Next in the long line of new designer drugs is 2C-I, more commonly known as Smiles. This hallucinogen is part of the 2C family of drugs, which is a group of closely related molecules with psychedelic effects. 2C-I is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that it is prohibited to manufacture, buy, sell, or possess the drug. Reports of teens using smiles still pop up occasionally, which experts attribute to the misinformation that has spread online about the drug.

Smiles is most often seen as a powder, which users can mix with candy or chocolate before ingesting. Like synthetic substances such as K2 and bath salts, smiles appeals to a younger demographic, with most of the reported overdoses and deaths related to the drug being teenagers.

A Short History of Smiles

The entire 2C class of drugs was discovered by chemist and synthetic drug specialist Alexander Shulgin. He published the formula of these synthetic compounds in his book, PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. 2C drugs were originally intended for therapeutic purposes by Shulgin and his colleagues. However despite the lack of clinical trials, experimentation still occurred and the drug later became known as club drugs.

After MDMA was declared illegal in the US in the 1980’s, 2C drugs became its replacement in the club scene. Because there were no clinical trials, it is difficult to justify research into this family of drugs. However, the increase of interest in MDMA, a related drug, and other hallucinogens such as marijuana, LSD, and psilocybin may soon bring 2C back into the research and development efforts for the pharmaceutical industry.

Its creator, Shulgin, has always believed that the drug can be used as a treatment for disorders like PTSD and anxiety. However, the primary issue with the drug is the lack of information on its effects and risks. To check for any possible clinical uses, toxicity studies would first need to be conducted. These studies are extremely expensive, and would difficult to justify to a private investor who would have no idea whether or not the drug has any therapeutic effects.

Health Effects

Taking smiles could result in intense aural and visual hallucinations that may last for several days. Other effects that were reported by users include nausea, vomiting, panic attacks, and anxiety. According to experts, the drug causes hallucinations because it interferes with the brain’s serotonin system. However, unlike other hallucinogens, smiles also has stimulating effects. It is essentially a psychedelic combined with a stimulant.

Its stimulating effects also means that the drug carries the same risks as other stimulants like meth and uppers. These include potentially fatal dehydration, arrhythmia and stroke. The combined effect is similar to taking ecstasy and LSD together. The outcome is extremely unpredictable, especially because smiles is synthetic compound that is yet to undergo thorough research.

The hallucinogenic effects of smiles may also lead users into thinking that overdosing is difficult with the drug. However, hallucinogens can be dangerous to people with psychotic tendencies and those who walk into traffic while under the influence.