How Long Does 2-CE Stay in Your System?

The drug 2C-E (2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine) is a synthetic phenethylamine hallucinogen that has some chemical structural similarities to MDMA.1 It was first synthesized and identified in the 1970s by a chemist named Alexander Shulgin.

The reported drug effects associated with 2C drugs indicate some variation depending on the dose.1 The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) added many 2C drugs to a list of “drugs and chemicals of concern” and currently classifies 2C-E as a Schedule I controlled substance.2 This classification indicates that the drug has no known medicinal uses and a high potential for abuse.

There has historically been little information in the scientific literature about the effects of 2C drugs as well as the long-term consequences of ingesting them.1

The effects of 2-CE are reported to consist of auditory, visual, and temporal distortions. As with many hallucinogens, the subjective nature of some of these effects is influenced by the mood of the user and the setting in which use takes place.3 In the past, the drug has been purchased online. With no assurance of chemical composition or contamination, these substances can be especially dangerous. 2C-E effects may be relatively more intense compared to some other 2C drugs (e.g., 2C-B, 2C-I).1

How Long Does the Drug Stay in the System?

The length of time that any drug remains in a person’s system can be quite variable. In large part, the amount of time the drug remains in a person’s system depends on significant personal variables, including individual rate of metabolism, gender, body size/composition, and how often and how much of the drug is typically used.

Based on Alexander Shulgin’s notes:1,4

  • Onset of effects when insufflated (i.e., snorted) are near-instantaneous.
  • A dose of 2C-E might include 10-25mg of the substance.
  • The duration of action of a single dose is roughly 8-12 hours.

Urine testing for 2C-E is somewhat limited, though it may be detected using liquid chromatographic and mass spectrographic techniques.4

Pharmacokinetic details for 2C-E are scant, and accurate time-windows for detection of 2C-E in various toxicology screening assays are lacking in the scientific literature.


  1. Dean, B. V., Stellpflug, S. J., Burnett, A. M., & Engebretsen, K. M. (2013). 2C or not 2C: phenethylamine designer drug reviewJournal of medical toxicology : official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology9(2), 172–178.
  2. Office of Diversion Control. (2012) Special Report: Emerging 2C-Phenethylamines, Piperazines, and Tryptamines in the National Forensic Laboratory Information System, 2006-2011. U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration.
  3. Sacks, J., Ray, M. J., Williams, S., & Opatowsky, M. J. (2012). Fatal toxic leukoencephalopathy secondary to overdose of a new psychoactive designer drug 2C-E (“Europa”)Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center)25(4), 374–376.
  4. Van Vrancken, M. J., Benavides, R., & Wians, F. H., Jr (2013). Identification of designer drug 2C-E (4-ethyl-2, 5-dimethoxy-phenethylamine) in urine following a drug overdoseProceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center)26(1), 58–61.

About The Contributor

Scot Thomas, M.D.
Scot Thomas, M.D.

Senior Medical Editor, American Addiction Centers

Dr. Thomas received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. During his medical studies, Dr. Thomas saw firsthand the multitude of lives impacted by struggles with substance abuse and addiction, motivating... Read More

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