn students don't have access to it.
I first took 25i when I was a sophomore in high school. My friend gave me a tab and a half, and I put them both under my tongue, nervous for what was to come. When I started to come up after about 30–45 minutes, I didn't feel too good. I was in my friend's house, and I felt intensely claustrophobic. I needed to get out of the house as soon as possible. As soon as I stepped outside, I was instantly relieved, and more importantly, amazed.
Colors were brighter, shapes were more defined and mundane noises even sounded different. There was a slight crest-like pattern that appeared outlined over everything, but I knew that it wasn't real; it was only part of the visual effects of 25i. It was a chilly February day (a lot like the ones we've been having recently), but I didn't notice the cold. Instead, I was focusing on the lines and colors popping out at me like I was at the movie theater wearing 3D glasses.
My friends and I walked up from Broad Street deep in South Philly all the way to South Street, and up and down South Street many times. I have a clear memory of gazing out over the South Street Bridge, staring down at I–95, and watching lines in the parking lot slowly float up to my eye line. I felt the amphetamine–like rush, and it kept me energized for around six to eight hours. A side effect of this rush, however, was that I didn't eat all day, and when the drug finally wore off, I was starving. By the time I went home that evening, I could only feel traces of the drug, but it had left a profound effect on me, as everyone's first trip does.
I took it for the second time junior year of high school. This time, I was excited, knowing what to expect and looking forward to it. I took it in my friend's car while we ran errands in the suburbs. It hit me faster than it did the first time, and I was hit again by that unshakable claustrophobia, only worse this time because I was in a much smaller space. I thought I was going to throw up, and when we finally pulled up to an empty golf course, I threw open the door and jumped out almost before my friend had turned her car off. After the initial uncomfortable come up, the rest of the trip was much like the first, with the same visual and physical effects. One thing about 25i that's important to note is that though some things appear to look different, there's no actual hallucinating taking place (unlike when you're on more traditional hallucinogens, such as acid or shrooms).
That being said, one girl who I talked to experienced a very strange phenomenon on one of her 25i trips: "I was in Rittenhouse at one point, and in my trip I saw John Lennon's face kind of projected on the side of a building with florets and bright colors around him, and like all the trees that were around it were talking to me but I couldn't understand what they were saying...I also found out like later that day that it was the anniversary of John Lennon's death or birthday or something, which I had no idea about when I was tripping."
One boy took a different drug, 2cb, on the day that Penn won (well, tied for) the Ivy League football championship last semester. 2cb has almost the same exact effects as 25i, as they're only very slightly chemically different. He enjoyed his experience, saying that it was very cool to celebrate with his fraternity brothers while still tripping. His experience was more trippy than mine: "People's faces seemed like they were melting but unlike acid or shrooms. You're able to be social on 2cb because you feel like you're rolling, also. When I came back to my frat house the coolest things to look at were the Oriental carpets because everything just seemed like it was moving and shifting and felt like walls and the floor were moving in weird directions." This shifting of walls wasn't something that I had experienced on 25i, but leads me to believe that maybe 2cb is on the trippier part of the research chemical spectrum.
A different boy who also took 2cb spoke very eloquently about his trip. He took it before going to a horse race, and to him, the horses turned into the most beautiful, powerful creatures he had ever seen. He spoke about tripping in general, and how it affected an important decision he had to make: "I've tripped before some of my major career and academic life decisions because it simply gives you a different perspective that you can't experience through any other means." Though the trips themselves did not make or break the decision, he said that tripping itself offered him a perspective that he would not have had otherwise.
Though it may sound like this drug is all fun, games and life–changing experiences, there's a dark side to it as well. The last boy I talked to described two incredible times he had with 25i, but how after those times, he noticed that he was starting to get hooked to the amphetamine aspect of the drug. "I showed up to one of my classes still tripping a bit 'cause I had a binge where I did it three days in a row and wasn't able to sleep more than just a few hours. Also, every time you take it in a short period, the required dose almost doubles due to tolerance, but the lethal dose stays the same, so I think I got pretty damn close to it. Like, my vision was fading in and out and shit and I almost vommed." That is an almost universal sign on any drug that one has gone too far. At one point, he vomited into the toilet and started hallucinating that his vomit was Yoda. What certainly didn't help his habit was the fact that it was so accessible; he ordered it online, easily, costing him only about $2–2.50 per tab, and only one tab is required to experience the high for a beginner.
While 25i sounds like a fun time, it's important to keep in mind the risks that one takes when they decide to take an experimental, relatively new drug. The dosage is so small that it's incredibly easy to overdose, and there's not much research out there showing exactly what it does to the human body.