2C-E or “Europa” is a synthetic psychedelic phenethylamine hallucinogen. It’s a powerful drug that’s like setting off mental fireworks, bringing a bounty of colors, sounds, sights, and thoughts that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s a vacation from the vacation of the ordinary.

The colorless oil is not for the faint of heart. It’s strong in the physical side effects, and it’s strong in the intensity of the psychedelic trip it generates. While psychedelics are generally believed to be safe, 2C-E overdoses have killed. A 2012 case report from Texas focused on fatal toxic leukoencephalopathy, likely caused by 2C-E, where it ate away the brain’s white matter. That unfortunate tripper was eventually taken off life support.

2C-E is usually taken orally, either by parachuting — put into a napkin and swallowed — or by putting it into an empty gelatin capsule. It can also be taken nasally by insufflation. You’ll require a reliable and calibrated milligram scale. Orally, a light dose is between 5-7mg, a typical dose would be 7-15mg, and a heavy dose is anything above. A heavy dose is NOT RECOMMENDED. It’s not worth it. Snorting the substance cuts the dose in half, but 2C psychedelics are like molecular ninja stars and are intensely painful to put up your nose. Combined with the difficulty in measuring the amount, it’s better to just eat it.

2C-E’s relation to 2C-I — they differ by the replacement of an iodine group by an ethyl group, Iodine being what lends the “I” to 2C-I and the ethyl group being what lends the “E” — doesn’t mean they should be compared. 2C-E is so much different. Alexander Shulgin, the father of modern synthetic psychedelics called 2C-E “a difficult but worthwhile material.”

It can be 20 minutes to an hour before you start to feel the drug’s effects. There’s nothing to see, just the overpressure in the chest, and with 2C-E, this is the start of an intense body high. The body high of 2C-E is incomparable. It’s like an overbearing generalized discomfort, pins and needles all over, that travel up and down the body in waves. Waves of hot and cold rush through as well. This may lead to moderate to extreme nausea, but a little vomiting never hurt anyone.

Like any good fireworks show, it builds up. The first visuals will be closed eye ones, but soon you’ll get strong open-eye visuals. Unlike 2C-I, which can be geometric and lacking in color, there’s full color shifting. The bicycle against the wall warps in color, with waves of it melting through the body. Its shadow crawls along the wall, as if the sun was racing across the sky in mockery of our understanding of astronomy. The peak can last for over 2 hours, of shapes breathing and distorting. Residual effects can last up to a day.

Nature documentaries without any hunting or astronomy shows are probably the heaviest you’ll want to watch. Music shouldn’t have too fast of a beat lest it overwhelm you. Combined with the fantastical imagery, it can be a spiritual experience. 2C-E is believed to act upon serotonin, and serotonin can act as a limiter in the brain. With this limiter off, your brain is free to make connections, so let inferences about images enter your vision. These fireworks shouldn’t be enjoyed alone. Bring a friend.

However, being alone unlocks a profoundly rewarding, but difficult part of 2C-E: A powerful urge for introspection. Unlike some tryptamines, you can force it out of your mind, but you shouldn’t. Find a quiet place and play some chill music. The shower with some warm water is ideal. Have you lived life well? Are you sad or angry? Why? What’s it going to take to change how you feel? What do you need to do? You’ll find those personal biases are now blissfully silent.

A friend walking in is a strange sensation when you’re on 2C-E. Her beauty morphs, drifts but never changes its essential nature. Just like MDMA, there’s a profound enhancement of empathy. Talking feels so rewarding. You’ve known all along that she isn’t happy with her boyfriend, you see how he treats her, how he hurts her, but socially, something has kept you from saying or doing anything, and it hurts, and you’re sorry.

You’ve said it out loud as well. Her eyes look shocked, her lips, shifting in shades of red and pink, are not truly moving. We understand so much, but our conscious mind blocks it out. You’ve known this all along. 2C-E’s action has taken away that social block that kept you from mentioning it. This was the right thing to do. The inability to get caught up too much into a specific memory actually helps when you’re talking with someone that wants to avoid the subject. Between the lines it’s all been there, your mind makes a thousand storylines. Only through speaking about it, can we work through the traumas that have held us back. Understanding someone fully is the mental reward, but she is beautiful. Did I mention 2C-E also increases sexual arousal?

Enjoy the fireworks this Fourth of July. Have fun; try not to die.